24 types of security cameras to protect your business

March 2, 2023

There are many different types of security cameras, and choosing the right ones to protect your business is the first step in building a strong business security system. In this article, we summarize the different types of security cameras for businesses through a series of comparisons.

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The first decision is whether you need analog or digital security cameras. Analog is outdated technology, but that doesn’t mean you need to replace your current analog cameras with digital ones. Solink can work with your analog cameras. However, going forward, only Internet protocol (IP) security cameras should be purchased.

Here’s a quick summary of this decision point:

  • Analog cameras still have value, so you can probably save money by using them until their natural end of life (EoL).
  • Digital cameras are better than analog today, and the higher price is offset by cheaper installation. Solink recommends that you buy digital cameras.
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1. Analog security cameras

Analog cameras are generally considered obsolete technology. However, as mentioned above, most are still compatible with modern cloud surveillance systems. That means that, while you should buy digital cameras going forward, there is no reason to rip-and-replace your current analog system.

Analog cameras generally transmit data using a coaxial cable or a yellow RCA cable, but radio frequency (RF) wireless analog security cameras are available. Most analog cameras record in standard definition (SD), but some high definition (HD) models are also available.

2. CCTV security cameras

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) is used to describe the opposite of broadcast TV (e.g., CBS, ABC, and NBC). CCTV is therefore TV that is not meant to be seen by everyone. CCTV, instead of being transmitted publicly to subscribers, is shared with specific television sets, such as the one in a security office.

For this reason, “CCTV camera” is often used as a synonym for “security camera” or “surveillance camera,” which is why digital security cameras are sometimes also referred to as CCTV cameras, but at a technical level CCTV cameras are analog.

3. Digital security cameras

Digital security cameras record and transmit video digitally. They are a newer form of security cameras and can reach much higher resolutions than analog cameras. Digital cameras start at HD but can go to 4K and even higher levels of resolution.

Digital cameras use Power over Ethernet (PoE) cables to transmit data as well as power, which means only one cable is required to both power and connect the camera to a network. This usually saves cost when installing security cameras, offsetting the higher price tag of digital cameras compared to analog ones.

Note that, while most digital security cameras transmit data and power over PoE, there are solar- and battery-powered security cameras as well as wireless security cameras that transmit using WiFi.

4. IP security cameras

Internet protocol cameras (IP cameras) transmit their data digitally over an IP network. This is another name for a digital security camera.

Most IP cameras are designed to be interoperable according to the protocols defined by the Open Network Video Interface Forum (ONVIF). This is what makes it possible to connect your IP cameras to other hardware and software regardless of the brand or manufacturer.

However, unlike Solink, not all cloud-based security companies embrace this technology agnostic approach. This is why IPVM has labeled Meraki, Rhombus, and Verkada as “hostage as a service” companies.

To see the benefits of Solink’s interoperability, sign up for a demo today.

security camera illustrations in row

Wired vs. wireless

A traditional analog camera requires two cables: the coaxial cable for transmission and the power cord for electricity. In contrast, most IP security cameras use a single PoE cable for both data transmission and electricity. When looking at wired vs. wireless security cameras, you need to consider both data transmission and electricity.

Here’s a quick summary of this decision point:

  • Analog cameras need two cables (transmission and power), while digital cameras only require one (PoE).
  • Analog wireless security cameras use radio frequency (RF) transmission, while digital security cameras use WiFi.
  • If you want truly wireless security cameras, then you also need battery-powered security cameras.
  • Wired security cameras are more reliable than wireless ones. Whenever possible, Solink recommends using wired, specifically PoE IP security cameras, in your business.

5. Wired security cameras

Both analog and digital security cameras are generally wired. Analog cameras require a power cord for electricity and separate cable for transmitting the video. Digital cameras use the same Ethernet cable for both power and transmitting data.

Here are some of the types of wired security cameras.

6. PoE security cameras

IP security cameras use a power over Ethernet (PoE) connection for both power and transmitting data. PoE cables have a transmission range of approximately 300 feet.

Because only a single cable is used, the installation costs of IP cameras tend to be lower. This offsets the higher cost of the camera, making IP cameras not just the better technology for future camera purchases but a cost-effective alternative to analog cameras.

7. CVBS security cameras

CVBS can stand for “composite video baseband signal” or “color, video, blanking and sync.” It is carried by the yellow RCA cable (white and red are for stereo audio). This is a common connector for CCTV security cameras. However, the range can be quite limited due to noise. Typically, CVBS has a maximum range of 300 feet.

8. TVI security cameras

Transport video interface (TVI) is a way of transmitting analog video over a coaxial cable. These are the black cables used to watch cable TV.

This has two main advantages over CVBS. First, the transmission range is extended from 300 feet up to 900 feet. Second, TVI is one of several technologies that can allow analog security cameras to operate at high definition (HD).


9. Wireless security cameras

Wireless security cameras transmit the video feed wirelessly, but they still require power. Although there are battery- or solar-powered types of security cameras, they tend to only be used where electricity is impractical.

That’s because battery-powered security cameras can be considered less robust than those connected to the grid. It can also be impractical to regularly service the camera with new batteries.

Both digital and analog security cameras can be wireless. Wireless analog cameras connect to the network using a radio frequency (RF) signal. Conversely, wireless digital (IP) cameras connect to the network via WiFi.

WiFi signals are very robust to noise, while RF signals are less reliable because cell phones and other nearby devices can interfere with the signal. However, the range of WiFi signals is very limited compared to both wired connections and RF wireless signals.

Here are some of the types of wireless security cameras.

10. WiFi security cameras

WiFi is generally considered robust to noise, can be reasonably secure, and fast WiFi connections now exist (2.4 GHz vs. newer 5 GHz and 6 GHz signals). However, it is never going to be as fast, robust, or secure as Ethernet.

Furthermore, WiFi has a limited range. After a maximum of about 50 feet, the signal becomes too weak for reliable video transmission. This theoretical range can be drastically reduced if there are obstacles such as walls between the security camera and router. In comparison, Ethernet cables, used for IP cameras, can reliably be used at distances over 300 feet.

11. RF security cameras

Wireless analog security cameras use RF signals to transmit data. When this technology was first released, it was a great innovation but is now considered obsolete. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to replace current RF cameras, but Solink recommends purchasing IP cameras going forward.

12. Battery-powered security cameras

Most security cameras are either powered by PoE (IP cameras) or plugged directly into a wall socket. However, this is not always possible. Solink always recommends against the use of battery-powered security cameras, but where cabling is not practical, they have their use.

To extend the interval between charges, most battery-powered security cameras remain in standby mode until motion is detected. This makes them useful where the security requirements are lower, but it is still valuable to have some video of events.

For example, large mining facilities might not want to run PoE cables and repeaters along their perimeter fence, but they still want to have evidence if someone climbs the fence due to the high risk of injury.

Video only vs. audio and video

Security cameras that record audio and video are available on the market. They provide a lot of useful context to situations. This includes many incidents that might not be foreseen ahead of time when installing your business security cameras.

However, there are situations where recording audio is impractical, for example loud or windy environments. There are also places where sound is unlikely to be of use, for example if no people are expected to be found within the camera’s field of view. In those cases, video-only security cameras can suffice.

Here’s a quick summary of this decision point:

  • Not all security cameras also record audio.
  • Audio can be surprisingly helpful at times. Sometimes it’s hard to anticipate beforehand when audio will come in handy.
  • Having both video and audio can be especially valuable for places where people interact regularly, for example near the point of sale (POS).

13. Video-only security cameras

Some locations do not require audio recording. Others are so noisy that any valuable audio would be drowned out by the ambient noise. In these situations, video-only security cameras are a cheaper option.

14. Audio and video security cameras

Most types of security cameras have models that can record both audio and video. Audio recording can be surprisingly valuable in many situations. If the deployment environment is quiet enough that clear audio could be recorded, it is recommended that you use security cameras that record both video and audio.

Residential vs. commercial

While some people might see the value in buying commercial-grade security systems for their private homes, the opposite should never happen. When new entrepreneurs look to build their business security camera system, they might be inclined to buy a cheaper, one-box system off of Amazon.

However, these security cameras are not as robust, do not last as long, and often cannot be connected to other data sources such as the point of sale. These early cost-saving measures can lead to big losses in the long term.

Here’s a quick summary of this decision point:

  • Residential security cameras are less reliable, have lower interoperability, and have shorter lifespans than commercial security cameras.
  • Solink recommends that you only purchase made-for-business security cameras to protect your enterprise.

15. Home security cameras

Home security cameras have evolved a lot in the last ten years. Residential security cameras, video doorbells, and on-site or cloud storage, with or without a monitoring service, are now available. This has increased the perimeter security level attainable for residences. However, it must be stressed that these security cameras are still not up to the task of protecting businesses.

16. Business security cameras

Several companies specialize in the manufacture and sale of commercial-grade security cameras:

SD vs. HD vs. 4K

Standard definition (SD), high definition (HD), and 4K refer to the resolution at which your security cameras record footage. Most analog cameras record in SD, although there are some HD analog security cameras on the market.

Conversely, IP cameras have at least HD and sometimes even 4K or 8K resolution. Resolution is how many pixels, or tiny color dots, are shown in the recorded image. Here’s the level of resolution of SD, HD, and 4K video:

  • SD usually refers to resolutions below 720 × 480 pixels.
  • HD usually refers to 1280 × 720 or 1920 × 1080 pixels.
  • 4K refers to 3840 × 2160 to 4096 × 2160 pixels.

While your instinct might be that “higher definition is always better,” there is a tradeoff between resolution and bandwidth. For higher resolution, you’ll need a faster Internet connection to watch real-time video without buffering issues.

Here’s a handy table showing you the recommended minimum bandwidth for different resolutions:

Video resolution Average bandwidth use for simultaneous viewing
(at 10 frames per second)
720 × 480 0.75 Mbps per camera
1280 × 720 1.5 Mbps per camera
1920 × 1080 2 Mbps per camera
3840 × 2160 8 Mbps per camera
4096 × 2160 10 Mbps per camera

That’s why Solink simultaneously records SD and HD video feeds from your security cameras. When you launch the Solink platform, you can instantly see the SD stream. This way you can search through your video footage easily, even on a mobile device. Then, when you’ve found needed video footage, you can switch over to the HD feed for a clearer view of what’s happening.

Here’s a quick summary of this decision point:

  • Higher definition provides a better view of a larger area.
  • IP security cameras start at HD and can be 4K or even 8K.
  • Higher definition video requires a faster connection to view in real time.
  • Solink simultaneously records your security camera footage in SD and HD, so you can instantly see what is happening in SD and then switch to HD when you need more details.

17. SD security cameras

There are only analog SD security cameras. Since SD video footage requires less bandwidth to transmit, there is some value to SD video feeds despite offering a less clear view of an area.

However, since Solink simultaneously records SD and HD video feeds, SD security cameras can be considered obsolete.

18. HD security cameras

Both analog and digital HD security cameras are available on the market. Unless you are trying to record a very large field of view or a specific area from far away, HD cameras are probably sufficient.

19. 4K security cameras (and beyond)

While HD security cameras are sufficient for many use cases, 4K and even 8K IP security cameras are becoming the norm. If you look at various types of security cameras for business on different marketplaces, HD-only cameras are slowly becoming harder to find.

In fact, the front page of these marketplaces are now dominated by 8K security cameras. The problem with 4K and 8K cameras is the data storage and transmission. For this reason, unless you need very high resolution, for example due to regulatory constraints, consider HD cameras for your cloud video security system.

Before purchasing any security cameras on these marketplaces, note that Solink offers wholesale pricing on security cameras, which can save you money when initially setting up a security system.

To see how Solink can help you select the right types of security cameras, sign up for a demo today.

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Security camera styles

There is a specific style of security camera designed for every environment. Some are designed with harsh environments in mind so they can be deployed outside, in freezers, or hot manufacturing facilities. Others are reinforced to prevent vandalism.

Different types of security cameras also have varying fields of views. They can range from as narrow as 15° for long-range 18 mm turret cameras to 360° × 180° for fisheye cameras. Most buildings will require multiple different types of security cameras for optimal security coverage.

Larger lens sizes have a narrower field of view, but they can see objects clearly at a greater distance. Here’s a graphic showing this relationship:

different camera lens size chart

Here’s a quick summary of this decision point:

  • All security cameras can be deployed indoors, but not all can be used outdoors or in other harsh environments.
  • PTZ cameras can be manually operated to see different fields of view, but only 360 cameras record in all directions at once.
  • Solink recommends asking one of our security experts for a custom security camera layout to ensure you position the right cameras in the right places to maximize coverage and minimize cost.

To book some time with one of our security experts, sign up for a demo today.

Bullet cameras are some of the most common security cameras on the market. They are small and get their name from their shape.

Their small size and easy installation allow them to be deployed in many situations, both indoors and outdoors. In addition, their small size means they are usually less noticeable than larger security cameras.

A white cctv camera on a black background.

21. Turret security cameras

Turret security cameras have a ball-and-socket design. Within the “turret”, the ball-like camera can be positioned to look at different angles. This makes their installation and re-positioning flexible. It also means that the camera’s field of view can be different from that of the turret, making it harder to know exactly what is being recorded.

Note that, once installed, you’ll need to physically reposition the camera to get a new field of view.

Hikvision ip dvr ddr ddr ddr ddr ddr.

Dome cameras are cameras covered with a dome. This provides two advantages. First, the cover protects the camera from vandalism. Second, the camera inside the dome could be pointing in any direction, which provides greater security value.

However, as with many of the other cameras on this list, it has a fixed viewing angle that cannot be changed remotely.

A white cctv camera on a black background.

23. PTZ security cameras

PTZ stands for pan, tilt, zoom, and that’s basically what they can do. This type of security camera can be controlled remotely to pan across a larger area or zoom in on something in particular.

This added functionality usually comes with a higher price tag. However, you might be able to offset the added cost per camera by using fewer cameras in total. Note that, even though PTZ cameras can be repositioned remotely, it still only records what is in frame.

Protect your business with a PTZ (Pan, tilt, and zoom) camera

24. 360 security cameras

360 security cameras, sometimes called fisheye cameras, can be considered the next step in the evolution of commercial security cameras. PTZ cameras improve on the base turret cameras by allowing the user to change the viewing angle remotely. 360 security cameras go even further by giving the user a complete 360° by 180° view all of the time.

This makes them great options for monitoring large open areas, such as a college cafeteria or gymnasium.

A white dome camera on a black background.

360 degree cameras get their nickname of fisheye cameras due to the distorted image shown. This made it hard to understand exactly what was happening within the video. However, using modern gaming technology, Solink stretches out this view to give you an immersive look at what is happening at your site.

Here’s a 360 security camera at work within the Solink app:

View all angles of your restaurant with a 360 degree camera

Solink takes a technology agnostic position to your current security infrastructure. This means that we can work with most existing security cameras, which saves you money.

In addition, Solink sells open security cameras at wholesale prices, so you are never held hostage to branded infrastructure. Our no-term contracts gives you the freedom to see our ROI without commitment.

To get your custom security camera layout, sign up for a demo today.

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Timothy Ware |

Timothy Ware is Solink’s Content Manager. He brings over ten years of writing and editing experience to the job. When he isn’t writing about security, loss prevention, and asset protection, he’s enjoying his newest board game. His work has appeared on many B2B SaaS websites including Baremetrics, Security Today, TeamPassword, Cova, and SignTime.