Understanding Viewing Remote Access for Security Cameras

Author: Pro Video Security | | Categories: Access Control Systems , Alarm Monitoring Systems , CCTV , DVR , Intercom Systems , IP Address , Key Fob Systems , Remote access , Remote View Cameras , Security Cameras , Surveillance Cameras , Video Surveillance Systems , view cameras on phone

It may or may not be a priority for you to completely understand how remote access on your security cameras work. But I am going to tell you anyway. Today, almost any network security camera, DVR or NVR is capable of being connected to your home or business Internet service and can be viewed on PCs, Apple computers, iPhones and Android phones. If the security device has been made in the last 5 years it is an almost 100% likelihood. But how does it work?

You take an ethernet cord and connect your device to your router Internet port and magically you look at your phone and the cameras appear. Right? Not quite. In order for this to take place, you first must configure your Internet router, your DVR and your computer or smart phone. All these devices have built in security that prevents most of what you are trying to do from happening. So you need to adjust the security of each device by creating rules in each device to allow this.

Before we go forward, we first make sure everything has a secure username / password combination. Use letters, numbers, symbols as well as upper and lower case. I know this is the first time you heard this. Maybe not. After securing your devices with good strong passwords, we begin to setup your devices and allow the remote access to happen. I am not going into details here concerning what is done as each and every router and security device has a different process. That’s what you pay us for. I am only writing this for you to understand the process and understand why things could go wrong.

Let’s talk about the IP address. This is the unique number that identifies your Internet connection. There are 2 types of IP addresses. Inside IP and outside IP. Or local IP (LAN) and wide area IP (WAN) addresses. The inside IP is provided by your router to each device connected to it. The outside is provided by a ginormous router provided by your ISP (Internet Service Provider). When we talk outside IP address, this is provided in two methods; Static (never changes) and Dynamic (changes regularly). Why would an IP address change you ask? The Internet companies play a game of musical chairs for the purpose of keeping everyone who is actively on the Internet connected. If they gave everyone their own private or STATIC IP, then they would quickly run out of inventory or numbers. So when you are dormant and not using the Internet, they take your IP address and give it to someone else. The ISP always keeps track of that change and knows your IP every time you are active.

So how do you connect to your cameras each and every time knowing that the IP address changes? Good question. The answer is that you are able to use an automatic IP updating service. How that works is that you first register with an IP updating service. Paid services are better than free ones. Hikvision used to have a free one. Recently there was an issue with it and they totally scrapped it causing perhaps millions of customers to look for a new one. That is the risk with free services because often times you get what you pay for. We offer a paid service for $39.95 per year that is highly reliable. After registering with a service, you will need to set up your router and network device with special settings that allow two things to happen.

One is setting up the router or security device to update the IP updating service each time your IP address changes. This requires you to enter your credentials into the device and making sure it works correctly.

The second part is setting up special rules in your router also known as port forwarding. Port forwarding rules tell the router that you want it to allow requests from the Internet for seeing your cameras. This allows the video feed to travel through it to your network security device, back and forth. Without this setup, your router will stop any traffic to and from the security device and you will never be able to access it.

Once your setup is complete and you enter the user name and password to the device on your computer or smart phone, you should be able to see your video cameras remotely.

Here are the do’s and do not’s after the setup is completed:

  • If having trouble Seeing your cameras after they were already working:
    • Do restart the routers, modem, switch (if present) and security device. Restarting is simply unplugging power or turning off the devices and then back on. This will not harm anything and often helps if and when the system is not working correctly. Just like your computer sometimes it needs a reboot or restart. Restarting everything is the first thing to try and often times will cure the issue.
    • DO NOT reset everything to default. This means the router and security device. Resetting means we have to come back and start over. We charge for this so please try to refrain from resetting and call us first!!!
    • DO NOT replace the router unless absolutely necessary. This too will necessitate a charge from us to reset everything. Again, call us first because often times a simple reboot can cure things.
  • If you move, then everything will need to be reset, unless on the very rare occasion when you keep your same exact router and Internet service.

I hope this helps you understand what we do and why things happen the way they do. Email me any questions. Perry@uspystore.com