Security Cameras: PoE vs. WiFi
Security Camera Systems: PoE vs. WiFi
In the past, businesses (especially small ones) underestimated the importance of video surveillance. They cannot afford to do that anymore. In today’s world, security camera systems are a vital necessity because it is essential to ensure the safety of workers, the confidentiality of data, as well as safeguarding business assets.
Power over Ethernet (PoE) and WiFi security cameras systems have emerged as the most popular security solutions on the market. This article explores the pros and cons of these systems to help end-users decide which system is best for their business.
What is a PoE security camera system?
A PoE camera requires wiring for power, video transmission, and internet connection and is referred to as “wired.” PoE technology transmits both data and power through a single cable. Therefore, Internet Protocol (IP) cameras equipped with PoE technology send video and audio signals to the network while simultaneously receiving power from the same PoE switch. PoE camera systems typically use Cat5e, Cat6, or Cat6a Ethernet cables.
PoE security camera systems have stable data transmission with no interference from nearby devices and are ideal for large spaces.
What is a WiFi security camera system?
In contrast to a PoE security camera system, a WiFi system connects cameras to a wireless router using no hardwired connection. WiFi security cameras typically come in two types: 1) battery or solar-powered wire-free models or 2) plugged-in wireless models. The plugged-in models do need to be plugged into an outlet. The “wireless” part comes into effect when the camera communicates with the router.
WiFi security camera systems are easy and quick to install, flexible, and portable.
A Comparison of PoE and WiFi Security Camera Systems
Both PoE and Wifi security camera systems offer basic monitoring functions; however, both systems have their strengths and limitations. Choosing which PoE camera system is best for you takes a bit of deliberation. Following are some feature comparisons that will help you with this critical business decision.
A PoE camera transmits both power and data through a single Ethernet cable. This technology eliminates the need for a second cable for power. Because of this, installation requires half the wiring and is easier and more flexible than traditional AC power installations. In addition, the camera itself does not need to be situated close to the power source as power is provided directly from the PoE switch.
WiFi cameras are connected to the WiFi network, so there is no need for cables between the camera and the recorder. Thus, the installation of WiFi is far easier than with PoE. However, it is important to note that professionals will still need to address any technical or security issues.
PoE can deliver speeds of 2.5 to 5Gbps over distances up to 100m using Cat5e, Cat6, and Cat6a patch cables.
WiFi cameras are essentially WiFi jammers. Once you get four or more IP cameras transmitting data continuously over the network, the WiFi will slow down, and strain will be put on the internet connection.
PoE cameras must be placed within a 100-meter range of the PoE switch. This is ten times more coverage than a WiFi system.
WiFi cameras need to be within a ten-meter radius of the router. This is probably the most significant limitation of WiFi systems.
Hardwired networks have automatic emails and auditory alerts that help provide security. In contrast, wireless networks are simply more prone to spoofing and hacking.
PoE technology has a centrally managed (or centralized) uninterrupted power supply (UPS). Without UPS, a power outage will turn off the complete video surveillance system. In addition, PoE has backup power and the ability to shut down or reset devices remotely.
WiFi security cameras operate using individual management systems.
PoE cameras cost more than WiFi cameras. In addition, the installation will require a good PoE switch and PoE-supported Ethernet cables, which add to the expense.
WiFi cameras are less expensive and require fewer tools and accessories. As a result, WiFi security cameras systems are wildly regarded as a cost-saving solution.
A Comparison of Key Features of PoE vs. WiFi Camera Security Systems
POE (Wired) WiFi (Wireless)
Installation Difficult Easy
Transmission Speed 2.5-5Gbps Slower
Coverage 100m 10m radius
Security Better Worse
Power Management Centralized Individual
Cost Expensive Affordable
Reliability High Lower
Things to Consider When Choosing a Security Camera System
As both PoE and WiFi security camera systems have their pros and cons, it makes sense to take some time to answer the following questions:
1. What is your network environment like?
The place to start is to evaluate your current network and power environment. Consider things like the wireless signal strength and the scope of coverage needed. These considerations are linked to factors such as the router, any type of interference, and the route a signal needs to take to get to the cameras
2. What type of application scenario do you have in mind?
In general, PoE IP cameras are the best choice for outdoor surveillance, while WiFi IP cameras work best for indoor environments like small business offices or buildings. Be sure any outside system you choose is weatherproof. In addition, wired security camera systems are pretty permanent and not easily moved. In comparison, wireless systems are easily portable and work best for office space renters or businesses in temporary locations.
3. How many IP cameras do you need?
The size of your facility and the number of cameras you need to cover it adequately will undoubtedly impact which system you choose. Remember, if you choose wireless, make sure the WiFi IP camera is installed within the router’s coverage area.
Rule of thumb: If you need a stable, scalable, more manageable outdoor application, use PoE security cameras. On the other hand, if you desire ultra-easy installation and more portability for a smaller-scale indoor application, WiFi security cameras are your best bet.
Please note that most professionals recommend using a wired security camera system that supports and links all IP cameras—especially if you use more than four IP cameras.
And do not forget about the need for future upgrades. Overall, PoE technology is more flexible when it comes to adding, moving, or changing the system.
Additional Questions to Consider Before the Purchase of a Security Camera System
- What amount of bandwidth is needed?
- Where will the footage be stored? How much space will be required?
- Does data encryption meet present-day security standards? (RSA vs. AES, At rest vs. in transit.
- Does the system use encrypted transmission? (SSL/TLS)
The need for security is paramount these days and has triggered an increase in the deployment of security camera systems for both business and home. Per a recent report published by Allied Market Research, the U.S. video surveillance market was valued at $42.94 billion in 2019 and is estimated to reach $144.85 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 14.6 percent from 2020-2027.
Compared to WiFi security cameras, PoE cameras have faster transmission, are more reliable, provide better security, and have broader coverage. As a result, PoE technology is becoming increasingly popular, and PoE cameras are winning more market share and will be an inevitable trend in the future.