Last month at the midwest regional I heard a lot of people recommend Ubiquiti DVRs and Cameras as an upgrade to our current situation. We are looking to add a few new camera locations and are considering a Ubiquiti Unifi DVR that can expand for many more cameras (30+) as we slowly replace our current Panasonic dinosaurs.
For those that are using Ubiquiti DVRs, can you send me a link to the one you are using? As well as the cameras? Are all of the cameras pretty much compatible? I found this already: Ubiquiti Networks UniFi UVC-NVR with 2TB HDD. We don’t need the latest and greatest but is that the best option?
Do all of the cameras have to be on the same switch? Or can the DVR find other Ubiquiti cameras on the network as long as they are on the same VLAN? Also, can the switches be non-Unifi?
If anyone has a contact for a re-seller (that would know more on this) or any other general advice on the topic that would be much appreciated.
Mark, the company I work for, Ciber, resells Ubiquiti. I would be happy to provide a quote!
For the DVR, you can either use the Ubiquiti UVC-NVR-2TB appliance for an easy solution, or you can build your own using their free DVR software. For example, they have an Ubuntu 64-bit version that you could install onto virtual machine running Ubuntu, and that way you could control the number of vCPUs, RAM, and storage.
Using the NVR appliance, you could also attach external USB 3.0 storage, or iSCSI NAS for more space. But with their appliance, I would keep the number of cameras down to no more than 20-30 for best results. With the VM, scaling just depends upon the resources you provide to the VM.
The cameras do not have to be on the same switch, nor same subnet. Switches can be any brand. You just have to tell each camera the IP address of the DVR. You can find each camera via your DHCP server.
Thanks Tom! That is very helpful. I think building our own would be the way to go.
I will send you an email and perhaps we could talk about the different types of cameras.
To add to what Tom pointed out, this also depends somewhat on whether or not all the cameras are recording at the same time. With a church it’s pretty likely with all the movement on a Sunday that all the cameras can get engaged, but if you have 5 cameras out on the back field or in areas with relatively low traffic then it’s less of an issue. Personally, I’m a fan of the Unifi switches (and in some cases the Edgeswitch line), I had a church get struck by lightning last week and while it murdered just about every ethernet port and pots line on everything else, the 4 USW-24-250W in the building were all okay initially, although one started boot looping a few days later.
Even though this is an older thread it’s still pretty prominent so I’ll add this:
I’m a fan of the Ubiquity cameras and DVRs - I have four systems at different locations but you should be aware that Unifi NVR is end of life. It will get bug fixes but no new major features. And the timeline feature on it is broken and won’t be fixed. It couldn’t be fixed with the architecture they used in Unifi video so they rewrote the NVR and the new version is Unifi Protect. And the timeline scrolls like butter, even over mobile cellular connections. Better than my Nest doorbell camera from Nest’s cloud even.
Unifi Protect is not yet feature complete with Unifi Video, but new features are being added at a steady pace so that doesn’t concern me so much. The potential sticking point for some people, especially those used to building their own NVRs is for now Protect doesn’t support that - it only runs on Unifi NVR hardware (Cloud Key Plus at the moment with rumors of more and bigger boxes coming) and they are not likely to ever support DIY NVRs with Protect in the future.
At first I was a little miffed over this, but after seeing how well the Cloud Key Plus works and for $200 if they can maintain that value proposition with larger appliances then frankly building your own NVR wouldn’t be worth the hassle. It remains to be seen, but I’m hopeful - three of my sites fit with the CK+ and one site I have a custom built NVR that I would love to move to a larger Protect NVR, if UBNT preserves the price/performance they established with the CK+. The UAS was way too expensive with much too limited storage for an NVR, for example.
So if you need 20 cameras or less, even if you start with Unifi Video you can always migrate to Protect later. If I needed 30 cameras today I’d be wary of investing in Unifi Video cameras today - there is some potential risk since the additional Protect NVRs are as of yet unannounced, let alone shipping. UBNT has changed direction on products in the past (like the USG XG). I don’t think that’s going to happen here - they seem extremely committed to making the video camera thing work (this is the third rewrite of the NVR in 7 years - if they weren’t serious they wouldn’t have bothered with Protect) but unless it’s shipping there’s no guarantee.
With any vendor if you need it and it isn’t shipping, it’s safest to act as if the vendor never will ship it and then act accordingly. It’s really hard to get bitten by broken promises if you follow that approach
Thanks for the heads up on Unifi Protect. A little after I posted this a year ago I went the custom NVR route and we have about 20 cameras on there now. It works great and we are happy with it.
Do you think the G3 Cameras will be compatible with the new Protect NVRs?
I know they are - three of my four sites are running Protect on the new Cloud Key Plus
Generation 2 cameras work too. I have a G2 mini (the wifi camera) at home watching my front door and it works great with Protect. Only the original AirVision generation 1 cameras won’t work with Unifi Video or Protect - and if you had any, hopefully you were able to take advantage of the trade in program a year or so back before it ended.
Depending on your needs and what you are doing, the Cloud Key Plus could probably handle more than 20 cameras, but that’s their official support statement. I do hope they deliver larger appliances with the same price/performance ratio - it will make Protect a killer and pretty unique solution from ease of use and overall cost.