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Although many computers have gigabit Ethernet (GigE) ports on their I/O pannels, nearly all of these use the computer CPU to manage the data transfer protocol.  This puts a big time burden on the CPU which can slow the computer operation drastically during the transmission of digital video or cause termination of the video transfer if the CPU has insufficient available time.  

The solution to this is to use a GigE framegrabber, which has its own data transfer engine.  In addition, these cards can inlcude multiple ports to support several gigabit transfers up to the capacity of the computer bus to which the card is connected.  These cards can also draw power from the computer to support multiple Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) channels to permit one-cable camera operation.