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Common Security Camera Mistakes

When it comes to security, you want to deter intruders from targeting your property. Investing in advanced security and surveillance cameras with the latest technologies can be a smart approach, however, in order to be effective, they must be installed properly. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when installing a security camera system on your property.

Mistake #1 – Hiding Your Cameras
The presence of security cameras can deter bad behavior, so why would you hide them? Making them visible from the street, yet out of reach, is a good idea. Keeping the cameras out of reach is important to prevent any tampering or vandalism that could compromise their performance. Burglars are always on the hunt for an easy target, and homes or businesses with security cameras create an extra obstacle.

Mistake #2 – Camera Positioning
The important places to monitor are rather obvious, but you must also take intermittent lighting and weather conditions into consideration. Things like direct sunlight can wash out your recordings, while rain or snow can build up on the lens, and windy days can make branches and leaves a problem. All of these can interfere with your recordings and possibly make your footage useless.

The best way to avoid these issues is to employ proper housing to protect and shade your cameras. Keep an eye on your feed to ensure that various weather conditions are not interrupting your surveillance.

Furthermore, if you’re using IP cameras, it is crucial that each camera location has strong and consistent Wi-Fi signal. Weak or spotty connection will impede your camera system’s performance.

Mistake #3 – Cheap Systems
Unfortunately, not all security cameras are equal. While there are many inexpensive cameras and systems that may seem appealing (especially to your wallet), you will likely run into performance issues. When shopping for security cameras, be sure to pay attention to features and specifications. Look into user feedback and reviews to ensure you are making a sound investment.

Mistake #4 – Passwords
With anything security related, we can’t stress enough how important strong passwords are. And always, always, ALWAYS change the default password. If someone gains unauthorized access to your surveillance feed, they can study the layout of your system and your daily routines, mapping out the best time to attack.

If you have an internet-connected system, it likely offers remote monitoring, thus you need a password to access it. Again, change your default password as soon as possible, and choose a strong, complex, and long password that you can remember.

Mistake #5 – DIY Installation
While it may seem more practical to set things up on your own, it might be better to leave it to the professionals. You don’t want to risk ruining your equipment because you installed it improperly. Trustworthy companies usually offer warranties, and will come back to fix any issues should they arise.

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For a great selection of quality security cameras & CCTV surveillance packages, visit SecurityCamExpert.com. For more information about our products and installation services, please call 1-888-203-6294.

Secure Your IP Security Cameras

If you haven’t already, it might be time to upgrade from analog security cameras to an IP security camera system. IP security cameras are easier to use and connect to your home network. Your surveillance feed is more readily available and can be accessed remotely, and your storage space can easily be expanded or adjusted based on your individual needs.

While there are many benefits of upgrading, IP cameras can be more vulnerable to hackers. The good news is that these issues can be combated with smart security measures. Here are some things to consider to protect your IP surveillance feed.

Firmware Updates
Keep your firmware up-to-date. Manufacturers are always watching for any system or security vulnerabilities. When one is found, they work hard to address the issue and inform their customers of the necessary firmware update. Pay close attention to these notifications so that your system is secure. Checking your camera manufacturer’s website can also help, in case you don’t receive, or happen to overlook, any notifications.

Keep Cameras Local
Plain and simple – if you don’t want your feed to end up on the Internet, don’t connect your cameras to the Internet. Keep your cameras on a local network with non-routable IP addresses (ex. 192.168.0.5 or something similar). Though, even with this measure, your cameras could still be exposed by software that sets up port forwarding or uses UPNP to expose your cameras to the Internet. Be sure to visit your camera manufacturer’s website to learn how to set them up in local-only mode.

Passwords
Any password can be better than no password at all. Most cameras do not have password protection for video feeds set on default. After you install and set up your cameras, be sure add password protection to secure your feed. Create a username and strong password, and make sure you change it periodically to increase security.

Do your cameras come with default usernames and passwords? Change them immediately after setup and installation. This is the easiest way for hackers, or anyone, to gain access to your feed.

WPA2 Encryption
When it comes to wireless cameras, the only network you should connect it to is a WPA2-encrypted wireless network. Encryption adds protection and will keep hackers away.

Placement
Think about the placement of your cameras. Only place cameras in areas inside your home that you are comfortable with being monitored. No matter how secure your system is, there is a chance a new vulnerability has not been found yet and you could become the victim. Remember, when in doubt, leave the camera out.

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Installation Tips For Your Network IP Security Cameras

These days, network IP security cameras are favored over analog security cameras because they offer more advanced features. Benefits include improved image quality, remote accessibility, and simplified installation and integration.

To gain the full amenities of network IP security cameras (or any security cameras), proper installation and placement is key. Follow these tips to maximize the performance of your network IP camera system.

Installation:

  • Be sure to match UTP connected devices (ex. couplers, modular plugs, wall plates) to the Category of the cable used and remain consistent throughout installation.
  • For optimal performance, by design and specification, cable runs in an IP camera system should not exceed 295 feet.
  • The bend radius for Cat 5e and Cat 6 must be limited to four times the cable diameter, and the acceptable bend radius is no less than 1 inch.
  • While installing Cat 5e or Cat 6 cable, the pull tension cannot exceed 25 pounds.
  • Limit the length before stripping the sheath from a cable in a wall box. That way the excess can be easily pushed back into the wall cavity.
  • Use devices like D rings, bridle rings, and J hooks rather than stapling Cat 5e and Cat 6 cables. This will prevent the risk of altering the outer form or dimensions of the cable.
  • Maintain a parallel distance of 6-10 inches between Cat 5e and Cat 6 cables and high voltage wires (120/240VAC).
  • Strip your Cat 5e and Cat 6 cables back as little as possible when attaching them to connecting devices.
  • Use either the T568A or T568B connection format and stick to that format for the entire installation for consistency.

Positioning:

  • Consider the environment where you will be installing your IP cameras. Take note of things like lighting and conditions when selecting the appropriate camera.
  • When considering placement, be aware of the field of view and potential obstructions.
  • Test the network connectivity in the area where you will place your cameras. Poor connectivity will compromise the camera’s performance.
  • With all outdoor cameras, especially in areas know for lightning, use surge protection.
  • Be sure that your PoE power supply is sufficient for your system. Compute your power load and choose the appropriate PoE power supply.
  • To protect your cameras, use vandal-proof and/or weatherproof housing accordingly.
  • While Cat 6 UTP is the best choice, Cat 5e should suffice for handling most video transport needs.
  • Using fiber instead of metallic will allow you to run camera signals at greater distances and with greater bandwidth.
  • Always use safe installation practices for the safety of yourself and others.

Concerned about doing your own installation? We offer installation services in the Los Angeles, Orange County, Inland Empire, and surrounding areas. Feel free to contact us at 1-888-203-6294 or visit us online at SecurityCamExpert.com. You may also connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Troubleshooting Tips For Your Security Camera Systems

Security camera systems are a great way to protect your family, home, business and property. You can monitor your security camera systems while you’re at home or away, providing you with a stronger sense of security and safety as you go about your day to day activities.

Security cameras can help catch burglars in the act, or even deter them from targeting you. But much like everyone, security cameras are not perfect. Issues may arise here and there, but these tips should help you troubleshoot some common problems.

Problem: No Picture Or Signal

When there is no picture or signal, you want to double check that everything is properly connected. Start by ensuring that the power adapter is plugged in and the outlet in which it is plugged is functioning correctly. If your security camera is plugged into a surge protector, be sure that the surge protector is, in fact, on. To check if your security camera is receiving power, locate the light sensor and cover it with your finger. If your camera is receiving power, this will activate the night vision and you should see the LEDs glow red. If your camera has an Auto Mechanical IR Cut Filter, you may hear a clicking noise. Next, you’ll want to see that the cables are properly connected to the TV or DVR. If you suspect an issue with the extension cable, switch the cable that is connected to the camera. This will help to determine whether or not there is an issue with the extension cable run.

If you have issues with picture or signal on your TV, be sure that the correct input channel has been selected. Common inputs include: Input, AV, Channel, Line 1, Line 2, AUX. If a DVR is involved, make sure everything is properly connected (the camera video cable should be connected to the Video Input/Video IN/Camera IN port) and the correct input is chosen. You may also try connecting the camera to a different channel. Also, double check that the channel does not have Covert Recording enabled. This feature will prevent the camera from being viewed locally.

Problem: Picture Is Too Bright/Dark

If the picture is too bright or dark, you are likely having issues with the light source. If it’s too bright, be sure that your camera is not directly pointed at a light source (e.g. sun, spotlight). You can adjust the angle, or, if your camera has a sunshade, adjust it to block some of the excess light. If your picture is too dark, you’ll want to angle your camera more toward a light source and/or adjust the sunshade to let more light in. You can also control the brightness and contrast settings on the device that your camera is connected to (e.g. DVR, TV, monitor). If you are still having problems, you may need to find a different location for your security camera.

Problem: Picture Is Not Clear

If your picture is not clear, you may need to clean your camera lens. Check for dust, spiderwebs, dirt, etc. Another possibility is that your extension cable runs may be too long; the distance maybe compromising the clarity. If you have a camera with a varifocal lens, you may need to refocus the lens by adjusting the focus and zoom settings. Periodic readjustment of varifocal lenses is common.

For all your security camera needs, visit SecurityCamExpert.com. Along with our excellent security equipment, we also offer free CCTV Camera System quotes, installation, and technical support. Learn more online or give us a call at 1-888-203-6294. We are always happy to help.

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Security Camera Placement

You can purchase the best security camera on the market and go to all the lengths to get the most advanced technology, but improper placement can interfere with the relevance of your surveillance footage. Security camera placement can make or break your case. At just the right angle, you may be able to identify a person, but even as little as one degree and stealthy maneuvers can keep a person anonymous.

Placing security cameras in high traffic areas is smart, but it is also important to monitor blind spots or areas of low traffic too. Footage of high traffic areas can help to create a timeline for a specific individual if need be. While these high traffic areas can capture many people, areas where foot traffic is slow, or known blind spots, can become hot spots for criminal activity.

It’s common for people to want to place security cameras on ceilings or up high on walls so that a wider area can be monitored. The problem with this placement is that image quality can be compromised when zooming in on a person. This can negatively affect identifying a possible suspect. Also, hats can interfere with getting a clear shot of a person’s face, making is nearly impossible to identify a person.

Better placement for security cameras is at or near eye level. If the cameras catch people’s eyes, they are likely to look straight into the lens, giving a clear shot of their face. This makes it easier to identify possible suspects.

If you’re able to utilize multiple cameras, it’s wise to carefully place the cameras so that they leave no blind spots and footage can be pieced together fairly seamlessly. Placing a camera on a ceiling or up high to oversee an entire room could work within a multiple camera security system, where cameras can be placed at various angles and levels.

One camera could hang above and be able to survey the entire area, while other cameras should be placed closer to eye level for better facial identification. The camera overseeing it all will not be able to zoom in on a person with great clarity, but once identified, surveillance footage from cameras at eye level can be used to identify the individual.

Because people can use hats, umbrellas, or other random objects to block themselves from view of security cameras, it’s important to consider all angles. If you’re able to use multiple cameras, consider the different security camera placements that can catch different, beneficial angles. Catching a criminal off guard can be what gets that person caught and brought to justice.

While there are many things to consider for security cameras and surveillance systems, there are also plenty of resources to help you. Contact SecurityCamExpert.com at 1-888-203-6294 for any questions or concerns you may have. You can also visit us online to browse our products or request a live chat while you shop.

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