Key Technical Considerations for 4G CCTV
The reliability of data streamed over mobile networks is only as reliable as the mobile networks themselves. As we’ve all experienced with mobile networks, they have a habit of dropping off - depending on network demands and other factors.
To limit the risk of ‘drop off’s’ (or ‘slowing' of streaming) we’d recommend minimising the levels of data used at one time - i.e. dropping the picture quality of the streamed video. This will maximise reliability.
4G mobile data is still relatively expensive. The package we’re looking at gives you 100GB a month of data, which is enough but does provide constraints.
As noted above, the higher quality image the more data is used. The limiting factors for data usage (and image quality) is 1) the capacity of mobile networks (i.e. mobile networks not coping with streaming high quality video reliably) 2) the cost of mobile data (which isn’t cheap).
The options / approaches available are:
a) High quality low frequency: set up the DVR to stream high quality images, but only limit the amount of time during the day that they’re streamed (i.e. only log-in for 30 mins a day to check what’s happening, rather than having a constant stream)
b) Low quality high frequency: set up the DVR to stream lower quality images, but streamed constantly / live throughout the day (N.B. due to data capping, this would realistically be limited to 8 hours of live streaming a day)
c) Limited High quality with high frequency: set up the DVR to stream high quality images but limit the ‘frames per second’ (e.g. to 1 frame a second), but stream constantly / live throughout the day (again with an 8 hour limit).
We’d recommend option ‘b’ - and maybe option ‘c’. Option ‘a’ is too risky, and likely to be more unreliable due to attempting to stream high levels of data.
Example quality settings for 4G CCTV
CCTV DVRs have two streaming levels - both of which can be set to different quality settings:
- Main stream: this is for localised recording to the DVR hard-drive, and generally is set at high quality (depending on the size of the hard drive)
- Sub stream: this is for remote viewing across the internet, and is generally set at a lower quality.
Within the constraints of 100GB a month, we’d recommend the following 2 image quality settings for the ‘sub stream’:
Option 1: 12 frames a second, at 720 x 576 resolution = 572Kbp
Option 2: 1 frame a second at 960 x 582 resolution (inc better quality image) = 763 Kpb
Because of the reliance of 3rd party 4G networks, AMCO cannot provide ‘uptime guarantees’ as the reliability of the streaming is based on the reliability of of the 4G Network.
AMCO have existing 4G CCTV systems in the market which do work, and which customers are happy with - however the customer has to be aware of the limiting factors of 4G CCTV at present.
Put in short, be prepared for the streaming to drop out from time-to-time - sadly the AMCO team can’t do anything about this.