What is a (IP) network camera?
A network camera (IP) can be described as a camera
and computer combined in one unit. It captures and transmits
live images directly over an IP network, enabling authorized
users to locally or remotely view, store, and manage video over
standard IP-based network infrastructure.
A network camera has its own IP address. It is connected to the
network and has a built-in web server, FTP server, FTP client,
e-mail client, alarm management, programmability, and much more.
A network camera does not need to be connected to a PC; it
operates independently and can be placed wherever there is an IP
network connection. A Web camera, on the other hand, requires
connection to a PC via a USB or IEEE1394 port and a PC to
In addition to video, a network camera also
includes other functionalities and information being transported
over the same network connection, i.e. video motion detection,
audio, digital inputs and outputs (which can be used, for
example, to trigger alarms or turn on lights), serial port(s)
for serial data or control of pan/tilt/zoom mechanisms. Image
buffers within a network camera can also save and send images
that were collected before an alarm occurred.
Comparing a network and an analog camera
In recent years, network camera technology
has caught up to the analog camera and now meets the same
requirements and specifications. Network cameras even surpass
the performance of analog cameras, by offering a number of
In short, an analog camera is a
one-directional signal carrier which terminates at the DVR and
operator level, whereas a network camera is fully
bi-directional, and integrates with and drives the rest of the
system to a high degree in a distributed and scalable
environment. A network camera communicates with several
applications in parallel, to perform various tasks, such as
detecting motion or sending different streams of video.