Video surveillance has become mandatory for all businesses—no matter their size. It is essential to ensure the safety of employees, the confidentiality of data, and to deter shoplifting and employee theft. In particular, Internet protocol (IP) cameras are quite popular because their technology is sound and they are reasonably priced. As a result, both Wi-Fi and Power over Ethernet (PoE) camera systems have emerged as the leading video surveillance technologies for today’s modern businesses. This post discusses Wi-Fi and PoE systems in detail to help you decide which approach is best for your business needs.
IP cameras connect and submit data to a network via Ethernet cables. They are compact devices that record in a high-definition format. Compared to the traditional analog camera used in CCTV systems, IP cameras provide higher video quality, more video site ranges (e.g., wide or narrow fields of view), and superior “zoom-in” capabilities.
What is a PoE camera system?
A Power over Ethernet (PoE) camera is similar to a traditional analog camera (i.e., CCTV). It requires cables for power, connection to the internet, and video transmission. PoE technology is used, meaning that both power and data are transmitted over a single Ethernet cable. IP cameras equipped with PoE technology send video data to the network and receive power via the PoE switch.
What is a Wi-Fi camera system?
In contrast to a PoE camera system, a Wi-Fi system connects IP cameras to a wireless router. There is no hardware connection; however, these systems still need wired power. In essence, they transmit security footage to a recorder accessed through an app or software (i.e., through cloud storage or built-in devices).
A Comparison Between PoE and Wi-Fi
Both PoE (wired) and Wi-Fi (wireless) security camera systems offer basic monitoring features. However, each has advantages and drawbacks that are distinctly different.
The Advantages of a PoE Security System
- Reliable/stable connection: PoE systems are noted for dependable and secure connections. These systems are not susceptible to interference and “jamming” as Wi-Fi systems are because of their physical wire connections.
- Clear and consistent video quality: PoE’s stable wired connections provide exceedingly strong video and audio signals that produce high-quality videos.
- Constant power: PoE cameras will continue recording without interruption as long as the electrical grid of the building is sound.
- Transmission speed: PoE technology delivers 2.5 to 5Gbps over a distance of 100 meters. In contrast, the more Wi-Fi cameras run over the network, the slower the transmission speed.
- Coverage: PoE cameras have a distance limitation of 100 meters, which is ten times farther than Wi-Fi cameras, which need to be within a 10-meter radius of the router signal.
The Drawbacks of a PoE Security System
- Installation requires professionals: Because cabling is involved, installation is more complicated and will most likely need professional help.
- Lack of flexibility: Once a PoE IP camera is fastened to a location, it requires some work to move it.
- More expensive: The set up of a PoE IP camera system requires the IP cameras (which are more expensive), a quality network switch, Ethernet cables, and professional installation—all of which make this system more costly than a Wi-Fi- system.
The Advantages of a Wi-Fi Security System
- Easy installation: Wi-Fi IP cameras are simple to install because there is no need to run network cabling.
- Less expensive: Wi-Fi systems require fewer tools and accessories than PoE systems and are considered a cost-saving option.
- Highly flexible: As wireless systems are easy to install, moving or upscaling them can be accomplished with ease
- No wires to cut: Unlike wired surveillance systems, wireless/Wi-Fi systems have no cables for criminals to cut.
The Drawbacks of a Wi-Fi Security System
- Unstable video signals: Wi-Fi systems are more prone to lose connectivity and suffer interference than PoE-wired systems.
- Less secure: Wi-Fi IP camera surveillance systems are considerably more vulnerable to cyber attacks than PoE wired systems.
- Power failure: Wireless cameras are vulnerable to power failure when their batteries run out.
Determining Which IP Security Camera is Right for You
The size of your property, the number of cameras needed, and the size of your budget will determine which system is the right one for you. For example, if you need an easily installed, flexible, small-scale indoor security system, a Wi-Fi system may be your best bet. However, businesses that require a stable, scalable outdoor application are best served by a PoE IP camera surveillance system.