Surveillance cameras: the basics

In Our last blog post, we spoke about internet safety and keeping our personal information safe from potential hackers and intruders, but today we will be focusing on our physical safety from real home intruders, and the measures we need to take about choosing the right surveillance cameras that best fit our needs. Surveillance cameras don’t need to be used just for stakeouts or home intruders- but to keep an eye on our pets when we’re not home, doorbell cameras that cover your front porch, backyard floodlight cameras, or for safety/security purposes in businesses. 

Cameras come in all shapes and sizes; the type you choose depends on what exactly you would be using the camera for. Sturdy outdoor and vandal-proof cameras are made to withstand extreme weather conditions and even attempts to damage the camera. Night vision cameras are best for consumers more interested in night surveillance, while megapixel cameras give more detailed images for someone more interested in details in the image, like facial features. For harsh environments, thermal cameras work best because they use thermal imaging to produce surveillance to detect people and objects in smoke, haze, dust, light, fog, or complete darkness.  

When you’re in the market for a surveillance system, the two types of systems you will run into will be wired or wireless. Usually, wired security is the traditional way to go and is mostly used for larger areas and multiple cameras. Wired systems run cables in order to work and are not vulnerable to wireless interference because they are physically connected between camera, recorder, and router. Usually, if you need a surveillance set up for a larger property, then wired is better because wired cameras support larger systems. Most home or business owners with large properties want complete coverage versus only covering specific areas, meaning they will need a wired system that can support and link all the cameras. Wired systems can maintain anywhere from 4 to 16 cameras. As well as connecting all the cameras, the security footage needs to be stored on a recorder, either a DVR or NVR recorder. Although it sounds like wired is the best way to go, there are some downsides. For example, because this requires all cameras to be physically wired and installed, the installation time is much longer than wireless and running multiple cables is most likely something an average joe wouldn’t be able to do on his own.  Another con (which could also be seen as a proto many) would be that they are a more permanent solution and good for consumers who are interested in long term solutions. They are more suitable for permanent locations, mainly due to installation time, running wires and mounting cameras. If you decide to move the cameras you will need to re-run wires and basically re-do the whole process. For consumers looking for a quick and temporary solution this may not be the right choice, however for many, the trustworthiness of long-term cameras and the option to be able to link more cameras in the future- these are the winning team. 

For renters and those who are more interested in a temporary, quick installation, and not having to deal with wires, the solution would be wireless. Wireless cameras are connected through Wi-Fi and work only in the vicinity of a Wi-Fi connection. The advantage of wireless cameras is the ability to mount them anywhere you want but that comes with a disadvantage: where you mount them must be close to a power source if they have no batteries. Although there is the option of no power cord and batteries in each individual camera that would need to be recharged or replaced when the battery dies- fortunately, this isn’t too frequently since wire-free cameras usually save power in ‘sleep’ or ‘standby’ modes until they are triggered. Mostly they’re in power saving mode. This solution is ideal for renters or temporary locations mainly due to the fact of the ability to install, uninstall, pick up and move wherever and whenever they want. Ultimately, the kind of surveillance system you decide to invest in comes down to personal preference and what kind best suits your property.