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Buying Guide for NVR Security Camera System

The NVR security camera system is a video monitoring system that consists of multiple IP cameras and a network video recorder (NVR) and other network and power devices to enable 24/7 continuous recording. It is one of the most effective surveillance systems worldwide with a simple setup. In most cases, the NVR and the network or PoE switch need to be connected to the same router (in the same network) for data communication. The PoE switch will provide power and data connection to the IP cameras via one Ethernet cable. Then the processed footage transmitted from the cameras will be stored in the NVR for later review.

Video surveillance is ultra important to protect your properties and deter potential hazards. But choosing the right security cameras and equipment for video surveillance is a difficult decision faced with every household and business from all industries. The following is an instruction to help you choose the right devices for the NVR security camera system.

What features to look for when buying a security camera?

Security cameras are beneficial when monitoring your home or business premises remotely. Compared with hiring a couple of security officers to safeguard the main entrances or high-risk/traffic areas, installing security cameras is a more cost-effective way to prevent break-ins and vandalism to create a safer living environment.

1. High resolution and wide viewing angle

A robust, high-quality camera is required for proper video surveillance. High-resolution cameras are highly recommended when covering larger areas with great levels of detail. In most cases, a resolution of 1280×720 pixels is sufficient, but a full HD/1080p can provide a clearer image with a minimal price increase. Moreover, it’s highly suggested to choose a security camera with a wide viewing angle. The average viewing angle of stationary cameras ranges from 45° to 115°, while the PTZ camera from FASTCABLING can support horizontal rotation (panning) of fully 360° and vertical rotation (tilting) of -90° to 1° above the horizon.

2. Motion detection with real-time alerts

Most security cameras are programmed to automatically activate once the motion sensor is triggered. Motion-activated cameras are suitable for continuous monitoring in low-traffic areas. The primary advantage of motion detection is that it cuts down the amount of wasted footage and only relevant contents will be recorded and archived. Instant notifications will be sent to the users to help them take precautionary actions when suspicious activity is detected.

3. Night vision/low-light camera

Night vision is one of the most demanding features of a video surveillance system to provide a substantially clear image in conditions of near-darkness or in low-light environments. Most night-vision cameras are equipped with built-in infrared LEDs, which are imperceptible to naked eyes, to keep the premises under discreet surveillance and discourage any malicious attempts. But when choosing a night-vision camera, try to avoid dome-shaped cameras with a highly reflective protective casing (glass), for they are more susceptible to IR reflection, in which the light is bounced back to the lens causing blurry or foggy images. The dome-shaped camera from FASTCABLING is equipped with invisible IR illuminators and a progressive CMOS sensor to deliver unparalleled camera performance in low-light conditions within a range of 10 m. It is encapsulated in an acrylic housing greatly improved with an anti-reflective/anti-scratch coating to reduce IR reflection to a great extent.

4. Remote control

A higher percentage of burglaries and break-ins take place when you’re away from home, so it is not possible to overstate the importance of remote access in the security system. Most of the surveillance cameras can be operated through mobile applications, web browsers and PC software, giving you varying degrees of remote control. As such, you’ll have access to remote monitoring directly on your phones and customize the system by parameter settings. In some cameras, you can also control the cameras to pan, tilt, zoom after a simple configuration.

5. Weatherproof and vandal-proof

Considering most security cameras are installed outdoors, you should choose a camera that can withstand severe weather conditions with a longer lifespan. The cameras should be able to operate over a wider temperature range (-35°C to 55°C) with a strong resistance to water, dust or other corrosive elements in the ambient atmosphere (a weatherproof rating of at least IP66). Necessary precautions should be taken to prevent vandalism when physical access to the cameras is possible. The cameras should have a vandal-proof casing that is unable to open with regular tools and they should be made from materials highly resistant to impact, covered with a thick protective layer in a domed shape.

6. Audio recording

Integrating audio recording into the camera is an important action to upgrade the whole video surveillance system, but most cameras don’t support audio because of the regulations around audio surveillance. It’s legally documented that two and all-party consent is needed before recording a private conversation. Although there are restrictions around audio recording, it is totally legal where there is a consensus or in public areas with warning signs. The adoption of audio surveillance not only indicates a more comprehensive security system but also means an increased responsibility to carry out audio surveillance while not violating others’ privacy.

How to select the right NVR?

Owing to the flourishing of the IP video surveillance systems, the demand for network video recorders (NVRs) has been steadily rising in both residential and commercial applications to support real-time monitoring from a centralized point and provide robust video processing and management of multiple video streams. The NVR can ensure 24/7 continuous recording, integrating video storage, data transmission and front-end management all into one system.

1. Channels and recording resolution

Similar to a digital video recorder (DVR), NVR can be classified by the number of channels (16/32/64) it supports. You’ll have to determine how many IP devices you plan to install and make sure the NVR has more than the required number of channels. For example, if you plan to connect 4 IP cameras to the recording device, it’s suggested to choose an 8-channel NVR for future expansion. Moreover, recording resolution is a key element to set up a high-definition video surveillance system. Higher resolution means greater amounts of detail to be expressed in the image, but normally larger file sizes will be generated to take up more storage space in the hard drive disk (HDD). Some advanced NVR systems can support high-resolution recording in all channels, while others only have HD available in 1-2 channels.

2. Interoperability

Unlike the DVR system which boasts of high interoperability when it comes to mixing and matching cameras from different manufacturers, some NVRs only support IP cameras from the same brand. So it is essential that the NVR is onvif-compliant or supports PSIA protocol, another standard universally adopted by IP surveillance products to allow the NVR to work with different-branded cameras. Most IP cameras are now onvif-compatible, but if you want to stick to your existing cameras, it’s suggested to choose an NVR with high interoperability.

3. Storage capacity and video compression

Since IP devices often generate larger file sizes to deliver high-quality images with greater details, the storage appliance should have enough storage space for video recording. Apart from local storage with built-in HDDs, the NVR should support Cloud/software storage for video archiving with external storage options (USB/eSATA interfaces). To attain high-quality compressed files, you should pick one that supports the latest video compression standard of H.265 (HEVC) to deliver the highest-quality images in lower bit rates (50% reduced) with greater coding efficiency, which drastically reduce the storage and bandwidth requirements, making high-quality video compression more affordable.

4. Advanced functions

Apart from the basic storage and playback functions, the NVR should have audio and alarm interfaces to help you incorporate the video surveillance system with other security devices like detection sensors or security alarms. Some recorders are greatly improved with multiple smart features like remote control, real-time message alerts and dual-monitor display (HDMI & VGA). Furthermore, 64-Ch Network Video Recorder from FASTCABLING also supports local management with extra USB interfaces to operate with a USB mouse and keyboard.

NVR and PoE NVR: which to choose?

Normally, you’ll need a network/PoE switch and NVR to set up the data and power link. The regular NVR is only designed for video management and transmission, so extra power supplies are required to power the PoE-enabled cameras. To ensure a reliable connection, the PoE switch is needed to set up a highly integrated network system. Compared with traditional AC power, PoE doesn’t need to run a separate power line to the powered devices, contributing to a substantial reduction in initial investments. Another approach to set up the network link is to wire all the cameras to the PoE NVR, a security video recorder with a built-in PoE switch to provide both data and power connection by simply running an Ethernet cable from the camera to the NVR, featuring easy installation and configuration. One of the advantageous aspects of PoE NVR is that fewer devices are needed to set up the surveillance system. But the major drawback is its limitations in long-distance applications since all the cameras have to be hardwired to the PoE NVR for power supplies.

Which network switch is suitable for the NVR Security Camera System?

The network switch used in the security camera system comes in varied forms. As a crucial link in the NVR security camera system, its plays an important role to secure the ongoing functionality of the entire system. In different scenarios, different types of PoE switches are adopted to meet the specific requirements in each application.

PoE witch vs Non-PoE Switch

PoE is a revolutionary technology that provides both electrical power and data connection to the terminal devices on twisted-pair Ethernet cabling at a maximum distance of 100m/328ft, eliminating additional electrical wiring, which gives you great versatility and flexibility in installation. Additionally, since PoE only carries a relatively low voltage of 60V featuring a hot-swappable plug-and-play design, it has greatly simplified the installation with decreased electrical hazards and reduced costs of installation. Every PoE switch has two uplink ports for the network (router) and NVR connection. The PoE switch is equipped with intelligent power detection to avoid power surges and improved reliability with redundant power supplies. Moreover, it is a future-proof technology with great flexibility for relocation. On the contrary, the normal/non-PoE switch doesn’t supply electrical power to the terminal devices. Despite its limitations, it’s still a fair choice for non-PoE security cameras. And a PoE injector can be installed between the switch and cameras to add PoE capacities to the non-PoE switch.

Managed vs Unmanaged PoE switch

The PoE switches can be sub-divided into managed and unmanaged PoE switches according to their manageability. The managed switch opens up great opportunities for authorized users to prioritize and monitor the traffic to achieve the optimization of network performance. You can regulate the voltage coming out of each port on the switch (within the power budget) and allocate more power to more power-hungry devices like Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) cameras. If a regular camera only requires 2-4 watts while the PTZ cameras will need 7-9 watts, the switch will send just enough power to each device accordingly. Moreover, it can provide security settings that can be configured in accordance with your specifications. On the other hand, the unmanaged switch is more straightforward, featuring a simple plug-and-play design with no configuration required. And it’s relatively more affordable for its limited capacities (no traffic monitor or security settings). Generally speaking, the managed switch is more suitable for applications that require high security and reliability (enterprise-level businesses), while the unmanaged switch is appropriate for home or small-to-medium-sized businesses.

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