IP Network Setup Guide for Surveillance

By Ethan Ace, Published Apr 06, 2015, 12:00am EDT

In this guide, we teach the fundamentals of setting up an IP video surveillance network, taking factory default cameras through to a fully configured and ready to run network.

network setup guide

We explain these topics:

  • Discovering IP cameras on your network
  • Assigning IP addresses to cameras
  • Basics of managed switch interfaces
  • Checking switch port status and disabling ports
  • Monitoring PoE usage and rebooting devices
  • Setting up a Virtual LAN (VLAN)
  • Configuring Quality of Service (QoS)

Inside, we share 7 video screencasts. Here is an excerpt from our VLAN screencast inside:

Those looking for more guidance on networking for surveillance should also see our related guides, including:

Camera Discovery

Cameras may be discovered using two types of tools: manufacturer-specific and general. Users may also see our default IP address guide for how different manufacturers default their IP cameras.

Manufacturer Discovery Tools

The advantage to using manufacturer specific discovery tools is that they provide more functionality, specifically allowing users to assign IP addresses to one or more cameras directly from the tool, instead of having to use the web interface of the camera. This speeds installation, especially in larger applications, and is a capability rarely found in generic tools and VMSes.

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Additionally, manufacturer tools may discover cameras which are not on the same IP subnet as the machine, while most generic tools will find only those in the same network.

In this video we show three different manufacturer tools (Axis, Bosch, and Sony) and show how to discover and address cameras in each:

General Network Tools

The second way cameras may be discovered is via generic network tools such as IP scanners or NMAP, which essentially ping and scan ports of each device in a specific IP range. The downside to these tools is that they do not offer the addressing capabilities of manufacturer tools, requiring users to visit the web interface of each individual camera.

However, in networks using more than one manufacturer of camera, they may be beneficial, as a single tool can be used to find all the cameras on the network, instead of using multiple manufacturer tools.

This video reviews camera discovery using a simple IP scanner:

For more on general network tools, see: IP Scanners for Video Surveillance.

Managed Switch Basics

In this video we review the interface of managed switches, showing interfaces from D-Link and Cisco, the basic layout of each, menu options, differences, and more. For more on switch selection, Favorite Network Switches for Surveillance 2015 covers survey results of integrator favorite managed switches.

Port Management

In this video, we review the basics of monitoring and managing individual ports in a managed switch. Switches generally show a simple up/down and speed status, shown here, but not throughput.

Additionally, we review how to disable unused ports to prevent unauthorized users from accessing the video network simply by plugging in a laptop. Also see our Network Security for IP Video Surveillance guide for more ways to secure the surveillance network.

PoE Management

Managed switches allow monitoring and control of PoE, so users may see total and individual power consumption, set port priority, and cycle power. We cover these operations in this video:

For more on troubleshooting PoE issues, also see our PoE Power Problems guide and IP Camera Power Consumption Guide.

VLANs and QoS

VLANs and QoS are two of the fundamental security and reliability measures used when an IP video network is shared with other data.

VLAN Setup

This video reviews setup of a surveillance VLAN, manually set for each port connected to a camera, recorder, or other security device. For more details on VLAN use and advantages and disadvantages, see our VLANs for Surveillance guide.

Quality of Service Configuration

Quality of services (QoS) is used to prioritize specific packets over others in a shared network. This may reduce latency or dropped packets, which in surveillance can lead to dropped frames and missed video in extreme cases.

In shared networks, surveillance is usually secondary to VOIP traffic, if present. Since voice communication is realtime, users notice errors caused by latency and dropped packets. Surveillance is much more tolerant of these issues without errors or delays in response time. General network traffic such as internet and file transfers generally receive lowest priority.

We show how to set QoS for video in this screencast:

Next Steps

This guide covers the essentials of setting up an IP video network. After setup, the next step is most often to connect your cameras to a VMS. See our VMS camera connection comparison for full details on how this process is handled in multiple VMSes.

Finally, setting up the network is the first step, but ensuring it stays up and problem-free is key. In our Network Monitoring / SNMP for Video Surveillance Guide we review how to monitor cameras, switches, servers, and other devices for best performance.

2 reports cite this report:

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