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How to set up a CCTV system over the Internet

Low cost –but very capable - web cameras and the ability to transmit and store video footage on computer networks and across the Internet are bringing CCTV systems within the reach of much smaller businesses. But where do you start?

Setting up a video surveillance system that runs across your local network, storing footage in the local server, or even one that transmits picture across the Internet allowing remote monitoring of premises has been possible for some time but it’s something that is only just starting catch on.

One of the reasons is that cameras now have very much improved capabilities and have become much more affordable. The advent of Power-over-Ethernet technology, an ingenious invention that enables small devices like cameras to draw power off the data network rather than relying on the proximity of a normal AC power socket or direct connection into the supply. This latter arrival has reduced the cost of installing an IP surveillance system considerably.

If you already have a local area network and you know what it is you want to monitor – the entrance to a shop for example – then all you need to do is plug the camera into the network, install it and then run the surveillance software on your server. It is that simple. You will of course, need a power source for the camera or, if you buy the right model, you can run it off PoE.

Switching on

If you don’t have a network you will need to set a small one up – even if it is only running between your PC and a single camera. All you need to do this is a central ‘switch’ unit and cables to connect the three points together. Your supplier will be able to provide these and help with installation – at a small cost perhaps but you do need to get this part right.

Once this is done you will not only be able to monitor the camera from a PC or server on the network, you’ll also be able to monitor the camera remotely across the Internet. Proving all the equipment is turned on and you have an ‘always on’ connection to the Internet i.e. high speed broadband or a leased line, you should be able to establish the IP address (the specific Internet location) of the camera and, with a bit of setting up, connect to it directly across the web through your office network.

This does take some setting up and if you are not experienced in networking and/or the Internet, you will almost certainly need some assistance but like the camera set-up, once it is done, using the connection should be very easy indeed.