What is an IP Surveillance System?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2019
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An IP surveillance system uses Internet protocols (IP) to transmit images or video captured by a camera or system of cameras through the Internet or a network. The data can then be received at a remote location or accessed from any computer with proper credentials to access the system. This allows the data captured by the surveillance system to be easily viewed, saved, and copied through various computer programs and helps prevent the need for potentially cumbersome video equipment and extensive libraries of surveillance tapes. An IP surveillance system utilizes Internet networks to make the images easily accessible to a number of different locations, with varying levels of security.

IP typically refers to any type of system that uses the Internet to allow transmission of data across great distances. In an IP surveillance system, a camera or numerous cameras can be set up and then the captured images can be stored or accessed in a number of ways. Many systems utilize digital video recorders (DVR) to capture images as the camera records them, and then these can be accessed either manually or from a distant connection through the Internet. Other types of IP surveillance systems will use live feeds instead, allowing a remote location to view the images in real time, and potentially save segments of video to a computer hard drive.


In many respects, an IP surveillance system is similar to a traditional closed circuit television (CCTV) surveillance system. Older CCTV systems would allow a video image to be captured and then feed that image to banks of monitors and recorders. These recorders would store video images on video tapes, and the tapes would often be kept for a set period of time before being recorded over by new images. The monitors in a CCTV system would allow for real time viewing and playback of videos.

An IP surveillance system, however, does not require a bank of monitors for viewing. Instead, the system is assigned an address and made accessible through the Internet, allowing viewing of the images on any computer connected to the Internet. An IP surveillance system will usually be protected with security features such as passwords and firewalls to prevent unwanted users from accessing the images. This type of system allows a person to easily access cameras on his or her property from any location with an Internet connection, allowing for situations such as a laptop being used by someone on vacation to monitor the security of his or her property.


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