Security Camera System Design Best Practices – Dealer Guide

Designing a security camera system for your customer’s home or business can sometimes be as easy as throwing up a couple of cameras and setting them to record. However, more often you’ll need something different and more complex than the “typical” or pre-boxed system. In this article, we’ll go over choosing the right NVR, camera, and identifying when it is best to use other accessories, like brackets and back boxes. We’ll also explore different camera types and capabilities and some common tools that are must haves on every job. Let’s jump right in!

Choosing The Right NVR

Choosing the best NVR for the job goes beyond just knowing how many channels/cameras your customer needs. In this section we’ll explore the features of our NVRs and how those will help you meet your customer’s system requirements.  


The first and most obvious step is to determine how many cameras the NVR will need to record, but one thing to always consider is that the client may want to expand their system and add more cameras in the future.  If you have a homeowner that wants you to install a 7 or 8 camera system, then it may be prudent to upgrade them to a 16 Channel NVR instead of an 8 Channel for ease of expansion (not to mention additional revenue) at a later date.


You’ll also want to take into account the Incoming Bitrate of the NVR and how much of that bandwidth each camera will utilize. The largest factor in determining your bitrate requirement is resolution, but Frame Rate and Compression will also affect recording retention times. For example, A 2 Megapixel Camera will require about 4-5 Megabit of bandwidth, 4MP about 10 Megabit, and 8MP about 16 Megabit. While most systems use all the same resolution, in some cases you may find your customer needs higher resolution in some areas and can save money by going down in others.

Once you determine the number of cameras and at at what bitrate/resolution and settings they will be recorded, you can calculate the required hard drive space to meet your customers recording time needs. Record time is determined by how long footage be archived before the Hard Drive(s) hits capacity and the oldest footage is overwritten with new footage. In other words, the larger the Hard Drive, the longer the record time. But, how do you determine how much record time your customer can expect?


The exact formula for determining record time can be fairly complex, but you can quickly estimate how much Hard Drive space you’ll need by following this simple equation: 1TB will cover 30 days of recording for 1x 2MP Camera. Double it for 1x 4MP camera and quadruple for an 8MP camera. So 4x 2MP Cameras will require approx 4TB to retain 30 days of recording. There are other specs and settings that can lower your storage requirement like Video Compression, Codec (h.264, h.264+, h.265, h.265+), frame rate, etc., but the formula above is a good starting point.

Hard Drive

Once you determine how much hard drive space is required to meet your customers recording needs, you’ll need to make sure the NVR you select has adequate Hard Drive slots. The largest hard drive we carry is 8TB, and our NVRs range from 1 slot to 24 slots. The charts below outline the different basic options available in each of our NVR series.

Carbon: Carbon 40 Carbon 80 Carbon 160
POE Ports/CH 4/4 8/8 16/16
USB Interface 1 USB 2.0 & 1 USB 3.0 1 USB 2.0 & 1 USB 3.0 1 USB 2.0 & 2 USB 3.0
HDD Slots 1 2 2
Alarm In/Out 0/0 4/1 4/1


Obsidian: Obsidian 160 Obsidian 256 Obsidian 320
POE Ports/CH 16/16 16/32 24/32
USB Interface 1 USB 2.0 & 2 USB 3.0 1 USB 2.0 & 2 USB 3.0 1 USB 2.0 & 2 USB 3.0
HDD Slots 4 4 4
Alarm In/Out 16/4 16/4 16/4


Titanium: Titanium 320 Titanium 400 Titanium 640
POE Ports 0/32 & 0/64 0/128 0/256
USB Interface 2 USB 2.0 & 1 USB 3.0 2 USB 2.0 & 2 USB 3.0 2 USB 2.0 & 2 USB 3.0
HDD Slots 8 16 24
Alarm In/Out 16/4 16/8 16/8


Choosing The Lens for the Job

Our most commonly used cameras are Fixed Lens 2.8mm and 4mm cameras,  They generally do a great job covering areas indoors and out. The 2.8mm lens, with it’s ~100˚ Field of View, is great for covering small to medium sized rooms, areas in close proximity to a building, or other areas where you want to cover a broad zone.  

However, there are times when a wide Field of View isn’t ideal for the camera location.  Cameras looking down hallways or focused on objects that are more than 50 feet away would benefit from a lens with a more narrow Field of View.  A 6mm lens with 45˚ Field of View or even a 12mm lens with a ~25˚ Field of View would allow you to see an object that is farther away more clearly while cutting down on the peripheral view. If you’re unsure of what lens would work best or just want more flexibility, our varifocal line allows you to adjust the lens (most commonly from 2.8mm ~ 12mm) and dial in your field of view. As and added feature, our 4MP and 8MP Varifocal cameras are all motorized, so you can make these adjustments at the NVR.

When to Use a Bracket

Wall Mount Brackets for dome and turret style cameras not only make the installation look cleaner and more professional, they can also serve a functional purpose to help you get a better view with the camera by pushing the camera away from the wall. Most wall brackets come equipped with cable management boxes with conduit ports so all your connections can stay protected from the elements.

Back boxes are also very helpful when using conduit, or just as extra insurance that your camera is sealed off from the elements.  Most cameras have a corresponding back box available which provides a threaded hole for a 1” conduit, and in some cases an optional cable gland for ¾” flex pipe.

Pan Tilt Zoom Brackets come in a wide variety of configurations to select from when purchasing a PTZ.  PTZ Cameras can be mounted on a wall, a ceiling, a parapet, a pole, or the corner of a building.  When planning your job, select a location for your PTZ camera that will maximize it’s view through all degrees of rotation.  

Specialty Lens Cameras

You may often run into situations that require something different from a standard view camera, like a fisheye or panoramic camera.  

Fisheye Cameras

Fisheye cameras have one extremely wide angle lens and are great when you need a top-down perspective of something, like monitoring an entire warehouse, retail store, or monitoring operations of machinery.  Features like Heat Mapping, which is available on our Bullseye 4K camera, can actually help retail store owners tell where the most foot traffic occurs on their floor and stock high profit items accordingly.

One thing to consider about them is that the objects close to the edge of the picture may appear slightly distorted, it can also be hard to identify people from a top-down perspective in security situations.  These cameras perform best when paired with 1 or 2 fixed lens cameras monitoring the same area.

Panoramic Cameras

Slightly different from a Fisheye lens, a Panoramic camera has a similar wide angle view of 180˚ or 360˚, but with multiple lenses stitched together.  In the case of our Rampart 4K camera, it is comprised of 4 different lenses that generate a 1080p image each. These images are then stitched together in the camera and recorded as 1 in the recorder.

Panoramic cameras are great if you want to capture a broad view of an area like a parking lot or large room.  

PTZ Cameras

Pan Tilt Zoom cameras can be very beneficial in just about any installation scenario, and they’re a whole lot of fun for the customer operating them.  PTZ cameras can spin 360˚, be maneuvered up and down, and can usually zoom in and out via controls on the NVR or the Guarding Vision Mobile App.

If installing outdoors, a pole would be the most ideal mounting location as it would only obstruct a small portion of the rotation area.  If you don’t have a pole, the corner of a building is the next best thing, which will give you 270˚ of rotation. While most PTZ cameras are utilized outdoors, when mounting one indoors, it would be ideal to mount the camera in the center of the room to ensure you are able to utilize the full 360˚ rotation.

License Plate Recognition Cameras

LPR cameras are typically varifocal bullets with the added feature of being able to perform Character Recognition of any license plate the enters the view of that camera. Mounting position and angles are critical to getting proper reads on plates, so make sure you consult our documentation and guides before selecting a mounting location for this camera. Once setup, an LPR camera can be invaluable for gathering information on each and every car that enters your customer’s facility or campus.

Other Tips and Tricks

Having the right tools on the job make a huge difference. We suggest always having the following with you on every job:

A Laptop with and ethernet port. While most, if not all, configuration can be done on the NVR screen, we highly suggest performing these tasks with a computer of some kind. On this machine, we suggest having both the SADP networking scanner tool and the latest version of Guarding Expert Desktop Edition.

HDMI screen. While 99% of system configuration can be done via web browser or remote configuration in Guarding Expert Desktop Edition, there are a few small options that are only available on the Recorder itself for security reasons.

POE switch or POE injector. It sometimes may be necessary to access a camera directly independent of the recorder. While there are ways of configuring your laptop NIC to access cameras plugged into the back of the NVR, it’s far easier to just put the camera on the network and access it via a switch.

How to Position Security Cameras and Avoid Callbacks

Determine the location for your Cameras

This short article will cover the basics of how to position security cameras for best results. While many factors exist for placing cameras I will touch on the basic ones of placement. I would consider the following to be the four steps in placing your cameras:

1.Determine the location of your cameras
2.Determine Camera Types
3.Determine what the camera will be watching/securing
4.Verify with stakeholder on camera position

What are you trying to secure or protect?

Cameras should be placed in a manner that they are protecting or securing your point of interest. Simply put, you need to watch what you want to protect.

Are there control points or means of access that can be watched?

Is there only one way to get in and out of the area or do multiple entrances exist?

You place cameras at control points/ Access Points so you can receive a notification when a subject enters the area, and so you can capture a clear picture/video of the subject.

This works the same whether it is a military base or a grocery store. Obviously, the assets and location of choke points differ but these guidelines remain.

For example, at a Gas Station, the things you are protecting would be the Cash Register, Store Inventory, Gas Pumps, etc. You would place cameras that would watch each one of these areas. In addition, at a Gas Station, the Control Points / Access Points are usually the front customer entrance and sometimes the back/service entrance. You almost always place cameras at those locations.

Camera Type Selection

You have 4 general types of cameras to choose from:

Fixed cameras: the view is locked on to a specific area
PTZ: the view can be manually adjusted by a user, but the camera will only record what it is watching.
Variable Lens Camera: These are fixed cameras that have an adjustable lens which can be adjusted manually or is motorized.
Specialty: Cameras made for specific applications. (Thermal, LPR, Fisheye, Panoramic)

Selecting the Right Type:

Use a fixed camera if you have a point of interest that needs to be watched all the time.(i.e. Cash Register)
Use a PTZ cameras if there is a wide area to cover and a PTZ operator is present to move/control the PTZ.
Use a Variable lens camera when a fixed lens camera can’t be used, or if you need to have a motorized zoom function.
Use a specialty camera as needed. This could be a fisheye, panoramic, or maybe even a License Plate Reader camera.

Views of Cameras

Picking the general location of cameras is the first half of the solution. This part is easily done because you know what you need to protect(i.e. Front Entrance, Register, etc.).

The second half of the solution is making sure that the camera is placed correctly so that the video being captured is useful. Selecting the Right lens size here is crucial as it directly affects the effective captured area. The four most common lens sizes in security are 2.8mm, 4mm, 6mm, and 12mm. Varifocal cameras can be in different ranges, but usually, they are 2.8mm-12mm.

Verify with Customer

Before you install any cameras, you should prepare and provide the following documentation to the stakeholder:

Take a photo of the approximate FoV of the camera
Take a photo of the place where you plan to mount the camera. Mark the exact spot on the photo
Prepare a map of the facility. Mark the location of each camera on the map
Submit all of this in a report
This may seem time-consuming and wasteful but I think it is critical for the following reasons:
(1) to ensure that the objectives are met and (2) to eliminate re-work and changes after installation.

Without pictures and plans, it’s very hard to imagine how exactly cameras should be placed. It is also very easy for misunderstandings to occur (“I thought you were going to mount that here instead of there”, etc.).


A carefully planned and documented design is a key tool in deploying optimized video surveillance solutions that prevent callbacks.

A Rundown of the New Gen3 Product Line

With a new year comes new technology! 2018 is bringing about some fundamental changes in the IP camera models you know and trust to make them even more reliable and functional. These changes include a shift to EXIR night vision on all models, more analytic options, and a longer POE range when paired with our NVRs. These changes can be found in our entire line of 4K cameras, and our Bola HD+, Dart HD+, and Slingshot HD+ options are being overhauled as well.


Generation IR Video Compression Analytics PoE Distance
Gen2 30 IR LEDs ~ 100ft Dual Stream H.264+/H.254/MJPEG Line Crossing Intrusion Detection Region of Interest 100m
Gen 3 EXIR ~ 100ft Three Streams H.265+/H.265/H.264+/H.264/MJPEG Line Crossing Intrusion Detection Region of Interest Face Detection  300m

EXIR Night Vision

You may be familiar with EXIR Night Vision if you’ve ever used our Slingshot or Javelin model of camera. This technology replaces the array of 30-40 LEDs that make up the standard IR that come on most models. EXIR does a much better job of illuminating the entire scene, where the old-school LED Arrays can leave the corners dark, creating a “halo effect.”

Advanced Analytic Options

Most of our camera models come with Motion Detection, Line Crossing, and recording on a Schedule as options for triggering recording and sending alerts. The Gen3 models also include more ways to tell a specific camera to record, like Region Entry/Exit, and Face Detection. These features will help you pinpoint more specific moments and hopefully will reduce false alarms while providing reliable recording when you need it.

Extended POE Range

One of the more annoying aspects of running IP cameras is the maximum distance of 100m (329ft) that you can run POE cameras over Cat5 or Cat6 cable. Our new Gen3 cameras are able to operate at a distance of 300m (900ft) without the use of an extender when paired with our NVRs and Cat6 cable, and 150m (500ft) using our NVR with Cat5.

Third Stream

The new Gen3 cameras will feature the ability to utilize 3 streams rather than the typical dual stream on standard models. This provides much more flexibility to users by allowing different data streams to be sent simultaneously. The first stream with high resolution and full frame rate can be used for main monitoring, the second stream with lower resolution can be used for mobile monitoring, the third stream with high, low, or dynamic resolution offers more flexible choices.

Ingress Protection Rating (IP66 and IP67)

Most of the cameras that we carry in our catalog are weatherproof, and we identify the camera’s level of tolerance to the extreme conditions with it’s Ingress Protection Rating. This “IP Code” (not to be confused with the IP address) was made to define how well devices like our IP cameras hold up against the elements, namely dust and water. In this article, we’ll go over what all of the different levels of Ingress Protection are, when to use the different IP ratings, and what varying degrees of Ingress Protection our products offer.

What do the numbers in the Ingress Protection rating mean?

The IP code always consists of two numbers after the letters “IP.” The first digit can range from 0-6, and represent the enclosure’s effectiveness at keeping out solid particulate, like dust. “0” would define something that has “No protection against contact and ingress of objects,” while the number “6” means that the enclosure allows “no ingress of dust; complete protection against contact (dust tight).” Refer to the chart below to see the full breakdown of all 7 categories defined in the first digit of an IP code.

First Digit

Level sized Effective against Description
0 No protection against contact and ingress of objects
1 >50 mm Any large surface of the body, such as the back of a hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part
2 >12.5 mm Fingers or similar objects
3 >2.5 mm Tools, thick wires, etc.
4 >1 mm Most wires, slender screws, large ants etc.
5 Dust protected Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment.
6 Dust tight No ingress of dust; complete protection against contact (dust tight). A vacuum must be applied. Test duration of up to 8 hours based on air flow.


The second digit in the IP code refers to it’s resistance to water. This digit can range from 0-9, where “0” means that the device is not water resistant at all, and “9” is “protected against close-range high pressure, high temperature spray downs.” The chart below has the specifics of all 10 levels of protection against harmful egress of water.

Second Digit

Level Protection against Effective against
0 None
1 Dripping water Dripping water (vertically falling drops) shall have no harmful effect on the specimen when mounted in an upright position onto a turntable and rotated at 1 RPM.
2 Dripping water when tilted at 15° Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect when the enclosure is tilted at an angle of 15° from its normal position. A total of four positions are tested within two axes.
3 Spraying water Water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical shall have no harmful effect, utilizing either: a) an oscillating fixture, or b) A spray nozzle with a counterbalanced shield. Test a) is conducted for 5 minutes, then repeated with the specimen rotated horizontally by 90° for the second 5-minute test. Test b) is conducted (with shield in place) for 5 minutes minimum.
4 Splashing of water Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect, utilizing either: a) an oscillating fixture, or b) A spray nozzle with no shield. Test a) is conducted for 10 minutes. Test b) is conducted (without shield) for 5 minutes minimum.
5 Water jets Water projected by a nozzle (6.3 mm) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.
6 Powerful water jets Water projected in powerful jets (12.5 mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.
6K Powerful water jets with increased pressure Water projected in powerful jets (6.3 mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction, under elevated pressure, shall have no harmful effects. Found in DIN 40050, and not IEC 60529.
7 Immersion, up to 1 m depth Ingress of water in harmful quantity shall not be possible when the enclosure is immersed in water under defined conditions of pressure and time (up to 1 m of submersion).
8 Immersion, 1 m or more depth The equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer. However, with certain types of equipment, it can mean that water can enter but only in such a manner that it produces no harmful effects. The test depth and duration is expected to be greater than the requirements for IPx7, and other environmental effects may be added, such as temperature cycling before immersion.
9 Powerful high temperature water jets Protected against close-range high pressure, high temperature spray downs. Smaller specimens rotate slowly on a turntable, from 4 specific angles. Larger specimens are mounted upright, no turntable required, and are tested freehand for at least 3 minutes at distance of 0.15–0.2 m.


Common Ratings And When To Use Them

All of our cameras are either IP66, IP67, or IP68 cameras. If proper weatherproofing practices are followed when the camera is installed, then the camera will stand up fine against rain, snow, and dust.

If the camera is going to be continuously drenched with water for 30 minutes or less from time to time, then you will need to go with at least an IP67 camera. An IP67 camera will perform well in situations where the camera might be splashed by waves or hit with water on a regular basis, like a carwash security system or other extremely wet environment.

While we don’t suggest it, if you have a camera that is going to be continuously submerged in water, then you would need to go with an IP68 camera. Our Exterior Vehicle IP Cameras are rated for this, in case they are installed on a boat or other marine vehicle.


Motion Detection In Security Cameras | When To Use It And Why Does It Suck (sometimes)?

One of the most popular features of security cameras is the ability to record only when something is happening in front of the camera. This has been the go to method for preserving that precious Hard Drive space, especially with resolutions always on the rise and with it recording storage demands. With event recording, you don’t have hours and hours of footage taking up space where nothing has happened. Up until now the most popular way of detecting an event is through motion.

How Does Motion Detection Work?

Motion detection is achieved by continuously monitoring each frame of video and averaging the background state of the scene, then if a significant portion of that scene (or percentage of pixels) changes from one frame of the video to the next, a motion event is triggered. For example, the camera is monitoring an empty hallway. Once a person enters the frame of the camera, the pixels that were of the floor and wall are now changed to the person. The camera logs a motion event and the recorder is told to begin recording. This technology was first introduced in analog security camera systems in the early-mid 2000s, but was fairly bad at giving accurate results. Unfortunately in the last decade, not much has changed.

Why Does Motion Detection Suck?

Motion detection events are still plagued with the same problems they had when they were first introduced. False positives from trees blowing in the wind, poor sensitivity, too much sensitivity, extreme shifts of lighting (i.e. a cloud moving in front of the sun), etc. have always caused this form of event detection to be less than useful. Some manufacturers have implemented the ability to exclude areas of the scene from triggering motion detection. For example, you can block out those trees that are always blowing in the wind, or the road traffic that is just visible at the edge of the parking lot. These features have helped, but never seem to work perfectly.
Another issue that needed to be solved was pre and post recording. In the early days, a motion event would occur and start recording, but you would inevitable miss the first couple seconds as the event was processed and the recorders Hard Drive spun up. Security Equipment Manufacturers solved this by building in a continuous buffer that always keeps the last few seconds or even minutes of video in memory. If a motion event occurs, the recorder knows to keep the buffered video and save it to the Hard Drive along with the footage from the point of the even on. But, even with these improvements, motion based recording still fails to be accurate enough to be useful in demanding surveillance and security applications.

So What Should I Use To Trigger Recording?

The advent of smart cameras and machine learning has opened up the market to a wide range of intelligent smart events that can be used to log and trigger many different aspects of your system. On the simple side of the spectrum, line crossing and region intrusion detection can be used in place of the relatively “dumb” motion detection. With line crossing, individual directions can be set to trigger and intrusion detection can require a certain amount of the region to be filled or that the object be present for a specified time threshold before an event is triggered. Some of the most advanced analytics include face detection, License Plate Reading and Logging, and People Counting. These advanced analytics can be used to more accurately monitor and interpret the actual events that are occurring in the surveyed area. Recording can now be triggered based on extremely specific criteria, such as if a specific license plate is detected, if there is a face seen, or if an object of significant enough size enters a specific region.

While motion detection has it’s place, it by no means is a complete or in many cases even a viable solution.

Contact an Arcdyn Sales rep today and ask about our line of smart cameras.

OEM / ODM Security Cameras | What Does It Mean and Why It Matters To Dealers.

If you’ve been in the surveillance industry for any amount of time, you have probably noticed that many of the cameras on the market look the same just with different logos on them from a myriad of different companies. The fact is that there are only a handful of companies that actually manufacture security cameras, and most security equipment wholesalers & retailers simply re-brand OEM / ODM (“Original Equipment Manufacturer” / “Original Design Manufacturer”) cameras and recorders. A good example of this from another industry would be television manufacturers. Almost every LED TV panel on the market is manufactured by either Samsung or LG. Every other brand of TV (Sony, Panasonic, Philips, Toshiba, Vizio, W/W, etc.) buys their panel from either of these two manufacturers.

In the surveillance market, there are over 50 wholesalers and retailers in the US that carry OEM Hikvision cameras and recorders, ourselves included. Our equipment is the same as the Hikvision USA branded equipment, it just doesn’t have their logo on it anywhere. Few companies are transparent about who manufactures their equipment, while most companies put their logo on the cameras and claim to be the manufacturer. Many of these same companies also choose to implement their own custom firmware to lock you into their products and prevent you from using apps or equipment from other sources. We would rather be honest and forward about where our equipment comes from and use generic firmware for ease of compatibility and to provide you the ability to use a wide variety of apps, viewing software, and equipment.

So what is the benefit of going with an OEM product, rather than a branded solution? First and foremost, you’ll get more personalized Tech Support based right here in the US. In addition to limited tech support for a lot of other brands of OEM Hikvision products if you are trying to integrate existing equipment with ours. Secondly, you can be sure that you’re avoiding “grey-market” or “China-market” equipment, which is typically what you get from sellers on open online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, or Newegg. This equipment is generally used / outdated equipment, or is loaded with firmware that is meant for use in another country, usually China. This can cause bricking issues or incompatibility with firmware updates and usually lack any support whatsoever from the seller.

So with an OEM product from Arcdyn, you get the benefits of a reliable product with more personalized and readily available tech support. With our generic firmware you can be sure that we are as compatible as you can get with your project. Plus, we are able to brand the product for you with out any minimums or extra cost. Contact Arcdyn today to open a dealer account.

Do IP Cameras Require an Internet Connection?

We have found that a lot of people shopping for security cameras are under the impression that IP cameras require an internet connection to operate correctly, after all, it is right in the name. Though IP is an abbreviation for Internet Protocol, an IP camera system will work perfectly fine without an internet connection. You can view the cameras, record to a hard drive, and search through recorded footage using just a monitor and a mouse plugged directly into the NVR.

POE Surveillance System Layout Diagram All you need is an NVR, some IP cameras, a mouse, and a monitor to operate an IP system.

With our Carbon Series NVRs, there is a POE switch built-in, so all you need to do is plug our IP cameras directly into the back of it. The cameras will “Plug-and-Play,” so you don’t even need to access the cameras on the network during initial setup.

When you use an IP camera system without internet, you are setting up what is referred to as Closed-circuit Television, or CCTV. This is a system that involves one or more cameras that are only able to be seen on a handful private monitors. This is different from a Broadcast Television system, which is widely transmitted to a virtually unlimited number of users.

No Internet Means Limited Remote Viewing

Keep in mind that if you do not have your system plugged into a router that is connected to the internet, you cannot view your system remotely from your smartphone or PC. It would still be possible to view the system using a tablet, laptop, or mobile device using WiFi on-site if you set up a local network using a WiFi router.

Stream an IP Camera with RTSP & KODI on Raspbian.


I wrote a previous article covering the RTSP function of Arcdyn cameras and NVR/DVRs and how to use VLC to get a viewable live stream. In this write-up, I will walk you through the process to add your camera stream into LibreELEC which is powered by KODI.

LibreELEC powered by KODI

KODI is an open source entertainment HUB that is 100% free. I’m going to use the LibreELEC version of KODI that can be easily installed on your Raspberry Pi via NOOBS. You don’t need a Raspberry PI to run KODI; it is supported Continue reading “Stream an IP Camera with RTSP & KODI on Raspbian.”

The Cloud and Security Cameras. How To Store Your Surveillance Footage.

Cloud Security Cameras

As with everything in life, there are trade-offs when deciding where to store and how to secure your surveillance camera footage. Most options available fall into two main categories: Local Storage and Cloud Storage. In this article, I will walk you through the pros and cons of each and hopefully help in avoiding some pitfalls and misconceptions along the way. Continue reading “The Cloud and Security Cameras. How To Store Your Surveillance Footage.”

Use RTSP to view your Arcdyn security cameras in VLC Media Player


RTSP is one of the most useful things that an IP camera provides over Analog counterparts. Since the encoding is done at the camera, we can pull the RTSP stream right from the camera. NVR/DVR’s also have an RTSP Stream that can be used for live viewing the streams. This write up will cover both products. An excellent tool for testing and implementing solutions is VLC media player. It is Open Source and free to use.

Continue reading “Use RTSP to view your Arcdyn security cameras in VLC Media Player”

Varifocal Dome and Bullet Cameras – When To Use Adjustable Lens IP Cameras

A varifocal lens is an adjustable camera lens with independently adjustable focus and zoom. This is usually done using a pair of knobs or rods located near the lens of the camera. In this article, we will outline when it is beneficial to use a varifocal bullet or dome camera.

Continue reading “Varifocal Dome and Bullet Cameras – When To Use Adjustable Lens IP Cameras”

What are Smart Security Cameras and Analytics?


What are smart surveillance cameras?

Smart Security cameras are advanced cameras that feature a robust set of configuration tools to help secure your area. These Advanced Analytics have revolutionized traditional surveillance systems with advanced features and alerts. These features are most commonly found in IP security cameras. Different Security cameras will have different features. I am going to cover our Bolt 4k bullet camera and the smart features on that particular camera. Read the Full Article

Do Surveillance Cameras Actually Deter Criminals?

Most security professionals will say that installing surveillance cameras on the outside of your home or business is an effective method of deterring criminals from choosing you as a target. Is this just a marketing pitch to get you to buy cameras, or are there actual statistics to prove this?

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte conducted a study in 2012 that sheds light on the subject and gives us a better understanding of what is going on in a burglar’s mind when selecting a target. The University’s study, titled “Understanding Decisions to Burglarize from the Offender’s Perspective,” surveyed 422 incarcerated male and female burglars and asked them a number of questions about choosing a target, motivation for burglary, and the question that we will focus on in this article; the effectiveness of alarm and security camera systems. Continue reading “Do Surveillance Cameras Actually Deter Criminals?” IP Security Camera Vulnerability – Never Fixed After 3 Years


Originally posted to the /r/homedefense subreddit on Sept 30, 2013 by reddit user ahmadnassri, an exploit that could potentially expose your entire network to hackers has been released to the world. On Jan 10, 2017 ahmadnassri released a full walkthrough on how to hack into an system and gain access to an extensive list of private data and devices.

The exploit was achieved by decompiling the JAVA player responsible for streaming live video feeds from the camera system. This gives a would be hacker easy access to’s Master Key and in turn your camera system. While this exploit only applies to older models sold by dealers such as Vivint and Frontpoint Security, there are plenty of these models in the wild to cause concern.

The release of yet another security flaw found in security cameras and devices adds to the long list of vulnerabilities found in recent memory. Until the security industry and manufacturers that are creating devices for the Internet of things begins to take network security seriously we will continue to see dangerous exploits found and utilized.

In most cases, changing the default password on your equipment will protect you from an attack, but that unfortunately is not a sure bet when using cheap or poor quality systems. The old adage “you get what you pay for” always turns out to be true and in this case could mean the difference between your security or being a target.

Check out Arcdyn for professional and secure IP security camera systems

What does 1000TVL mean? Avoiding Misleading Resolutions

Don’t Let Misleading Numbers Fool You

If you’ve been researching security cameras for a while, you have probably noticed that some cameras measure resolution using TVL (600TVL, 700TVL, 1000TVL) rather than 720p, 1080p, or Megapixels. This can be confusing and even misleading, which can make it very frustrating to figure out what you need for your home or business. In this article we’re going to break down what all of those numbers actually mean so that you can make an informed decision.

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Should I use Cat6 or Cat5e for my IP Security Cameras?


A very common question regarding security cameras and installs is the type of cabling to use. Currently, 2 types of wiring are widely used for IP security cameras which are Cat6 or Cat5e twisted pair cabling.
Security Cameras Cat5e or Cat6


Cat5 Enhanced(cat5e) replaced the traditional Cat5 cable and introduced speeds up to ten times faster than Cat5 cable. This was considered the standard cable to use in the early 2000’s. It can handle up 1,000 Mbps of bandwidth.


Cat6 is slowly replacing the standard cat5e cable and becoming a valid choice for many network related installs. It allows for ten times the amount of bandwidth, capable of 10,000 Mbps of bandwidth. It should be noted, though, that after 165 feet Cat6 is only capable of supporting 1,000 Mbps of bandwidth, the same as cat5e

What Cable for my security cameras?

Both cables are a reliable choice for security cameras. Currently, Cat5e cable is more than enough bandwidth for most IP security cameras on the market. This makes it a great choice for most surveillance installs. Almost all IP security cameras currently use less than a 100/mbps of bandwidth making cat5e a valid choice.


Resolution and Bandwidth Cat5e – Remaining Bandwidth Cat6 – Remaining Bandwidth @ less than 165 feet Cat6 – Remaining Bandwidth @ 165 feet
1080P @ 5/mbps 995/mbps 9,995/mbps 995/mbps
4MP @ 10/mbps 990/mbps 9,990/mbps 990/mbps
4K @ 30/mbps 970/mbps 9,970/mbps 970/mbps



If you are looking to future proof your install for future upgrades to your security cameras, you could use cat6, but if your cable runs are more than 165 feet, you might as well use cat5e because you will be subject to the same bandwidth. If you are looking to go even further into future proofing, you can look into cat6A which is capable of 10,000 Mbps past 165 feet.


5 Benefits of a Security Surveillance System

1. Deter potential theft

Security surveillance is an effective deterrent. Someone casing the neighborhood is more likely to choose the property with no cameras over the property with cameras. Having a surveillance system not only protects your property, but makes the community a safer environment for everyone.

2. Remote Access and live video feed

IP security surveillance systems have the ability to be accessible across multiple platforms. Smartphones, computers, and tablets can view and monitor the area with live video feeds. Depending on the security surveillance system, you may even be able to set up e-mail based motion alerts, so when a subject enters a certain area a notification will be sent to your smart device. Some systems even have the ability for you to open doors remotely and control other house peripherals.

3. Protect your Belongings

One of the more obvious benefits of a security system is that it helps protect your personal assets and valuables. Probably all of us can relate to a friend or someone who has been a victim to of a robbery. The use of a security surveillance system can help protect your precious valuables and the footage can be huge help in recovering or locating the parties involved.

4. Insurance

A security surveillance system could lower your monthly insurance premium. Saving you money and protecting the things that matter to you.

5. Peace of Mind

Knowing that your valuables are being protected definitely will give you peace of mind. You can check in on your kids, pets, or just make sure everything is ok.


Using a security surveillance system helps protect the things that matter most to you and has many other benefits as well. If you have been considering a security system take a moment to look around and understand what level of security that you need or want for your property. Also consider the possible benefits from the different types available in today’s market.

Three steps in selecting your IP home security system

It really is easy, but if you still need some help designing your system, we’re here to help… For FREE!


Securing your house with an IP security surveillance has many benefits and is actually an overall easy process. Most IP camera surveillance systems on the market are now plug and play, greatly simplifying the setup process. To get started in selecting your equipment follow these 3 easy steps on selecting the right IP security cameras and Network Video Recorder(NVR).

Step One:

Identify the area(s) to secure.

Depending on your needs and site layout this may vary greatly. For now, just note the number of cameras you think would be required. Common places to secure are the garage, backyard, mailbox, indoors, pool, front door, patio, back door, basement, storage shed, barn, kennel and many more.

Step Two:

Select the cameras based on the area you are trying to capture

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a security camera will be it’s focal length. Focal length is a measurement of the distance between the lens and Image sensor. The focal length of a camera determines it’s field of view” or rather, “what the camera can see”. In security cameras we encounter fixed focal lengths and variable focal lengths. A Fixed focal length security camera is most commonly called a “fixed lens” camera, while the variable focal length camera is called a “varifocal lens” camera.

Fixed Lens Camera

  • 1.) Fixed Field of View (i.e. 75° FOV )
  • 2.) Fixed Focal length (i.e. 4mm Fixed lens)

Varifocal Lens Camera

  • 1.) Variable Field of View (i.e. 30°-100° FOV)
  • 2.) Variable Focal Length (i.e. 2.8mm-12mm varifocal lens)

Focal length is measured in mm and smaller focal lengths give larger FOV’s while larger focal lengths give a smaller FOV. In simple terms you can think of a fixed lens camera as a “what you see is what you get”, and a varifocal camera is going to give you the ability to adjust what the camera “can see”.

Step Three:

Choose an appropriately sized NVR for the application.

Choosing a NVR relies on a three key starting points which include: the amount of footage you want on storage, the amount of cameras you require to secure you area, and the incoming bitrate of the NVR. Let’s briefly touch on each item and how they interact with each other.

The amount of recorded footage that you want on file will dictate the Hard Drive size that you need to purchase. It is important to use a surveillance rated hard drive as they are designed for 24/7 read/write tasks. The amount of storage required is directly related to your total camera bitrate.

The amount of channels is usually pretty easy to determine since 1 channel = 1 camera. Generally speaking, grouping nvr’s by this specification is rather effective. However, pay attention to what’s actually going on, just because a nvr claims it is a 16 channel nvr doesn’t mean it will actually support all 16 cameras chosen.

Bitrate is probably the most important specifications of a nvr. It determines the overall resources available for accepting incoming streams from IP cameras. Bitrate is measured in mbps(megabits per second) and the bitrate varies for each camera depending on the resolution and FPS of that camera.

What does all this bitrate stuff mean? As a general rule we can say that a 1080p camera uses 5/mbps, while a 4k camera can use upwards of 20/mbps. So, if you had a 4 channel recorder with an incoming bitrate of 40/mbps this means you could use one 4k camera and three 1080P cameras(A total bitrate of 35/mbps). On that same nvr you could only use 2-4k IP cameras even though the recorder can support 4 channels/cameras. This is because all of the bitrate is allocated to the 2-4k cameras(40/mbps).

Next Steps:

Once you get your equipment, installation is as easy as running an ethernet cable to each camera and mounting the cameras in your desired locations. It’s that simple!


Take the time to research the cameras you are buying and compare the different options available not one camera is perfect for every solution. Selecting a quality surveillance hard drive will ensure a stable storage method. Bitrate may seem overwhelming but it’s just a simple adding process, correctly paying attention to this factor can help you future proof your system. If you keep these simple steps in mind when selecting your IP surveillance equipment you can be positive that your system will record in the desired manner and have room to grow.

Analog Security Cameras vs Digital IP Security Cameras


Security cameras come in two distinct types, Digital(IP) and Analog(AHD, TVL, TVI, HD-SDI, HD-CVI). Many types of these security cameras are still widely in use. However the security camera industry continues to push the limits of resolutions, and as a result, the use of digital IP security equipment continues to increase while analog continues to decline. Let’s take a look at the general differences in analog surveillance cameras and IP surveillance cameras.

RJ-59 Cable Ends

RJ-59 Cable Ends-Security Camera

Analog Security Cameras

1. Analog cameras send a video signal to an encoder(DVR) which then processes the signal and records it.
2. Analog cameras require a direct connection to the DVR.
3. Analog security cameras require two cables, one for power and one for video.
4. Analog cameras have a limited platform of resolutions available.

RJ-45 End

Cat5e and Cat6 can be used for IP cameras

IP Security Cameras

1. IP Cameras encode the video signal at the camera and send the video to Network Video Recorder(NVR) through an internet protocol(IP).
2. IP cameras require a connection to the same network as the NVR and don’t have to be directly connected to the recorder.
3. IP Security cameras use Power over Ethernet(PoE) which means you only have one cable going to the camera that supplies power and transfers video.
4.The worst IP camera resolutions are far superior to the best analog resolutions.

Analog Surveillance Camera Types:

Analog Camera Types: TVL, AHD, HD-CVI, HD-SDI, TVI

Television Lines(TVL) :

TVL is the oldest of all the analog camera resolution rating systems and was popularized by Chinese manufacturers in an effort to artificially inflate the resolution of their cameras, making them seem like they had higher resolutions. TVL cameras have incredibly low resolution, and are usually black and white. While most modern resolution ratings reference the vertical pixel count (1080p, 4k, etc.), TVL as a rating refers to the specification of an analog security camera’s horizontal resolution power. It is common to see TVL resolutions measuring 480 TVL,  600TVL, 650TVL, 700TVL.

Typical TVL Resolutions in Pixels:
480 TVL: 510 x 492 (0.2 Megapixel)
600 TVL: 768 x 494 (0.3 Megapixel)
650 TVL: 811 x 508 ( 0.4 Megapixel)
700 TVL: 976 x 582 ( 0.5 Megapixel)

Almost all of this equipment is phased out or in the process of being replaced. If you are installing new security cameras and using TVL cameras, you are installing old technology with hard to find replacement parts.

Expect TVL cameras never to have a resolution greater than 720P


Analog HD, HD-SDI and HD-CVI CCTV cameras are capable of capturing video surveillance footage at a 1080p resolution. These high definition analog surveillance cameras must be used with a special surveillance DVR that supports their video signals for encoding. All of this hardware still uses the BNC Coax cabling (RJ59) and was introduced as a way to achieve High Definition over coax.

The current price, availability, and interoperability of these security camera systems makes it a bad choice for a new install or a retrofit.

Expect High Definition analog cameras to have a max resolution of 1080P

Transport Video Interface(TVI):

TVI is currently the best and most affordable transitional technology available for upgrading your old analog system to High Definition without pulling new cable.  TVI solved what AHD, HD-SDI, & HD-CVI had problems with or failed to do. Able to acheive greater cable distances and better resolutions while still utilizeing the same coaxial TVI became a large contender in the analog cctv market. TVI supports HD video signal (1080P/720P), audio signal, and digital signal transmissions. If your looking to upgrade your old analog system and don’t have the option to pull new cable for an IP based Security System then TVI may be an option for you.Typical TVI Resolutions in Pixels:
720P: 1280 X 720 (1 Megapixel)
1080P : 1920 X 1080 (2 Megapixels)
Expect TVI analog cameras to have a minimum resolution of 720P and a maximum of 1080P.

IP Surveillance Cameras

IP security cameras have impressive resolutions and ever-evolving technologies. IP cams have introduced some of the biggest changes in the security world with their crystal clear 4k resolutions and smart video analytics. If your buying a security system for the first time or upgrading an existing one you should definitely consider using an IP security camera system. It has many benefits over analog and the overall install is easier compared to conventional security surveillance systems.Typical IP Resolutions in Pixels:
1920 x 1080 (2 Megapixels) 1080P HD
2688 x 1520 (4 Megapixels) HD+
3840 x 2160 (8 Megapixels) 4K+
And More!
Expect IP security cameras have minimum resolution of 1080P.


While this article is short and touches on the basics of analog security cameras vs IP security cameras many more differences co-exist between both styles of cameras. One of the easiest ways to identify an analog camera is by the camera cable end. Analog cameras will require two cables, one for power and one for video while IP cameras use PoE and only require one cable to work.

IP Security Cameras and The DDOS Attack on Dyn


On October 21st, there was a massive distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack on an internet company named Dyn. Dyn controls a large portion of the servers that make up the internet ‘Domain Name System’ or DNS. These servers are essentially the traffic cops that point your web browser to the IP address of websites when you type in a domain in the address bar. If these servers were to be unreachable, as they were on Friday, your web browser wouldn’t know where to go to retrieve that site you just asked it to get for you.

The attackers used a DDOS attack to overwhelm these DNS server with so many requests, that they servers were unable to tell which requests were genuine and which were part of the attack. These hackers were able to pull off something of this magnitude by collecting access to devices that are part of what has come to be known as the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). The IoT includes many devices that consumers may not think of as connected devices. In recent years, refrigerators, thermostats, TVs, and even cameras have all been built with the ability to connect and communicate on the internet. While technology has progressed to allow for better communications between our devices, security has lagged behind and in some cases been left as an afterthought.

One fact that has emerged in the days following the attack is that a large portion of the connected devices used in that attack were IP Security Cameras and recorders. The surveillance devices used in last Friday’s attack were from a specific, low end, Chinese manufacture of cheap equipment that failed to build in the necessary security features needed to prevent hackers from gaining access to these systems. In most cases the vulnerability that was exploited was as simple as a default admin password that the end user was never prompted to reset. Other security holes include that these devices, by default, allow access via lesser know, but powerful avenues, such as SSH and Telnet. If a hacker is able to gain access using these methods, they can tell that device to do whatever they want. In this case it was to flood all their traffic to specific and vital portion of our internet’s infrastructure.

While on face value, this may seem like a minor inconvenience to most every day Americans, but the implications of these types of attacks reach further than you think. An attack of this nature could shut down markets and prevent the trade of stocks, could effect power grids and utilities, could even prevent or disrupt the administration of elections.

Anyone purchasing Arcdyn professional IP surveillance equipment can rest assured that their system has been built with security in mind.

  • Every system automatically prompts the user to enter a default password upon setup.
  • Dangerous connection protocols, like SSH and Telnet, are disabled by default.
  • Frequent firmware updates mean that security holes are patched quickly.

Arcdyn is here to help you ensure that your system is never hacked or used in nefarious ways to attack others.

Contact us today to get a FREE quote.

Wired vs. Wireless IP Security Cameras

Wireless Security Cameras – The Worst Option for Security

When shopping for a security camera system for your home or business, many people seek out a wireless solution.  Wireless cameras can be great for simple applications like monitoring operations in a business or keeping an eye on your home or pets while you are at work, but lack the robustness and reliability that are required for actual security applications.  So while there is a time and place for wireless, security-centered applications should always use a hard-wired system.

Network Reliability

There are many reasons why wireless cameras are deemed unreliable, one important factor is the dependency on your wireless router.  If your router is ever down or needs to be reset (which in some cases can be often), it will cause a lapse in transmission of data from the camera to the hard drive.  This could mean that your camera system is not recording during an important event.

With a hard wired system that utilizes Arcdyn’s plug and play PoE ports, you won’t even need to worry about a power outage. A simple UPS or battery backup device can ensure that your system continues to record even if there is an interruption of power.  Additionally, If your network fails, the recorder continues to record footage as long as your battery backup lasts, so you will still have recorded footage to look back to.

Power Supplies

One aspect of wireless cameras that many customers overlook is power. With wireless cameras, your options for power are limited to battery or running a power cable to a 12v DC power supply like an outlet or solar cell.

However, battery power is another feature that contributes to the unreliable nature of wireless cameras.  Batteries will die, and when they do you may miss important footage.  Any other source of power will involve running a cable to the camera, which kind of defeats the purpose of a wireless camera and usually results in unsightly wires and power bricks plugged into the wall nearby.

Signal “Jamming”

It is possible, and not terribly difficult, to disrupt or “jam” the signal of a wireless network, whether it be Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.  This can be done from a computer or smartphone and the knowledge to do so can be found easily online. A simple google search will result in a multitude of guides and videos showing how to do this. In addition jamming devices can be purchased on Amazon for under $60.  This is another obvious reason that we recommend staying away from wireless cameras.

Insufficient Local Network Speeds

Transmission of standard high definition video (1080p @ 30fps) over Wi-Fi will use at least 4Mbps of your local bandwidth per camera. Unless you provide the wireless cameras with their very own network you will be introducing unneeded network traffic to your local wi-fi. Not only is the extra traffic unnecessary but it will also be  exposing your security cameras to anyone who has access to your home network. 

With Arcdyn IP/PoE system, you can be sure that your cameras are secured and not vulnerable to malicious attacks. The cameras are on their own private network that is inaccessible to local network clients. This helps your security, but  also keeps unwanted traffic off of your local network so your home or business can stay connected. 

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