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How does an IP camera work and how can I use it?

What is an IP-camera?
IP cameras are devices that make use of Internet Protocol (IP). The images are transmitted across a computer network along normal network cabling (UTP) or along airwaves using a wireless connection (Wi-Fi). Other commonly used names for IP cameras are: network camera, web camera or IP cam (abbreviation of IP camera).
What is so unique about an IP camera?
IP cameras are unique because they produce images with significantly higher image quality then ordinary camera’s. You are able to view much sharper live images, and you can also zoom in to check essential details when you review the recorded images. In addition, basic infrastructure like UTP cabling or WIFI, instead of expensive copper coax cables, can be used to connect cameras to your network.
What are the uses of an IP camera?
IP cameras are already widely used by industries and governments for the professional video surveillance of property and locations. IP cameras have now become affordable for consumers and can have numerous private environment applications, such as replacing obsolete and expensive alarm systems. If you own a shop or business, you might want to monitor it and be able to view saved images if you notice anything suspicious.
How do I view the (live) images captured by an IP camera?
In principle, images generated by an IP camera can be viewed from anywhere in the world via the Internet (if your cameras are configured for this application). You can also choose to only view the images within your local network and not have them streamed across the internet. You can have exclusive access to the images, or grant authorised persons the right to view the images by logging in. It is also possible to view IP camera images on a mobile phone (I-Phone, Android or Nokia), as long as you have suitable applications for viewing the images. This can be handy when you're away from home, travelling or on holiday.
Can I view night-time images?
Yes, you can. An IP-camera uses infrared light for illumination in darkness. The difference between night-time and daylight images is that the night images are transmitted in black and white, not in colour.
Can I use an IP camera as an alarm system?
Technically, this is possible. IP cameras have the ability to detect motion. This means that when motion is detected by the camera, a report is sent by email or SMS message to a predetermined recipient. Such a message will include snapshots of whatever triggered the report. You can also set a specific area, within range of the camera, in which to exclude motion detection. If you have pets, this could be the area lower than one meter from the ground. The camera will then not report motion detection if triggered by your pet.
Can I save images generated by an IP camera?
Yes you can. You can store images on the computer on which you are viewing them. You can also use NAS (Network Attached Storage) or NVR (Network Video Recorder), hard disk drive technology with an Internet connection that can be integrated into your (home) network. In the Synology product section of our website, you’ll find more video storage solutions.
Does an IP camera provide audio along with the images?
Yes. Our IP-camera products can stream both video and audio. You can listen to audio captured in the area around the camera using your IP-camera application or an internet browser.
Do I need special software to view the camera images?
No. Images can be viewed using any browser which connects to the camera IP address or DNS name. You will only need the software necessary to add the cameras to your local network. This software is included with the cameras.
Nice summary, but I have more questions about IP cameras...
If you have any further questions, please send them to us using the contact form. We would be delighted to answer them.
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