An IP camera is a camera that uses the Web to transmit images and control signals. It transmits data in a digital format over an Ethernet connection. IP stands for Internet Protocol, and IP camera is also commonly called an IP network camera. It is usually used as a security camera and surveillance. The images quality are better than analog and it can be installed alone or in a group. They are normally mounted and connected to a digital video recorder (DVR) or linked to a network video recorder (NVR) to form a video surveillance system. If the IP camera is connected to a computer network, it can be viewed and managed over the internet from anyplace in the world. It simply needs access to a conventional Web browser and every IP camera on a network has its own unique network functions and address as a video server. The camera type have a wide variety of protocols including TCP/IP and HTTP.
Until very recently, video surveillance and security was accomplished using CCTV or Closed Circuit Television. This technology included analog cameras, video tape recorders and coaxial cable. When charged- coupled device (CCD) sensors became available, the production of digitized images is enabled by the technology. However, the transmission was still analog via coax to analog VCR’s. When DVR (Digital Video Recorder) was introduced, it could be linked directly to analog cameras which made storing, searching and retrieving video much more efficient. Personal computers were then introduced for display of the images through modem and network connection to the DVR.
With the introduction of Network Cameras, the entire system has now been digitized incorporating onboard processors and web server software. The system is very flexible, it doesn’t need coaxial cables to connect the network. The most common types of IP cameras are fixed body, fixed dome and PTZ cameras. Fixed body camera is normally enclosed in a rectangular housing and the direction it is pointing is quite obvious. Fixed dome camera is enclosed in a dome-shaped shield and it is hard to judge where this type of camera is pointing. PTZ (Pan, Tilt and Zoom) camerais typically used for live monitoring. A PTZ camera can move down and up and right to left. It can also zoom out or in on a face, door or cash register.