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Low latency Ethernet IP cameras – but just how low?

May 23, 2023

Transmitting video over wired or wireless Ethernet is always subject to latency due to the delays incurred by the transmission of high volumes of data between components and the requirement for encoding/decoding of video data. Latency can affect video quality and impair control of a system so delivering extremely low-latency video is crucial for accurate inspection, surveillance and remote control applications.

Technical note on camera latency

Our technical note, “Obtaining the Lowest Latency from Your Harrier AF-Zoom IP Camera”, gives a background to where IP video latency comes from, how to measure it, and how to optimize your system to reduce it. Many different elements of a vision system add latency to the overall data transmission, but Harrier Ethernet camera interface boards only contribute around 80 milliseconds to most vision systems. The boards also have a low latency mode that enables Harrier IP cameras to transmit 1080p30 video with the same camera latency as 1080p60 video.

Why latency matters

The level of acceptable latency within a vision system depends on the application. For example, an ANPR parking system can tolerate high latency as there is no short critical time requirement in the application. However, a manually controlled moving remote-operated robot or vehicle requires the lowest latency possible so that the operator can respond quickly to changes in the environment with minimal delay; a slow response time can result in inefficient operation and even damage to the vehicle or other nearby objects.

Human perception also plays a part in determining if latency levels are acceptable – anything taking longer than 200-300ms feels sluggish and awkward to control, so ideally real-time user-controlled systems will aim for less than this.

Image transmission with Harrier Ethernet IP Cameras

Due to their low latency, Harrier Ethernet IP cameras deliver  effective video transmission, meaning that UAVs, ROVs, networked surveillance, law enforcement cameras and remote monitoring systems are straightforward to control.

Take a look at our range of Harrier IP AF-Zoom cameras, or get in touch to see how we can help reduce latency in your vision system.