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IP based CCTV

Late last year, in an effort to boost security in our school, the Business Manager decided that the school needed CCTV cameras. She had looked at it previously, but it had proven to be too expensive, especially the IP based cameras. Now, a few years later, the price had come down to the point where the school could put a number of cameras in. After consultation, she was advised that IP cameras were the best bet, as analogue cameras were slowly being phased out, as well as being tedious to set up with 2 cables running to each camera.

In preparation, we bought a HP 2610-24 POE switch, as well as a server with 2TB RAID5 of storage. These were in place weeks after the decision was made, but that was as far as we got last year.

Due to the ground staff in the school taking forever to put the relevant trunking up so that we could lay some cables, the project only kicked into high gear this year. Myself and my colleague started running the cables from the server room to the various points, an incredibly tedious and frustrating job. We persevered however, to the point where we now have 9 cameras up, with 4 more to go. One point was professionally installed, as that job was too tricky for us.

Software side, the server wouldn’t display the images from the camera, even though the cameras were working fine. This puzzled everyone, including the installer. I had a brainwave that night, that perhaps the software needed Windows Media Player installed so that it could work. I’d seen a tech newsletter where someone couldn’t get a score when running the Windows 7 Experience Index, and the suggested solution was to install Media Player. Server 2008 doesn’t have it installed by default, but a quick check box and a reboot later, all was good.

As things stand now, the system is working well. The quality of the recorded footage isn’t too bad, but it is very dependant on natural light and nearby fluorescent lights and so on. The cameras are set to record at 15FPS for some reason, probably to conserve disk space, but it does cause a jerky image.

I am impressed with IP based CCTV, it works quite well, and if managed properly, can fit in pretty well to any existing network. It is bandwidth intensive but set up right it won’t be a problem.

If you buy the server, switch(es) cabling and so on yourself and install those, you can save yourself quite a bit of money. You could even install the cameras yourself, but unless you are a professional, it is perhaps best to seek some advice before starting.

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  1. July 8, 2010 at 22:37

    What video recording software did you use ? Axis Camera Station, Milestonesys xprotect or the free opensouce Zoneminder ? If you are using Axis ip cams – this company have developed a video analytics plugin to detect people versus vehicles, setting up a perimeter so if you only approach a boundary too close & cross ie fence, gate will you be notified, not if you are walking close to the bounday but not needed to trigger a motion detection event

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