How to set up a network camera (a.k.a. IP camera) Network cameras (a.k.a IP cameras) are gaining popularity rapidly among consumers due to their ever-improving quality, features and declining prices. An HD network camera that normally cost over $ in can be bought under $60 in
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- Win IP Camera
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- Купольная IP-камера Ubiquiti AirCam Dome
- Network configuration
Network cameras a. Traditional typical users of network cameras are enterprises that have professionals for installation and maintenance. Many consumers choose the DIY approach to set up their cameras. This article is meant to help these users.
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There are literally thousands of models of network cameras in use. It is impossible to have a set of instructions fitting every model perfectly. We use a popular model MW by the network camera inventor — Axis — in this article. The setup steps for the vast majority of other network cameras are either identical or very similar to the ones described here.
An ONVIF conformant camera offers the maximum compatibility and interoperability with many software and hardware on the market. For this article, we assume the reader has very basic computer and network knowledge. Technically savvy users may find many parts are too rudimentary for them. Network cameras are different from web cams and analog CCTV cameras.
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Web cams are connected to computers by USB cables. Analogy CCTV cameras are connected to servers by coax cables. Network cameras are connected to a network for access just like computers are connected to networks. Each network camera is actually a computer with a CPU and memory. If this network camera does not have Wi-Fi, this may be the only step needed for the network configuration. Axis cameras require a set of users for ONVIF services different from that for other types of access e.
Most users want to access their network cameras outside their LANs e. Unless you are experienced with the camera and its configuration, it is extremely important to make sure the camera works on your LAN first.
Many apps have automated the setup process to a great degree, and it usually takes less than 1 minute to set up a camera before starting enjoying its video.
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The first step is choosing the type of device for the configuration as shown by the following figure:. ONVIF is the recommended one. Once the type is selected, input the few required parameters e. Most users want to access their network cameras outside their LAN e. They may access via a cellular connection, a Wi-Fi hotspot, workplace network, etc. We have received far more questions about this topic than any others. If you just want to know the quick steps to set up WAN access, please take a look at this post of ours with a few slides.
You will get specific step-by-step instructions for the configured network camera as following:. We hope you will read the following to gain fundamental understanding of WAN access configuration regardless of whether you use our apps.
It may look daunting to configure the WAN access, but it actually takes only a few minutes to do it once you know how. This section may be a bit long because we try to help you understand the principles behind the process.
The specific steps highly depend on your camera and router. They are applicable no matter which app including browsers you use to access your device remotely unless you use technologies such as P2P that maintain a constant connection between your camera and a server of a company that is usually unknown to users. Let us have some basic understanding of how network cameras are accessed first.
Every network camera has an IP address e.
Every computing device on your LAN can find the network camera by its IP address, just like everyone in your city can locate a home by its street address. A network camera may use more than one port the default port is HTTP default port Each port offers a unique service.
Non-technical people can treat ports as doors of a home. You get different services by entering different doors. The IP address of a network camera is a private IP.
The most common range is They are least likely in the private IP range of It is like that a street address " 5th Avenue" is good for locating a home in a city, but you cannot use it to locate a home in another city because every city may have " 5th Avenue". Now, we can talk about how to access a network camera outside its LAN, or access a home outside its city.
Since it is a public IP, the router can be accessed on the Internet anywhere in the world. How do we tell a router that we want to communicate with a specific network camera on the LAN behind it?
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The trick is port forwarding. The only way to access a computing device on a network is through its IP address and ports. If there is only one network camera on a LAN, we can ask the router to forward everything to the camera, and everything will be the same as accessing the camera on the LAN except using the public IP address of the router.
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This would not work for multiple network cameras. To deal with multiple cameras, we need to allocate different ports for different cameras.
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In other words, you will access every network camera with exactly the same IP address - the public IP address of the router, but with different ports. For example, doors and of the city to doors 80 and of address 5th Ave, doors and of the city to doors 80 and of 5th Ave, and so on.
Most cameras allow modifying its used ports.
The following two figures show how to configure port forwarding for multiple cameras after modifying their ports to match the external ports. Some cameras do not allow the modification of their ports, in this case you can forward different external ports to the fixed ports of cameras, but it is critical to tell apps to overwrite the RTSP ports informed by the cameras with their corresponding external RTSP forwarding ports e.
This is because the cameras are not aware of port forwarding, so they always tell apps to use their ports. All of our apps support RTSP port overwriting. The following figure shows the port forwarding configuration of this scenario. Each router has its own port forwarding UI. All of them have the same pattern - each port forwarding entry allows forwarding one port or a range of ports from the router called external or public to one port or a range of ports of a device.
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It represents the simplest port forwarding UI. It shows that port is forwarded to port 80 of an Axis camera following the WAN access instructions of our app. Other ports can be forwarded in exactly the same way. Finding the required ports sometimes is a bit tricky. Fortunately, all of our apps list the required ports as shown by the following screenshots:. This is not the case for most consumer homes.
Public IP addresses are dynamically assigned to home routers except for those who obtain static public IP addresses by paying fees to their ISPs. Fortunately, there is a way to deal with this. The details of DDNS are beyond the scope of this article.
Many network camera manufacturers offer free DDNS service. One can also subscribe to paid or free DDNS service such as dyndns. DDNS support of network camera. Each DDNS or service or router usually has detailed setup instructions. Some network camera manufacturers also provide detailed instructions for DDNS. How to set up a network camera a. IP camera.