Top ten installation challenges

A successful camera installation requires careful consideration. Which cameras should you choose? How should they be installed? 

In this ten-step guide we will describe some of the challenges you might encounter during installation, and how to deal with them. We’ll guide you through areas such as cabling, network setup, environmental considerations, and camera selection and placement, as well as how you can make the most of Axis camera image features.

Cabling infrastructure

Poorly installed network cabling can cause numerous problems, and even a seemingly minor problem can have severe effects on operations. A kink in a cable can cause a camera to respond intermittently, and a poorly crimped connector may prevent Power over Ethernet (PoE) from functioning correctly. 

Cabling considerations

There are two wiring standards for network cabling: T568a and T568b. It is very important to NOT COMBINE T568a and T568b on the same cable!

Cables are categorized according to the data rates that they can effectively transmit. Cable specifications also describe the material, the connectors and the number of times each pair is twisted per meter. The most widely-installed category is CAT 5e.

  • Cat 5e with 100 MHz bandwidth
  • Cat 6 up to 250 MHz
  • Cat 6A up to 500 MHz
  • Cat 7 up to 600 MHZ
  • Cat 7A with a frequency range up to 1000 MHz

Video files are generally very large, but still need to be moved around the network as quickly as possible. It is possible to use good quality Cat 5 cabling for gigabit networks, although Cat 5e or Cat 6 is recommended, even if existing network switches and routers only support 100 Mbps. This will ensure that the cabling infrastructure is in place when upgrading to gigabit later.

Use good cable runs

Ensure that your cabling meets the requirements of your equipment. The distance between an Ethernet transmitter and receiver cannot exceed 100 m (325 ft) without being boosted. When installing sockets (outlets), remember to take into account the distance between the socket and the computer. A good rule of thumb is 90 meters for unbroken cable runs, and ten meters for the patch cabling.
Network cabling should NOT be run next to electrical mains cabling, as there is a potential for interference. Nor should network cabling be suspended from ceiling tiles (which may violate building codes and fire regulations).

Using Shielded Twisted Pair (STP) cabling is mandatory when a camera is used outdoors, or where the network cable is routed outdoors. STP cabling must also be grounded – failure to do so can lead to interference. Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cables may be used if there is no risk of interference nearby. 

As network cabling typically uses solid wires, cabling should not be twisted or bent in a tight radius (i.e. less than 4 times the diameter of the cable). Do not use metal staples to secure cable runs, and do not overtighten cable ties.

Keep pairs together and wire correctly

It is very important that no more than about 6 mm of the cable is left untwisted at either end of the cable, or there may be negative impacts on the network. It is essential to wire the plug correctly and to use the correct crimping tool for the specific type of connector.

Environmental conditions

Environmental considerations will determine the cabling and connectors to use, but also whether or not the camera should be installed in a housing, to protect against acids, severe weather conditions, or extreme heat or cold. See also, Challenge  5, Environmental Considerations.

Certify the installation

In twisted-pair copper wire networks, copper cable certification is achieved through a thorough series of tests in accordance with standards set by the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), or the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). These tests are done using a certification testing tool, which provide “Pass” or “Fail” information.

Figure 1: A well-installed, well-structured enclosure with color-coded cabling makes for a much more professional appearance, as well as demonstrating adherence to specific standards.

oltage transients

Although most people think of lightning as the cause of most voltage transients, the most frequent source of this type of disruption is actually the local power grid.

Axis network cameras for outdoor installation are designed to withstand power surges and transients, and part of this design involves using a shielded twisted pair cable (STP) between the PSE (Power Sourcing Equipment)* and the camera, to ensure a path for the power surge to reach ground.

The combination of Axis cameras, STP network cabling and a properly grounded PSE has been tested to comply with industry immunity standards levels, for example for surge protection. Any other installation method will void the warranty and leave the unit at risk.

Always use an STP network cable between the camera and the PSE, and ensure that the PSE is properly grounded.

For further information, see: Best practices for outdoor installation of Axis cameras

* The term PSE defines any device connected at the camera end of the cable, such as a midspan, endspan, network switch, or power injector.

Power over Ethernet (PoE)

Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a method for supplying power to network devices over the same cabling used for data traffic. PoE allows Powered Devices (PDs), such as IP telephones, wireless access points, and network cameras to receive both power and data over the existing infrastructure, with no upgrade necessary.

This feature can simplify network installation and maintenance, by using the switch as a central power source for other network devices.

There are currently two standards for PoE:

  • IEEE 802.3af provides a maximum of 15.4 W per port.
  • IEEE 802.3at provides a maximum of 25.5 W per port. This is known as High PoE.

In PoE IEEE 802.3af, although Power Sourcing Equipment (PSE) provides a maximum output of 15.4 W per port, some of this power will be lost on a twisted pair cable. Consequently, only 12.95 W is guaranteed to be available for the powered device.

The IEEE 802.3af standard also specifies various power levels for PoE devices, so-called power classes. If the PSE supports this power classification, then the amount of power supplied to each port is automatically adapted to the power class (1-4) of the connecting PD. Class 0 is the default and provides a maximum of 15.4 W. Classes 1-3 provide less power than the default, and Class 4 provides more power, although this is only available to PDs conforming to the IEEE 802.3at standard.

If the connecting PD does not support power classification, the PSE will default to providing power at Class 0 (15.4 W).

The following table lists the power levels at both the PSE and the PD.

ClassUsagePower Level Output at the Power Sourcing Equipment (PSE)Maximum Power Levels at the Powered Device (PD)
0Default15.4 W0.44 – 12.95 W
1Optional4.0 W0.44 – 3.84 W
2Optional7.0 W3.84 – 6.49 W
3Optional15.4 W6.49 – 12.95 W
4Optional: IEEE 802.3at only30 W12.95 – 25.5 W

Table 1: Values for the different PoE classes, for use when calculating for the power budget of a system.

A PSE will normally supply a certain total maximum power, typically 300-500 W – this is known as the power budget. If the connecting PDs do not support power classification, the full 15.4 W (the default Class 0) must be reserved for each PoE port, meaning that a 300 W switch will only be able to supply power to 20 of the 48 ports. However, if all of the PDs communicate to the switch that they are Class 1 devices (4 W), then 300 W will be enough to supply power to all 48 ports.

The total power consumption of all the equipment to be connected to a specific network switch must be calculated, to ensure that it does not exceed the switch’s power budget.

Examples of PoE and power specifications for Axis cameras

The examples below present the concept behind the PoE and power calculations for an Axis camera. The exact figures and products used in the examples may change over time.

Figure 2: Example of the power requirements in a PoE system.

In the figure above, six Class 2 cameras are connected to a single PoE switch. As a Class 2 device requires 7 W maximum from the switch, we calculate the total power requirements as 6×7 W = 42 W. This will be the PoE power budget, meaning that we need a switch with at least 42 W available for PoE.

High PoE with AXIS Q6044-E

The AXIS Q6044-E power input is specified in the datasheet as max. 60 W and the midspan AXIS T8124 power requirement is specified as max. 74 W.
This is because the midspan itself also consumes power and there is a loss of power in the RJ-45 cable from the midspan to the camera. To ensure proper power to the camera, the midspan requires more input/output power than the total requirements of the cameras.

PoE with P13xx-E

Some cameras are specified with two different PoE classes. This is because different wattages may be required depending on whether or not they are used with extra equipment, such as heating or cooling. The first specification is the wattage for the product itself, and the second is the wattage required for the product plus extra equipment. The AXIS P13xx-E is an enclosed product, and is specified as “PoE IEEE 802.3af  max. 12.95 W or High PoE max 25.5 W”.

How to determine the switch to use?

PoE switch manufacturers often specify three parameters that can be taken into account when deciding which switch to use. For example, these three parameters could be as follows:

  • Supplied power to PD: up to 15.4 W
    This value is the maximum PoE power that the switch can deliver per port, but this is not related to the total PoE budget. It is important to remember that the value is specified as “up to”.
  • PoE budget: 
    The PoE budget is the total PoE power that the switch can deliver for all ports. A high PoE budget and only a few ports means a higher W-per-port value. A low PoE budget and many ports means a lower W-per-port value.
  • Average PoE W / port: 13
    Example: 50 W is the PoE budget, and the switch has 4 ports: 52 W / 4 = 13 W
    This value is what the switch can provide per port when all PoE ports are supplied with power. It is important to have a safety margin here. 

The PoE powering of a device becomes more critical depending on the ambient temperature. Many devices can function at different temperature levels based on the amount of power available. It is imperative to verify that the correct midspan is used for outdoor cameras. As seen in the specification sheet below, the AXIS P1353-E can operate in temperatures as low as -40°C when using High PoE. 

Figure 3:  Specification sheet for AXIS P1353-E.


Surveillance cameras are often placed in very demanding environments. Failure to adequately protect against environmental factors can cause premature failure, and may even void the product warranty. It might seem obvious that a camera placed outdoors needs a housing, but the same type of protection may also be required for some indoor installations, such as in an industrial facility with high levels of moisture or dust in the air. Assessing and understanding the environmental conditions prior to installation is essential for selecting the correct cameras and prolonging their lifespan.

Camera housings come in various sizes and qualities, and with various features. Housings are made of either metal or plastic, and can be classified in two general types: fixed camera housings and dome camera housings.

When selecting an enclosure, several aspects must be considered:

  • Side or slide opening (for fixed camera housings)
  • Mounting accessories
  • Clear or smoked dome (for dome camera housings)
  • Cable management
  • Temperature and other ratings (consider the need for a heater, sunshield, fan and wipers)
  • Power supply (12 V, 24 V, 110 V, etc.)
  • Level of vandal resistance

For more information on housings, see the Axis Accessory Selector or the Product Accessory page.

Although standard Ethernet cables can be run outdoors, their thin plastic casing will quickly deteriorate when exposed to the elements. For best results, outdoor Ethernet cables should be used, enclosed in a conduit buried a good distance from power lines or other sources of electrical interference. Remember to use an STP cable if the camera is used outdoors, or if the network cable is routed outdoors.
Suitably waterproofed PVC or other plastic piping can work well as a conduit. Alternatively, special exterior or direct burial category cables can be used for outdoor runs. Direct burial CAT5 cable costs more, but it is designed specifically for outdoor use. Both ordinary and direct burial CAT5 cable attracts lightning strikes to some degree. Simply burying a cable underground does not lessen its vulnerability to lightning, and accordingly, CAT5 surge protectors should be installed as part of an outdoor Ethernet network.

The IP Code classifies and rates the degree of protection provided against the intrusion of objects (including hands and fingers), dust, and water into mechanical casings.
The first digit indicates the level of protection that the enclosure provides against access to hazardous parts (for example, electrical conductors, moving parts) and the ingress of solid foreign objects.

LevelObject size protected againstEffective against
0No protection against contact and ingress of objects
1>50 mmAny 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 mmFingers or similar objects
3>2.5 mmTools, thick wires, etc.
4>1 mmMost wires, screws, etc.
5Dust protectedIngress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment; complete protection against contact
6Dust tightNo ingress of dust; complete protection against contact

Table 2: Protection against objects.

The second digit indicates the level of protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against the harmful ingress of water. 

LevelProtected againstTesting forDetails
0Not protected
1Dripping waterDripping water (vertically falling drops) shall have no harmful effect.Test duration: 10 minutesWater equivalent to 1mm rainfall per minute
2Dripping water when tilted up to 15°Vertically dripping water shall have no harmful effect when the enclosure is tilted at an angle up to 15° from its normal position.Test duration: 10 minutesWater equivalent to 3mm rainfall per minute
3Spraying waterWater falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical shall have no harmful effect.Test duration: 5 minutesWater volume: 0.7 liters per minute
Pressure: 80–100 kPa
4Splashing waterWater splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect.Test duration: 5 minutesWater volume: 10 liters per minute
Pressure: 80–100 kPa
5Water jetsWater projected by a nozzle (6.3mm) against enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.Test duration: at least 3 minutesWater volume: 12.5 liters per minute
Pressure: 30 kPa at distance of 3m
6Powerful water jetsWater projected in powerful jets (12.5mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.Test duration: at least 3 minutesWater volume: 100 liters per minute
Pressure: 100 kPa at distance of 3m
7Immersion up to 1 mIngress 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).Test duration: 30 minutesImmersion at depth of 1m
8Immersion beyond 1 mThe equipment is suitable for continuous immersion in water under conditions which shall be specified by the manufacturer. Normally, this will mean that the equipment is hermetically sealed. 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.Test duration: continuous immersion in waterDepth specified by manufacturer

Table 3: Protection against liquids.

Camera selection

For a successful installation, the selection of the correct camera is essential. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration: the coverage area and the viewing angle, the operational requirements (detection/recognition/identification), environmental constraints, and more. If the camera is to be used in harsh conditions, in very dark environments, or in environments with high levels of contrast, this must also be taken into account.

Guide to selecting a network camera:

1. Define the surveillance goal: overview or high detail

Overview images give a general view of the scene, or the general movements of people. Images with high detail are important for the identification of persons or objects (such as face or license plate recognition, point-of-sale monitoring). The surveillance goal will determine the field of view, the placement of the camera, and the type of camera/lens required.

2. Overt or covert surveillance

This decision will aid in the selection of cameras, housings, and mounts, to make the installation discreet or more obvious.

3. Coverage area

For a given location, you should determine the number of areas of interest, how much of these areas should be covered, and whether or not the areas are located relatively close to each other. These parameters will determine the types of cameras required and how many.

Coverage of an area can be achieved by using multiple fixed cameras, or alternatively with just a few PTZ cameras. A PTZ camera has optical zoom capabilities that can provide highly detailed images, and it is also capable of monitoring a large area. However, even though a PTZ camera can pan a full 360o to anywhere in the area, it can still only provide a view of one part of the scenes at a time, whilst a fixed camera will be able to provide full coverage of its area all of the time. The full capabilities of a PTZ camera are best used by having operational staff monitor the video stream live, or by setting up an automatic guard tour.

Also available from Axis are panoramic cameras, which provide a 360o field of view, making them ideal for applications that require wide area coverage in a single view. These cameras can be used to detect activities in a large area and track the flow of people, for example in a retail store.

Another benefit that network video brings to the video surveillance market is the ability to move beyond the limitations of PAL/NTSC resolutions and frame rates, and to instead experience high-resolution video with excellent image detail. Cameras with different resolutions have different application areas and benefits. For example, for two relatively small areas of interest that are close to each other, a single megapixel or HDTV camera with a wide-angle lens could be used to cover both areas, instead of using two non-megapixel cameras for the same task.

4. Light sensitivity and lighting requirements

Outdoor environments require the use of a camera with an auto-iris lens, such as a DC-iris or P-iris. You might also consider the use of day/night cameras for their excellent light sensitivity. Are you going to need additional white lights, or do you need IR lighting? Keep in mind that because there is no industry standard for measuring light sensitivity, lux specifications for different brands of network cameras cannot be compared directly with each other. 

5. Image quality

Image quality is one of the most important aspects of any camera, but it is difficult to quantify and measure it. The best way to determine image quality is to install various cameras and look at the resulting video images. If capturing moving objects clearly is a priority, it is important that the camera uses progressive scan technology.

6. Resolution

For applications that require detailed images, megapixel or HDTV cameras may be the best option.

7. Compression

The most important video compression standard used by Axis network video products is H.264, along with Zipstream – Axis’ own, more efficient implementation of H.264. This offers the greatest savings in bandwidth and storage. Axis network video products also have support for Motion JPEG.

8. Audio

Many Axis network cameras have audio support, with a built-in microphone and/or an input for an external microphone, as well as a speaker or a line out socket for external speakers.

9. Event management and intelligent video

Event management functionality is often configured using video management software, and is supported by the input/output ports and intelligent video features in a network camera or video encoder. Making recordings based on triggers from the camera’s input ports or intelligent video functions provides savings in bandwidth and storage. This also allows operators to handle more cameras, as cameras with triggered recordings will not require live monitoring unless an alarm/event occurs.

10. Networking functionality

Things to consider include PoE, HTTPS encryption for encrypting video streams sent over the network, IP address filtering to allow or deny access, IEEE 802.1X to control access to a network, IPv6, and wireless functionality.

11. Open interface and application software

A network video product with an open interface provides better integration possibilities with other systems. It is also important that the product is supported by a good selection of application software, and management software that enables easy installation and upgrades of network video products. Axis products are supported by both in-house video management software and a wide variety of video management software solutions from more than 550 Application Development Partners.

Another important consideration, apart from the network camera itself, is the choice of network video product vendor. As needs grow and change, the vendor should be seen as a partner, and a long-term one at that. This means that it is important to select a vendor that offers a full range of network video products and accessories to meet both current and future needs. The vendor should also provide innovation, support, upgrades and long term product plans.

Once a camera has been decided on, it is a good idea to purchase and test a single unit before ordering larger quantities.

Determining the coverage area

When selecting cameras, the field of view required should be defined. The field of view is determined by the focal length of the lens and the size of the image sensor; both are specified in a network camera’s datasheet.

A lens’ focal length is defined as the distance between the entrance lens (or a specific point in a complicated lens assembly) and the point where all the light rays converge to a point (normally the camera’s image sensor). The longer the focal length of the lens, the narrower the field of view (FoV) will be.

The FoV can be classified into three types:

  • Normal view: offering the same field of view as the human eye.
  • Telephoto: a narrower field of view, providing, in general, finer details than a human eye can deliver. A telephoto lens is used when the surveillance object is either small or located far away from the camera. A telephoto lens generally has less light gathering capability than a normal lens.
  • Wide angle: a larger field of view with less detail than in normal view. A wide-angle lens generally provides good depth of field and fair, low-light performance. Wide-angle lenses sometimes produce geometrical distortions such as the “fish-eye” effect.

Figure 4: Different fields of view: wide-angle view (left); normal view (center); telephoto (right).

It is always advisable to save a snapshot from the camera, to verify that the coverage is correct and the depth of field is sufficient for requirements.  As the depth of field changes with the available lighting, make certain to verify this several times over the course of a day.

To assist in the selection process, Axis Communications offers a Product Selector Tool

Advanced image features

When installing advanced network cameras, be sure to take advantage of all the camera’s image capabilities. 

Day and night functionality

All types of network cameras —fixed or otherwise — can offer day and night functionality. A day/night camera is designed for outdoor use or in indoor environments with poor lighting.
A day/night network camera delivers color images during the day. When the light falls below a certain level, the camera can make use of near-infrared (IR) light, by automatically switching to night mode, in which images are produced in high-quality, black and white.

Near-infrared light (700-1000 nm) is beyond what the human eye can see, but most camera sensors can still detect and use it. When there is plenty of light, a day/night camera uses an IR-cut filter to block the IR light so that it doesn’t distort the other colors in the image. When the camera is in night mode, the IR-cut filter is removed, thus boosting the camera’s light sensitivity to 0.001 lux or lower.

Figure 5: Graph illustrating how an image sensor responds to visible and near-IR light. Near-IR light is in the range 700-1000 nm.

Figure 6:  To the left, a schematic showing the IR-cut filter in a day/night network camera. At center, the position of the IR-cut filter in normal light/daylight. At right, the IR-cut filter removed in darkness.  

Day/night cameras are useful in environments that restrict the use of artificial lighting. These include low-light video surveillance situations, covert surveillance, and other discreet applications, for example in traffic surveillance, where bright lights would disturb drivers at night.

Wide Dynamic Range (WDR)

A scene that contains extremes of lighting at both ends of the scale, i.e. very bright and very dark areas, is said to suffer from Wide Dynamic Range (WDR). This is often found in backlit scenes, e.g. in front of a window with a lot of sunlight coming in. In many other cameras, this would result in an image where objects in the dark areas would hardly be visible. Wide dynamic range is counteracted by applying techniques such as using different exposures for different objects in the same scene, making objects visible in both the bright and dark areas.

WDR is typically encountered in the following scenes:

  • Entrance doors with daylight outside and a darker indoor environment
  • Vehicles entering a parking garage or tunnel, also with daylight outside and low light inside
  • Vehicles with bright headlights, moving directly toward the camera
  • Environments with lots of reflected light, for example in office buildings with many windows, or in shopping malls

Figure 7: The first two images show how the wide dynamic range in the monitored scene causes parts of the image to be overexposed or underexposed. In the image to the right, WDR dynamic capture has been used, resulting in a balanced image with all areas visible.


Axis’ revolutionary Lightfinder technology is the result of the meticulous pairing of sensors lenses, along with the processing of the data produced by the sensor-lens combination. The end-result is network cameras with outstanding low-light performance.

Lightfinder technology makes a camera highly sensitive to light, allowing the camera to “see” even in very dark conditions, as well as maintain focus in both daylight and infrared light.

Lightfinder technology is especially beneficial in demanding video surveillance applications such as construction sites, parking lots, perimeters and city scenes. In contrast to conventional day/night cameras that switch to black & white in darkness, a Lightfinder camera can display colors even in very dark conditions, which can be an important factor for successful identification of people, vehicles and incidents. The camera’s extreme sensitivity to light means that IR illuminators are often not required, which cuts down on installation costs.

Figure 8: Comparison between a standard network camera and an AXIS Q1602 camera in a low-light scene (0.3 lux).  

Camera placement

When planning camera placement during installation, many factors must be taken into account. As mentioned in Camera Selection, the surveillance objectives will determine what type of camera should be used, as well as how it should be positioned.

Getting a useful image involves much more than simply pointing the camera in the required direction. Lighting (and backlighting), angles, reflections, dead zones, and the zoom factor for PTZ cameras are all matters to consider. Sometimes, it’s actually easier to change the environment itself, for example by shading windows or moving objects to new locations.

Camera placement is also an important factor in deterring vandalism. By placing a camera out of reach on high walls or on the ceiling, many spur-of-the-moment attacks can be prevented. The downside may be that the angle of view is affected, which can be compensated for to some extent by selecting a different lens.

Camera purpose

The purpose of each camera should be clearly specified. If the aim is to get an overview of an area, to track the movement of people or objects, make sure that a camera suitable for the task is placed in a position that can achieve the objective.

If the intention is to identify persons or objects, the camera must be positioned or focused in such a way that it captures the required level of detail. Local police authorities may be able to provide guidelines on how best to position a camera.

Field of view

The fastest way to find the focal length of the lens required for a desired field of view is to use Axis online lens calculator.

The distance from the camera to the object

To calculate the distance from camera to subject, use Pythagorus’ Theorem: a² + b² = c²

Figure 9: Pythagorean Theorem: a² + b² = c²

Large area coverage with capture points

Although a single camera will provide an overall view of a scene, it might not provide enough detail to identify individuals. If this is one of the surveillance goals, then an additional camera can be included in the design (see below). Identification is now possible as a person enters the area.

Figure 10: A room covered by two cameras; one providing the overview and the other monitoring a capture point. 

Lighting considerations

Lighting considerations are crucial to successful camera placement. It is normally simple and cost-effective to add extra lighting to create the necessary conditions for getting good images, in both indoor and outdoor situations.

When mounting cameras outdoors, it is important to consider how the light will change during the day. It is also important to avoid direct sunlight, as this will blind the camera and possibly reduce the performance of the image sensor. If possible, position the camera so that the sun is behind it.

Avoid backlight

Backlight problems typically occur when attempting to capture an object in front of a window. Try repositioning the camera, or possibly block some of the light. If repositioning the camera is not an option, add some frontal lighting instead. Cameras with support for wide dynamic range are better at handling backlit scenarios.

Figure 11: Backlight can make it difficult to see a person’s face.

Direction of the sun

When mounting cameras outdoors, it is important to consider how the light will change during the day. Towards the end of the day, the camera in the red circle in Figure 12 would be facing the sun.
If the exterior of a building is to be monitored, the location can be more or less affected by direct sunlight. Place the camera where sunlight has the minimum impact.

Figure 12: Light changes direction over the course of a day.

Camera angles

The different ranges/zones of a camera are depicted in the figures below. The line closest to the camera in Figure 13 is where the maximum height is detectable. The yellow line illustrates the minimum required detectable height. The detection zone is in between these lines. These factors need to be addressed at the time of installation, to ensure proper camera coverage.

Figure 13:  The camera’s dead zones must be taken into consideration.

Field of view must be checked both horizontally and vertically. If using floor plans, remember that these will only give you a birds-eye view of the area. The side view must also be considered, to ensure the required coverage.

Figure 14: Check the field of view both horizontally and vertically.

Camera to object angle

When placing a cameras by a door or in a lobby, care should be taken to avoid placement at too high an angle. As seen here, the greater the angle, the more difficult it is to see facial features. In our example, an angle of 10-15° gives the best view for facial identification. On the other hand, placing a camera higher up puts it out of reach for vandals. It all comes back to the surveillance goals – is identification required or is an overview sufficient?


Figure 15: The greater the angle, the more difficult it is to see facial features.


When performing a camera installation, be sure to properly document the installation. This is crucial for the end-user, so that all information is at hand for future upgrades to the installation, and for vital safety information, such as where cables are located. Proper documentation can also help to reduce customer calls.

All aspects of the physical installation should be documented during the actual installation process. This documentation should include, but not be limited, to the following:

  • Physical network layout showing all cable locations and the cable and port numbering scheme
  • Camera and server IP addresses
  • Floor plan showing camera locations
  • Camera parameter setup list

The necessary documentation can then be handed over, allowing the end-user to verify the information and also make better use of the training provided prior to system startup.

End-user training

End-user training is one of the most important tasks for the completion of an installation. This step is required, not only to introduce users to new equipment, but also to consolidate new processes and procedures that may have been introduced by the installation.

Training not only benefits the user, it also benefits the integrator, by cutting down the number of post-installation queries. It also allows end-users to make better decisions and better use of the installed system.

The end-user training will require documentation from the equipment manufacturer, as well as from integration technicians. All aspects of the system will need to be taught to the users. Various user groups might also require different levels of training, from simple PTZ camera control and configuration to VMS recording and playback. 

Figure 16:  Training not only benefits the user, but also the integrator, by reducing post-installation queries.


  • Poorly or incorrectly installed network cabling can cause numerous problems in a network. 
  • Protect against voltage transients and interference
  • PoE provides simplified installation, lower costs, and the option to provide backup power via UPS
  • Select the correct level of environmental protection for the installation
  • Determine the required scene coverage and select the camera accordingly
  • Day/night cameras can use IR light (ambient or installed) to give images in very low light
  • Lightfinder technology allows cameras to give color images in very low light
  • WDR can be used in scenes with high levels of contrast
  • Camera positioning is key to achieving usable images
  • End-user training and documentation of the installation provide valuable insights for utilizing the system


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