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

Reseting IP Cameras - 30 Manufacturer Directory on Sep 22, 2017
Every camera has a reset button (well, almost) but it is not always clear what these buttons do, how long they need to be held, what settings they...
Avigilon 'Blue' Cloud Entry Examined on Sep 19, 2017
Avigilon is moving to the cloud. The company announced their Avigilon Blue platform, designed to be a web-managed surveillance system, utilizing...
Hikvision Backdoor Exploit on Sep 18, 2017
Full disclosure to the Hikvision backdoor has been released, allowing easy exploit of vulnerable Hikvision IP cameras. As the researcher, Monte...
Genetec Launches Community Connect Examined on Sep 14, 2017
Genetec has done best in large-scale, enterprise systems and relatively worse in smaller systems such as SMB. Now, Genetec is launching...
Fail Safe vs. Fail Secure Tutorial on Sep 13, 2017
Few terms carry greater importance in access control than 'fail safe' and 'fail secure'. Access control professionals must know how these concepts...
Geovision Doorstation Tested (CS1320) on Sep 12, 2017
Geovision has released the GV-CS1320 door station, priced at a fraction of others, with additional bells and whistles like a built in card reader,...
Axis vs Sony Super Size Shootout (Q1659 vs SNC-VB770) on Sep 11, 2017
Super low light, super sized sensor cameras are a growing trend. In the past year, 2 of the most notable entrants for these IP cameras have been...
October Camera Course on Sep 07, 2017
Learn video surveillance and get certified. IPVM provides live online classes, recorded videos, personal help, cutting edge education and...
Dahua and Hikvision Entering Access Control on Sep 05, 2017
Until now, Chinese video giants Hikvision and Dahua have held back releasing access internationally. Both companies have now pulled the trigger,...
DoorBird D101 Tested Vs Ring and Axis on Sep 01, 2017
Video doorbells are a big growth market, with Ring, in particular gaining a lot of attention on the consumer side and Axis making a push on the...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Reseting IP Cameras - 30 Manufacturer Directory on Sep 22, 2017
Every camera has a reset button (well, almost) but it is not always clear what these buttons do, how long they need to be held, what settings they...
80+ OEMs Verified Vulnerable To Hikvision Backdoor on Sep 22, 2017
Over 80 Hikvision OEM partners, including ADI, Interlogix, LTS, and Northern Video, have been verified as having products vulnerable to the...
Genetec Launches Cloud Access Control (Synergis SaaS) on Sep 21, 2017
Genetec's cloud everything expansion continues, with their announcement of Synergis SaaS edition, joining their cloud video offering Stratocast,...
Genetec CEO Warns Against Insider Threats on Sep 21, 2017
With Dahua and Hikvision cybersecurity issues becoming indisputable, a new counter has emerged. Just put them behind a firewall, buy cheap...
New IPVM Calculator V3 Released on Sep 20, 2017
The New IPVM Calculator V3 is released. An entirely new architecture delivers the following benefits: Turbo The calculator is now ~50% faster in...
Automatic Door Operators For Access Tutorial on Sep 20, 2017
Opening and closing doors might sound simple, but it takes a high-tech piece of door hardware to pull it off. Integrating automatic door operators...
'Clowns' Allege Ubiquiti 'Completely Fraudulent' on Sep 20, 2017
A short seller has alleged Ubiquiti is 'completely fraudulent'. Ubiquiti's CEO has responded calling them 'clowns'. Here is the short...
Avigilon 'Blue' Cloud Entry Examined on Sep 19, 2017
Avigilon is moving to the cloud. The company announced their Avigilon Blue platform, designed to be a web-managed surveillance system, utilizing...
HID Buys Mercury Security on Sep 19, 2017
One of the biggest access control deals in years. Mercury Security, the most widely used access hardware OEM, and partner to 20+ manufacturers,...
Hikvision Backdoor Exploit on Sep 18, 2017
Full disclosure to the Hikvision backdoor has been released, allowing easy exploit of vulnerable Hikvision IP cameras. As the researcher, Monte...

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