What Upload Speed Do I Need for Security Cameras?

May 13, 2019

No One Likes Slow Internet

Internet bandwidth is a significant issue nowadays. Everything from our phone and laptops to our televisions and refrigerators are tapping into the internet. If you’re installing IP security cameras, they are going to use some of the juice from your network. The question is, how much?
 
Let’s start with some Internet 101. When you purchase home internet service today, typically you get unlimited data with your package. You may think the fact that you have unlimited data means you should have no issue with uploads, but that isn’t true. The reason prices go up on the internet is because what the companies really are charging you for is your upload and download speeds. A typical home internet service package may come with 1GB of upload speed and 250MB of download speed.
 
 
 
 

one- or two-camera systems can be simple to install

Simple One or Two-Camera Set-Up

 
Your typical home internet can probably support a one or two-camera system set-up. So, if you wanted to set up a camera by your front and back door, for example, that you could access from your phone to make sure the kids get home from school and into the house safely, you’ll probably have enough upload speed to upload the images to the network video recorder (NVR) or cloud storage system.

commercial security systems are more complex and can be designed by a security expert 

More Complex & Everything Else

 
Beyond this simple home monitoring set-up, there are a ton of variables that come into play that will affect the upload speeds you need.
 

What resolution is your camera shooting at?

 
The higher the resolution your camera is shooting at, the clearer the picture will be, but the more internet bandwidth it also is going to use. The files simply are much larger to transfer.
 
Digital camera resolution is measured in megapixels (MP) or millions of pixels per inch. Pixels are the tiny squares that make up an image. The more pixels an image contains, the clearer the image. Pixel size is sometimes given in horizontal and vertical dimensions. So, a camera that is 1280 x1024 resolution contains 1,280 pixels horizontally and 1,024 pixels vertically or 1,310,720 pixels total. Divided by 1,000,000, you get 1,310,720 or 1.3MP (1.3 million pixels per inch).
 
To be considered a high-definition camera, the camera must shoot at a resolution of 1MP. A camera shooting at 1280 x 720 pixels (921,600 pixels divided by 1,000,000 equals .92) is a 1MP camera. This is the resolution of the camera that would likely work with your typical home internet in the scenario described above. A camera shooting at 1600 x 1200 pixels (1,920,000 pixels divided by 1,000,000 equals 1.9) is a 2MP camera.
 

How many frames per second (FPS) are you recording?

 
Frames per second (FPS) is how many pictures are taken in one-second of time. The higher the FPS of your camera is, the more realistic-looking motion you’ll get on video, and the more bandwidth you’ll use. Security cameras can typically shoot anywhere from 1FPS to 30FPS, with the average frame rate usually around 10-15.
 

What is the dynamic range of your camera?

 
Another critical factor that will affect the clarity of images is the dynamic range of the video your camera is recording. Dynamic range is the measurement between the whitest whites and the blackest blacks in an image, or the range in which a camera can successfully capture the lightest and darkest areas of an image without losing detail. The wider, or higher, the dynamic range, the better images your camera will deliver and the greater bandwidth they’ll demand.
 

How many cameras are you installing?

 
The more cameras you are using, the higher your Internet speed requirements will be. How many cameras you will need for your home or business depends on why you need the cameras, what areas you want to monitor, how large a space you need to watch, the type of security camera you purchase and whether you are going to install a wired or wireless system.
 
In addition to all the above considerations, there are a host of other variables that can affect the performance of your security cameras and the upload speeds needed, from where the cameras are placed to the type of router you operate to whether you are recording continuously or intermittently.
 
Today’s homes and businesses need a lot of power and resources. While today’s technology, especially in home and business security, is better than ever and less expensive too, you don’t want a slow connection or inadequate Wi-Fi coverage to prevent you from using your security system when you most need it.
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