A network camera, often also called an IP camera, can be described as a camera and computer combined in one unit. The main components of a network camera include a lens, an image sensor, one or several processors, and memory. The processors are used for image processing, compression, video analysis and networking functionalities. The memory is used for storing the network camera’s firmware (computer program) and for local recording of video sequences.
Like a computer, the network camera has its own IP address, is connected directly to a network and can be placed wherever there is a network connection. This differs from a web camera, which can only operate when it is connected to a personal computer (PC) via the USB or IEEE 1394 port, and to use it, software must be installed on the PC. A network camera provides web server, FTP (File Transfer Protocol), and e-mail functionalities, and includes many other IP network and security protocols.