Adding IP Cameras to your Security System
While it is possible to continue sending alarm signals over a landline connection, you should understand that it can take 10-15 seconds for a signal to reach the monitoring server and valuable footage could be lost during that time. It is far more effective if you upgrade your alarm system to use a product like the popular Linksys Alarm Monitoring Solution to send signals over your Internet connection instead of over a telephone line.
Although most Ip cameras come with some form of built-in motion detection, the unpredictability of this technology prevents it from being used in most applications. Using motion detection would also require that there be some way to arm and disarm the cameras so that they do not send images when people are legitimately moving around the protected premises. Due to the familiarity and simplicity of arming and disarming an alarm panel, by far the best option is to have the alarm panel trigger cameras only when it is armed. This way, images are only sent to the server in the event of an alarm activation.
The more expensive IP cameras support a full range of software commands that allow control of pan, tilt, zoom, pre and post alarm triggering and other common features. Whilst lower cost cameras do not generally offer these features, the majority of them do support jpeg snapshots at various resolutions which provides you with a good starting point for recording cameras from the Monitoring server.
The snapshot feature available in approximately 95% of IP cameras allows you to install a camera from manufacturer X alongside one from manufacturer Y and Z. This provides great flexibility as you are not tied to a specific camera manufacturer. A web based alarm and camera monitoring service like the popular Virtual Monitoring Platform, will allow you to enter basic camera parameters to determine what type of alarm events and which zone numbers should trigger the recording of individual cameras. You are also able to specify the total number of images to be recorded and the time interval between them. As IP cameras from different manufacturers require a slightly different software command to trigger them, the Monitoring platform allows you to store custom commands in order to support any brand of camera you choose.
As an example of how your alarm panel and cameras work together, we will say that Mr. Smith has an alarm system, a custom provisioned Linksys VoIP adapter and an IP camera installed at his home. The VoIP adapter and camera are plugged into his router and connected via the internet to the Virtual Monitoring platform.
His account number at the Virtual Monitoring platform is 1234 and he has setup his account so that 10 snapshot images should be recorded at 2 second intervals in the event of an alarm. When an alarm signal from account code 1234 is received, the server software checks the database to find that Mr. Smith has a camera and that images should be recorded on the server if the alarm was from zones 2,3 or 4 (zones 5,6,7 and 8 might be used to trigger a second camera). The monitoring platform sends the software commands at the appropriate intervals and the end result is that ten jpeg images are written onto the hard drive of the monitoring server and optionally attached to an email and sent out to Mr. Smith and his contacts.
Now let’s consider the prerequisites of your network and camera setup in order for you to achieve the same results. Firstly, unless you have a fixed IP address allocated to you by your internet service provider, you will need to register and setup something called a dynamic domain name. Put simply, this is a method of keeping a domain name linked to a changing IP address. Typically, when a user connects to the Internet, the user’s ISP assigns an unused IP address from a pool of IP addresses, and this address is used only for the duration of that specific connection. A dynamic DNS service provider uses a special program that runs on the user’s computer (some IP cameras also support this), contacting the DNS service each time the IP address provided by the ISP changes and subsequently updating the DNS database to reflect the change. In this way, even though a domain name’s IP address will change often, a monitoring server does not have to know the changed IP address in order to connect to your camera. There is a free service available from www.spyonsale.com and there are lot’s of others to choose from.
And now for the trickiest part. Making an IP camera available for recording from a monitoring server by using port forwarding. Each of your cameras has a port number setting inside the camera and this needs to be set differently for each camera on your system. For example, if you put camera number 1 on port 8000, you will need to port forward port 8000 in your router to the internal IP address of camera 1. This is done differently for every router and not something we cover in this article.cctv cameras online buy
Other news for Wednesday 27 October, 2010
News for Monday 25 October, 2010
- Thief caught on camera, case registered
- Nurse caught on CCTV turning off life support
- system captured its first act of theft
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