IP Video 101 Trainingby John Honovich, IPVM posted on Jun 05, 2012 About John Contact John
This free, online course allows you to learn the basics of IP video in under 2 hours by watching a series of 6 videos and taking 3 quizzes. It is for security managers and security technicians that want to use IP cameras but are not sure how to get started.
The videos go through each of the practical steps and key challenges you might face trying to get an IP camera online.
Want more? We have ongoing IP camera certification courses.
PART 1 - BASICS
Getting started with IP cameras can be daunting for those without experience in computer networks. Fortunately, it is not that hard. In this part, we train networking novices on how get started using IP cameras, featuring a 9 minute video screencast and a series of screenshots showing the key elements.
Here is the full video walking you through the entire process:
Now we will review key areas covered inside the video.
Discovering IP Cameras
Discovering the IP address of your IP camera is the first step. To do so, use the IP camera manufacturer's discovery / finder tool. Examples include ACTi Utility Suite, Axis Camera Management, Arecont AV100, IQFinder, Pelco Device Utility, etc. You can also try using tools built into VMS systems but the manufacturer's own tool is likely to work the best.
Pinging IP Cameras
Once you discover the IP address of the camera (e.g. 192.168.2.144), you can then try to ping it from your PC. Pinging tests whether one computer (e.g., your PC) can reach another computer (e.g., your IP camera).
Below is an example of where pinging fails. This often happens when you first try to connect:
Being on the Same Network
The IP camera and the PC need to be on the same network. Typically, this means that the first 3 segments (called octets) need to be the same.
- Good: IP Camera address is 192.168.2.4 and PC address is 192.168.2.10 - The first three are the same (192.168.2) so they should be on the same network
- Bad: IP camera address is 192.168.2.4 and PC address is 192.168.1.10 - The first three are NOT the same so they are likely not on the same network.
Exceptions do exist in advanced configurations but this rule of thumb (first three being the same) will work in most situations.
Checking Network Configuration
Often the IP address of the camera and your PC are different. To find out your PC's IP address, you use a command called, ipconfig, showed below:
Changing IP Addresses
To connect to an IP camera and do initial setup you might need to change your IP address to be on the same network as the camera. Here's the Windows interface to do so:
Once the IP camera and your PC are on the same network, you can ping again to verify that you can reach the IP camera. Here's what it looks like when pinging is successful:
Once you can ping the IP camera, you can then connect to it via a web interface (using the camera's IP address) or add it into a VMS.
PART 2 - Setting Up Your PC
Over and over, The most common and fundamental problem techs have getting started with IP cameras is setting up their PC.
Here's a recent example shared by a manufacturer:
"We just went through a series of IP training courses with a major distributor (we met with 100 dealers in our trainings) and 90% of dealers had no idea how to change their laptops from DHCP to fixed IP to be able to connect an IP camera."
The video below teaches new techs how to successfully handle this, setting up their PC and connecting to an IP camera:
The 4 question quiz below helps to reinforce key points made in the video.
PART 3 - IP Camera Setup
Once you have your PC setup and connect to an IP camera, you need to set it up so that the camera can integrate with a VMS or NVR. In this part, we show you how to do it and what issues to avoid.
The most fundamental step in setting up IP cameras is assigning an IP address to the camera. In the video below, we explain:
- Choosing between dynamic and static IP addresses
- How to get the right IP address
- When and why to use DNS information
Watch the 6 minute video to see this in action:
The next step is to verify that the correct firmware / software is loaded on both the IP camera and VMS side. This is very easy to overlook and is one of the most common problems in using IP video surveillance. While it is not particularly hard to resolve, often users are just not aware of these element.
Watch the 4 minute video below for an explanation on the importance and impact of firmware:
Take the 5 question quiz below to see how well you understand setting up IP cameras:
PART 4 - Bandwidth Basics
Finally, understanding bandwidth is critical to using IP cameras. In this new part, we show how to measure bandwidth and how significantly bandwidth can change in different scenes and with different settings:
For more on bandwidth, we have extensive advanced training and test reports, including:
- Detailed bandwidth training - 20 minute video screencast
- Bandwidth / streaming modes - VBR vs CBR
- H.264 vs MJPEG
- Reducing Bandwidth Through Privacy Masks
- Bandwidth vs Frame Rate
- Bandwidth vs Image Quality
One of the most painful and common problems in dealing with bandwidth is misunderstanding the difference between bits and bytes. The video below explains the differences and how it impacts using IP cameras:
Take the 5 question quiz below to see how well you really understand bandwidth for IP cameras:
By now, you should have enough knowledge to try connecting to your own IP camera. If you do not have one, you can buy one online for less than $100. Just make sure you buy an IP/network camera and NOT a USB camera. While USB cameras are fine for personal use, they do not scale well in surveillance systems.
With your own camera, try connecting to it, changing the camera's IP address, connecting it to a VMS system, etc. Go ahead and measure the bandwidth of the camera, try changing some video settings on the camera (frame rate, resolution, CODEC) and see what happens.
Once you get these fundamentals down, it should get easier and easier to expand your knowledge.
If you have questions or hit problems, let us know in the comments and we will provide advice and feedback to help you overcome them.
Want more? We have ongoing IP camera certification courses.
Most Recent Industry Reports
Top Manufacturers Gaining and Losing Ground on Oct 27, 2014
IPVM survey results of 100 integrators show what manufacturers are gaining and losing ground in 2014. Integrators answered 2 questions: "Added: This year, in 2014, what new product lines have you...
Getting Started With Your IPVM Membership on Oct 24, 2014
Here's how to get started and get the most out of your IPVM membership. Getting Started Video Presentation You can watch the 20 minute video immediately below or scan through the whole post for i...
Hikvision HDTVI Cameras Tested on Oct 22, 2014
HD Analog is the most interesting new trend in the industry now, claiming HD quality over legacy coax, with simpler configuration and lower prices than IP. IPVM has tested two of the ent...
Testing Arecont Omni on Oct 20, 2014
The Arecont SurroundVideo Omni is one of the most novel new camera offerings in the past few years. Like their 180 and 360 predecessors, the Omni supports 4 imagers / cameras inside. The major adv...
The Worst HD Quality Camera Ever (Samsung 1280H) on Oct 15, 2014
Samsung, what are you doing? Their new 1280H offering significantly stretches video and is one of the most bizarre offerings we have ever seen. Earlier this year, Samsung trumpeted that 1280H wou...
Winners Losers Fall 2014 on Oct 13, 2014
We are all losers, IPVM included. The historically poor new releases for Essen / ASIS make 2014 the worst year for surveillance innovation in, at least, a decade. (See our in depth manufacturer re...
Smart IR Panoramic Camera Tested on Oct 10, 2014
Panoramic cameras are overwhelmingly quite bad in low light. Now, manufacturers are starting to add IR to them. We tested the Hikvision panoramic IR earlier this year. Now, Vivotek has released t...
Testing Speco IP Intensifier on Oct 06, 2014
Chances are you have seen Speco's promotion of its Intensifier HD IP line, with ads online and in trade mags claiming color images down to an incredible 0.0005 lx. Speco funded a vacation f...
Testing IP Camera Latency on Sep 26, 2014
How much does latency impact IP cameras? We tested a number of combinations, like so: In this report, we break down: Average latency metrics in our test Key drivers of latency Variations i...