IP Camera Networking Basics

Author: John Honovich, Published on Apr 29, 2012

Getting started with IP cameras can be daunting for those without experience in computer networks. Fortunately, it is not that hard. In this report, 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:

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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:

Verifying Connections

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.

To see this all in action, here's the training video again

More Training On Networking

While this screencasts and screenshot cover the basics, we offer far more advanced IP networking and surveillance training, including:

2 reports cite this report:

IP Camera Setup Training on May 29, 2012
Once you can connect to an IP camera, you need to set it up so that the camera can integrate with a VMS or NVR. In this training, we show you how...
IP Camera PC Training on May 22, 2012
Over and over, we are told that this is the most common and fundamental problem techs have getting started with IP cameras. They come to a job...

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