How Do I Use DNS For Naming / Addressing My IP Cameras?

The IT manager would rather see me use DNS versus creating a static list if IP's to use. Is this typically done in the VMS or on each camera. I have looked in the camera settings and can change the name but it is not updating the DNS DB.

What do others do and how?


I'm somewhat limited on the knowledge of different brands, I recon John or Ethan would know, but so far I've seen hardly any camera's supporting DNS functions. Samsung and Bosch don't. Axis might, but I recall our IT department doing tests with it and it didnt seem to work.

You do usually see the option to input DNS servers addresses into the camera. But that's just for translating any hostnames into IP addresses for, for example, NTP servers.

If I understand correctly, what they want is to refer to cameras by hostname instead of by IP in the VMS? So instead of having 192.168.1.89 you'd have lobbycam.myco.com.

From what you describe, I'm also assuming you have DHCP running on your network and everything gets dynamic IP, there are no static IP's? (other than your router of course, and maybe a couple of internal servers).

The part that confuses me, is that if your IT manager is so specific about this, he should be able to troubleshoot basic camera settings with you to make this work as desired. If your DHCP/DNS server is setup correctly (example tutorial: http://www.debianadmin.com/howto-setup-dhcp-server-and-dynamic-dns-with-bind-in-debian.html ) then as long as each camera has a unique hostname, when it requests an IP address, your DNS servers zones should be automatically updated.

If that's not happening, it might be because the cameras have no hostname configured, or because something is wrong on the IT side.

Using dynamic addresses is actually nice, especialy in places where there are multiple subnets. You can assign a host name and reach it by name from then on in the VMS etc no matter where the camera is. You need a DHCP/DNS server of course but that is IT's problem. DNS updates are not always instant especialy across multiple subnets so a little patience is sometimes the answer if you can't get to a camera by name. I have successfully used hostnames with Axis and Pelco cameras but other brands the "hostname" field didn't work, the name doesn't register with the DNS server (like you describe). I never bothered to figure out why, just didn't use any more of that brand camera as good networking is a must if you are leveraging existing infastructure.

There are a host of reasons out of your control why DNS wouldn't work but one tech support call usauly gets a quick yes or no answer whether a camera supports DNS.

I'm assuming the cameras are sharing the business newtork and not on their own physical network. Cameras using host names and updating the DNS records themselves is not something I have seen done or heard of being able to do in cameras before. I've never needed to do such a setup. You may need to check with the camera manufacturer to confirm if it can act as a DNS client or not.

Otherwise, it can be done manually easy enough. You would program a static IP address in the camera and then the IT manager would create an A record in the DNS server (manual entries in the DNS server that say lobbycam.myco.local = 192.168.5.220).

Cameras using host names and updating the DNS records themselves is not something I have seen done or heard of being able to do in cameras before.

This isn't a client-specific feature. The cameras don't need to do anything special, other than have a place to specify a hostname. The network-level exchange looks like this (highly simplified):

Camera->Network broadcast: This is device "lobby.myco.local" requesting an IP address.

DHCP Server->Camera: Here, have IP 192.168.1.187, it expires in 24 hours

Camera->DHCP Server->K thx

DHCP Server->DNS Server: Update your zone files to associate IP address 192.168.1.187 with hostname lobby.myco.local with a TTL of 24hours.

Tim, is the problem you are trying to solve one of name resolution, (DNS), or one of dynamic IP assignment, (DHCP), or both?

They often go hand in hand, but not always.

Better clarification I hope:

The cameras are setup for DHCP and do indeed obtain a reservation from our internal DHCP server. On the camera's IP configuration, however, there appear to be two issues. First, we're unable to find where to configure the hostname for the camera. As you know, this hostname would be registered with the DHCP server and in-turn allow us to access the camera via the hostname not the IP address. Looking at the DHCP server reservations pool shows the camera's IP address however the hostname is blank...our desire is to configure a hostname on the camera side. Secondly, when setting the camera to use DHCP we would expect the DNS server settings to be derived from the DHCP server (how all other client devices in our network work) however it appears we have to hardcode the DNS primary and secondary server address. This, along w/ the default gateway, should all come from the DHCP server. Is there a configuration setting we are missing or does the camera IP config not have the ability to support this?

There is usually a hostname field in the camera network configuration.

Axis looks like this:

Pelco looks like this:

GeoVision looks like this but the hostname will not register with DNS server so it is unreachable by name on the LAN.

"GeoVision looks like this but the hostname will not register with DNS server so it is unreachable by name on the LAN." Unless a static name entry is made in the DNS server for the IP address of the camera.

Yes that would make it work, although I have to wonder what that field is for in the camera settings?

The first two examples (Axis and Pelco) are set up so that the DNS can automatically apply the name entered in the camera. This allows you to use DHCP properly without worring about loosing connection to a camera if for some reason it grabs a new IP adderss.

"Yes that would make it work, although I have to wonder what that field is for in the camera settings?"

If there is not a Host name field in the camera that is comapatible with DNS servers to update it's name automatically with the DNS server, then the administrator of the DNS server has to make the static entry in the server manually. That means the cameras IP address cannot change for it to continue working correctly. DHCP can be used to always assign the camera's MAC address with the same IP address, as long as the camera stays on the same network subnet that the IP address is good for.