What Is An IP Security Camera and How Does it Work?

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IP security cameras are one of the best surveillance cameras available in the market but why?

A few years ago there were only limited choices to choose from in case you want to have a surveillance system, but now everything is available in your hands.

Security cameras have been developed over the past 10 years. The developments come to design, resolution, and features also.

IP security cameras are one of these cameras that were developed also by engineers. 

As a result, it’s become one of the best security cameras out there, the cameras provide high resolution, small size design, and at affordable prices.


What is an IP Security Camera?

Well, An Internet Protocol Camera, commonly referred to as an IP camera, is a digital video security camera that can send and receive data over a local network or the internet connection, unlike CCTV cameras that use Coaxial cables. 

What-Is-An-IP-Security-Camera | IP security Camera
IP Security Camera

An IP camera is used to monitor what is happening at a specific location. For example, an IP  security camera can be used to monitor the inside of a home, the outside of a business, or the entrance of a building. It cannot be used to take photos or videos.

Usually, The IP security camera uses Ethernet cables to connect to the NVR or through WiFi if it’s a wireless camera. It connects in the same way that any other standard network device does, such as a laptop, PC, tablet, or printer.

How does an IP Security Camera Work?

IP security cameras have different operations, unlike old surveillance cameras. First, The IP cameras capture footage in high resolution. Second, the processing chip included in the camera works to compress the video footage as it is recorded. Third, the images and videos captured by the security camera transmit to video recorder devices to be stored.

On the other hand, CCTV analog cameras capture the image and the processing of images is done in the video recorder, not in the camera.

Not only the differences in how each camera works, there is another difference, Analog CCTV security cameras require a coaxial video cable to transmit footage to the DVR, but IP security cameras can transmit footage over a wireless or wired connection. 

IP cameras connect to an NVR(Network Video Recorder) via Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or USB.

For Resolution, IP cameras capture images in High-Definition. High-resolution images require more storage space and more bandwidth for data transmission than lower-quality images. 

To transmit high-quality images over a network, IP cameras must compress the files or make the files smaller so that they don’t use too much bandwidth.

So, The IP camera system uses the Compression technologies such as H.264, H.265, and MPEG-4 to transmit the data with just a small drop, or with no drop in sometimes in frame rate and resolution when the footage finally reaches the display device.

What are Benefits of IP Digital Security Camera?

It differs from the analog type which transmits Video as a voltage, then using DVR to store the Video and transmit only to one place.

While the IP security camera sends images, data digitally through a network to make it so fast.

Also, IP cameras use the transmission and security features of the TCP/IP protocol.

Digital visible Security cameras have many benefits, let’s mention some of them.


These IP security cameras, whether wired or wireless, provide better image Resolution. 

It captures a wide range of views with more details as compared to an analog camera used in CCTV systems. The reason for that is that IP cameras transmit digital signals, not analog.

According to this, the resolution of a Digital camera is typically four times the resolution of an analog camera.

Remote accessibility:

IP security cameras as mentioned Before, use the network to connect and these let users access the camera.

Accessing the camera can make you see live video from a remote place only needing sufficient access privileges.

IP cameras are the best camera for indoor & outdoor surveillance, in addition, it’s used in important buildings due to this amazing feature.

More security:

Encryption is a process of converting data into a code, it is used to secure an internet connection that is used to transfer sensitive data between two systems.

For IP security cameras, The data transmission process is more secure than other types of surveillance cameras as it uses advanced encryption and authentication methods such as WPA2 or WPA, AES, or TKIP.

There are two states of encryption in security systems. The first state is at rest, and the second is in transit.

At Rest when the IP cameras are not working or don’t connect to the network, the camera uses RSA or AES or any of the public encryption to protect the data.

This state is called “Rest Encryption” and it’s useful as it prevents anyone from accessing the camera data to extract it.

The other state is used when the data is traveling over the network or when the data is transferred online to cloud storage; it’s called the “Transit Encryption”.

This encryption state uses HTTPS  (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure) and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates over Port 443.

Instant Notification Alerts: 

Modern IP surveillance systems have a bundle of features that allows cameras to send notifications of captured video clips by email, SMS text, or live link on mobile. 

So, when an accident happens in your house or around your area, these cameras will automatically notify authorities to take immediate action if needed.

Advanced Motion Detection: 

The new generation of IP security cameras uses the latest AI (artificial intelligence) technology to recognize people’s faces and animals in the camera’s field of view.

There are some Network security cameras that offer more than one mode for motion detection, they have human, animals, vehicles, and package detections.

Once any of these break into the camera field of view, the camera will send a real-time alert to your smartphone to inform you.

Steady Live View Streaming: 

One of the amazing features that IP security cameras provide is the ability to share a steady live view streaming from any place.

The IP cameras operate without any stops in a steady state which is suitable for enterprises and large companies as it makes the cameras consume less bandwidth.

In steady-state, Internet protocol security cameras send a constant stream of encrypted data to the cloud storage once every 20 seconds.

In a small comparison with traditional cloud cameras, the Steady State IP cameras stream at 20 kbps. On the other hand, Old traditional cameras operate and stream 1-2 Mbps. 

As a result of less consumption of network bandwidth, you can use over 50 IP cameras that stream in a steady state on the same network.

Many Storage Options:

Nowadays, security cameras have more than one way to store security camera footage for a long time. The cameras can save captured images locally or online.

For people who love to keep their camera’s data between their hands, they can use local storage options such as a Micro SD card, or on the Hard Drive of the video recorder whatever HDD or SSD.

In case you look for advanced solutions for storing the camera videos you can use any of the cloud storage services available online to keep your videos in. 

This option costs more money than the first one as it’s required to pay monthly fees but it is safer. 


Since the IP digital camera is based on a Networked connection using PoE cables or a Wireless network, there’s no need for more wire.

Also, if you want to connect the cameras, all you need is a single cable with Power over Ethernet (PoE).

This cable is used to supply power through the Ethernet cable and operate without a dedicated power supply. IP security cameras are considered the best cameras that connects to phone without more problems.

Now: Let’s see more about what is an IP security camera? and look at Poe’s camera.

What’s PoE?

( PoE ) “ power over Ethernet” and these refer to cameras that use Ethernet to pass Electrical Power with Data on the same cable.

IP cameras eliminate the risk and cost of running electrical wire and analog CCTV cameras cables. 

Not only this, PoE IP cameras have more stable data transmission, unlike wireless cameras. Plus, these cameras don’t stop due to interference from nearby devices’ signals.

How are IP cameras recording Videos?

Some wireless IP cameras use Network Video Recorder ( NVR ) to control and store video, recording, and alarm management.

NVR connects directly to the network through the use of switches that make you connect more than one IP Camera with a single NVR.

Once you use NVR it will provide more freedom to use, just connect the NVR and Your IP security cameras with the same LAN ( local area network ).

Other types can operate with no need for NVR, in this case, the cam is connected directly to any local storage with a hard drive such as Personal Computer to keep the video.

Types of IP security Cameras

For the types of IP security cameras, there is more than one type, all of them use networks to send data but differ only in how they are powered.

Let’s see

1-Wired IP security cameras.

IP Cameras can send and receive data wirelessly, but wired IP security cameras differ from Wireless IP cameras on the source of power and how they will send the data.

The wired camera uses a power cable or Like PoE cameras use the same data cable to turn on the camera.

Note: Security camera wires differ depending on what you need to use, you can use a Coaxial cable with a digital system or vice versa.

2- Wireless IP security cameras.

The second type of IP camera is wireless. But, How wireless camera work? Wireless IP cameras send and receive data wirelessly.

The power source used is an electric cable, and this type of camera must be mounted near the power outlet.

3- Wire-Free IP Security Cameras.

The first type of IP Security Cameras uses a PoE cable while the second type uses a Power cable.

The third type Wire-Free IP Security Cameras is totally wire-free, as it doesn’t use wire for sending & receiving data, uses a network, and uses a battery or solar panel as the only power source for the camera.

This type is the best if you want to place the camera outdoors and you don’t have an outlet for power, even if you can use it for indoor purposes.


you may ask what is the difference between an IP camera and CCTV? or what is the difference between an IP Security camera and an analog camera?.

What to Consider Before and When Buying an IP Security Camera?

Before involving in buying an IP security camera for your home or company there are some important factors that you should consider.

Each surveillance system has its features, the goal is to pick what is suitable for your needs. So, you must ask

  1. Where are the system cameras being placed? Outside or Inside?
  2. What is the best choice for your area is wired, wireless, or wire-free systems?
  3. How long is the distance that the camera is capable of covering? 
  4. How much internet bandwidth and what is a suitable frequency that is needed to support IP network cameras?
  5. Where is the footage of the security camera stored? And how much space does your system need?
  6. What is the encryption level that cameras support to protect your data? 

These are the common factors that you should take care of before buying security cameras in general, and IP cameras especially.

Where are the most common Places IP Cameras Used?

The IP security camera, like other security cameras it’s used in common places to monitor and keep an eye on what is happening.

For the places of the camera, there are public places and private places. Let’s see the both

1- Public Places

  • Schools and teaching classes.
  • Big Retail Stores.
  • Railway Stations.
  • Studiems.
  • Main Streets.
  • Banks, and in ATM locations.
  • Traffic lights.
  • Dangerous Areas.
  • Factories, and production lines.

2- Private Places

  • Home.
  • Front Door.
  • Back doors.
  • Yard.
  • Garage.
  • Small Business.
  • Farm.
  • Hallway.
  • Basement.

These are the most common places that IP cameras are mounted, you can read our post on the best places to install security cameras to know more.

What are The Difference between IP Cameras and CCTV or Analog Camera is


  IP Camera receives control data and sends image data via the Internet.

CCTV Surveillance Camera uses analog signals by capturing light and converts into a video signal.


IP Security Camera can access use Network and it provides remote control.

CCTV Camera isn’t openly transmitted, the Camera transmits a signal into a specific place.


IP camera use NVR to store the data received through cable or wireless.

CCTV Security cameras use DVR that converts the data into digital format, Plus, records, processes and store the data collected from CCTV cameras. While IP security cameras use NVR. you can see NVR and DVR differences and know each one and what’s the best.


Most IP security cameras use wire or may be wireless, wire-free security camera. 

While CCTV security camera uses wire to connect to other devices.

Final Thought about what is an IP security camera?

Now, after finishing reading this article you know what is an IP security camera? and how it works and what is the difference between analog and digital security cameras.

IP security cameras have many advantages, But some people prefer to use the old Technology CCTV cameras, the old CCTV cameras have been improved in the last years and there are many peoples who love this type.

Resources: Wikipedia

Marvin H. Tarrance

Marvin H. Tarrance

Marvin Is an Electric and Electronic Engineer passionate about content writing and marketing. In the past, He was installed a large number of CCTV security cameras, and IP cams also. For now, He is the Head of the Content Team which is responsible for writing informative and detailed posts for Safebudgets.Com