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.


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

May 2018 Camera Course on Mar 16, 2018
Our next course starts on May 8th. Register now for the Spring 2018 Camera Course This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based...
Rack Mounting NVRs Tutorial on Mar 14, 2018
Rack mounting recorders is common in professional systems, but manufacturers are making it difficult, with simple design failures causing multiple...
Network Addressing for Video Surveillance Guide on Mar 14, 2018
The goal of this guide is to explain addressing devices on IP networks, focusing on how IP cameras and recorders are used in those networks. For...
Panasonic Selling Off Security Camera Factory on Mar 14, 2018
Panasonic is OEMing cameras from Dahua, as IPVM testing confirmed in 2017. Now, Panasonic is selling their security camera factory, according to...
Favorite Camera Manufacturers 2018 on Mar 12, 2018
A number of major moves in integrator's favorite camera rankings for 2018: Two manufacturers make major moves up One major manufacturer moves...
PoE for IP Video Surveillance Guide on Mar 08, 2018
This guide provides comprehensive explanations of the elements in selecting and using Power Over Ethernet with IP cameras, covering: PoE vs Low...
Cellular (4G / LTE / 5G) For Video Surveillance Guide on Mar 06, 2018
In this report, we explain using cellular for video surveillance including: 4G vs LTE vs 5G 4G standards 5G future Advantage: Placing cameras...
ADI W-Box Dropping Hikvision (Tested) on Mar 05, 2018
The next generation of ADI's W-Box (ADI's competition against their manufacturing partners) is here. And unlike the previous generation, which was...
ONVIF Usage Statistics 2018 on Mar 05, 2018
ONVIF has long 'won' the standards battle for video surveillance. But has the now 10-year-old ONVIF 'won' vs direct integrations? Undoubtedly,...
Dynamic vs. Static IP Addresses Tutorial on Mar 01, 2018
While many cameras default to DHCP out of the box, that does not mean you should use it. This may seem basic for some, but those new to the...

Most Recent Industry Reports

Save $50 Ends Tomorrow - April 2018 IP Networking Course on Mar 21, 2018
Save $50 ends this tomorrow, March 22nd. Register now and save. Lots of generic network training exists but none of it really explains how it...
Dahua Global Launch LeChange on Mar 20, 2018
Dahua is getting into the consumer video surveillance market globally, with "LeChange", an offering long available inside of China is now being...
Axis Z-Wave IP Camera Tested Poorly on Mar 20, 2018
Z-Wave is drawing notable interest for video surveillance use. In IPVM's initial coverage, 84% expressed interest in it, with nearly half being...
'As-Built' Drawings Tutorial on Mar 20, 2018
Closeout documentation can be invaluable for future expansions or maintenance work, and 'as-built' drawings are a key aspect for finishing projects...
Hikvision RSM Professional Misconduct on Mar 19, 2018
A Hikvision RSM engaged in professional misconduct of a US State's licensing law, involving continuing education held at an ADI branch. In this...
Thank You - Today, IPVM Turns 10 Years Old on Mar 19, 2018
IPVM turns 10 years old today. 10 years ago, IPVM was an experiment. Today, it is the largest and most read publication in our industry. I wanted...
Integrator Help Desk Software Usage (Statistics) on Mar 19, 2018
Maintaining accounts and customer satisfaction often depends on the effectiveness of responding to issues. Keeping an integrator's support...
May 2018 Camera Course on Mar 16, 2018
Our next course starts on May 8th. Register now for the Spring 2018 Camera Course This is the only independent surveillance camera course, based...
ADT Hammered Again, Loses Another Billion In Market Cap on Mar 16, 2018
ADT's CEO told investors that, 'in baseball terms', ADT was batting 5 for 5. But investors told ADT's CEO, 'in baseball terms', that he was...
Camera Form Factor Guide on Mar 16, 2018
When selecting surveillance cameras, users may choose from a number of different form factors, each with its own unique strengths and weaknesses,...

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