January 23, 2023
What SIM Cards are Best for CCTV Cameras?

What SIM Cards are Best for CCTV Cameras?

Read time:
2 Minutes

Many businesses are conscious of security—whether you’re looking to secure your office building, construction site, warehouse or even vehicle parking spaces, CCTV is a vital asset.

However, almost every CCTV system needs to connect to the internet, usually for remote access to the cameras. As a provider of SIM cards, we’re often asked by CCTV companies and security conscious businesses to provide SIM cards to their CCTV cameras.

The Different Types of CCTV Cameras and Systems

There are two main types of CCTV system, and each require a slightly different form of connectivity. 

1. Recording to a DVR recorder

A very common way to setup a CCTV system, is to have all your cameras connect back to a single box, usually called a Digital Video Recorder (DVR). 

Example of a DVR

These DVRs store a large number of recordings, which is particularly helpful if you have multiple cameras setup across your premises or site. DVRs come in all sizes, and most businesses will choose one that gives them enough for a few weeks of video storage.

CCTV systems with DVR recorders usually require a Fixed IP SIM card, which allows users to dial into the DVR remotely to access the files. Scroll down to find out more about fixed IP.

2. Live streaming to the cloud

The second main type of CCTV cameras are ‘live streaming’ cameras. These CCTV cameras often send high quality files, or sometimes even full live streams, into the cloud. 

A common example of cloud CCTV is Ring doorbells, which hook up to WiFi and transmit video across the internet to a cloud platform that you can view remotely with an app.

Ring CCTV Camera
Ring CCTV Camera

Many consumer and off-the-shelf CCTV products use this method, as it requires less setup and technical knowledge than a DVR system, and can often be setup over a WiFi connection, for a simpler install.

Live streaming CCTV cameras normally require a standard Data-Only (or MBB) SIM card, which sends a constant data stream across the SIM to the cloud. Scroll down to find out more about data-only SIMs.

Fixed-IP SIM Cards

As the name suggests, fixed IP SIM cards are SIM cards (like the kind you would use for a mobile phone), but they come with a static (fixed) IP address. This means that the IP address (similar to the postal address of a house) stays the same so that users can always gain access.

In contrast, regular SIMs have a dynamic IP address, which changes frequently, therefore, remote users cannot consistently locate it.

The static IP address allows users to remotely dial into the equipment. This is important, as DVRs are most often situated inside a comms cabinet or office on-site, which obviously means that remote users won’t have physical access.

Most of our Fixed IP SIMs are inside of a managed 4G router (usually connected to the DVR) which allows the users to dial in over the fixed IP to access their files.

CCTV Camera with 4G Router Diagram
CCTV Camera with Fixed IP 4G Router Diagram

The main benefit of Fixed IP SIM cards are the security. You’re not relying on a cloud platform or someone else’s hardware for your CCTV system, as the files are stored locally on your DVR.

Fixed IP SIMs are more expensive than their standard, data-only counterpart, but often don’t need nearly as much monthly data, as the CCTV system is not uploading huge files to the cloud.

Data-Only Mobile Broadband SIMs

The other type of SIM card for CCTV cameras is a standard, data-only SIM. These are very similar to a standard mobile phone SIM card, but just don’t come with any calls or texts loaded into them, just 4G to 5G data allowances.

Some CCTV cameras have a slot for their own SIM card, while some utilise a WiFi or wired LAN connection back to a router. 

CCTV Cameras and 4G Router Diagram
CCTV Cameras with 4G Router Diagram

Data-only SIMs are most popular at construction sites, or smaller offices that want a simple CCTV setup, with no DVR or fixed IP to configure. Data only SIMs allow for an easier setup, with some CCTV cameras even connecting over WiFi.

One drawback of using a CCTV system that requires data-only SIMs is the high amount of data that is required, as you’re constantly streaming. However, this can be combatted with unlimited tariffs.

Most of our customers connect multiple CCTV cameras to one router, using an unlimited 4G data SIM. This helps reduce cost by avoiding multiple tariffs, even if you have multiple CCTV cameras.

What SIM Do I Need for my CCTV System?

If you’re unsure which SIM card you might need for your CCTV cameras, get in touch with us, and one of our friendly technical team will be able to advise what your options are.

If you have any questions, or would like some more information about how Bytes Digital can help your business, email hello@bytesdigital.co.uk give us a call on 03331 301 021.

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