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Guide for Setting up an IP Camera System

Over the last few weeks we’ve been constantly singing the praises of our new IP cameras– network based digital security cameras that allow you to record footage at resolutions much higher than standard CCTV. There’s no denying however, that these systems are a bit more complex than standard analogue kits. Everything from the accessories required to how they are linked together is quite different, so we thought it would be worth taking a look at what goes into a simple IP camera system, as well as what you need to get it all up and running. Don’t take this as gospel however, there are myriad ways they can link together, this is simply one basic example! The system I will work around today looks generally like this-

6 IP camera system with NVR
6 IP camera system with NVR


What you need before you get started

Before you even start shopping for the right system components, there are some things you will need to start off with:

  • Fast internet connection– If you want to remotely view cameras, IP systems are very demanding of bandwidth, so don’t even think of using one if you know your internet connection is poor.
  • Windows PC– All our IP systems currently need a Windows PC running Internet Explorer in order to set up and configure the cameras
  • Access to your router– To get it up and running you will need both physical access to the router, and admin login details
  • Basic networking knowledge– Whilst all of our IP cameras come with full set up instructions, the process can be quite in depth, so it certainly helps having someone familiar with networking to help get them up and running

System Components

Network security systems are made up of several different types of devices:

  • IP Cameras– These are the “eyes” of the system, and capture the footage you will be storing. As with traditional CCTV, there are a wide range of camera designs available, from traditional ‘bullet’ style housings, to secure domes and even camouflage cameras hidden inside smoke detectors. Different cameras will also have different features such as night vision ranges, water proofing and lens types.
720 HD Covert MicroSD Wireless IP Spy Camera Hidden in Smoke Detector
Our WiFi smoke detectors hide HD IP cameras!
  • Network Video Recorders– NVRs are similar to DVRs, in that they store all of the footage from the cameras onto an internal hard drive. The difference is that, instead of being directly plugged in to the cameras, an NVR connects to them via the network. Different NVRs will allow recording from different numbers of cameras, or have larger hard drives to allow you to record more footage.
  • Network Switches– For a basic system with one or two cameras and a recorder, you can potentially plug all of these stright into your router, however the large amount of data can be demanding for most routers, and they usually have limited numbers of ports. Connecting everything via a network switch allows you to link up more devices, and allows much higher data transfer speeds.
  • CAT5E Cable– This is the standard networking cable that connects everything together. Make sure you measure the distances to know how much you need!

How do you power the cameras?

There are several possible ways to run power to each camera:

  • Locally– If there is a mains supply available, you can plug the cameras in right where they are installed, just using the standard power supply.
  • Power over Ethernet– If your cameras have PoE as a feature, then you can run power down the same network cable that carries the video data. You will also need a compatible PoE switch in order to do this.
  • Injectors/Splitters– If you do not have PoE devices, but don’t have a local power supply either, then you can use a set of PoE injectors/splitters to send power down the network cable, and then separate it again at the camera end.
POE Injector & Splitter Set for 12V IP cameras- DC Power and Ethernet
Setting up a set of PoE injectors & splitters

So- putting all of this together- the system at the top of the page would include the following components:

  • 6x Dome IP Cameras
  • 6x PoE Injector/Splitter Kits
  • 1x 8 Port network switch
  • 8x Lengths of Cat5E Cable
  • 1x 8 Camera NVR with 2TB HDD

Of course, don’t worry if this all seems like gibberish- you can always give our advice line a call and we can put together a bespoke system that will exactly fit your needs!

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