Subscriber Discussion

Camera Discovery Tool That Works Across All Manufacturers?

Is there any standalone (not connected to a VMS) camera discovery tool that works across a majority of manufacturers?

One that would work at the link layer and could find cameras out of the box or configured (meaning regardless of ip).

Just like Axis Camera Finder but universal. Also it wasn't clear to me whether VMS's even use link level discovery or just ip/port scanning, as detailed in this report.

Maybe people use a generic ARP/RARP tool instead?

My understanding (which could be inaccurate) is that camera manufacturer management applications are designed to search for their own MAC address structure when using their discovery tool.

VMS's, of course, can search for and find many camera manufacturers - but only if the cameras being searched for are compatible with that version of the VMS (i.e. integration completed).

I can imagine an ONVIF camera finder tool - as the standards can drive what the discovery tool looks for - but I've never heard of one... :(

Good call on ONVIF.

This is not 'universal' but it is very broad - ONVIF Device Manager

I appreciated the article/review IPVM provided on the ONVIF Device Manager. Subsequently I downloaded and installed the ONVIF Device Manager, and discovered that it does not appear to recognize the Arecont Vision AV5155DN 5MP camera. This model does not claim to be ONVIF compliant. I'm profoundly ignorant of this area, and based on its name, this might be a silly question, but would you expect that the ONVIF Device Manager might recognize any cameras that are not ONVIF compliant?


So not only do you want the ONVIF device manager to recognize a non ONVIF device, you want it to be an Arecont camera? :)

It never hurts to ask :)

Now, it's only been a year and half since Arecont announced ONVIF support....

There are a variety of different discovery mechanisms used by camera manufacturers: Bonjour, UPnP, Web Service Dynamic Discovery (ONVIF).

In addition to the ONVIF Device Manager for Web Service Dynamic Discovery, I use the Intel Device Spy to get cameras that respond to UPnP broadcasts:

Open Software Projects - UPnP Tools

I use Advanced IP Scanner regularly to find managed switches, cameras, and other network devices that may not otherwise show themselves. Granted, it only works within subnets the computer you're running them on belongs to, but if there's a DHCP server on the network, and your cameras are DHCP-enabled, it will find them for you in quick order. Not really a "uninversal camera finder", but often very handy nonetheless.

Did someone mention MIB tables and router tables etc. MS has some protocols embedded in thier software systems that also may help.

Its nice to be informed of the surfeit of generic network discovery tools available, thanks everyone.

Downside is that they can end up being a hodge-podge and lack camera specific capabilities. Just for kicks I started to write an extremely fragile and tediously coded pan-manufacturer meta-interface that works on the local broadcast segment and is able to accomplish the following tasks (for all supported mfrs, axis and stardot at this time:)

1. Discover any and all cameras on segment regardless of current IP settings

2. Change IP settings with default password

3. Change root password

4. Do all this for multiple cameras without intervention (batch)

Most all these camera finder seem to have these capabilities (1-3) tho they all have some custom API to do it.

One test would be to be able to take 10 cameras of all different mfrs out of the box, turn them on and have the tool set the network info and passwords for all cameras within a minute. But I'm still eight more mfrs away fron that, each one with its own interface and. screen scraping oddities, and so I just wanted to make sure that someone hadn't been foolish enough to try and do it already...

Onvif would be nice if it worked.

SNMP and other protocols, having existed for decades, might be something to consider.

Cameras that use the mac address for set-up are likely inherently insecure (if the set-up utility can reset the camera with no password, the bad guys can too...)

"Cameras that use the mac address for set-up are likely inherently insecure (if the set-up utility can reset the camera with no password, the bad guys can too...)"

1. How would you suggest a camera discovery tool identify their own cameras if not by MAC address?

2. What camera set-up utility allows you to change passwords on individual cameras?

Axis Camera Management requires you to enter a master UN+PW upon first use - and it will only allow you to access cameras with those 'master' credentials. It sees all Axis cameras, but will not let you access cameras without the master credentials in order to change the PW.

use of standards-based protocols like UPNP and Zeroconf, like Axis does it as an example, is much safer than secret special packets sent by a config utility.

Just because camera set-up utilities do this badly isn't a reason to maintain an insecure status-quo.

Axis cameras allow you to keep running with root/pass. You don't HAVE TO log into their web UI to change it. That's a security issue (and they know I think that, no news flash here.)