Video Security Part 2 – security camera setup
This is part 2. See the 1st article here.
This guide is for the Foscam IP Security Camera. Mine is a Foscam FI8904W Outdoor Wireless/Wired IP Camera. If your camera is an IP camera (regardless of the manufacturer / model), it probably will use a similar method for setup.
Note that this setup does NOT work with the cheaper “webcam” cameras that plug into a USB port. This type of camera will work for surveillance but you must have it connected to a computer that is running 24/7. I will be writing about how to use USB cameras in your video security system in later articles.
Log in to the camera’s (built-in) webserver: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to log in to the camera’s configuration page using your computer browser. Depending on your model, it may be capable of connecting via WiFi. Even so, you will likely need to connect via Ethernet cable (Cat5) first to establish some settings and then use WiFi later.
For the Foscam security camera, you will probably see a configuration page similar to this (other manufacturers’ configuration pages will likely be similar):
For the Foscam setup, here is a bit more information about each of these settings:
- Device Status – a reporting page to tell you what is happening. Not settings to be configured.
- Alias – You can set a descriptive name (alias) for your camera. Instead of a confusing ID number, you can name the camera to something like DriveCam.
- Date & Time – set this to your local time zone, etc.
- Users – list the names (& optionally passwords) of the users / admin allowed to access the camera.
- Basic Network – allows you to set up your wired network config. Normally, use DHCP. The Port Number can be almost any number from 1000 to 60000. I recommend that you change the port of the camera to some unique number. This will enhance your security a bit since anyone trying to hack into the system will have to discover the port number as well as the password.
- Wireless – here you can setup the preferred wireless AP and the associated password.
- ADSL – used only if you are using the camera in a remote location that connects directly to a DSL line.
- UPnP – Universal Plug N Play is supposed to automatically configure your network router to allow the camera to be seen across the network.
- DDNS – these services allow you to set up an account with them and then you can reach your camera via a domain type URL versus the IP number. Example of domain: mycam.dynddns.com. I will provide more info in my article about setting up the router.
- Mail Service – set this up to allow the camera to send mail. You must set up an external mail account and then provide the settings here.
- MSN – Only if you will use your MSN account.
- FTP – If you have access to an FTP server, enter the account credentials here and the camera will be able to upload photos/videos onto the server.
- Alarm Service – set up what happens when the camera detects motion.
- Upgrade – New firmware will provide additional security and/or features. Visit the manufacturer’s website to download the file and then use this option to upload the file to your camera.
- Backup – You can download the parameter file from the camera and save it on your computer. Then if you need to set it up again, you can just RESTORE the file to the camera.
- Restore to Factory – I would prefer the name “RESET to Factory” but the effect is that the camera will be cleared and all settings returned to the way they came from the factory. If you previously upgraded the firmware, that will remain. On my camera, there is also a physical button that will reset to factory.
- Reboot – If the camera is not responding properly, you may be able to reboot the device remotely using this option.
- Log – Here you can download a log file that may help you diagnose any problems that arise.
Using the camera:
To view the camera output on a computer: After the setup is completed, you should be able to access the camera’s video and audio output from any computer attached to the same network. The address will be something like: 192.168.0.37:12345 (the assigned local IP number of the camera and the port number that you assigned, separated by a colon).
To view the camera on your mobile phone, you will need an application (or, you could use the phone’s browser). I have two apps that I like. I have the “Pro” (paid) version but I believe that they both have free versions also. Both apps have a nice suite of functions and either will provide an easy way to view the camera output.
- TinyCam Monitor: Support for M-JPEG based devices of all major vendors. Click here for a complete feature list and comparison to the “Pro” version.
- IP Cam Viewer: Remotely view and control your IP Camera (iOS IP Cam Viewer Pro in Apple App Store). Click here for the home page.
I will review these (and potentially other) apps in a future article.
Remote Viewing: To view the camera output via 3G/4G or from a different Wifi network, you must configure your router. This will be covered in later articles.
See the “Series Navigation” below to visit the other articles in this series.