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Efficient Way to Build IP Surveillance System for Small Businesses

For business owners or managers, you might have a plan to build a new or upgrade to an IP surveillance system to achieve a 24/7 continuous monitoring or enhanced protection of your properties or employees. It is a wise choice, and today, we try to explain how to set up an IP security camera system for small businesses, and tend to help you to accomplish this work in a more efficient and effective way.

What are Business IP Video Surveillance Systems?

Frankly speaking, video surveillance system applied for business uses is a common scenario, especially in this era with rapid development on technology and so as the crimes. For majority of people, security cameras should have been seen at most commercial places, and they probably are the traditional analog surveillance system, namely, the so-called CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television) system. They truly widely used and function well for quite a long period. But as technology develops and time goes by, these systems can barely meet the increasing demands for business applications due to their poor quality image or deficient bandwidth or other crucial factors.

IP surveillance system, essentially, makes use of IP security camera, which comes with immense enhancements by supplying incredibly clear video footage, flexible combination with internet, or something else does good to installation, management, and even system security as well. In a word, despite its lightly expensive costs, undoubtedly, IP video surveillance system is the better choice, no matter for business or commercial uses.

Business IP video surveillance system can be defined as installing IP video surveillance systems in business buildings to get workplaces or perimeter surveillance, or in malls or retail stores to keep visual evidences when suspicions or crimes occur, or for some other applications alike. Such system can be small or large according to range or scale of commercial areas ready to be covered.

Generally, an IP video surveillance system relies on IP security cameras and NVR recorders to get the work done. IP security cameras are responsive for capturing footage and transmit to the recorders, which do the business for recording and storing the receiving video footage and serve real-time monitoring.

Perhaps you might be still confused and overwhelmed, don’t worry, you’ll be covered with essential components needed for the system and guides for selecting them later.

Importance of IP Security Camera Systems for Businesses

It is undesirable if you underestimate the importance of IP security camera systems to your businesses. As official reports indicated that workplace crimes like employee theft, resulted in severe losses to average US companies for $1.3 million per year. And security camera system proofs its effectiveness by preventing crimes by more than 50 percent. In fact, there are a number of benefits offered in practical scenarios.

Pricing for Small Business IP Video Surveillance Systems

The price of an IP security camera system depends on various factors including the size of your business, the number of the required cameras, and the type and space of storage, or other advanced features and so on. One more thing to keep in mind, you also need to estimate costs for potential maintenance and upgrades, or even some software related to video analysis and security in the future.

Generally, the pricing for small business surveillance systems with one camera costs from $500-$1000, for advanced system with many cameras probably reach thousands of dollars. Therefore, the costs for business surveillance systems comes with a big range and what you should do is to take account into your budget and work out a custom estimate according to practical conditions and demands.

Essential Components of a Small Business IP Security Camera System

Building an IP security camera system for small businesses mainly contains 4 parts, namely, cameras, recording and storage, displays, as well as networking and cabling. Essential components needed can be found in the market easily, and typically, you are supposed to look for IP security cameras, video recorders, hard drives probably, HDMI displays, router or network switches, and accessories like cables and power adapters, etc.

IP security cameras, one of the critical parts, as mentioned previous, are responsible for capturing sharp footage, and data is decoded in cameras internally and straightly, for this reason, a much clearer image quality is available.

Network video recorders(NVRs), as a key role, receive and store video footage and other data for a real-time monitoring or playback. The security staff or managers or boss can keep an eye on the property, employees, or consumers stay within the on-surveillance range.

Once getting video recorders connected to displays like monitors, computers, TV that support VGA or HDMI inputs, it is able for people who in charge of the surveillance system to view real-time video footage on large screen to get effective live surveillance or reviews.

To set up an IP surveillance system, a LAN network is required for data processing. Both routers and network switches supply LAN ports, but if there not only one or two security cameras plan to install or there are some other network devices like wireless access points, VoIP phones are used in your business buildings, then adding a network switches can obtain more LAN ports and switching capability for smooth and efficient data transmission and management.

To sum up, you can choose network switches to work as the main networking system for the IP surveillance systems. Furthermore, IP security cameras or other electronics need to be powered, so power cord and adapters are needed components, however, these accessories generally are enclosed in the purchasing of network switches and security cameras. Sometimes you might need additional purchase when asking for a larger length on cables.

Key Things Should Know When Selecting IP Security Cameras

IP security cameras come with a tremendous variety of options. We often receive consultations on questions like which types of cameras to choose from? How much resolution do I need? What features should I look into? In the following, we will walk through a number of key things of which suggested to be aware when selecting IP security cameras for business surveillance system.

1. Learn Types of Security Cameras and Confirm the Optimum

For the starter, let’s learn some knowledge about the types of security cameras. They basically varies from shape, monitoring range, and functions or applications, let alone pricing. Let’s get a closer look at the 4 common types, including bullet cameras, dome cameras, turret cameras , and PTZ cameras.

Bullet Cameras-Being named due to their shape, they are long, cylindrical, most traditionally applied cameras for businesses. Fixed cameras with eye-catching appearance offering great deterrent to potential crimes or affray. You can use it alone to point a certain range, like entrances, or combine two with back to back installation, and toward opposite direction for an overall monitoring.

Dome Cameras-These cameras features dome shape, and their lenses generally are well protected by transparent vandal-proof dome cover. Thus they tend to serve optimal resistance to vandalism or other physical elements might cause harm. Its sizes basically depends on the size of the housing, there are different sizes for you to choose from. In most cases, users get them mounted on ceiling, with a result, it is not that inconspicuous for most passing people, reducing the feeling of being watched.

Turret Cameras-They are also known as eyeball cameras, as they look like ball with a socket design. For the reason of such design, they permit to custom adjustments by pivoting in any direction in the socket mount, offering excellent flexibility to installation. Besides, turret cameras don’t have shells or glass housings, thus the users may eliminate concern of IR glare effectively.

PTZ Cameras-The term “PTZ” actually refers to pan, tilt and zoom, pan side-to-side, tilt up and down and zoom in and zoom out via remote control to achieve a comprehensive field of view (360°). Although they have gradually faded out the leading role, but for some specific applications, they are of great significance. These types of cameras are intended to be used for applications with the need for a large coverage surveillance.

Now that you grasp some key type of security cameras, which type to choose from is mainly depend on your business’s needs, sometimes of specific installing point. And generally, there is no problem for you to mix up different types, even from different brands.

2. Give Priority to Wired IP Security Cameras

Now that you know the types of security cameras. Next, you need to determine which connectivity of the security cameras meet your needs and installation environment. There are wired and wireless security cameras available up to now. From illustrated earlier, you should have known that wired IP security camera use Ethernet cable for connectivity and data transmission. You should bear in mind that choosing wired security cameras rather than wireless one is always the better option, because wired cabling offers the best reliability as they are not prone to inferences of obstructions like walls, while wireless cameras are easier to be affected and cannot keep sound signal for capturing and receiving good quality image. 

3. Focus Your Search on HD Video Systems

HD refers to High Definition, HD security cameras are the proper choice to ensure an effective or superior video surveillance, as they tend to provide better image quality. HD cameras is more useful to capture incredible footage containing more crucial details, such as facial characters, car license plates, etc. HD cameras can be described with pixels and frame, and for majority of applications, you’d better pick up those support at least 1080p resolution. If budget allows, there are advanced 3MP, 5MP, and 4K cameras for you to choose from. But one thing should be noting, the more pixel doesn’t mean the better, and generally the truth is that the more pixel and high frame indicate a higher demands for bandwidth.

4. Determine Desired Features

Today, IP security cameras can do much more than out-of-date traditional ones, and they come with various features that make great use. To determine what features to look for, at the beginning, your should make clear realistic requirements, then find the corresponding ones. For a successful surveillance system, there are some key features matter a lot.

The viewing angle is the factor related to the monitoring range of security cameras and the size of the objects in the range. Wide angle means larger coverage, but the objects look in a smaller size generally, and with less details certainly. While cameras with a narrow angle can help capture more details as the objects is bigger, in other words, you can watch the objects clearly, naturally they only supply a shorter range. If you have no idea how much degree is suitable, the core is to figure out that you expect your security cameras to capture image with more objects or more detail. I believe think about in this way will be easier to make up your decision. It is suggested looking for cameras with at least 110°.

Do you need a 24/7 continuous recording? Are you expecting the surveillance system still function under low lights conditions or during dark night? If the answer is positive, you should arm the system with cameras support night vision. Simply these cameras adopt infrared LEDs to capture clear image, black and white, or colored, within a certain range. With this feature, the surveillance system is capable to guard day and night, offering improved and thorough security and protection for your businesses.

Video storage space is limit, undoubtedly, it is imperative to find method making storage system being utilized effectively. Motion detection is a fair feature to reach the goal. Cameras support motion detection, and also named motion activated security cameras, that said, they record video footage once a motion is detected by camera’s built-in sensor. For instance, the camera is activated and records only when a car or a person enters in the monitoring range. Consequently, useless footage of those plain time won’t be recorded and occupy storage space.

Some cameras support human detection, which is an ideal choice when if you only desire to record down footage with people involved. Moreover, when this feature combines with notification, you can receive instant alerts when unwanted situations occur.

How to Set up an IP Security Camera System for Small Business Efficiently?

1. Planning is the First and Crucial Step

Before you dive into the implement of security camera system setup, make a plan and do some essential preparation are quite important. In the process of planing, you are able to have a clearer mind to design and build a sophisticated surveillance system befitting your properties or meeting your business security needs. Many people start planning after you have already purchased a system, you should avoid such mistake, or it would be too late to regret.

Planning means to estimate the size of security cameras system for your businesses, and find out the security vulnerabilities and keep points of installation. It might be an assistance to answer these listing questions. Where do I call for security and surveillance? How many cameras are required to cover all the locations required surveillance and security? What types of cameras to purchase? Hong long is expecting the NVR to record? Employ wireless or wired connection? And other similar questions.

2. Considerations on Camera Placement is the Fundamental

The placement of the security cameras requires additional consideration. As a proper placement for the cameras enables an optimal coverage with the least overlap, and certainly obtain greater performance and effectiveness.

For small businesses, certainly, in the first place, it is a necessity to install cameras at places where store money and valuable belongings. As a matter of fact, it is equally important to place cameras monitoring some pivotal locations of the property, like entrances and exits, secluded places, and even high traffic locations.

Point your cameras to all entrances and exits, and the both sides doorways if possible, obviously, this helps track all people enter in the property. Secluded places, such as alleyways, parking lots, and dumpster pads, means less people step in, so these points tend to be chosen to have higher risks of crimes or suspicious activities like harassment and assault. While high traffic areas, like reception, workplace, customer interaction points, generally there are more activities in these areas, and this also means that these areas have higher potential for emergency or issues occur. When if get cameras point to different directions, then it is useful to review and gain evidence when the case lose in confusion.

What’s more, attempt to mount the cameras at optimal height for the reason that only when the cameras is high enough, it is possible to larger coverage and good viewing angle. However, remember not mount to high, or it may hardly to capture details that matter.

Mort importantly, never forget to learn local laws or legal regulations referring to video surveillance setup. Camera placement demands for privacy respecting, never try to install cameras at places like dressing rooms, restrooms, and other places tend to trigger invasion of privacy.

3. Employ PoE Switches for Ease of Connectivity

From what illustrated previously, you should have known that IP surveillance system need LAN network by installing network switches for data transmission. Actually, there is advanced option, that is to use PoE switches. These switches are PoE-compliant, and PoE is a technology allows twisted Ethernet cable to carry power, that being said, you can solve power and network supplying for IP security camera simultaneously over single Ethernet cable.

4. Create a Separate Network for the Surveillance System

Installing a surveillance system for businesses, it is advisable to create a separate network for the camera system. A separate network means the surveillance system work under its inner network, the surveillance system won’t be affected by or impact main network or other branch networks, such as network built for work. You can benefits a lot from doing this.

  • Surveillance system on a different network, you can easily define who have access to manage the system, normally, you don’t want general staff, not to say guess to access your surveillance network.
  • Set a splitting network for security camera system, when unusual activity takes place, and the manager team can easily to spot, or determine whether is the surveillance system to blame, giving clearer responsibility.

A separate network is to build a VLAN network. To achieve this, you need to use managed LAN switches, only these kind of switches give the ability to create VLAN for IP security camera system. Managed switches generally offer higher security, but they tend to operate by technicians or IT team of your businesses.

5. Think about Ease of Integration

There are numerous brands supplying IP security cameras, NVRs, PoE switches. To wrap these devices up, it is importance to think of ease of integration. Different brands may produce products using different protocol, try to purchase all these from the same brand, if not possible, focus on those support ONVIF compliance. It is a standard or protocol offers high compatibility for an easier and safe integration.

6. Long Distance Setup Requires Extra Solutions

Sometimes you encounter situations like installing security camera at a point or a few points that is a bit far away from the main network. To overcome this setup, you can’t simply by using long cable to connect both ends, as Ethernet cables only reach at around 100 meters(328ft.) transmission distance due to power loss and signal degradation. The correct method is to use Ethernet extension tools, like PoE extenders, to reach extended range. You can find more detail info about Ethernet extension solution for IP security system in our previous post.

7. Fiber Optic Connections is an Alternative

For long distance setup, and if take account of bandwidth for supporting the whole IP surveillance system, many businesses choose to use fiber optic connections as backbone network. Compare to Ethernet cabling, which use copper cables to transfer data, fiber optic connections utilize fiber optic cable, making use of optical signal to get high speed transmission, nearly as fast as light speed, along with low latency and immunity of EMI(Electromagnetic Interference).

Related Article: How to Set up a Point-to-Point Fiber Optic System?

8. Go for Professionals If Overwhelmed

With regard to small businesses, in most situations, only several security cameras need to install, and the surveillance system is not that complex, thus generally, you can accomplish the installation by yourself. But is more cameras to cover a large area, or you tend to build a system with advance features that may overwhelmed your knowledge reserve, turn to the professionals for assistance can save a lot hassle and avoid mistake and unnecessary costs. FASTCABLING offers tech consultation service, if you need help, reach out with us here.

Takeaways of Enhancement for Video Surveillance System’s Effectiveness

  • Pay attention to the lighting for security cameras. Although cameras can work under low light conditions by using IR night vision cameras, but poor light largely influence the image quality, and keep in mind that it doesn’t make sense if cameras work at places where lack of light completely.
  • Implement consideration and protection if cameras need to install at outdoor. Outdoor environment is prone to damages like rains and dust, and vandalism. Choose outdoor security cameras features optimal resistance can solve those issues effectively. And you’d better to take some measures to get the cameras covered and protected.
  • Hide the cables if possible. You know, if just letting the cables exposed under the sight of public, it is amount of invite people with evil intention to cut off and invalidate your surveillance system with ease.
  • Deliver video to multiple receivers simultaneously for improved effectiveness. IP surveillance using NVR as recording system, it is entirely feasible to set multiple monitors at different places for real-time monitoring at the same time. As common setup, install a NVR and monitors at central surveillance room, and install a monitor connected to the same NVR at boss’s or manager’s office.
  • Keep your surveillance system up-to-date. IP surveillance system setup is not a “set it and forget it” job as the equipment and software in use may become obsolete over time. To maintain the system performance, you are supposed to  do periodical investigation and update. 


Installing IP surveillance system for small businesses, it can be easier or hard to finish, and if want to set up the system efficiently, extra considerations on some key points are required. Try to use the above knowledge to start building your own system now.

Still have doubts or concerns? Contact FASTCABLING design team to get help.

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