IP-based video surveillance and access control are emerging applications, similar to VoIP, where circuit-switched communication has transitioned to packet-switched technology. Offering instant connectivity to remote video cameras and secured facilities, this technology can dramatically improve the level of defense and homeland security in the public and private sector. IP-based Video Surveillance IP-based video surveillance systems are comprised of three basic components; (i) IP-addressable network cameras, (ii) network video encoders and, (iii) video management software. For new installations, network cameras are normally specified, whereas customers with existing CCTV cameras will utilize video encoders to compress and digitize the analog feeds and thereby gain the same network connectivity from their legacy equipment. Video signals from these devices are then transmitted over ordinary CAT5 cable to a network router and on to a high-speed modem to facilitate remote accessibility. Network cameras and video encoders are compatible in the same system and, when used together, result in hybrid video systems that effectively combine both analog and IP video components. Hardware decoders are also available for use in network video applications that require a composite analog video signal. For example, adding a video camera to an existing analog CCTV system is often more economical when an existing TCP/IP network is used to transport the video, rather than a dedicated coaxial cable. Once the video signal is compressed and digitized at the camera location, it can then be transmitted over a public or private domain. An existing TCP/IP network could thus carry the digital video packets to a routing switch located in a legacy control center where the signal would then be decoded back to analog and terminated into a standard video matrix or recorder. Assigning a unique IP address to a specified video surveillance camera permits ready access to that video stream by authorized users across jurisdictions and geographic borders. Among the growing number of network cameras and encoders available today, some designs offer analog video outputs allowing a video signal to loop through the device and terminate into an NTSC monitor or digital recording device. Another innovative feature now being introduced on select video encoders is on-board storage capability in the form of flash-port or USB connections. The implications of this design are far-reaching. Moving intelligence out to the edge of the network is core to the very nature of an IP video system deployment. When functions like authentication, motion-detection, bandwidth allocation and alarm triggering are resident in the device itself, the need for a centralized management console or head-end is significantly reduced. But enabling the device to locally record the data altogether eliminates the need for a centralized recording station. Compact external hard drives can now record up to 100 GB of data or literally months of compressed MPEG-4 video. Combined with a video encoder, the palm-sized form factor of these network video nodes could radically change the way video systems are deployed and configured. Live and recorded video from any camera could thus be readily accessed over a web browser from anywhere at anytime, at a very low cost. Archiving at the device also introduces fault-tolerance to a system previously void of redundancy. This concept represents next generation video surveillance and could truly revolutionize the security industry.