Subscriber Discussion

Recording And Connecting To Remote Cameras?

I have a customer that wants to set up a few I.P. cameras and recording at his shop. No problem, however he wants to add a few cameras onto the same system that would be mounted at his home a few miles away. How can I tie in the cameras at his house to the cameras and system we would be installing at his shop?

Your suggestions are welcomed. I can give more details as needed. Thanks.

Simple enough as long of you can change the TCP listening port on on the cameras, you can specifiy on the NVR what TCP port number to use to connect to the camera, and at his house he has a router that can do port forwarding. If his router at his house can do port address translation then you don't need to change the listening port on the camera.

For example, if his house WAN IP is, then Camera1 can be where ":80" is the listening port, and Camer2 can be

So on based on router firewall rules and the addresses the NVR would use to connect to the cameras, it would look something like: -> ->

This would require a static IP address at his house. If he can't get a static IP address, he can setup an online Dynamic DNS account like and then the NVR would use an address like below to connect to the cameras;

Camera1 =

Camera2 =

My advice, it's a lot easier to deal with static WAN IP addresses than Dynamic DNS accounts, don't present Dynamic DNS service as an option unless pressed to do so.

Caveats of course are Internet connections are not nearly as reliable as LAN connections for cameras and bandwitch is a lot less. Depending on number of cameras, resolution, and upload speed of the house, you may only get a few frames per second and there may be some gaps in video that can occur for a few seconds at a time.

Also make sure any guest passwords on the cameras are changed, of course change the admin passwords, and you probably want to use non=standard port numbers like something starting at 5000 on up, for example.

An arguably easier way is to set up a VPN between shop and house, so both systems can reside on the same subnet. I say "arguably" of course, because the ease of setting up a VPN is relative. A couple cheap routers flashed with DD-WRT or similar type firmware makes it a snap to configure, but then you have to be comfortable with flashing router firmwares (not that it's hard).

It does mean though, that you don't have to change ports on cameras, fiddle around with, and keep track of, port forwarding, and you don't need to expose system or cameras to the outside world at all.

That aside, the rest of Luis' post still applies: reliability, bandwidth, etc. The biggest gotcha will be the upstream speed of your home connection: with most ISPs, the main marketing point is the downstream speed, while the upstream is typically far less (my home service, for example, claims up to 50Mbit down, 5Mbit up).

You shouldn't have any problem getting it to work... but making the customer happy with the results may be a different matter.


Is setting up VPN quite common for this type of distributed sites? I know that this can be done, and it may cost some bucks. But the cost set aside, isn't this going to be a weak link? such as customer's expectation of live/recorded video vs. the reality caused by the slow uplink speed, VPN overhead, VPN stability over time, ISP being upset about your bandwidth usage over time, the bandwidth fluctuation, etc?

I personally am still a bit skeptical about streaming video contents over network connection that I do not have control over, such as internet(even w/ Google Fiber or FiOS). I don't mind little skipping or buffering for NetFlix movie, but for surveillance, I am not so sure if it is a reasonable way, because of liabilities unless the home cameras are for casual uses only.

Peter, I don't think VPN is any less reliable or stable than the internet connection itself, especially if you're using a setup that will re-connect after any internet drops. Overhead is there, but from my experience, it's not THAT much more that it would cause major issues with throughput or cap space on most land-based broadband connections (cellular or satellite, where bandwidth and data caps are limited, are another matter).

It also really doesn't need to cost that much to implement - I've done it reliably (not for surveillance, but for access to shares on my home media center) using a pair of $30 ASUS routers with DD-WRT.

As for reliability of the connection itself, well... the other "more reliable" option would probably be some kind of high-grade business-use leased or dedicated line... with an appropriate jump in cost. With that, of course, you probably wouldn't need to worry about running your own VPN. But then you're probably looking at a few hundred dollars per month.

We have a client who records cameras from several locations across the Internet to the main office. They're in the same town and there are only 2 to 4 cameras at each locations. They get intermiitent dropouts and barely 1 to 3 frames a second. All Internet connections are "buisness" with static IP addresses. The client was warned about doing it this way and they know it's to be expected. Just manage the expectations and always err on the side of underselling the capability, never overselling.

Thank you Matt and Luis.

Luis, your comment was what I was concerned about. Managing expectations are not that easy, I found lately.

Just manage the expectations and always err on the side of underselling the capability, never overselling.

That's pretty much the main point here, I think... pretty much anything is possible as long as you don't fall for the CSI Effect.

What VMS and cameras are you using?

Thanks for the responses. This customer currently does not have anything set up either at home or at his shop and wants both locations to be viewed on the same VMS that I hope to be setting up for him.

Good discussion. One other alternative is to consider a VMS with edge storage support (whether it is an Axis Camera Companion, Exacq Edge, Genetec, Mobotix, etc.). This would eliminate the bandwidth constraint for remote recording. Obviously, the network connection issues remain (VPN, port forwarding, etc.).

If you're using a VMS that,

1. Only charges per camera license and doesn't have a base cost,

2. And allows you to easily bring in cameras from different recorders into a single viewing window,

... then I think you're better off with a recorder at each location. You have the added cost of the second computer, but at least you have better and consistent recording performance at each location and cut down on the complexity of the network setup. Much better to do that way.

Streaming the video would probably suck the life out of his upload bandwidth. The example above regarding port forwarding would need to be for jpeg format only, whereas h.264 would require seperate rtsp ports if the camera provides changing this. It is definitely much better to put a box at his house, as this will guarantee frame rate and quality. Chances are that the home has some form of pc which can be used, so run a free manufacturers software at both locations or buy a pair of Exacq toasters. Bosch alliance cameras give a good free edge option. The problem with edge, though, is that you can buy a best buy pc with 1 tb for the cost of a couple of cards. The acti software is decent and the new E and D series cameras are relatively cheap.

"The example above regarding port forwarding would need to be for jpeg format only,"

No, not necessarily. We used the VMS system's driver for the specific model camera for h264 recording and it only requires one TCP port per camera.

Jeffrey, why would one use Exacq toasters here if they could use Exacq edge and just stick in a SD card to the camera?

"The problem with edge, though, is that you can buy a best buy pc with 1 tb for the cost of a couple of cards."

Really? A 64GB Sandisk SD card is $60 on Amazon. What PC are you going to buy anywhere close to that? Plus you need to find space, power it, the connect the camera - the associated install costs and complexities add even further.

I can see if you really need 1TB per camera but that's likely overkill for small business / home users, like the case above.

15+ replies, and zero recommendations for VSaaS. BURN

15+ replies, and zero recommendations for VSaaS. BURN

I'm willing to bet that not many here are offering VSaaS. That could be why...

I'll play the devil's advocate, not that I sell VSaaS.

For just a few cameras a VSaaS such as Genetec Stratocast might be an option, especially if the customer didn't want the hassle of dealing with hardware other than the cameras and a router or switch.

At $15-50 per month per camera depending on the resolution and storage, one has to do a little calculus to figure out where the tipping point is versus buying NVR's or Server/Workstations and dealing with the maintenance and lifespan of them or buying Edge VMS licenses and SD cards. You are going to have to buy the cameras anyway, it's just a matter of paying month to month for service versus a lump sum purchase for hardware.

From a business standpoint, is it better to buy NVRs or server/workstations and have to depreciate them on your taxes over several years and pay for a service contract or service calls for them when they break, or write off the monthly hosting fees immediately and know that your video surveillance price is fixed without having to pay for any NVR/Server repairs, updates and/or replacing hard drives/SD cards if they go bad?

All that being said, if it were me personally, I would install two small Axis Camera Companion systems (free software) with SD cards in the cameras or a small NAS for each system.

"Jeffrey, why would one use Exacq toasters here if they could use Exacq edge and just stick in a SD card to the camera?"

One reason would be it's easier to setup remote access for one device (the recorder) versus multiple devices (the cameras).

Another would be the cost of storage is a lot cheaper and more available with HDD drives in a computer versus SD cards in the camera.

John and Luis have hit on what might actually be a better idea, since you're looking at small-scale and starting from a clean slate: edge storage and/or local recorders with intergrating VMS. There are others out there, but from my own experience, I can suggest Dahua - their VMS software will nicely integrate live views, search and playback from any of their DVRs, hybrids, NVRs, and IP cameras, into one interface. You could have a recorder and a few cameras at the shop, and then one or two at home with onboard SD recording, and access them all in one place via PSS, or on a smartphone app.

That would mean no constant bandwidth saturation at either site, and no reliance on the reliability of the connection.


From what I can see, the cheapest way to do exacq edge is a camera (you state 64 gb, so it would have to be sdxc camera which I believe puts you into innov sec or axis which would be over 800 bucks) and an edge license for 200bucks. An i3 pc is 300bucks. It will last 3-5 years and an sd 64 gb rewriting twice a month quite a bit less(will they ever replace). Edge is good for some applications but I am not sold on a normal application (heck, I am just starting to realize the long term shelf life of normal ip camera applications)


You need port 554 open as well as the top 80 (default). DMZ will work for a single camera but not for more than one. The problem with most vms software is that they allow you to specify the top port but not the udp rtspports.

Dang this iPad autocorrect.

$800 estimate is ~4x high. For example, Axis has 70 options with SDXC support, including ~$200 M1014 HD cube camera and ~$250 M3004 HD minidome.

I do agree with you that the Exacq Edge licensing price is high and is a barrier. Indeed, this makes the case stronger for Axis Camera Companion. I do not think you can get pricing anywhere close on this scenario with multiple boxes vs an ACC setup.

"Louis, You need port 554 open as well as the top 80 (default)."

Again, maybe in some applications, not all. The Geutebruck VMS connects to the remote Arecont cameras using one TCP port for h264 streams.