Installing a traditional IP camera is such a hectic process and one needs good technical knowledge to do it. You need to change the IP addresses of the camera and NVR to match your subnet. Then login to the router and setup DDNS and open ports to allow access. On the contrary it is so easy to set up a P2P IP camera. You just need a smartphone to download the app, scan the QR code and start viewing the live feed from the P2P camera. So what is a P2P IP camera?

What is a P2P IP camera and its working process

P2P or Peer to peer is a distributed networking technology where the participants are equally privileged and equipotent. This technology is used to connect a camera with a smartphone. Every camera has a UID or Unique ID assigned to it. When the smartphone app is opened, it connects with the server which then pings the listed UIDs in its database. The cameras(UIDs) that can be pinged are shown as online while the others are offline.

If a camera can be reached by the server, it creates a direct connection between the camera and the smartphone quite like a P2P computer is connected to another peer in the network in a bittorrent connection.

Benefits of P2P IP cameras

  • P2P networks are highly scalable. Consider the fact that millions of computers are connected to the bittorrent network.

  • The network is decentralized. Therefore the system is highly reliable.

  • The pricing is cheap and affordable. There are no recurring costs for the user.

  • The camera feed can be uploaded to cloud.

  • The stream can be encrypted for secure connection and transmission.

  • Not blocked by closed or no ports, firewalls, etc. No DDNS setup required.

  • P2P UID is installed at the manufacturer’s end. No other settings are required for access.

  • The camera doesn’t require any bandwidth to upload the feed. Bandwidth is required only when a viewing device logs in to view the feed.

  • It is more difficult to hack because authentication is required in at least two points.

Comparison between P2P IP camera and traditional IP camera

Traditional port forwarding based cameras

  • DDNS server is required which is often paid and unreliable.

  • Port mapping or port forwarding is required.

  • Firewalls have to be disabled to access the cameras which may put the system at risk.

P2P IP cameras

  • Quick setup process

  • QR code scanning for easy installation

  • It is easy to know when camera is offline as the server pings the camera.

  • You cannot view the camera through a browser. Only the app has to be used to view the feed.

  • It is a ‘pull’ system. Camera cannot notify the server if it is going down.