In addition to its deployment in standard environments boasting unlimited bandwidth capacity, our Video Management System (VMS) is also widely deployed in settings where network connections are metered or have constraints on bandwidth consumption within specified time intervals. In such scenarios, optimizing bandwidth usage becomes a highly desirable objective. For this reason, we wanted to offer some suggestions to reduce the bandwidth consumption as much as possible.
First, it is important to have the Server on the same site and connection as the cameras. In this configuration, bandwidth consumption primarily occurs within the internal network, ensuring efficient utilization of resources. External network connections are established only when a desktop client connects to the server from an external location.
Furthermore, it is advisable to consider each site as an autonomous system rather than merging Systems from different sites into a single System. This approach helps to prevent the need for data synchronization within that System. If you wish to share resources from different resources, the Shared Layout feature is available; however, it's important to note that this function relies on a cloud connection, which will also consume bandwidth.
In the system design, it is also essential to select the appropriate detection methods, to avoid false positive notifications. We recommend minimizing bandwidth-intensive Action triggered by Events that could potentially give higher-than-average false positives, such as video motion detection. When we refer to "bandwidth-consuming actions," we are specifically addressing actions that have the potential to transmit data outside the internal network, including actions like triggering the 'Do HTTP request' or 'Send Email' events among others. It is recommended to be considering the impact on bandwidth consumption when configuring these Actions.
The use of H.265 in favor of H.264 can reduce the amount of bandwidth consumed while streaming between Server and Client. The H.26x compression methods will be optimized if the image noise will be reduced and contrast will be optimized due to sufficient lighting.
The Nx Cloud is a great asset to connect remotely to your VMS, often without challenging network configurations. Any cloud connected system will have recurring connections between the system and the cloud servers, for this reason, in situations where there are restrictions regarding data consumption, the decision to use local connections only can be made .
In cases where port forwarding isn’t possible, which is typically the case for mobile connections, a VPN could be used to connect to the Server with the Clients.
When the Cloud isn’t used, the option for mobile push notifications is unavailable. In such case other notification methods should be considered, like email or desktop notifications or custom solutions which can be built with the “Do HTTP request” action in an event rule.
Using Saved Layouts
When utilizing the Desktop Client and customizing your layouts, you can conveniently activate the secondary stream for all displayed items. To do so, simply right-click on the layout grid and choose the 'Resolution' option, followed by selecting 'Low'. By saving your layout in this configuration, the next time you access it, the System will automatically enable the secondary stream. That not only provides a more bandwidth-efficient experience but also helps reduce the load on the Server.
Default to the Secondary Stream
You have the option to create an .ini file for the Desktop Client application, which will ensure that every device opens in the secondary stream.
Information about creating .ini files and the appropriate directories can be found in THIS support article. To implement this specific option, please, follow these steps:
- Create a file named "desktop_client.ini" in the appropriate directory of the Desktop Client application.
- Within the "desktop_client.ini" file, add the following attribute:
- After saving the .ini file, restart the Desktop Client application. All devices will automatically provide the secondary stream as the default setting
Disable the automatically updated thumbnails
By default, the Desktop Client application automatically updates thumbnails for all cameras that are currently online. This functionality is made possible through the Mediaserver application, which periodically captures video frames to refresh the thumbnails.
Should you wish to deactivate this automatic thumbnail update feature, you can do that through the WebAdmin page. Here are the steps to modify this configuration:
- Access the WebAdmin page by following the instructions provided in the associated article.
- Once you have the WebAdmin page opened in your web browser, extend the URL by adding 'advanced' to it.
- Scroll through the options until you locate the "autoUpdateThumbnails" setting.
- Deselect the corresponding checkbox.
- Finally, remember to save your changes by selecting the 'Save' option.
As a result of these adjustments, the thumbnails will no longer be updated automatically.
Automatic Session Timeouts
You can set the Desktop and Web Clients to automatically close a user session after a specified amount of time. All System user sessions will close automatically after the specified amount of time, regardless of activity level or interaction status within the application. Re-authentication will be required at login. This option is off by default. Please check the in-client manual for the instructions about how to configure this option.
Auto Pausing Video Playback
Nx Witness also offers significant bandwidth savings with the option to automatically pause video playback due to inactivity after a certain period of time. To set this option, open Main Menu, go to Local Settings > General and check Auto Pause Video, then set the desired time interval (in minutes).
Disabling Auto Discovery
If your Mediaserver is situated within the same subnet as other devices operating behind a metered connection, such as when utilizing a VPN, you may want to consider disabling the AutoDiscovery option, to reduce the number of packets from the server application to other peripherals in the network. For instructions on how to deactivate this feature, kindly refer to the in-client manual. This is particularly relevant to do if you did not disable this setting during the initial setup of the system.
Disabling Sending Anonymous Usage and Crash Statistics
By default, the option for Sending Anonymous Usage and Crash Statistics is enabled. You have the flexibility to disable this feature during the Initial System Configuration or at a later time if you prefer. Here's how you can disable it:
- Begin by opening the System Administration menu.
- Navigate to the General tab.
- Locate the "Send anonymous usage and crash statistics to software developers" checkbox.
- Simply uncheck this option, then click on the "OK" button to save your preference.
Disable Update Check and Automatic Updates
The Desktop Client application will regularly check for updates and will promptly notify you if an update becomes available for your system.
If you wish to disable this feature, you can do so through the Desktop Client Application within the System Administration menu. Simply navigate to the Updates tab and access the Advanced Settings option. Within this section, you have the ability to turn off notifications and the automatic client updates.
Optimizing camera configurations
Thanks to modern compression methods like H.264 and H.265, it's now possible to significantly reduce a device's bandwidth requirements.
To fully leverage this technology, it's crucial to optimize the image to minimize image noise and distracting elements within the field of view.
To decrease noise, adjusting the shutter speed to allow more light to reach the sensor can be effective. Additionally, adding supplementary lighting to the scene can help reduce noise in the image.
When positioning your cameras and setting the lens angle, it's advisable to account for potential obstructions like branches, flags, reflections, and water ripples in the scene. Also, it's wise to avoid any unnecessary or moving background traffic since any pixel changes in the image will increase the size of each frame and, consequently, consume more bandwidth.
Employing the Privacy Masking feature that many cameras offer can be a valuable means to block out moving objects in the scene.
Furthermore, it's important to consider the level of compression carefully. Often, there's no need to set the recording quality to the highest levels, such as "High" or "Best," especially when the camera's purpose is merely detection and not the identification of individuals or license plates. In such cases, recording at "Medium" or even "Low" quality may suffice.
The same principle applies to the frame rate (FPS). Many individuals tend to set the frame rate as high as possible, without realizing that it may not offer any tangible benefits for the device's intended purpose. For instance, 5 FPS is often sufficient for detecting a person or vehicle in a scene, and even for identifying individuals, fewer frames may be adequate if the device's placement has been optimized. While most people consider 15 FPS as "smooth," this setting can save up to 50% of what is commonly referred to as "real-time" footage, which typically operates at 30 FPS.
The concept similarly holds true when considering image resolution. When it comes to the need for object detection, extremely high resolutions are often unnecessary. Using multiple lower-resolution cameras (for example HD resolution) can actually be more efficient in terms of bandwidth consumption compared to deploying a single 4K camera with an equivalent total resolution due to scene content that is irrelevant and moving, etc. as mentioned above.
While it is a substantial topic to explore in depth, delving into the matter of optimizing video quality and stream efficiency would exceed the confines of this article. However, it is crucial to bear in mind the significance of reevaluating every facet of your system when the need for bandwidth reduction arises or the other way around, when the absolute best image quality is desired and bandwidth is no obstacle at all.
Software Updates in general
In addition to the regular VMS updates, the server is expected to conduct routine checks for software updates, including both the operating system and potentially other applications. It is wise to thoroughly assess the update process, all while maintaining a comprehensive focus on the overall security of the system.