Ubiquiti Aircam Bullet Test

Author: John Honovich, Published on Nov 19, 2011

Can a $100 HD network camera change the surveillance industry? We are about to find out as Ubiquiti, a company whose massive growth has disrupted the wireless network industry commences its attack on the video surveillance market.

What makes Ubiquiti really interesting is that its market approach fundamentally opposes all industry norms. An American company, they focus on making very low cost products without any real spending on sales, marketing or PR. They leverage forums and Internet 'word of mouth' to build their customer base. They already have a huge customer base in the wireless market. Despite selling primarily $100 radios, the company did a whooping ~$200 Million in revenue in the last year.

Ubiquiti's Surveillance Product Line

In the past few months, Ubiquiti has started to roll out their own IP cameras and VMS software. They are taking the same approach in surveillance as they did in wireless, releasing very low cost cameras and free VMS (for details, see our Ubiquiti surveillance  product line overview).

The Test

While the price is outstanding, we wanted to see how well Ubiquti's surveillance cameras really performed head to head against reputable incumbents. To do so, we did a series of shootouts between Ubiquiti's Aircam Bullet, an Axis SD camera (the M1011), an Axis HD camera (the M114) and an IQ 4 series 2MP camera. While all the cameras are color only entry level models, the competitive offerings represent higher quality professional options.

We did a series of tests:

  • Low Light Testing: At 1 lux, 2 lux and 6 lux to see differences in low light performance
  • Day Time Tests: At 16 lux and 250 lux to see differences in 'regular' indoor lighting scenes
  • Long Range Tests: At wide FoVs of 40 to 80 feet to see how much difference in image capturing occur in larger scenes

*** * $*** ** ******* ****** ****** *** ************ ********? We *** ***** ** **** *** **********, * ******* ************ ********* ********* *** ******** ******* ******** ********* *** ****** ** the ***** ************ ******.

**** ***** ******** ****** *********** ** **** *** ****** ******** fundamentally ******* *** ******** *****. ** ******** *******, **** ***** on ****** **** *** **** ******** ******* *** **** ******** on *****, ********* ** **. **** ******** ****** *** ******** 'word ** *****' ** ***** ***** ******** ****. **** ******* have * **** ******** **** ** *** ******** ******. ******* selling ********* $*** ******, *** ******* *** * ******** ~$*** Million ** ******* ** *** **** ****.

Ubiquiti's ************ ******* ****

** *** **** *** ******, ******** *** ******* ** **** out***** *** ** ******* *** *** ********. **** *** ****** *** **** ******** ** ************ ** they *** ** ********, ********* **** *** **** ******* *** free *** (*** *******, *** *********** ************  ******* **** ********).

The ****

***** *** ***** ** ***********, ** ****** ** *** *** well *******'* ************ ******* ****** ********* **** ** **** ******* reputable **********. ** ** **, ** *** * ****** ** shootouts ******* ********'* ****** ******, ** **** ** ****** (*** M1011), ** **** ** ****** (*** ****) *** ** ** 4 ****** *** ******. ***** *** *** ******* *** ***** only ***** ***** ******, *** *********** ********* ********* ****** ******* professional *******.

** *** * ****** ** *****:

  • *** ***** *******: ** * ***, * *** *** * lux ** *** *********** ** *** ***** ***********
  • *** **** *****: ** ** *** *** *** *** ** see *********** ** '*******' ****** ******** ******
  • **** ***** *****: ** **** **** ** ** ** ** feet ** *** *** **** ********** ** ***** ********* ***** in ****** ******

[***************]

Key ********

**** *** ***** ** *******, **** *** *** **** ******* findings:

  • *** *****- ** ********** ******** ********, *** ******** ****** *** ************* worse *** ***** *********** **** *** **** *****, ******* ***** to *** ** * ****** *** ******** ** *** **** M1011. *******, ******** **** *** *** ******* * **** ******* mode (*** ******* ** */****) ***** ***** ** ********* ** other ******* ****** ** *** **** ** ****** ****.
  • **** *****- ** ** - ** **** **** ***, *** ******** Aircam ********* ******** **** ******* **** *** **** **** **** but *** **** ******* **** *** ** **** *****
  • ****** *****- ** ***** ** **** **** ***, ******** ****** ******** the **** ******* ** *** **** **** ****. *******'* ********* of *******'* **** ***** *** ****** ******* *** ******** ** Axis's *** ********* ** *** *******'* ******** ***** *** *****.
  • *********** - ** *********** ** ******** **** *** ******** ********, ******** or ******** ****. ***** *** *** *** ****** ****** * variety ** *** ******** ** ******** **** ***** ****** **** ActiveX ********.
  • *** ***** *********** - ***** **** *** **** *** ** ****** *** ***** VMS *********** *** *****. **** **** **********, ************* **** ** done *** *** ******** *** *******.
  • ******* ******* - *** ******** ****** *** * ****** ***** ** ******** - *** ****, ** ****** **** ****** *********, ** *****, no *******, *********** ***** **** ******** *** * ***** ***** lens.

*** ** ***, *** ******** ****** ****** ** * ***** camera *** ********** ******* ** *** **** *** *****. ***** that **** ** ********'* ***** **** ******, ** ** ***** impressive. **** *** **** ******* **** *** ********* *** ********* buggy, **** ** *** ** *** **** *********** ********.

** *** ***** ****, *** ******** ****** ** ****** *** board ******* ******** ** *** **** ***** ***** ** ****** though *** **** **** ** **** **** ** *** ***** (~$100 ** ~$***) [**** *** **** ***** *** * ********* lens ***** *** ****** ****** **** ***. *******, **** ******* the **** *****, * ***** ***** ******, *** ***** ******** is ***** **].

***************

*** $***, ***** ******* *** **** *********** *** ****** ** video ******* ** **** *** *****, **** **** *** ******** Aircam ****** ****** **********. **** **** **** * ********* ****** in *** *********** - (*) ********'* *** **** *** **** lacks *** ***** ******* *** ** ****** ***** ** (*) integrate *** **** ** * *** ***** *** *** ********* the ****** ******* *** *** *******.

*** ***** ******* ** * ***** ***** ***** * ** 9 ******* ******, * ******** ***** ******** ** *** **** price *********** ** *********** ** ***** *** **** ***. *** pricing ** ***** *** ****** *********** ** *** *****/******** ** can ** ****. ****, *** ***** ******* **** ******* ** better **** *** ******** **** ** ** / ********** ****** camera.

**** ****** ** ******* *** * *********** *** ************ ** cameras *** ** ** *** ***** *** **** **** ** class ***** *******. ******** ** ******** ** ******* * ************ line ** ** ******* ** ****. ** **** ** *********** to *** *** **** ***** **** ******* **** **** ******.

Competitive ******

** ***** ********'* **** **** **** *** **** ********* ****** on *** ****** ************ ******, ************ ****, ********* *** *******. Ubiquiti's ******* *** ******* ****** ** *** **** ***** ******, have ******* ***** ******* *** *** *******.

**** ** ******** ******* ***********, ***** *** **** ************ ** Arecont ****** *** ** ** *** *** ******** ****** **** of ** ****** ** ******* ** ******* ************** ***** *****-********* cameras. *******, **** ****, ** ** ***** **** ******** *** overtake ******* ** *** *** **** ***** ** ****** ** the ******. 

Physical ******** ******

*** ***** ***** ***** ** *** ******'* ******** ********. *** two **** ********* ** *** ********* ** *** *** *** standard ******** ****** *** *** *********** ****** *** **** ******** the ****.

*** ***** ********* ******** / ************ ****** ** *** *********** for * *** ******** ***** **** ******** ********. ******** ******** one **** *** ** ***** **** **** * ****** *** injector ********* *********** ** ** ******* **** ***** *****. *******, of ******, *** *** *** **** *** ******** ******** **** a ******* *** ******. ****: ** * ********* ********, ******** *** ********** ** ****** ********** *** ***** $**. **** ********** **** to **** **** ***** *****.

Configuration *** **********

*** ***** ***** ***** *** ***** ******** ** *** ****** and *** *** ** ********'* *** ********* ***.

***** ********* *** ** ****** *** ***** ** *** ****, as ** ** ******** ** ** *** **** ********** ** Ubiquiti's *******, * *** ****** *** ***** ******:

  • ********** *** ********* *** *** ****** *** *****. *** ************ is ***** ****** (***** ** ** ****** ****+ ** *** any ********* *******).
  • ********* **** *** ******* *** *** ******* *** * ***** Flash **************.
  • ****** ********* ** ********* ** ****** ****, ************ *** **** of ****** **** ********* (******** ******* ****** **** ****** ********* will ** ***** ** *** ******).
  • *********'* **** ********** *** ***** ****** ********* * *** ****.
  • *********'* ************* ******* **** *** ***** ******* **** *********** *********, playback *** ** ***** ****** ******

** ********** *** ****** **** *********** ***** ** **** ********** (with *** ********* ******* ****** -****://***.***.*.*:***/****/******). ** *****:

  • ***** ********* **** *** ***** *** ** ********** ********. 
  • ** ************* ** *** ****** (***** ****, **********, ***.) ** possible.
  • **** ********** ********* *** ******** ***** ***** **** *** ******* server **** ****** ********* *** *** ******** ****** **** *** support ****** **** ******.
  • ********* ** *** ********'* ****** *** * ******* ****** **** time *** *** ***** ** ******* **** **** ********* *** direct ******* ** ***** (********** ************** ** * ******* *** *********** ******* **** *****).

Low ***** *******

*** ******** ****** *** ************ ** *** ***** ******* ** normalized, **** ******* ***** *****. **** ** ** ** * lux:

*** ******** ***** ** **** *** *****. *** *********** ********** would ** **** **** *********** ** ** ******* *** **** and ** ******* ** ** ** ***** ******* **** ******* speed (****** **** ***** ******** *********** ** ****** ****).

***, ***'* **** ** * ***:

*** *** ****** ******* ******* *** *** ******** *********** *** remains *** ****.

*** **** *** *** ******* **** * ***:

** *** * *** ******* *****, ** **** *** ** Axis ******** ***** ** ******* *** ***** ***** ** *** 4 *******.

Indoor ******* *******

***, ***'* ******* **** **** *****, **** **** ** ** lux:

***, *** ******** *** **** ***** ** **** ******* ***** of *******. *** ********* ****** ****** ***** ***:

  • *** ********** ** *** *******'* **** *** ****** **** ** more ********** ******** ** *** ******** **** *** **** *****.
  • *** ***** ** *** *******'* ***** ** **** ********** ******** on *** **** ***** **** *** ********. *** ******* ** weaing * **** **** ***** *** *** ******* ***** ** appear *****.

*** ** **** ** *** *** ***** ***** ** *** equivalent ***** ***** ** ** ******:

*** **** ******* ******* **** **** *** ******** ********* * more ********* ***** ** *** *******'* ****** **** *** **** with * ********* ******* ** *** *******'* ***** *****.

Longer ***** *******

*******, ** ****** *** ****** ****** *** ***** ***** ** views. *** ***** ** **** ** **** *** **** *** SD **** ***** *** * ******** ******** *** **** ******** (because **** **** ***** ******).

** *** ***** *****, *** '***' ***** ** ************* **' wide ***. *** ********'* ***** ******* *** ***** ** *** HD **** *** ************* ***** *** ** ****. *******, *** 2MP ** ******* ******** **** ******* **** *** ******.

*******, **** ** * **** ***** ********** ** ************* **' wide ***. **** *** ******** ******** ********** **** ******* ** the ******* **** *** ** ****. *******, ** ** ***** much ****** **** *** ** **** **** **** *** ******** narrower ***.

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