CCTV Installation Guide: All You Need To Know

Discover how to design, build, and install commercial-grade security camera systems to increase employee safety and reduce crime.

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Are you planning to install commercial security cameras to protect your business or property? Would you like to see all your property from your smartphone and even stop crime before it happens?

Installing security cameras to secure your equipment, premises, and people is ideal. Having video evidence of any crime on your property can help catch the perpetrator, show where a business and home security system is vulnerable, and help you make the necessary changes so that it doesn’t happen again.

Security camera CCTV systems come in various image resolutions, integration capabilities, and use cases. Discover how to design, build, and install commercial-grade security camera systems to increase employee safety and reduce crime.

Download your free copy of the guide to keep in your back pocket. Or, if you’re ready to dive in, continue your journey below.

ultimate-guide-security-camera-installation-book

Security Camera Installation

Wired and wireless business security camera systems provide 24/7 safety if adequately positioned. The CCTV installation process is clear, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

You can install a security camera and surveillance system yourself, but it will usually pay to have it installed by professional CCTV installers.

Where Do You Install Security Cameras?

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the front door, back door, and first-floor windows are the most common entryways for criminals. CCTV camera installation service providers should cover main entrances, such as front and back doors, gates, and the paths leading up to them.

They should also monitor first-floor windows, where trouble is most likely. After that, cameras can be placed at the corners of your building to capture the entire perimeter. Parking lots and garages are also risky areas, which should be monitored day and night.

Pay attention to the field of view and avoid blind spots when installing business security camera systems. You should also pay attention to lighting; placing cameras in well-lit areas ensures a brighter, clearer image. You may also consider cameras that use infrared to detect body heat and function similarly to night vision.

Commercial-grade security cameras should be high enough that people can’t tamper with them—around 9 feet off the ground is usually enough. You should also consider whether you want your cameras to be visible to intruders.

For more information on where to install security cameras, check out this article.

checklist

Security Camera Installation Checklist

Ensure a smooth installation of security camera systems for your commercial property.

Camera Angle And Positioning

HikVision Professional technician installing Security Camera

During security camera installation, the camera’s distance from its subject must be considered. All the right areas should be in focus and visible at all times.

Avoid placing the cameras where they can be obscured by glare — this means cameras should not face direct sunlight, as too much light reduces visibility.

A CCTV camera, such as a dome camera, should generally be installed at a downward angle unless they are round. If you mount a camera to a wall or structure, ensure it’s mounted properly so the camera won’t shake and distort the picture.

Basic Components of a CCTV System

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Commercial Security Cameras

Commercial security cameras capture footage of everything in and around a facility and then send data to recorders, monitors, and mobile devices. Commercial camera units come in various hardware types for different camera installation service needs.

Which security cameras suit your business depends on your needs, location, and budget; are you placing them indoors or outdoors? Is 1080P a large enough resolution?

Will they be able to see and record clips efficiently in low lighting? Is the positioning with an adequate field of view, or will a PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom) camera be necessary? These are all critical questions when choosing cameras for your CCTV installation project.

Cabling & Wiring for CCTV Camera Installation

For most commercial CCTV systems, installing cameras requires structured cabling running throughout the walls and connecting the security cameras to the server or NVR.

While more and more wireless commercial security cameras are becoming popular, especially for home use, wired security cameras still reign supreme for more permanent and demanding use.

IP Camera Installation Cabling

When using IP cameras—as most CCTV systems do these days—you will most likely be looking at Cat5E or Cat6 cables. These cables can transfer the large amount of data required by digital and high resolutions at breakneck speeds, often over long distances.

This is an upgrade from the coax cabling that usually powers analog security cameras; coax cables are reliable but incompatible with IP camera installation. In many cases, Cat5e and Cat6 cables will also power the commercial security cameras, eliminating the need for further wiring.

Power-Over-Ethernet requires a PoE switch when the security cameras are not connected to an NVR. Wireless security cameras may need less wiring in the walls but will still require cables to power the business or home security system separately, usually via 110VAC power.

Network Video Recorder (NVR)

The Network Video Recorder, also known as the NVR, is another essential element of an IP camera. Connected to the same IP network, the NVR can be installed virtually anywhere in your building or home.

The NVR allows you to record and store clips on a hard drive, snap images, and transmit them to your computer or remote device for live and recorded viewing. Network Video Recorders usually have multiple channels for inputting business camera feeds and are an all-in-one place for combining feeds and keeping a comprehensive eye on your feeds.

NVRs and DVRs may be placed on a shelf or desk, wall mounted, or behind a false wall after CCTV installation.

NVRs differ mainly from DVRs in that they record clips from IP cameras, while DVRs mainly record analog-based video digitally. Standard DVR recorders use coaxial cables, while many NVRs connect through Ethernet cables, such as Cat5e or Cat6.

Hard Drives

An NVR makes it easy to record videos, but you will need connected hard drives to store this video.

Choosing the right amount of facility for your surveillance camera installation can seem like a confusing gamble, but it doesn’t have to be; it’s simply a matter of calculating the length of video footage you need to store by the bitrate and resolution your camera shoots at.

When recording 4k business camera video, this can be a large number requiring terabytes of footage. For lesser archival needs, you can get away with much less.

checklist

Security Camera Installation Checklist

Ensure a smooth installation of security camera systems for your commercial property.

Which is Better, DVR or NVR?

DVRs with coaxial cables generally have image quality that deteriorates after around 300 feet. With an NVR system, you can get around this by using a POE extender, POE injector, or POE switch to extend cables over long distances while maintaining high image quality.

NVRs offer high flexibility. They are connected to the same IP network and can be installed virtually anywhere in a building.

Since NVRs use software programs to record video automatically in digital format, they can easily transmit data over computer networks and even view a security camera remotely in real time on a mobile device.

NVRs are also typically newer and more advanced security camera systems that offer higher video quality, compatibility with more cameras, and more flexible features.

Installing a DVR is the best bet for existing coaxial wiring, an ethernet cable, and analog cameras. For commercial security system installation starting from scratch, NVRs are a great choice, as they offer higher-resolution IP cameras and remote video feed access.

Check out this article to learn more about the difference between NVRs and DVRs.

Security Camera System Installation: Video Storage

video monitoring system

How Much Storage Do You Need?

Storing footage from commercial CCTV cameras for at least 30 days is recommended for most businesses. For large operations, camera footage is often stored for up to 90 days, requiring a more extensive storage solution with more capacity. 

Storing more footage generally means using more physical space, hard drives, and terabytes. The average 12-camera business CCTV system requires at least eight terabytes of space to store 1080p footage for 30 days at industry standard frames per second.

To learn more about security camera storage options, read our blog here.

Do You Need a Hard Drive For Security Cameras?

Recording security camera footage requires hard drives and cloud-based storage. If you have analog cameras, the DVR has a hard drive. In IP commercial camera system installation, the NVR system can use hard drives for onsite and cloud-based recording in case of hard drive malfunction.

Check out this article to learn more about hard drives for security cameras.

What About Cloud Storage?

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Modern CCTV cameras allow users to store security footage in the cloud, allowing owners and managers to access live and recorded footage from a mobile device or web browser.

This is an excellent alternative to memory cards because it offers better storage of large video files and more convenience in today’s internet-based world.

Using the cloud allows users to get instant alerts, making it easy to view and respond to footage in real time, even when users are offsite. Many cloud-based CCTV camera systems offer a limited amount of free cloud storage and monthly, annual, or lifetime subscriptions.

checklist

Security Camera Installation Checklist

Ensure a smooth installation of security camera systems for your commercial property.

Types of Security Cameras

Bullet Cameras

best office security systems

Bullet cameras range in size from a rifle bullet or a lipstick tube to a bread loaf, but the basic gist is the same.

Mount cameras have a tri-axis mount (so don’t worry about orienting them while you’re screwing them into the wall) and focus on a specific part of your premises.

Given their tubular design, they have room for night-vision and IR features and better range and zoom capabilities than the flatter dome security cameras.

Since they’re so obviously recognizable as security cameras, they’re also a great deterrent and easy to mount anywhere. The commercial security system is quite durable with the typical weatherproof hoods, but it doesn’t always come with the full IP certification of other models.

On the other hand, they’re more susceptible to damage than other models and make tempting nests for wildlife, so make sure you choose a good spot to install cameras on your premises.

Dome Cameras

dome camera

A dome camera’s small, black orb offers a better field of view than its bullet counterpart. It’s also a more subtle, durable security camera on the market. The humble dome has advantages if you want a less assertive security camera system.

Since they can survey vast areas, dome cameras are great for retail establishments, restaurants, hotels, and casinos. Since they are small and out of the way, dome cameras offer subtlety for those who want to hide their security cameras.

Dome cameras are durable, resisting vandalism and environmental damage. They are generally used indoors and mounted on ceilings. The commercial security camera system is ideal for dirty spaces thanks to its solid, dirt-proof shell.

Turret Cameras

Also called “eyeball” cameras, turret cameras have a ball-and-socket joint that allows you to precisely redirect the field of view without repeatedly remounting the security camera.

They’re great for warehouses. Some of these may resemble dome cameras, but there’s a simple trick to distinguish them – if the lens and the IR LEDs are in front of the glass on the housing rather than contained behind it, you’ve got a turret CCTV camera instead of a dome.

Since the glass housing doesn’t get in the way, they are more vandal-proof than dome cameras, but they make up for it in capabilities. They are also great for repositioning on the fly but better for low light and infrared since the glass housing doesn’t impede the lens.

Some find it necessary to tell where they’ve been aimed so that they can give a panoptic impression as a deterrent, regardless of their actual field of view. Installing video surveillance with a few of these is an excellent option for several configurations.

PTZ (Pan Tilt Zoom) Cameras

PTZ cameras, or “pan-tilt-zoom” cameras, can be re-aimed remotely using an app, joystick, or computer program.

PTZ cameras can track a person or a car across a range or be programmed to cycle through different orientations to give you a 360-degree field of view with a single piece of hardware. They can also zoom in and focus on faces or license plates in real time.

What PTZ cameras lack in hardiness, they make up for in versatility. They are one of the most adaptive types of security cameras and the ultimate IP camera; these “pan-tilt-zoom” cameras can be re-aimed remotely.

They can track a person or a car across a range or be programmed to cycle through different orientations to give you a more comprehensive field of view with a single piece of hardware. They can also zoom in and focus on faces or license plates in real time.

They’re exceptionally useful as NVR cameras since they can respond to user inputs even from offsite network connections.

Fisheye Cameras

What Affects Security Camera Image Quality?

With a central focus and a condensed periphery, a fisheye lens security camera gives a concentrated view over a wide field. It’s excellent for parking lots or warehouses, where the finer details are less important than the overall picture.

Since the lens is heavy lifting, these are self-contained and less susceptible to mechanical failure than their multi-lens counterparts. What you lose in resolution, especially at the edges of your field of view, you make up for in reliability.

Multiple Sensor Cameras

If you want the field of view of a fisheye lens but don’t want the distortion, you should install a multisensor camera.

This type of panoramic camera uses multiple discrete sensors and picture channels to capture up to a 360-degree field of view. Image-processing software stitches the channels into a contiguous video feed.

Multiple-sensor security cameras are better for low light or infrared (you can even target several cameras to the same spot and see overlapping videos on different frequencies), and they’re better for high resolution and motion detection over fisheye lenses. In case of damage or blind spots to any single sensor, a multisensor security camera will keep broadcasting where a fisheye or other single-sensor CCTV camera would fail.

Doorbell Cameras

Simply put, security doorbells are just small security cameras – wired or wireless – with a door buzzer and a 2-way intercom in the frame. Combining the benefits of a security camera and an intercom gives you a wide range of powerful features to secure your home or business.

One of the most important features of doorbell cameras is that they can interface with your smartphone through an app, allowing you to see and react to events at your door whether you’re home or not. The best security doorbells connect to Z-wave devices like lights and door locks, allowing you to lock and unlock your front door remotely.

Wireless Cameras

Wireless security cameras leverage your home or business’s Wi-Fi network to create a surveillance network.

Wireless cameras are great for monitoring small to medium-sized rooms and buildings because they tend to get image distortion when zooming in on objects that are far away.

Some advantages of wireless and wired security cameras are easy remote viewing access, easier CCTV installation, and less wiring.

checklist

Security Camera Installation Checklist

Ensure a smooth installation of security camera systems for your commercial property.

Indoor or Outdoor Business Security Cameras

Do Outdoor Cameras Need to Be Weatherproof?

If you are installing an outdoor security camera system, ensure all cameras are waterproof, weather-resistant, and able to withstand moisture, heat, and cold.

Commercial outdoor security cameras are an excellent choice for any security system, but they should be adequately equipped with suitable casings, or they may be damaged. Tough CCTV camera casings also prevent people from tampering with and vandalizing your business camera system.

Should I Hide My Outdoor Security Cameras?

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Often, the mere presence of security cameras in commercial or home security systems can scare away less-motivated intruders. This suggests the best CCTV camera system for business security could be visible.

However, keeping multiple cameras and other surveillance equipment hidden and out of sight can prevent them from being tampered with or damaged by more determined burglars. Also, intruders may need to be more careful about covering their faces and tracks if they cannot see security cameras.

The location where you place cameras and potential threats will determine whether hidden or visible cameras suit you. If you’re concerned about disabled cameras, you may want to hide them. A combination of both for your commercial and home security is often a good plan.

Can You Use An Outdoor Security Camera Indoors?

Outdoor security cameras are more than durable for indoor use. Specific security cameras, like large bullet cameras, are too bulky to be installed comfortably indoors.

Vice versa, most indoor security cameras are not durable or weatherproof enough to withstand the outdoors’s rain, wind, and snow.

Learn more about indoor security cameras vs. outdoor security cameras here.

Do Security Cameras Work In The Dark?

Not all security cameras work in the dark. Security cameras with low-light capabilities have a shutter that allows more light to enter the sensor. The more light allowed to enter the camera, the brighter the image.

However, even these low-light-capable cameras have digital noise that makes the dark image look fuzzy. Some security cameras use 2D and 3D digital noise reduction to combat this fuzzy image.

Some security cameras now use infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye but can be picked up by the camera’s sensor.

checklist

Security Camera Installation Checklist

Ensure a smooth installation of security camera systems for your commercial property.

Business Security Cameras Cabling

How To Run Security Camera Wires

Structured Cabling Installation

When installing CCTV cameras, consider how they will be powered and how wiring will be run throughout the building. You can often install cameras and wiring simply by running the wires through a drop tile ceiling and into the wall.

Other jobs will necessitate using conduit – piping for running the wiring and protecting it – and, in some cases, tearing out part of the wall to lay wiring inside.

For these more extensive jobs, professional camera installation is usually the right choice, as professional camera system installers can choose the suitable material for conduit pipes, determine the correct number of cables to run, and more.

How Do I Protect My Security Camera Wires?

Unlike wireless security cameras, wired cameras must be safeguarded against corrosion, water, heat, and other forces that can cause damage over time. They should also be protected against intruders and vandals trying to cut the wires, power supply, power adapter, or power source.

Some protective measures include covering power cables or any power source in sheaths or raceways (or drill holes), painting cables to blend inconspicuously into their surroundings, and running cables inside walls, ceilings, and baseboards.

CCTV installation companies should have a firm grasp on all cabling types and use them to ensure your wires are adequately protected.

checklist

Security Camera Installation Checklist

Ensure a smooth installation of security camera systems for your commercial property.

CCTV Camera Installation: Budget & Timeline

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How Much Does Security Camera Installation Cost?

CCTV monitoring installation typically costs around $150 per camera per month—about $1,800 annually. Specific CCTV systems cost more than others, depending on several factors. Installing cameras with more wires is more expensive to install since it requires expensive trenching, running cables through walls, and post-installation repairs.

Higher-resolution CCTV systems and License Plate Readers with other unique features typically cost $50 to $300 more. Heavy-duty, weatherproofed cameras generally have higher price tags.

Cloud-based systems also come with cloud storage fees. Facility owners and managers must make an informed decision about their security investment.

Are Cameras or Guards More Cost-Effective?

CCTV installation works best with guards, but surveillance cameras are more cost-effective if there is a choice between the two.

The annual cost of hiring an unarmed security guard is nearly $33,000. By contrast, at $1,800 a year, a CCTV system costs 94% less than hiring a security guard and provides 24/7 surveillance.

Should I Do Home Installation or Hire a Professional?

You may undertake your business CCTV installation, though this can be challenging, depending on the scale of your security camera system and whether it requires cabling. If installed improperly, commercial security camera systems can fail to protect your facility.

A safe bet is to hire a professional camera installer, as this will ensure that the security systems and CCTV installation are set up for the best possible functioning.

Commercial security companies have experts who can ensure cameras are positioned at the right angle and use a suitable drill bit to drill holes, providing a safe and effective way to install security cameras without fail for business protection.

They are also practiced at installing business security camera systems and running cables without accidents and injuries that can happen during home CCTV installation.

FAQs

Why do establishments need business surveillance camera installation? 

Businesses need surveillance camera installation because surveillance cameras provide evidence of incidents, helping catch perpetrators and enhance security.

 Commercial security camera systems also reveal vulnerabilities, allowing preventive measures. Monitoring your property provides insights into areas where security measures may be lacking or require enhancement. This proactive approach allows businesses to take preventive measures, fortifying their security protocols and minimizing the risk of future incidents. 

 Why are CCTV cameras provided for commercial installation?

CCTV cameras are provided for commercial installations because they enhance security by deterring potential criminals and capturing evidence in case of incidents. CCTV cameras also help monitor and manage day-to-day operations, ensuring safety and efficiency in commercial settings.

 In essence, CCTV cameras provide an all-encompassing solution bolsters surveillance system security and promotes productivity and safety in commercial environments.

What are the requirements for commercial surveillance camera installation? 

Commercial surveillance camera installation requires cameras, cabling (Cat5e/Cat6), a Network Video Recorder (NVR) for recording, power outlet (PoE or other), mounts, power adapter, a robust network, professional installation, legal compliance, and a maintenance plan to ensure the functionality of commercial security camera systems and compliance with regulations.

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