IP Scanners for Video Surveillance

By: Ethan Ace, Published on Feb 15, 2016

IP scanners, tools like Advanced IP Scanner, Angry IP Scanner and Fing, can be useful for setting up and managing video surveillance systems. In this tutorial, we explain their uses, limitations, comparisons to vendor specific ones and conclude with videos showing operation of Advanced IP Scanner and Fing.

IP Scanner Basics

While exact features vary, IP scanners have three common functions:

  • Up/down status: The scanner sends a ping to each IP address in the specified range to see if it is up or down, the most basic indication of whether or not a device is available.
  • Basic port scanning: Common ports are scanned to see if services are running, such as web servers, FTP, RTSP, SSH, etc. Note that this scanning is generally not configurable, nor is it as detailed as a dedicated port scanner, such as NMAP.
  • Hostname/MAC lookup: Basic identification of devices is performed by checking the hostname of each if available, and looking up the MAC OUI to identify manufacturer. In many cases, this will identify the camera/server/NVR name and the brand.

Using these three functions, users gain three key benefits:

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Comments (6)

I use iNet when Wifi is an option. Very handy discovery tool. Free.

"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."

The above is a very important statement since sometimes one needs to discover new cams that were not preconfigured on the bench.

My laptop has all the cam mfgr discovery tools on it so I can sniff out the missing cams and get them configured to a good IP addr.

I use "Ping&DNS" tool for android, not sure if an apple version exist.

For me the most powerful mobile tool. When a camera is connected to the network "any brand" and I want to know what port it has I just put the IP address and it will bring all the ports, very useful if you have no idea what port the camera has.

Wireshark has saved me many times....

Been using Fing on iOS since iPad2 came out (2011?). Helpful network scanner but also a quick curiosity entertainment if using hotel lobby wifi.

For PC, it's been either SoftPerfect Network Scanner or Advanced IP Scanner v2. Ability to export to CSV very handy.

Here are a few tips/tricks from someone who works on networks for a living.

The ping tool, commonly installed on any operating system, can ping the broadcast address. This means sending packets to any and every host on a network. On Linux, this is done with the -b or broadcast flag and by passing the broadcast address.

After doing this broadcast ping, you can evaluate your arp table with the arp command. This is a map of physical addresses called MAC addresses to IP addresses. If you are smart, you can do this before installing the camera and after. The difference should be from your camera.

Another tip is that the first three bytes (24 bits) uniquely identify the manufacturer of a device. For example, my Axis camera has a MAC address like: ac:cc:8e:xx:yy:zz.

If I type that MAC address into this site (or other like it):

https://macvendors.com/

I get back: Axis Communications AB

As Ethan mentioned, nmap is a very powerful tool for port scanning that can reveal which ports are open and can even potentially identify the operating system running on a network device.

Hope those tips help!

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