Video Surveillance

How many IP cameras can my network handle

IP Cameras sitting on table
IP Cameras sitting on table

When it comes to figuring out how many IP cameras can work on your network, there are many factors that need to be considered. The most important is your available Bandwidth.   In this article we will take you  through each determining factor that will ultimately determine the number of cameras your network can handle.    If you are interested in learning the why’s and how’s then read on.  If you just want the calculator then jump right to our Calculator section at the end of this article to get your answer. ,

Network Bandwidth

So what is Bandwidth?  Basically its the amount of data that can be sent over your network in a measured amount of time.  To help explain let’s use pipes and water as an analogy.  

Picture two different water pipes that are feeding a large bucket.  The larger water pipe will allow much more water to flow through in a given amount of time.  The smaller pipe will pass much less water in the same time period. In a network the water would be data and the pipes would be your network.  So the more bandwidth your network has the more devices like IP cameras it can handle. 

The amount of network bandwidth you have for your cameras will depend on your router, whether you are using Wi-Fi or hardwired network cables, type of camera equipment, configurations and what other devices are using your network.  Wow you say.  How do I ever figure this out. Well just read on and we help make sense of it.  

One point we need to clarify is that your available network bandwidth is not the same as what was given to you by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).   The speed of your Internet connection has no bearing on your internal network bandwidth/speed.  It will come into play if you plan on viewing or storing video outside of your network.  We will touch on that later in this article.

Before we get started I just want to cover the way we measure bandwidth so that we are all on the same page.  Mbps stands for Megabits (1,000,000) bits per second.  Notice the lowercase “b” as this is important.  A lower case “b” refers to Bits while an uppercase “B” refers to Bytes (a group of 8 bits). So MBps is not the same as Mbps.  Also we will be using Gbps in some cases which is Giga (1,000,000,000)  bits per second.  In this article we will be using Mbps or Gbps to describe bandwidth.

Routers and Switches

These days the consumer routers and switches are one in the same.  In other words the switch is built into your router.  If you have multiple port connections on your router than you can safely say that you also have a network switch. 

So how do you figure out your specific bandwidth availability?  You can start by checking the specifications of your router as this would be one of the main determining factors. Here are some items that will help determine your network bandwidth.

Wi-Fi 2.4GHz or 5GHz or the new Wi-Fi6

There are many different types of routers out there.  Older routers are typically single-band that only handle the 2.4GHz signals (frequency).  More modern routers are know as Dual-Band and can handle both 2.4GHz and 5Ghz.  So why do I care?  Well firstly,  a 2.4GHz router has a limited bandwidth of approx. 600 Mbps (in ideal conditions) as compared to 1300 Mbps with 5GHz router.  So if you have a single band 2.4GHz router then right of the bat you have a total bandwidth limit of only 600 Mbps (if using Wi-Fi for your cameras).   

Another point to consider is that 2.5GHz is known to be more vulnerable to external interference which may also affect your IP Cameras connections.  It’s a pretty crowded band.  There are a lot of devices that use 2.4G such cordless phones, baby monitors, Bluetooth devices and even microwave ovens.  On the over hand,  2.4G has a longer range (passes through walls better) than 5G so cameras could work at a greater distance.   However,  the 5G band is much less congested which means you are more likely to get a more stable connection.  In most cases the 5Ghz band would be better for your IP cameras.  

Now one more item that could affect your bandwidth are the 802 standards.  Routers conform to specific standards and some standards provide better speeds.  Therefore depending which standards your router supports will also determine its bandwidth.   I hear ya…does it ever end?  Don’t worry,  we try to take out all this complexity with our easy to use calculator at the end of this article so don’t bail on us yet.  Keep in mind that the cameras used also need to support the 802 standard(s) used by your router.

Now the latest and greatest Wi-Fi6 standard provides much faster speeds and higher bandwidth.  It’s a game changer when it comes to bandwidth and overall capacity.

If you are still using a single-band 2.4GHz router then it might be time to look at upgrading to a 2.4G/5G dual-band router or even better a router that supports the new Wi-Fi 6/802.11ax  standard.

IEEE Standards and their expected speeds

If you are the curious type the following chart provides some data on the 802 standards

Name IEEE Standard Release Date Band/Freqeuncy (GHz) Expected Speed MIMO Coverage/Range
N/A 802.11 1997 2.4 2 Mbps Indoors: 20 m
Outdoors: 100 m
Wi-Fi 1 802.11a 1999 5 54 Mbps Indoors: 35 m
Outdoors: 120/5000 m
Wi-Fi 2 802.11b 1999 2.4 11 Mbps Indoors: 35 m
Outdoors: 120 m
Wi-Fi 3 802.11g 2003 2.4 54 Mbps Indoors: 38 m
Outdoors: 140 m
Wi-Fi 4 802.11n 2009 2.4/5 300 Mbps MIMO Indoors: 70 m
Outdoors: 250 m
Wi-Fi 5 802.11ac 2013 2.4/5 866Mbps MU-MIMO Indoors: 35 m
Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax 2019 2.4/5 GHz 450 Mbps/10.53 Gbps MU-MIMO TBD

Wi-Fi or Ethernet

The way in which you are planning to connect your network IP cameras will also affect your available bandwidth.  As we mention in the previous section Wi-Fi bandwidth is limited by the router’s radio capabilities (router hardware and 802 standards).  However,  using hardwired Ethernet cable connections (network cables from your camera directly to your router/switch) will provide better overall performance as the speed/bandwidth for network cabling is much higher than Wi-Fi.   Also, let’s consider that the Wi-Fi bandwidth that we listed above in the 802 standards is for all cameras connected to that same router.  It is shared between all of the cameras. With Ethernet cables cameras are not sharing their connection to the router/switch.  With the right Ethernet cables and router you can theoretically reach up to 10Gbs. 

Connecting your cameras with Ethernet cables is certainly a better method for connecting your cameras but it comes with some additional difficulties.  Most home/small business owners don’t have the skill nor the ambition to run cables throughout the home/business.  Fishing walls, crawling in attics, crawling in crawl spaces, making holes, etc. are just not the things most want to do.  However, for those with the skills and drive it would certainly pay off in the end if all your cameras were connected by network cables.  Don’t get me wrong, if you have a good Wi-Fi network, the correct amount of cameras properly configured then Wi-Fi will work just fine.

 

ip-camera

Cameras

There are many different camera types and configurations which can have a huge effect on bandwidth usage and thereby the number of IP cameras you could support on your network.  We will go through how different cameras and their configuration can effect your bandwidth. 

Resolution

Resolution is referring to the number of pixels being captured by the camera’s image sensor.  The data from these image sensors are then compressed and streamed (transmitted) over the network.  So a 2 Megapixel (MP) camera would send half the amount of data of a 4MP which in turn will send half of a 8MP camera.  As you can see that higher resolution cameras would eat up your bandwidth quickly if you had a lot of them. 

Typical IP Camera Bandwidth
Resolution H.264 MJPEG
1MP (1280*720) 2 Mbps per camera 6 Mbps per camera
2MP (1920*1080) 4 Mbps per camera 12 Mbps per camera
4MP (2560*1440) 8 Mbps per camera 24 Mbps per camera

Frames per Second (FPS)

Cameras can be configured at different frame rates which will effect your bandwidth usage. For example, a camera set to 1 FPS would be capturing 1 image (frame) per second.  This image would then be compressed and sent over the network using a certain amount of bandwidth.  Now if we were to set the same camera to 10 FPS with all other factors remaining the same we would see a increase in our overall bandwidth requirements.   You may think that since we increased our frame rate by a factor of 10 that our bandwidth would also increased by a factor of 10.  Well this wouldn’t be the case as frame rates do not have a linear affect on bandwidth.  This is due to compression codecs like H.264/5  and how they work.  Suffice to say that you will realize a bandwidth increase in our example but it may be somewhere between 3-4x not 10x as expected.  

Setting the correct frame rate is important and the frame rate you choose will depend on your particular needs for the given camera.  A typical rate used in the industry is 15 FPS which provides the best compromise between details being captured and bandwidth used.  

Video Compression

Video data from IP security cameras is always compressed before sending over a network.  The most common compression standard used in the security industry today is H.264.  Depending on which video compression codec (encoder/decoder) is used by your camera it will have an effect on the overall bandwidth usage on your network.  However, most security cameras today support and default to the H.264 standard.  

The newer H.265 codec is also available and has higher compression rates.  It could improve your compression by up to 50%.  However, it isn’t as widely adopted yet and may have a higher chance on incompatibility with some hardware.  

Standards such as MJPEG is also available in many cameras.  This standard provides high quality video and uses less processing power that H.264/5 but uses much more bandwidth and storage space.  So if you have a choice we would recommend using H.264/5 

ip-camera

How you use your cameras will affect your Bandwidth usage.

The way in which you plan to use your cameras will also affect your bandwidth.   

Viewing

If you are not storing video somewhere on the network (see next section) and nobody is viewing any of your cameras then your cameras will be using almost no bandwidth at all.   They would be only sending very small amounts of data just for housekeeping reasons.  Its only when you request to view any video that your camera(s) will start sending their video data and using your available bandwidth. 

Storage

Video storage is the process of retrieving video from your IP cameras and placing it on a storage media device for later viewing.  In a home or small business environment this is typically done by storing locally in the camera on a SD card or on a Network Video Recorder (NVR). 

Storing locally on a SD card means that the video will not be sent over the network, thereby reducing  bandwidth usage, but is stored locally on a small SD memory card inserted into the camera.  This comes with some great benefits but also some drawbacks like limited storage capacity.   Not all cameras have the local storage feature but many do.

Storing video on a Network Video Recorder (NVR) has its own pros and cons but the main drawback is that may use your network bandwidth continuously.  So depending on the frame rates, compression, resolution and other configuration options are set on your cameras there could be large bandwidth usage.  This would be compounded if you have multiple cameras on the network.   

Of course you also have the option of not recoding video at all and relying on features like video motion detection to have video clips sent to your phone.   

 

NVR typical diagram with Wi-Fi cameras
Storage Options
Feature Local SD Card NVR
Bandwidth Usage Low med-high
Storage Capacity Low - typically 128G max High
User Experience Med High
Cost Low High

Video Storage

Camera resolution is probably the biggest factor on bandwidth usage.  Resolution is referring to the number of pixels being captured by the camera’s image sensor.  The data from these image sensors are then compressed and streamed (transmitted) over the network.  So a 2MP camera would roughly send half the amount of data of a 4MP which in turn will send half of a 8MP camera.  As you can see that higher resolution cameras would eat up your bandwidth quickly if you had a lot of them.

Summary

So now that we have covered the main factors that affect your bandwidth usage we can start planning or camera system to both meet our needs but keeping within our bandwidth availability.

Bandwidth Calculator

CAMERAS

In this section specify the type and quantity of cameras you will be connecting to the network. For each Type provide the Quantity, Compression used, Frames per second and how you will be connecting the camera. If your camera supports dual streams (Mainstream and Substreams) then enter your Substream settings as well otherwise leave them blank. If only one type of camera will be used then complete Camera Type 1 only. You can add up to 4 different camera types.
Camera Type 1






This is the amount of activity or changes in your scene. Higher activity means higher bandwidth usage. For example, a busy traffic intersection (high) vs. empty parking lot (low)


STORAGE

In this section specify how you will be storing video. Network Video Recorder (NVR) Storage calculations will use the Mainstream settings as specified in the Camera section above.
Camera Type 1
You can select from:
  • No storage - You will not be storing any video.
  • SD Card Stoarge - Stored on the camera itself using a SD Memory card.
  • Local Network - Recording is sent to a NVR on your Local Area Network (LAN). Does not use your Internet connection.
  • External - Which means your video is sent to an NVR that is not on your local area network (uses your Interent connection).
This is how you will be recording your video. Alarm recording refers to only recording when movement is detected while continous sends a steady video stream to be recorded. Video recording calculation uses the Mainstream as specified in the Camera section above.
This is total duration of an alarm video. This should include the pre and post video if set.
This is the estimated number of Alarm activations that will occur in a 24 hour period.

VIEWING

In this section you specify how you will be viewing your video streams. Viewing caculations will use the Substream if specified in the Camera section above.
This is the number of simultaneous video streams you plan on viewing locally on your network (not over the Internet). This could be an App(s) on your phone connected to your Wi-Fi network and viewing a camera (or multiple cameras).
This is the number of simultaneous video streams you plan on viewing Externally (over the Internet). This could be an App(s) on your phone connected using the Internet and viewing a camera (or multiple cameras).

RESULTS

After providng all the necessary information select "Calculate Now" and we will display the results in this section. Please note that these calculations are estimates only and your actual usage may differ based on other factors like the distance of your cameras from the router, obstructions and interference .
Calculate Now

Foscam SD2 Wi-Fi PTZ IP Camera Review

sd2-camera-review

Foscam SD2 WI-FI PTZ CAMERA REVIEW

In this review we will look at the Foscam SD2 1080p Wi-Fi PTZ camera.  

What you get

You get everything you need to get your camera setup. 

  • PTX Wi-fi Camera
  • 12VDC power adapter
  • Ethernet Network Cable
  • Wi-Fi Antenna
  • Mounting Bracket
  • Mounting template
  • Small Philips screwdriver
  • Waring decal
  • Connector Protector
  • User’s Manual

The camera shell is made of metal not plastic and the cable leads were longer that normal which makes it much easier to pass through walls.  The power adapter is listed for use in Canada and the USA. 

 

Foscam what you get

How does the Camera work?

To perform this review I first setup the camera on the bench.  There’s really not much to the installation.  Just plug the power adapter into a wall outlet and the 2.5 mm plug into the power lead on the camera.  There are two leads coming from the camera. Power and Ethernet network connection.  Once plugged in the camera began its startup sequence which includes panning and tilting and then finally coming to rest.  This all took about 10 seconds.

Next I installed the Foscam App from the App store (Android).  Created an account and was ready to add my first device/camera.  The App installation was a simple process with no surprizes.  However, they do try to sell you on their paid cloud service.  

To connect the camera I decided to use the camera’s hardwired Ethernet connection.  I Plugged in the provided network cable into the camera then my router.   I was very surprised to see network status LED’s on the cameras connector which is a nice feature.  The camera also announced, in English,  that it connected to a wired connection.  This certainly takes the guess work out determining if you are connected or not.

Next I followed the provided instructions and selected the Add Device icon (+) on the APP and then scanned the QR label situated on the cameras bracket.  The App picked up the code before I could even get the phone camera lined up with the label.  The next thing I knew the camera was connected using the Ethernet hardwired connection.

At this point the App recommended that I connect the camera using Wi-Fi. Since I always do what I’m told,  I selected the Configure Wi-Fi button.  I picked my Wi-Fi network from the list and provided the password and  selected Connect.  As expected I received confirmation that the camera was added successfully in about 10 seconds. I then completed the setup by naming the camera and configuring a camera username/password.  Once all the above was done I finally got live video from the camera. 

Now that the camera is setup and I’m getting video I proceeded to test its many features/functions.  Here is what I found.

Video Quality

 As you can see from the screen shots the video quality was very good. The Landscape orientation provided an exceptional image which I was happy with.  The camera was set to provide Standard Definition (SD) in the first screenshot and Full High Definition (HD) in the second.  

SD Landscape

HD Landscape

The only recommendation I would have regarding the video quality would be that the WDR functionality could use some improvements.  I found that if you had a very high contrasted scene (camera looking at a window) the camera would have difficulties handling it and you would end up with some of the image too dark to make anything out.

Pan/Tilt control

The the pan and tilt control of the camera was excellent and it did not exhibit any lagging.  When you release your touch it immediately stopped which made it easy to get the desired image.  I especially liked the way they handled the touch control. Once you touch and swiped you can keep the pan or tilt active for as long as you maintain touch.  It made for a smoother user interface and better control.  The pan/tilt was very smooth with almost no motor noise. 

Sound Detection

The sound detection worked well.  You can set the detection level to one of 5 levels (Lowest, Lower, Low, Medium, High).  It would send notifications to my phone when ever it heard adequate sound in its area.  It also save a short video of what it saw during the sound alarm in the SD Card area.  It was nice to see a list of alarms to choose from and view just by clicking on one. In a way,  I kind of like this method of play back over the standard sliding timeline.  

Motion Detection

Motion detection worked great. Here too you can set the sensitivity to one of 5 levels (Lowest, Lower, Low, Medium, High).    This wide range in sensitivity would come in very useful when dealing with false motion detection due to bugs, leaves, trees and other similar items.  I had to lower the setting to the Lowest setting to get my camera to stop sending false detection alarms. 

AI Human Detection 

You have the option of using standard Motion Detection (above) or AI Human Detection but you cant have both enabled at the same time.  The Human Detection we are testing here is done on the device as apposed to their more advanced online cloud services.  It is supposed to distinguish between human and non-human objects.  To test the AI Human detection I first setup the camera with standard Motion Detection and pointed the camera at a scene that had some plants that where moving due to a light breeze.  The motion alarm was constantly being activated as it picked up the plant moving (I had this set to highest sensitivity).   I then set the camera to AI Human detection with the same scene and monitored.  It was disappointing to see that it continued to generate motion alarms even without anyone entering the field of view.   I expected all detection alarms to stop as there wasn’t anything remotely resembling a human in the scene.  I found this strange so  I contacted their support team just to ensure that I hadn’t setup something wrong that caused this but I never received a reply. 

We also tested the AI Human Detection in a real life environment.  It was installed on a home looking at a large driveway.  When we walked into the view it seemed to work better and it identified us as human and sent a proper notification.  This would be a great feature to prevent false detections as would normally be endured with standard motion detection (bugs, leaves, trees etc.).

 

Cloud Storage

I normally do not test the online cloud services when I do reviews but in this case I thought I would subscribe and check out their AI Recognition Reminder.  Not sure why they called it a Reminder but in any case according to the documentation its supposed to identify the differences in packages, human bodies, pets and vehicles.  So I went ahead and signed up for the Free 30 day trial subscription.  The sign up was super easy which I did right from the App by selecting the MyPlan icon from the settings screen. 

The cloud video storage worked flawlessly.  If an alarm was tripped it stored the video in the cloud and I was able to easily view the events.  The playback interface was very responsive and didn’t exhibit any lagging or stuttering.  The provided sliding time line displayed all my alarm events and I was able to zero in on the exact video I was looking for.

I then proceeded to test the the Cloud AI Recognition features (Packages, Human, Pets and Vehicle) starting with Human Detection.  Please note that the AI detection features being tested here are those performed on the cloud service not locally on your camera.  How this works is that the camera sends the video to the cloud service which will then analyse the video to determine if its a package, vehicle, pet or human.  If detection is successful it will push a notification with the detected type to your phone.   

Note:  In the App they provided a list of cameras and countries that supported the Cloud AI Recognition features.  The SD2 camera was not listed and neither was Canada.  I sent a request to Foscam support to confirm if its officially supported and have not yet received a response.  I will update this review if/when I do get a response. However, despite not be listed as supported it still worked.  

I setup the camera with a full view of me walking towards the camera.  I walked at a normal pace towards the camera and I got varying results.  Sometimes it detected me and pushed a notification and other times it didn’t detect me at all.  In most cases it would detect me but would push a generic notification “Motion detection alarm”.  The distance from me and the camera was about 12′ or 365 cm.

Next I tried the Package detection feature.  I setup the camera to view a counter on which I would place a box (approx. 12″ x 12″) and walked away.  Again, it was not able to detect the package all the time and most of the time I got a notification saying “Motion detection alarm” without it specify that it was a package.

Next up was the vehicle detection.  I pointed the camera at a empty spot in a driveway.  We then had a vehicle park in the cameras FOV.   It did pick up the vehicle and sent a proper notification.

So I would have to say that the AI detection is probably about 90% reliable but I would also believe that different environments could provide different results.

Would I subscribe to this cloud service even without these features?  Well I would if I needed to store longer periods of video that couldn’t be handled by the on board SD Card.    

Play Back from SD Card

The camera has the ability to record video on a SD card that you insert into the back of the camera.  I had a 32GB SD card lying around so I installed it into the camera (SD cards are not included with camera).  I then proceeded to cause some motion and sound alarms.  With each alarm I received a notification on my phone and a new recording stored within the SD Card section of the App.  The way they organize the alarm recordings is by using a simple list with the type of alarm recording (Sound, Motion or Human Detection) along with the time of the alarm and a video clip.  This made it easy to find the event I was looking for.  When you open an alarm event it provided a playback view where can easily view the alarm video. You also have the ability to jump forward or backwards within the video clip. The video playback was excellent.   You can even download the videos for long term storage.   I was very happy with the SD card storage feature.

Sharing 

If you want to share your cameras you can do that too.  You just need to go to the Share Camera menu option and add the account you want to share with.  The person will need to have an account setup prior to using this feature.  The App wont send an invite to them which I think could be a great feature for the manufacturer to add.

IR Night Vision

As with any camera I find the IR illumination range mentioned in the specifications rarely line up with reality.  In my test I estimate the IR illumination for the SD2 would reach approx. 10m in my environment.  

Pan/Tilt control

The the pan and tilt control of the camera was excellent and it did not exhibit any lagging.  When you release your touch it immediately stopped which made it easy to get the desired image.  I especially liked the way they handled the touch control. Once you touch and swiped you can keep the pan or tilt active for as long as you maintain touch.  It made for a smoother user interface and better control.  The pan/tilt was very smooth with almost no motor noise. 

Sound Detection

The sound detection worked well.  You can set the detection level to one of 5 levels (Lowest, Lower, Low, Medium, High).  It would send notifications to my phone when ever it heard adequate sound in its area.  It also save a short video of what it saw during the sound alarm in the SD Card area.  It was nice to see a list of alarms to choose from and view just by clicking on one. In a way,  I kind of like this method of play back over the standard sliding timeline.  

Motion Detection

Motion detection worked great. Here too you can set the sensitivity to one of 5 levels (Lowest, Lower, Low, Medium, High).    This wide range in sensitivity would come in very useful when dealing with false motion detection due to bugs, leaves, trees and other similar items.  I had to lower the setting to the Lowest setting to get my camera to stop sending false detection alarms. 

AI Human Detection 

You have the option of using standard Motion Detection (above) or AI Human Detection but you cant have both enabled at the same time.  The Human Detection we are testing here is done on the device as apposed to their more advanced online cloud services.  It is supposed to distinguish between human and non-human objects.  To test the AI Human detection I first setup the camera with standard Motion Detection and pointed the camera at a scene that had some plants that where moving due to a light breeze.  The motion alarm was constantly being activated as it picked up the plant moving (I had this set to highest sensitivity).   I then set the camera to AI Human detection with the same scene and monitored.  It was disappointing to see that it continued to generate motion alarms even without anyone entering the field of view.   I expected all detection alarms to stop as there wasn’t anything remotely resembling a human in the scene.  I found this strange so  I contacted their support team just to ensure that I hadn’t setup something wrong that caused this but I never received a reply. 

We also tested the AI Human Detection in a real life environment.  It was installed on a home looking at a large driveway.  When we walked into the view it seemed to work better and it identified us as human and sent a proper notification.  This would be a great feature to prevent false detections as would normally be endured with standard motion detection (bugs, leaves, trees etc.).

As our camera was not listed as being supported we did not test the Cloud AI Detection but You can watch a video about their cloud AI Human Detection here.

Cloud Storage

I normally do not test the online cloud services when I do reviews but in this case I thought I would subscribe and check out their AI Recognition Reminder.  Not sure why they called it a Reminder but in any case according to the documentation its supposed to identify the differences in packages, human bodies, pets and vehicles.  So I went ahead and signed up for the Free 30 day trial subscription.  The sign up was super easy which I did right from the App by selecting the MyPlan icon from the settings screen. 

The cloud video storage worked flawlessly.  If an alarm was tripped it stored the video in the cloud and I was able to easily view the events.  The playback interface was very responsive and didn’t exhibit any lagging or stuttering.  The provided sliding time line displayed all my alarm events and I was able to zero in on the exact video I was looking for.

I then proceeded to test the the AI Recognition features starting with Human Detection. Please note that the AI detection features being tested here are those performed on the cloud service not locally on your camera.  How this works is that the camera sends the video to the cloud service which will then analyse the video to determine if its a package, vehicle, pet or human.  If it is successful it will push a notification with the detected type to your phone.   You can watch a video about their 

I setup the camera with a full view of me walking towards the camera.  I walked at a normal pace towards the camera and I got varying results.  Sometimes it detected me and pushed a notification and other times it didn’t detect me at all.  In most cases it would detect me but would push a generic notification “Motion detection alarm”.

Next I tried the Package detection feature.  I setup the camera to view a counter on which I would place a box (approx. 12″ x 12″) and walked away.  Again, it was not able to detect the package all the time and most of the time I got a notification saying “Motion detection alarm” without it specify that it was a package.

Next up was the vehicle detection.  I pointed the camera at a empty spot in a driveway.  We then had a vehicle drive into view and park in the cameras FOV.  

Last but not least I tested the Animal detection.  The start of our test was Racer.  

So I would have to say that the AI detection is probably just not there yet and that you cannot rely on it to notify you 100% of the time.

Would I subscribe to this cloud service even without these features?  Well I would if I needed to store longer periods of video that couldn’t be handled by the on board SD Card.    

Play Back from SD Card

The camera has the ability to record video on a SD card that you insert into the back of the camera.  I had a 32GB SD card lying around so I installed it into the camera.  I then proceeded to cause some motion and sound alarms.  With each alarm I received a notification on my phone and a new recording stored within the SD Card section of the App.  The way they organize the alarm recordings is by using a simple list with the type of alarm recording (Sound, Motion or Human Detection) along with the time of the alarm.  This made it easy to find the event I was looking for.  When you open an alarm event it provided a playback view where can easily view the alarm video. You also have the ability to jump forward or backwards. The video playback was excellent.   You can even download the videos for long term storage. 

Sharing 

If you want to share your cameras you can do that too.  You just need to go to the Share Camera menu option and add the account you want to share with.  The person will need to have an account setup prior to using this feature.  The App wont send an invite to them which I think could be a great feature for the manufacturer to add.

IR Night Vision

As with any camera I find the IR illumination range mentioned in the specifications rarely line up with reality.  In my test I estimate the IR illumination for the SD2 would reach approx. 10m in my environment.  

Features

Compact size PTZ
350 degree pan / 90 degree tilt
2.8~12mm lens (4X optical zoom)
6X digital zoom
Colour day vision
Night vision with IR illumination up to 50M
IR cut filter, 6 LEDs
Ethernet connection
Wi-Fi 2.4 & 5 GHZ 802.11 b/g/n/ac
Free iOS and Android apps
Cloud recording available
CD card slot for local recording
Powered by included 12VDC 2A plug-in power supply
Wide Dynamic Rage (WDR)
IP66 outdoor rated
Rated to -20C.

FAQ

Does this camera support ONVIF?

Yes.  This camera does support the ONVIF standard.

Can I view video from the camera when on vacation?

Yes . As long as you have a suitable Internet connection you can view video and control this camera from any where.  

Can I record video?

Yes.  You can record video using the onboard SD card or you can subscribe to their online cloud (paid service) service.  Both methods will let you search and playback video.

Is it compatible with Google and Alexa?

Yes.  It is compatible with both Alexa and Google.

Can I install and view multiple cameras?

Yes.  You are limited only by your home network bandwidth.  

Pro's & Cons

During my review I have identified the following Pros and Cons 

Pros

  • Good price for a camera of this quality level
  • No cloud service required as you can store and retrieve video on/from the SD card
  • Onboard storage of video using a SD card
  • Night vision
  • Supports Wi-Fi and wired Ethernet connection

Cons

  • No auto tracking.  
  • Cloud AI Detection needs some improvement
  • Camera Human Detection needs improvement
  • Usable night vision was only 10m 

Conclusion

As you can see from our testing there are a number of areas where this camera could be improved but it did perform adequately in most environments.   Based on its low price price point and the available features this may be a camera worth considering.  However,  their lack of response to my support requests would raise some concerns.

Specifications

Manufacturer Foscam
Place of Business USA
Batteries Not required
Item model number SD2
Dimensions 180mm x 111mm x 180mm
7.1" x 4.37" x 7.1"
Colour White
Lens 2.8~12mm lens (4X optical zoom)
Display Resolution 2.0 megapixels (1920x1080)
Image Compression H.264
Storage Micro SD card (max 128GB), local, FTP, NVR & Cloud storage
Wireless Standard IEEE802.11b/g/n/ac
Wireless Security WPA,WPA2
Network Protocols IP, TCP, UDP, HTTP, HTTPS, SMTP, FTP, DHCP, RTSP, ONVIF
App Foscam App
Power Source 120VAC Adapter - 12VDC 2A Output
Mounting Type Surface Mount
Usage Indoor/Outdoor use
Temperature -20c ~ 50c
-4°F~122°F
Included Components PTZ Camera x 1, Power Supply X 1, Mounting Accessories
Warranty Description 1 Year Manufacturer

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Anbiux Wi-Fi Camera P17B Review

P17B Wi-Fi PTZ Camera

ANBIUX P17B WI-FI PTZ CAMERA REVIEW

cameras-red-blue-lights

In this review we will look at the ANBUIX P17P 1080p Wi-Fi PTZ camera.  This camera is a product of China and can be purchased on websites such as AliExpress.  You will also find many similar cameras on Amazon possibly under a different brand name.  They are known for their extremely low cost but many consider these cameras to be of low quality.  I always don’t believe what I hear so I thought I would check it out myself to see how this particular product would perform.   So I ordered one from AliExpress and performed a detailed impartial review on it.

What you get

You can order multiple versions of this camera so for this review I ordered the single camera with the 32GB SD memory card.  This particular model has the red and blue warning LED’s and will speak in English with different messages.  The shipment came very well packaged and took about 3 weeks to arrive.  That’s actually pretty good as it typically takes 4-6 weeks depending what shipping method was chosen. Here’s what I received:

One (1) 1080p Wi-Fi IP PTZ camera

One (1) 12vdc power supply

One (1) 32G SD memory card

foam-gasket

Wall bracket foam gasket 

screws-anchors

Screws and wall anchors

small-philips-screwdriver

One (1) 32G SD memory card

user-manual

User’s Manual

How does the Camera work?

To perform this review I setup the camera on the bench.  There’s really not much to the installation.  Just plug the power adapter into a wall outlet and the 2.5 mm plug into the power lead on the camera.  There are three leads coming from the camera. Power, Ethernet network connection and a reset button.  Once plugged in the camera will begin a startup sequence which includes panning, tilting and flashing the Red & Blue LED’s.  It will eventually stop and sit idle after about 30 seconds.

I first used the camera’s Wi-Fi connection to setup the camera as this would likely be what most would use.  I started the learning process by installing the App YCC365Plus from the Google Play store.  The App install was super easy and uneventful.  Once installed I followed the instructions and started the learning process for a Intelligent camera. At this point it gave me 3 options for connecting the camera:  1) Scan code;  2) AP Hot Spot;  or 3) Direct connect using a cable.  I started with the AP Hot spot. 

After selecting the AP Host Spot and following the instructions to reset/boot the camera I had no problems finding the camera’s AP Hot Spot (CLOUDCAM_xxxx) in my list of Wi-Fi networks on my phone and connected with no issues.  At this point the process failed.  The App just sat idle with nothing happening. I waited at least 5 minutes but no luck.  The App would not connect and give me the option to input my Wi-Fi credentials.  I tried this complete AP procedure multiple times with the same results. I eventually gave up with AP Hot Spot and moved onto using the scan code option to learn my camera. 

I followed their instructions for use a scan code and after presenting the QR code to the camera it was immediately learned and showed up in my App.  I now had live video.

The video looked great on both SD and HD modes.  I was very happy with the quality of the image.

I then proceeded to test the many functions:

Panning/Tilting control

The the panning and tilting control of the camera was quite good and didn’t exhibit any extreme lagging.  The only possible issue I saw was that the camera would continue to try panning or tilting even though it reached its limits.  My concern with this would be the possible wear and tear on the inner gears. 

Intelligent Tracking

One of the best selling features of this camera is its ability to perform Auto Tracking.  In my tests it worked quite well in picking me up in it’s field of view.  It would follow me just fine as long as I didn’t move too fast.  If I was fairly close to the camera and walked at a faster than walking pace it would tend to lose track of me.  At a normal pace it worked fine.  Now it would only track me on the horizontal plane so if you expect vertical tracking you would be out of luck.  

Sound Detection

The sound detection worked as advertised.  It would send notifications to my phone when ever it heard adequate sound in its area.  It pick up me talking at normal volume about 8 feet away.  

Motion Detection

Motion detection worked quite well. Actually too well in some cases.  It would detect cars headlights from cars about 100 feet away, reflections of those same headlights off other objects, rain, bugs and blowing leaves.  Basically unusable in any area where any of the above could be seen.  Indoors it seemed to work fine. This was using the Low motion setting. 

Cloud Storage

I did not test the cloud storage as it required a paid subscription.  At the time of this review they were offering 7 days all day storage for approx. $69 USD per year.  I found the onboard SD card storage worked fine for me but of course you will be limited on much you can store on a SD card.  When using a SD card the older recordings will be overwritten with new video if the SD card becomes full.  The number of days you will be able to store will depend on if you setup to record on motion only or record all the time.  

Play Back from SD Card

As mentioned you can have video recorded on a SD card.  It supports up to 128GB.  In my test we used a 32GB card.  I first setup recording to Continuous recording mode.  I then viewed the recorded video with the built in viewer and it seem to work just fine.  I was able to move back and forth between different times and it adjusted fairly quickly.  I recorded for one hour and checked the percentage of storage used.  It was .21% which roughly translates to 1.6GB/ day which provide approx. 20 days of storage on the SD card.  This was recorded with almost no movement in the camera’s field of view (FOV).  Having continuous movement in the FOV would drastically increase the amount of storage used for the same time period.  So the amount of storage you will get will depend on your environment.

Sharing 

To give other people access to watch video from your camera you need to share your camera with them.  There is a Sharing menu option on the App where you can enter their email or phone number.  It will then send them a email with instructions on how to setup an account and access and control live video on your camera.  They will not be able to view recorded video unless you subscribe to the paid cloud service.

Major Issue Found

Hold on a minute! During my review testing the camera started to exbibit some strange behaviour.  After more investigation I found that once you connect this camera to the App it would constantly perform a reset approx. every 30 minutes.  During this reset it would start panning left and tilting up, and turn on the Red and Blue LED’s.  This would take about 10 seconds.  It would then return to the original position and resume normal operation.  During this time all communications would stop with the App.  I contacted the supplier/manufacturer in China and provided them with all the details.   I completed this review hoping that they would resolve the issue (possibly issue new firmware) but at the time of this review release the  issue was not resolved or acknowledged.  So at this time I can not recommend that you purchase this  camera.

Features

FAQ

Does this camera support ONVIF?

No.  This camera does not support the ONVIF standard.

Can I view video from the camera when on vacation?

Yes . As long as you have a suitable Internet connection you can view video and control this camera from any where.  

Can I record video?

Yes.  You can record video using the onboard SD card or you can subscribe to their online cloud (paid service) service.  Both methods will let you search and playback video.

Is it compatible with Google Home and Alexa?

No.  It is Not compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant or IFTTT.

Can I install and view multiple cameras?

Yes.  You are limited only by your home network bandwidth.  

Pro's & Cons

During my review I have identified the following Pros and Cons 

Pros

  • Great price. A very inexpensive way to get an IP Camera with PTZ
  • No cloud service required as you can store and retrieve video on/from the SD card
  • Built-in Auto Tracking
  • Red and Blue alarm LED’s
  • Onboard storage of video using a SD card
  • Night vison
  • Supports Wi-Fi and wired Ethernet connection

Cons

  • Major issue with it resetting every 30 minutes  
  • Power adapter not approved for use in Canada or USA  
  • Could not get the AP Hot Spot to work

Conclusion

I guess the old adage “You get what you pay for” comes into play here.  With the issue of resetting every 30 minutes set aside for now, this camera worked as advertised for the most part.  The video it produced was good and the playback worked flawlessly.  While most of the other features worked  there were concerns with the motion alarm sensitivity and of course the power adapter approval.  If you are looking something very basic, extremely inexpensive and have environment suitable for this camera then this may be a camera for you.  However,  I would prefer to pay a little more and get a more professional grade camera. 

In any case this is all mute at this time as the camera has an issue that basically makes it unusable in any environment until they get the Reset issue resolved.  If the supplier/manufacturer resolves the issue I will update this review. 

Specifications

Manufacturer ANBIUX
Place of Business China
Batteries Not required
Item model number P17B
Colour White
Lens 3.6mm
Resolution 1920x1080P
App YCC365Plus
Power Source 120VAC Adapter - 12VDC Output (No UL or CSA listings)
Mounting Type Surface Mount
Usage Indoor/Outdoor use
Included Components PTZ Camera x 1, Power Supply X 1, Mounting Accessories
Warranty Description 75 Day Buyer Protection

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