IP cameras form the basic building block of any CCTV-based surveillance system or network. Businesses invest time and money in their CCTV systems and expect the promised surveillance to work when an unexpected or criminal event occurs. As a result, it can be deeply frustrating for a business to find cameras not working when they are needed the most.
Unfortunately, camera failure still makes up nearly 20% of the problems customers face with video surveillance systems. Problems related to cameras generally revolve around image integrity (how the camera sees and the usability of the resulting image), camera power, and connections (cameras disconnecting and video signal being lost).
Common issues related to CCTV cameras:
1. Image integrity:
The image integrity of a camera feed reflects on the quality and reliability of video captured by an IP CCTV camera. Varying factors that impact how the camera “sees” can heavily impact the quality of footage captured by the CCTV cameras. In such cases, evidence or the ability to observe past events can get restricted because the captured video cannot satisfy reasonable scrutiny.
The quality of the footage can be compromised due to:
1.1. Poor camera visibility (poor camera view):
Your CCTV camera may be capturing images of poor quality because of:
- Calibration of the camera angle: Images can be too bright or blurry depending on angle of the sun or the angle calibration of the camera. A glare can overexpose the lens to light and distort crucial details. Also, a camera can go out of focus and record blurry footage as it tries to compensate for changing light conditions throughout the day.
- Infrared glare: Improper installation and reflective surfaces cause IR light to bounce into the camera lens that produces a glare. Obstructions on the glass, dust, dirt, and fingerprints all contribute to IR glare. This occurs usually in recordings captured at night/ low-light conditions.
- Poor lighting: Camera images may be too dark and low detail due to poor lighting. Dim or inadequate lighting in indoor and outdoor security parameters can result in poor camera visibility.
- CCTV cameras recording low resolution video due to device faults.
- Blurry Images can occur with IR overexposure when objects move too close to the camera. As the camera tries to compensate by dimming the picture, the image becomes dark and blurry. Conversely, footage can get blurry with objects moving out of effective range without the lens being able to focus properly.
- Natural obstructions such as branches or leaves may also block the camera’s line of sight.
1.2. Physical or criminal tampering (deliberate change in camera view):
CCTV cameras in a surveillance system can be moved, redirected, blocked, or covered to impair video recording deliberately. For instance, a criminal may vandalize a camera by spray-painting the lens to prevent recording. The camera can also be simply covered to block the camera view. Changing the direction of the camera to create blind spots can also impair effective monitoring capability. Without an ability to detect tampering, an attempt to intentionally block camera recording can go undetected.
2. Camera dropouts (Camera not streaming or no video signal):
An IP camera can “drop” or “go dark” resulting in the video stream being lost. In this blog, we will address the power issues, device sensor issues, and bad cabling that can interrupt or stop camera recording. For a detailed view on connectivity or network-related camera dropouts, read our blog on CCTV network issues.
Camera dropouts can occur due to:
2.1. Power Issues:
Problems related to power are the most common non-network related reason for CCTV cameras dropping out. Though most CCTV cameras come with power LEDs to indicate the power status, it is nearly impossible to keep track of all cameras across locations with a visual examination.
Power issues generally comprise:
- Power supply failure: A power supply failure or surge can result in a camera turning off. Externally (non-PoE) powered cameras can face power issues with the power supply. PoE (Power over Ethernet) powered cameras can face issues if receiving inadequate power from the network switch. PoE switches usually provide a standard 15W to connected devices and some outdoor cameras with blowers or heaters can demand a greater and varying wattage (30W-60W) depending on environmental conditions. Cameras in such cases might boot up, but not transmit any images.
- PoE switch failure: The issue may be in the PoE switch itself. A malfunctioning switch that is underpowered to provide every port the required wattage will not be able to supply power to the connected camera successfully. Similarly, an overloaded switch will also not be able to power more cameras connected to it.
2.2. Camera sensor issues:
Malfunctioning device sensors can cause camera outages. A faulty heat sensor, for example, can fail to detect a high internal temperature and prevent damage to the device due to overheating.
3.1. Connection or cabling issues:
The final assembly of the CCTV system is only as functional as its weakest link—the cables. Cables can get loose, frayed, short, and have bad terminations. Connections not made properly can come loose and get crossed. For instance, power cables to a PoE camera may be providing adequate power, but network cables could be crossed, preventing access to the network.
How can you solve the camera issues of your CCTV system?
The health of your cameras and the ability to record without obstruction or interruption is vital for reliable video surveillance. Your CCTV surveillance network needs to be monitored in real-time, 24/7 for camera problems related to image integrity and camera dropouts. Without such a system in place, your CCTV system is dependent on manual or scheduled maintenance checks by support engineers. Such a delay may prove to be too late to prevent criminal activity on your business premises.
A Device and Network Monitoring System needs to:
Detect I Analyse I Report
- Perform real-time monitoring and check the status/health of every camera and network port (detect power-related or cabling issues) to ensure all CCTV cameras are online.
- Immediately detect signs of tampering, such as cameras being moved, redirected, blocked, or covered.
- Detect image integrity being compromised due to any factor.
Analyse:Correctly identify the root cause of the camera issue for the correct resolution.
Report:Instantly notify stakeholders if there are CCTV camera issues for a prompt response.
CheckMyCCTV™ provides comprehensive network health monitoring, automated and immediate notifications to stakeholders, and allows prompt response remotely or by support engineers. For more information on security solutions that prevent camera problems from compromising your surveillance security, contact our security consultants at Technovission.
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