How to Set Up a Video Surveillance System

by Contributor

Burglar alarms and smoke detectors are only the first steps in setting up an iron-clad security system for your home or business. A good video surveillance system will not only detect motion in the area, but can capture images vital to police investigations. Best of all, they're easy to install.

Decide what type of system you need. There are several to choose from including wireless, wired, those needing a VCR and computer-based systems. Wired or cabled systems can be connected to other security devices as well as a VCR, while wireless systems need to be "detected" by either TVs or computers and then recorded.

Make sure the cameras have decent infrared sensors so they can "see" at night. Many of the lower-end cameras don't have them or offer them as attachments. An outside light for the external or outdoor cameras can also help.

Check the protocols of wireless cameras. Some require that you tune to a specific channel on a TV, others use HomePlug or wireless networks to communicate with computers. Make sure the signal is clear and steady.

Place the cameras high enough, where it will be difficult for an intruder to see or disable them. This is where wireless networking systems have the edge, because there are no wires to cut. HomePlug and wired cameras have to be connected to a power source.

Place the cameras where they can "see" the widest areas possible, especially when using them for home surveillance. Businesses may want to focus them on specific areas, such as near cash registers, near exits and in aisles.

Check to see if the system can alert you by sending a message to your phone or pager when it detects motion. These alerts can become annoying, but are worth it. Internet access to your cameras can also be a useful tool.