How to Choose Ethernet Cables for Security Cameras?

Updated on Jan 6, 2022 by

Ethernet cable can be an important point to be considered when installing a wired security camera for home or business. The right type and quality of Ethernet cabling ensure that your cameras have a stable connection to transmit video data effectively. This article will mainly guide you in choosing the right Ethernet cables for your security cameras.


What Types of Security Cameras Do You Use?

Before selecting the right Ethernet cable for your security camera, it's essential to understand the type of camera you're working with. A fundamental classification within the security camera market distinguishes between IP security cameras and analog security cameras.

IP Security Camera

An Internet Protocol camera, or IP camera, is a type of digital video camera that receives control data and sends image data via an IP network, they require no local recording device, only a local area network. Simplifying installation, many IP cameras support Power over Ethernet (PoE), allowing a single cable to transmit power, video, and audio. IP cameras come in various resolutions, including 720p, 1080p, 5MP, and 4K, with 1080p commonly used for general surveillance needs. 4K IP cameras are prevailing now as the latest HD security cameras. IP security cameras are perfect for newer buildings with new Cat5 or Cat6 cable wiring.

Analog Security Camera

Analog cameras record images and then send the signal over a coaxial cable to a DVR (Digital Video Recorder). The DVR converts the video from analog to digital signals, compresses the file, and stores it on a hard drive.

An Ethernet cable is ideal for both IP security cameras and analog security cameras. In addition, you can also choose RG-59 Siamese cables for analog security cameras.

Nevertheless, the differences between IP security cameras and analog security cameras can be the following aspects: resolution, storage, flexibility, and scalability.

To learn more: Difference Between IP Cameras and Analog Cameras.

Everything You Need to Know About Ethernet Cables

An Ethernet cable is a common type of network cable used with wired networks. Ethernet cables connect devices such as PCs, routers, and switches within a local area network. The Ethernet cable resembles a traditional phone cable but is larger and has more wires. The eight insulated copper wires are split up into four pairs, and the wires are twisted around each other within each pair so as to reduce signal interference.


There are two main functions of Ethernet cable. First of all, the Ethernet cable does help in connecting your IP security cameras to your home or office network, making it possible for you to access, manage, and view your security cameras. Second, suppose you have a Power over Ethernet (PoE) switch, the Ethernet cable can connect your security cameras to power. Adopting this kind of cabling method, you only need one cable that runs to and from your security cameras.

Additionally, using Ethernet cables can improve your overall experience with security cameras. They help minimize lag and reduce the likelihood of camera outages, ensuring a more reliable and consistent connection for your surveillance system. Another important point is that Ethernet cables are generally cheaper than RG-59 Siamese cables, which is great for analog security camera setups.


What Ethernet Cables Can You Use for Security Camera System Wiring?

When it comes to selecting Ethernet cables for your video security camera system, the process may not be as straightforward as one would hope. Currently, there are ordinary Ethernet cables and bulk Ethernet cables on the market, and the bulk Ethernet cables will be a nice choice for large-scale security cameras' installment.

The common types of Ethernet cables include Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, Cat6a, and Cat7, the latter kind of Ethernet cable is the updated version of the former one. Here is the performance comparison of the above Ethernet cables.

Category Max Transmission Speed (at 100 meters) Max Bandwidth
Cat5 10/100 Mbps 100 MHz
Cat5e 1000 Mbps / 1 Gbps 100 MHz
Cat6 1000 Mbps / 1 Gbps >250 MHz
Cat6a 10000 Mbps / 10 Gbps 500 MHz
Cat7 10000 Mbps / 10 Gbps 600 MHz

Recommended Ethernet Cables for Security Cameras

Security cameras with different resolutions require different bandwidths. Security cameras with higher resolution will generally require more bandwidth than older and standard-definition devices. However, most IP security camera systems use less than 100Mbps of bandwidth even for the high-resolution IP cameras currently. Given the total cost and the technical capacities of IP cameras, we recommend Cat5e and Cat6 instead of Cat6a or Cat7.

For instance, if we consider a 1080p security camera that requires 5mbps of bandwidth and a 4K resolution camera needing 30mbps, we can see the remaining bandwidth of Cat5e and Cat6 in the table below. It's important to note that both Cat5e and Cat6 provide approximately 1,000 Mbps of bandwidth beyond 165 feet, effectively handling the requirements of most security cameras. Thus, with Cat5e and Cat6, bandwidth concerns are virtually non-existent.

    1080P @ 5/mbps 4K @ 30/mbps
Cat5e Remaining Bandwidth 995/mbps 970/mbps
Cat6 Remaining Bandwidth (less than 165 feet) 9,995/mbps 9,970/mbps
Remaining Bandwidth (165 feet) 995/mbps 970/mbps

Taking the above into consideration, you may have some choice of Ethernet cables for security cameras. For home and business applications, you can select Cat5e cabling as it is not necessary to transmit more than 1,000Mbps, even in full 4K resolution. For large network infrastructures, Cat6 would be a wise choice because it can transmit several Gigabytes of data per second.


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