Top 5 Reasons Analog Cameras are Easier to Install than IP

Author: John Honovich, Published on Jan 15, 2010

While IP has many advantages over analog, ease of installation is not one of them. IP cameras are far harder to install even if the installer has extensive networking expertise. And for the majority of security technicians with modest IT skills, it's even more painful.

Bottom line: IP cameras take significantly longer to install, require more training and face more pitfalls than analog.

Here's our top 5 Reasons (actually 6):

  • Finding IP cameras on the network is time consuming and often problematic
  • Focusing/adjusting the Field of View on many IP cameras is much more difficult
  • Assigning IP addresses is an added step not necessary for analog cameras
  • Setting up security and user access rights is a new requirement with IP
  • Verifying VMS support is needed for each IP camera
  • Installation varies based on the vagaries of each IP camera manufacturer

Finding IP Cameras

The 'best' way to find IP cameras is with a camera discovery application. In our testing, many of these applications often do not find the camera (even if it's the manufacturer's own application).

Often manufacturers hard-code an IP address requiring the installer to change the IP address of their PC to be on the same subnet as the hard-coded address of the IP camera in order to change the IP address of that camera to be on your subnet.

Focusing/Adjusting

Analog cameras can be focused and the Field of View adjusted using a small and cheap handheld monitor. Most IP cameras lack such analog outputs. Some newer IP cameras come with auto-adjustable zoom lenses such as the Sanyo HD4000 and Axis Q1755. These are easier to focus/tune than analog but 3-5x the product price.

While new appliances are coming out for IP hand-held monitors, most technicians setting up IP cameras are forced to use their laptops or communicate with a co-worker to awkwardly adjust the camera view.

Assigning IP Addresses

IP cameras require the added step of assigning IP addresses. If you use static IP addresses, you need to coordinate what IP address to use and set it up (usually in the web interface requiring a reboot of the camera). If you use DHCP, you run the risk of the camera's IP address changing when the power recycles. If the IP address changes, you need to re-find the camera (by looking it up in your DHCP client list, etc.) You can prevent this change by registering the MAC address of the IP camera with your DHCP server but then you need access and specific knowledge to accomplish this.

Setting Up Security/Access Rights

Since IP cameras are essentially Linux computers, one needs to set up security and access rights. You could leave all your cameras at the default (root/pass, etc.) but this makes it trivial for someone to access your cameras (probably not a good idea).

Verifying VMS Support for IP Cameras

Most VMS systems do not support most IP cameras. Even if a VMS says it supports an IP camera, there can be issues with needing to install newer firmware on the camera or issues with the stability of support (we see this with our H.264 testing repeatedly - see the Sarix/Milestone integration as an example)

Varies by Manufacturer

Just because you learn how to configure one manufacturer's IP cameras, does not mean you can immediately and simply set up another's. Each manufacturer has their own camera finding application, their own web interface, their own defaults for assigning IP address, their own default username/password, etc., etc. For instance, this week, we spent 2 hours troubleshooting accessing the web browser for an IP camera only to find out the camera does not support IE8, only IE7.

Compared to Analog

With analog, the big issues usually are crimping cable, pulling cable and connecting power. Crimping and pulling cable are common for both types as surveillance cameras are generally put away from network drops. Small analog systems can have cameras plugged directly into a wall. Larger systems need to be connected to a CCTV power supply which is not that difficult, especially for the majority of installers who have years of experienced with low voltage equipment.

Beyond that, just plug in analog camera to a DVR and you have a live video feed - no finding or changing the IP address, no web browsers to access or security settings to change on the camera, etc. Even cheap CCTV kits like the EzWatch one we tested was trivial to setup.

How Much Will Standards Help?

'Standards' should help somewhat in a few areas - specifically finding cameras and VMS support (though note in our ONVIF test, both of these still showed problems). We believe this will improve and these two areas should become simpler. However, this still leaves the other issues.

What Do You Think?

For the People Who Vote that IP is Easier

If you believe IP is easier to install than analog, I strongly encourage you to leave a comment explaining why, including technical details explaining your case.

3 reports cite this report:

Does the Market Want Closed IPTV? on Jul 14, 2010
Dedicated Micros has announced a new solution called Closed IPTV that provides an integrated DM camera/switch/recorder offering that aims to be...
Readers Respond: 134 Votes, 25 Comments Examined on Feb 14, 2010
Over 100 people voted and more than 25 left detailed comments to our recent question/discussion. In this post, we review and respond to the...
Mobotix Camera Installation Tool on Jan 20, 2010
Mobotix has announced a new camera installation tool that allows connecting and powering one's laptop and IP camera through this tool, called the...

Related Reports

Smart Power Tools For Security Installs on Jan 18, 2017
Installing a smart camera? Perhaps you should use a 'smart' drill. The intelligent appliance / IoT trend has hit power tools. In this note, we...
Canon 250MP Prototype Targeted At Surveillance on Jan 17, 2017
At one point Axis declared the megapixel race was over, but now parent company Canon is showing an imager that would be a rocket ship in a...
Genetec Favorability Results on Jan 16, 2017
In the race to the bottom and flight to 'solutions', Genetec has taken a contrary path. The company remains independent, focusing up market,...
Free VMS Software Directory on Jan 13, 2017
Many Video Management Software (VMS) providers offer free versions, either open source, for a limited number of cameras or for a limited amount of...
Milestone Essential Subscription Removed on Jan 12, 2017
Subscriptions may be the future for Milestone and VMSes but not right now. Responding to negative feedback, Milestone has removed subscriptions...
ONVIF Favorability Results on Jan 11, 2017
ONVIF has been one of the most debated aspects of the video surveillance industry. On the one hand, its aim to increase interoperability has been...
Honeywell Ademco Vista Intrusion System Tested on Jan 11, 2017
One of the biggest brands in security holds one of the most common intrusion lines. We bought and tested a Honeywell Vista 15P intrusion...
HD Analog Usage Rising But Barriers Growing on Jan 09, 2017
The good news for HD analog is that its usage is rising, fairly significantly since our 2015 HD analog usage statistics. The bad news for HD...
How Axis Can Beat Hikvision on Jan 09, 2017
Hikvision has rocked the industry globally, bullying former video surveillance revenue leader Axis even in the Western world. What can Axis...
Cisco Favorability Ratings - Positive In Networking, Negative In Surveillance on Jan 06, 2017
Cisco is the big name in networking, but they have not been able to leverage their brand and sizable sales channel in the security industry to the...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Geovision Launches Direct Cloud Offering on Jan 18, 2017
Add cloud, subtract integrator. Geovision has launched myGVcloud, an offering that allows consumers to buy cameras and cloud services directly...
Anixter / Bosch Sells Direct to Amazon on Jan 18, 2017
Anixter regularly says they do not sell direct to end users or that they do not do it anymore. However, over the past year, Anixter has sold Bosch...
Smart Power Tools For Security Installs on Jan 18, 2017
Installing a smart camera? Perhaps you should use a 'smart' drill. The intelligent appliance / IoT trend has hit power tools. In this note, we...
Canon 250MP Prototype Targeted At Surveillance on Jan 17, 2017
At one point Axis declared the megapixel race was over, but now parent company Canon is showing an imager that would be a rocket ship in a...
Cut in Half, Everfocus Shifts Strategies on Jan 17, 2017
The race to the bottom impact continues. Now, Everfocus, who used to be one of the larger budget providers, is shifting strategies after years of...
Top ISC West 2017 Booth Trends on Jan 16, 2017
There are significant moves among many major manufacturers on the ISC West show floor, and very few prime spaces left unoccupied. In this report we...
Genetec Favorability Results on Jan 16, 2017
In the race to the bottom and flight to 'solutions', Genetec has taken a contrary path. The company remains independent, focusing up market,...
Free VMS Software Directory on Jan 13, 2017
Many Video Management Software (VMS) providers offer free versions, either open source, for a limited number of cameras or for a limited amount of...
Milestone Essential Subscription Removed on Jan 12, 2017
Subscriptions may be the future for Milestone and VMSes but not right now. Responding to negative feedback, Milestone has removed subscriptions...
Alarm Reporting Formats Overview on Jan 12, 2017
Alarm reporting formats are methods for communicating complicated information quickly, using plain old telephone service. It is still the main...

The world's leading video surveillance information source, IPVM provides the best reporting, testing and training for 10,000+ members globally. Dedicated to independent and objective information, we uniquely refuse any and all advertisements, sponsorship and consulting from manufacturers.

About | FAQ | Contact