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In focus: Wireless Security Cameras

We take an in-depth look at the technology and architecture behind wireless security camera systems.

WHAT IS WIRELESS CCTV?

A wireless Security Camera is a CCTV Camera that can transmit a Video and Audio signal to a wireless receiver, through a radio band. So, the term “wireless” refers only to the transmission of the data. As many wireless security cameras will require at least one cable that will supply the power. However, one can get the experience of a wireless security camera, if one uses a battery powered wireless cameras.    

Wireless cameras are fast gaining popularity in video surveillance applications as they are seen as cost-effective, easily deployable and flexible. Installation costs are low, as one saves on having to lay conduits and run video extension cables. Flexible mounting options are an advantage, as these can be installed in locations previously unavailable to the conventional wired cameras. Furthermore, Wireless cameras allow the user to leverage broadband wireless internet to provide seamless video streaming over the Internet. In cases where an older premises needs to be protected, and cabling seems too cumbersome, then this may be the only alternative. 

By using a wireless bridge, any network camera, which does not have a built-in wireless technology can be used in a wireless network

 


TYPES OF WIRELESS SECURITY CAMERAS

Analog Wireless Cameras : Analog wireless is the transmission of audio and video signals using radio frequencies. Typically, analog wireless has a transmission range of around 300 feet (91 meters) in open spaces; walls, doors, and furniture tend to reduce this range.

The basic advantage of using this type of camera is you can have multiple receivers per camera. The signal from one camera can be picked up by any receiver, as such you can have multiple receivers in various locations to create your wireless surveillance network. However, the downside is that these are susceptible to interference from other devices, such as, cordless phones, routers etc.

Digital Wireless cameras: Digital wireless is the transmission of audio and video analog signals encoded as digital packets over high-bandwidth radio frequencies.

The basic advantages of using this type of camera is its wide transmission range—usually close to 135 meters;  superior quality of video and audio output; bi-directional communication between the camera and receiver ; ability to transmit commands and functions ;  multiple receivers can be connected to the recording device, such as DVR.

WLAN STANDARDS

The most common wireless standard for wireless local area networks (WLAN) is the 802.11 standard by IEEE. The benefit of 802.11 wireless standards is that they all operate in a license-free spectrum, which means there is no license fee associated with setting up and operating the network.

 

Due to the nature of wireless communications, anyone with a wireless device that is present within the area covered by a wireless network can share the network and intercept data being transferred over it unless the network is secured.

WiFi Protected Access (WPA) significantly increases security by adding a standard way for distributing encrypted keys. So users without the correct key are denied access to the network.

Some security guidelines to be kept in mind while using wireless cameras for surveillance:

  • Activate the user/password login in the cameras.
  • Activate  the encryption (HTTPS) in the wireless router/cameras. This should be done before the keys or credentials are set for the WLAN to prevent unauthorized access to the network with stolen credentials.
  • Ensure that wireless cameras support security protocols such as IEEE 802.1X and WPA/WPA2.

 

WIRELESS BRIDGES

Some solutions may use other standards than the dominating IEEE 802.11, providing increased performance and much longer distances in combination with very high security. Two commonly used technologies are microwave and laser, which can be used to connect buildings or sites with a point-to-point high-speed data link.