No Internet Available - Connect IP Camera By Cellphone?

Need to know any ideas on this. The install is in a Cabin type home that has no internet, but cell signal is present.

IP camera installation needs to talk thru cell to get access to customer as they are not on property.

Anyone have ideas how to get this to work or have experience through this?

I have a Cop friend who says they have a team that have mobile IP cameras connected thru cellphones, but they are unwilling to share how.


This is certainly do-able, and for a fairly reasonable cost these days. There are two main issues:

1. Bandwith caps. Speed isn't as much a problem if there's HSPA/LTE service available, but most providers have monthly limits on usage and will either cut service, or charge you several body appendages for any overage. Also, while there are "unlimited" data plans out there, most of them will tend to start slowing the maximum speed as you approach a certain point... at least until the end of the billing cycle. A camera that the user will log in occasionally and take a look around shouldn't have a problem, but if you want to stream 24/7 to a remote recorder, that's another matter.

2. Ever-changing IPs. I don't think many, if any, providers will give you a static IP for the connection, so there's the likelihood that that camera's IP address will change regularly. To counter this, you need a camera that can start things with an outgoing connection of its own, or something else on the camera's end of the connection that create the connection.

There are several ways to do it - some cameras include a web-based service that they connect to, then you log into the central website, enter the ID and password for the camera, and you're live. You could set up a PC on the site with a remote desktop program like TeamViewer, that will let you log into the PC in a similar fashion, and view the camera there. Or you could use a router that has a VPN client and have it connect back to another VPN server at home.

Personally, I think the easiest and most cost-effective method would be a camera that has onboard recording, and a web-based remote access service. With these, you generally plug the camera into your network, configure it from your computer to link it into your account on the web server, and then just let it run.

About the item 2: Ever changing IPs,

Most IP cameras or recording platform provides DDNS (Dynamic DNS) type of service to resolve its DDNS name into its public IP address. So do not think it is going to be a problem.

But the bigger problem I see is that the cellular data service provider may not assign a public IP address for the modem. Any chance that the cellular network is behind a BIG NAT?

For example, this is the case for my iPhone5 LTE on AT&T network, which means my iPhone5 data connection is behind a huge NAT within the at&t network.

---

- install System Status Lite (free app)

- turn off WiFi, make sure you are connected to data network

- check the Connection section :

Default gateway : 10.x.x.x <-- not public IP

DNS server : 172.26.38.1

External IP : 166.147.71.48 <-- public IP

- check Cell information section

IP address: 10.x.x.x <--- not public iP

---

So the uPnP or local router/modem port forwarding on the site is not going to be much of a help unless you can ask the AT&T to open this.

VPN can resolve this issue, by opening a consistent tunnel from the site into some where on the internet, and routing all the traffic through it. and then, have your remote client app to connect to this VPN-tunneled port and IP.

or I was told by AT&T you may be able to ask them to assign public IP all the time, but I could not confirm it. Maybe it's for a different tier for business customers or something like that.

Most IP cameras or recording platform provides DDNS (Dynamic DNS) type of service to resolve its DDNS name into its public IP address. So do not think it is going to be a problem.

True, although if you're getting a different IP every time the thing connects, it could be problematic - I've seen it take anywhere from 10 seconds to 15 minutes for DDNS changes to fully proprogate.

But the bigger problem I see is that the cellular data service provider may not assign a public IP address for the modem. Any chance that the cellular network is behind a BIG NAT?

You're right, that's a much more common problem I'd thought of but forgot to mention. I had a friend who was trying to access his DVR via a satellite link and ran into the same issue (as well as extremely slow uplink speeds and very strict bandwidth caps).

VPN can resolve this issue, by opening a consistent tunnel from the site into some where on the internet, and routing all the traffic through it. and then, have your remote client app to connect to this VPN-tunneled port and IP.

Yup, although the one caveat I forgot to mention is that VPN does add a fair bit of overhead itself, that may reduce "view-ability" further on an already-low-bandwidth link.

or I was told by AT&T you may be able to ask them to assign public IP all the time, but I could not confirm it. Maybe it's for a different tier for business customers or something like that.

I would think that would be a feature of much more expensive commercial or industrial services, with most wireless ISPs. Guess it all comes down to what the client is willing to spend.

Verizon probably has the widest network, even though 4g probably is not going to be available in remote areas. Look at themap saps. You may need a directional antenna to get to their data network. (just because you have service does not guarantee data service and if so maybe something legacy like CDMA). Do not get greedy on resolution. A modem will cost about 500 bucks and monthly service will be 80 bucks for 10gb of data. Storage will need to be onsite, so if only 1 camera, use edge. This will also eliminate heated environments that DVD/nvrs will need. I would probably use a FD8335 with Exacq Edge. The other nice thing about this is that when visiting the camp, you can use a wireless router to get mobile device and laptop access to the Internet.

We actually have a post on cabin security systems.

well im not looking for storage on anything but the camera it self.

In the past, I've use Cradlepoint Routers and USB GSM cards to connect IP cameras via cell networks.

thanks guys. got a fix. saved me a ton of time. thanks again

Looks like Seth found a solution he liked, but I was thinking about a cellular trailcam (hunters use them). Emails pictures (over cellular network - thus monthly fee)

Before 4G, there was 3G, and with 3G, public IPs- sounds like an excerpt from the Book of Genesis. With the revelation of 4G, wireless carriers attacked the subject of the world running out of IP addresses head-on, and began spoofing wireless devices' public IP addresses, AKA, a derivative of NAT. Subsequently, should one find themselves remotely accessing their video system via 3G one day, the moment they chose to upgrade to 4G, WOOPS, a rude awakening no one was prepared for, and certainly one wireless carriers made no mention of.

During my tenure at NUVICO, this is something I have experienced several times over. Your customer has a 3G air card mated to a Cradlepoint router, all is well, "Hey, I can go with 4G", and suddenly, no remote connectivity. In the first phase of 4G air cards, carriers were claiming, only after having been passed around like the proverbial dooby from first, to second, to third, to 'God knows what tier' of technical support that actually had SOME working knowledge on the matter, that they were aware of the "problem users who need remotely connectivity are experiencing, but there is currently no action in place to resolve these matters." Oh, and 'by the way', no, you can't "revert your service back to 3G," so you're just out of luck.

Fast-forward to mid 2012...

Verizon and AT&T announce static IPs available for 4G users... Cough cough, with a small activation fee of $500, and a monthly recurring charge of $25 in order to maintain that static public IP. Sad, awful reality, but I'll tell you what, if it isn't one hell of a fast connection once she's all up and running!

So yes, there's always that... or a DDNS that relays video to a data pool for truly seamless port forwarding REGARDLESS of a carrier's disdain for public static IPs- there's also that.

We build this system for cellular camera applications:

and provide an in-house DDNS function that rapidly follows IP changes. Glynn County, St. Louis, and Harrisburg PDs are among our customers.

Verizon and Sprint are the easiest to use since they standardly provide public dynamic IP addresses and don't block inbound traffic. You can order a non-blocking public 4G IP from AT&T but in our experience they are a hassle to work with.

Qorvus is 3G... Anyone can stream IP video via 3G using a DDNS. The key here is doing it on 4G, which is impossible without data (video) pooling, or without paying the cellular carrier for static service, which IS an option, albeit with a pricey opening investment.

Actually we do build 4G systems too (most recently for Chevron) but you're right, the client has to eat the extra costs of signing up for the "data terminate" service from AT&T to support the inbound functions.

I have a rooted HTC EVO 4G. Hotspot can stay on for quite awhile. Monthly usage might be astronomical but I can use it for a quick and dirty connection when the power goes out and the modem and router are down. I use Sprint. I don't know about other carriers. The ROM I use is Swagged Out.

Our business Verizon Wireless (initiated a couple of years ago) required a business have 5 lines of service to qualify for a static IP, then required the $500 one-time static IP service fee plus standard monthly fees (but has no static-IP-specific monthly fees). Probably most business users will already be using the 5 lines. Otherwise it can be a hurdle.