Do IP Cameras Slow Down Network Traffic: A Comprehensive Answer

Do IP Cameras Slow Down Network Traffic: A Comprehensive Answer

Securing one’s valuables is a significant part of becoming a homeowner and adult in general. From the classic lock-and-key to more high-tech solutions such as IP surveillance cameras, there are plenty of ways for one to improve personal security.

Since IP cameras work with the help of the internet, many often ask, “Do IP cameras slow down network bandwidth?” That is also because trading security for comfort might not be something that most people are comfortable with.

To have a better understanding, let’s talk a bit about IP cameras, what they are, and how do they differ from more traditional CCTV solutions.

The IP Cameras: An Overview

IP (Internet Protocol) cameras are basically a combination of a surveillance camera and a mini computer—a video unit which can connect to a local area network (LAN). It is a digital video camera used for video surveillance and can transmit and receive video and audio data via Ethernet, WiFi, 4G, 3G, or LTE) connections.

The components involved in IP security cameras are lenses, image sensors, processors, and cache. The processors are responsible for image processing, compression, video analysis and network functions. Cache is used to store the firmware of the network camera and also to record video sequences temporarily.

How They Work

In order to understand the way IP cameras work, let us give you an example that is familiar to everyone. Twitch and Facebook are two platforms that support live streaming, a service which allows users to stream real-time footage from within their homes. This means that using a webcam, the user will stream data packets which contain their visual and audio signal, converted and compressed.

IP cameras work the same way a webcam works, they just act a bit differently. The data packets aren’t just streamed anywhere, the user must select a place, whether it’s on the local NVR system storage or some sort of cloud storage solution. During periods of recording, depending on the quality of the video, the camera will start using a portion of the network’s bandwidth.

Bandwidth is a term that refers to the total amount of data that can be streamed each second via that connection.

Do IP Cameras Slow Down Network Traffic: The Factors to Consider

If the person requires access outside of the local NVR system, an excellent example of this being a monitoring app, then the network will need even more bandwidth to stream the data over the internet. Out of every influencing factors, three take the most significant toll on network bandwidth: image quality, frames per second and number of active cameras.


Resolution is the number of pixels that fit in a certain frame. For instance, 1080p resolutions mean that, on that image, the number of pixels is 1920×1080. Usually, a maximum quality video will eat up around three to seven Mbps of network bandwidth, which can be a little or a lot.

The general rule here is that lower resolutions require fewer data to be transmitted, translating into lesser bandwidth consumption. While there are cameras that range from 480p to 4K resolution, 720p and 1080p should be perfect for the average user. These are both very clear and don’t take up a lot of bandwidth allocation.

Frame Rate

The frame rate is another crucial factor for reducing the amount of streamed data. Typically, cameras will stream from around 15 fps to around 30 fps. FPS, or frames per second, is the measurement which determines how many pictures are being recorded each second. For instance, a 720p recording that’s set to run at 60 frames per second will have a greater impact on one’s network usage than a 1080p recording that’s running at 15 frames per second.

Running higher resolutions at lower frame rates will be better on both image quality and network consumption since there are very few things that can’t be captured with a 15 fps setting. Sure, the extra frames make for a better experience, but they’re often unnecessary, so dropping the frame rate will always be a good way of improving the network usage levels.

Number of Cameras

Of course, more cameras will translate into bigger bandwidth requirements, so users who want to install a surveillance network might find it hard to do so while keeping a usable internet connection. In these cases, it’s best to opt for a second network.

A second network means adding an extra landline to a household or business. The easiest way through which this can be achieved is by creating another subscription to a local internet service provider.

There are other options to overcome network limits, another good one is increasing the bandwidth, but this can often be expensive. Fiberlink networks can grant users access to gigabit networks, which would easily cover their surveillance network usage without them having to opt for a second subscription.

If none of these options are feasible, then the user can just turn down the video quality and frame rate for the cameras. This can potentially grant the surveillance network a big decrease in network usage.

Extra Features That Minimize Network Usage

IP cameras often come with a lot of different feature sets that make them a lot friendlier on network bandwidths. Motion recording, for example, is a feature that enables the cameras to only start recording and storing or streaming footage if a major event takes place in their surveilled perimeter. Indeed, this is an excellent feature to have, but it’s far from perfect since motion could be anything from a passing car to a pet going on about its day.

With that in mind, technicians have enabled smart systems, which use patterns, facial recognition and a lot of cool science to determine which event should actually trigger recording.

Furthermore, sensors that are independent of the cameras can also be installed for increasing the efficiency of the surveillance system. These sensors can be placed in key points of the area, like doors, windows, which can trigger the recording and alert system.

Do IP Cameras Slow Down Network Traffic: A Sum Up

The final answer to the question is “Yes, IP cameras do bring a somewhat noticeable impact on network usage.”Fortunately, there are many ways through which users can cope with the decrease in speed. Ultimately, they’re great tools to have and a very inexpensive way of increasing one’s security and comfort.

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