Milestone MAC Licensing Myth

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Aug 05, 2014

One of the most consistent complaints about Milestone is wrong and has been for years.

In this note, we look at how Milestone used to license cameras, the problems with that process, and how it is done now.

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Comments (19)

I'm sorry, but the way I read it, it sounds like Miletone licensing based on camera MAC address hasn't changed, just the methodology of submitting licenses.

"In current versions of Milestone, the activation process has been automated. For systems which are connected to the internet, the user runs an activation wizard which sends camera information to Milestone....."

Or at least I didn't see anything that said explcitly Milestone does not base it's camera count based on the MAC address of the cameras.

Since the subject of the title of the article is "Milestone MAC Licensing Myth", a simple question from me is, does Milestone associate it's camera licenses based on the MAC address of a camera? So that if I want/need to replace a camera, I have to go through a process to remove the old associated MAC and associate the new MAC?

People typically criticized Milestone's methodology of submitting licenses manually, not the concept of MAC addresses.

Sorry then, wasn't sure exactly what the myth was.

" Exacq requires a new license key to be applied via file upload or pasting a new license key anytime the license is updated."

Just to be clear - this is not similar to what you describe as the process for Milestone. With Exacq you buy a certain number of camera licenses, Exacq generates your license file and you can add cameras up to your license limit. You can also remove cameras and add new ones, again without any changes to the license.

Also, Exacq assigns the license to the MAC of the NIC you are going to use, which makes it difficult to order the software before the server is in-hand.

I like the way milestone does it in the fact that I can pre buy licenses and assign them at will to a server via the registration and licensing portal. We always keep a few on hand. Exacq however has no way to do this and needs to get with the times and allow us to manage our own licenses online.

I don't understand why Milestone requires MAC addresses at all. There are other VMS systems that license based on the number of cameras created in the system and have nothing to do with the MAC addresses.

In the big picture, it probably allows them to know which manufacturers are being used with their software. What they do with that information, who knows?

While I agree having the ability to generate licenses self-service is highly convenient, I do find they turn around licenses typically within hours.

Tom

And hours waiting for a license turnaround is not something we typically like having to pay our guys, or especially subcontractors, to do. Those "hours" add up over a year.

Don't you typically procure the server before the install? Why would you be waiting for hours?

Typically we do procure servers before install to test and prep before sending it to site- I assumed most installers would not have a new server shipped direct to site and take a chance everything works out of the box and do all pre-setup onsite...?

But I should maybe have elaborated my statement- if we have to replace or add a new camera, I would not want the tech waiting around hours for a license turnaround before the camera became active. Maybe if Milestone's license change request provides you a way of manually entering the new MAC before installing the camera so they could at least be doing something while the license request is going through....? But I think most existing cameras accessible by ladder can be changed in 10 to 20 minutes. And if it's replacing a failed camera, most times you'll have a new one shipped direct to site so you won't know the MAC until it gets there.

So does Milestone at least let you manually enter camera MAC addresses before transmitting a license change?

But really I'd be more curious to know what Milestone says their reasoning is for requiring the cameras MAC address versus just licensing by number of camera channels created.

Ah - you are talking abotu Mileston and I about Exacq. I agree, licensing by camera MAC is a bit ridicilious.

Well if you license by MAC address, you'll know the distribution of every camera manufacturer used on your systems. I am not saying that's why Milestone does it that way, but it's certainly one advantage. When they start incenting on attach rate of Canon cameras, they will be able to precisely track their success ;)

It wil be adverstised right on the box...

All Canon cameras now come pre-licensed with Milestone Quik-Connect.

And not disputing that may be the case. And it would be a good reason... for them. I'm just curious if they would come out and say "we purposely inconveinance out integrators and use up their valuable time to collect statistical information about what cameras they use, kind of like Facebook, except you pay us to collect information about you", or if they would come up with some more creative reason. :)

To correct a few on changing of cameras licenses during operation due to faulty cameras. Milestone do have a wizard for changing of cameras if the previous cameras fails , by using the wizard , we are able to update the new license replacing the previous license automatically.

While doing the above, the old video footages that is stored with the old faulty cam will seamlessly "join" the new camera thus resulting in a seamless transition during this process.

As for the mac address myth, there is no need to see or memorize the mac addresses of the cameras anymore , the license are tied to the base license which in turn tie to the servers GUID for tagging purpose.

Process is simple

Automatic licensing

- Update license if your server is online (automatic go through the licensing policy)

Offline licensing

- While every cam have been installed , (30 days grace) , download the LRQ file (license request file) and upload to Milestone server , a new LIC file can be downloaded automatically , upload new LIC file to server. License activated

You forgot one thing. Problem is in multiserver environment. If you buy licenses for 200 cameras, and you have to use it at five servers. Practically you can install 200 cameras per server. But if you must register every camera, then you can't do that.

Has anyone tried capturing packets on these license update transactions? Online update abilities save so much time and return trips from extracting and emailing, confirming and reapplication of license files it seems the best method. There are many a system that never see the internet as certain customer IT protocols require internet immunity.

What Im saying is...I should be able to take a generated license file from my customers system that will never see an internet connection, process from my own phone app or website a full license update. I can then take my processed file and update my recorders, base station etc. This method of automation needs to be looked at; exhausting manhours due to system design limitations are not acceptable.

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