What is commonly known as an IP (Internet Protocol) camera, is a camera that digitizes and processes analog images, encodes them internally, and then transmits the video information digitally over an Ethernet connection to a computer or similar device. An IP camera can have either a CMOS or a CCD sensor, and is available in the same styles as traditional surveillance cameras such as Pan/Tilt/Zoom, domes, bullets, box, infrared, covert, and wireless.

IP cameras are typically equipped with an embedded web server and can be accessed and controlled over any IP network such as a WAN, LAN, Intranet, or Internet. By utilizing a standard web browser or client software users can view an IP camera’s video output from any local or remote location.

IP cameras combine the capabilities of a camera with some PC functionality, do not require a direct connection to a PC to operate, and can be placed anywhere within a network. Just like any other PC on the network, an IP camera is a “network appliance”. It has its own IP address, connects directly to a wired or wireless network and requires maintenance.