Bandwidth is the most fundamental element of computer networking for video surveillance systems. Because video surveillance can consume an immense amount of bandwidth and because variations in the bandwidth load of surveillance cameras can be so significant, understanding bandwidth for video surveillance is critical.
What is bandwidth?
Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data transmitted over an internet connection in a given amount of time. Bandwidth is often mistaken for internet speed when it's actually the volume of information that can be sent over a connection in a measured amount of time - calculated in Mbps (megabits per second).
The amount of bandwidth a camera needs at any given time to maintain a specific quality level varies over time, sometimes substantially.
For example, a camera might need 1Mb/s for an empty school hallway on a Sunday afternoon but might need 4Mb/s for that same spot come Monday morning.
How to Check Your Bandwidth
If your Internet service provider is tracking your bandwidth usage and holding you to a cap, they probably provide a page on their account website where they display how much data you’ve used in the last month.