Network Monitoring / SNMP for Video Surveillance Guide

Author: Ethan Ace, Published on Feb 02, 2015

Surveillance systems typically rely on the the VMS to report issues, but this most often just means knowing a camera is "down" with no warning or detailed information.

Network monitoring systems can give users more insight into their network, from the camera to the switch to the VMS server, but are seen as too complex or expensive to be used in simple surveillance systems. 

However, significant practical benefits can be gained by understanding these monitoring platforms, with free software available, and minimal setup time.

In this guide, we take a look at network monitoring specific to surveillance, explain the basics and software available, and give real practical examples of its use.

Topics Covered

In this guide, we cover these topics:

  • What is SNMP?
  • What are traps and requests?
  • How do I monitor this data?
  • What monitoring do cameras, servers, and other devices support?
  • What is a MIB and how do I use them?
  • What practical surveillance applications are there?

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Comments (23)

Ethan,

Good article. The title has a slight error. It has SMNP instead of SNMP.

I would add that best practice is to utilize a combination of traps and requests (aka polling) for monitoring. Traps provide the immediate notification. Polling through requests allows for a database to store historical data. An additional concern would be that a failed device may not be able to send the trap to the receiver. By polling the device, you can still determine the outage and investigate as needed. I have seen folks focus on traps for their immediate notification, but miss things because the trap was not able to be sent.

Thanks for pointing out that typo and good feedback on the combo of traps and polling!

There is also MRTG it's a little old, but very functional.

Good article.

Great article. I would recommend you to take a look at Zabbix as well. It is a free open-source tool with a wide range of monitoring capabilities. I have been using it to monitor servers, switches, and IP cameras and I'm very happy with it. Just a suggestion from my side.

Another "Great Article" I've looked into adding an SNMP server to some of our accounts. This gave me a very good, quick overview of how to look at cameras beyond ping.

SNMPc from Castle Rock is very good tool

One of my favorite network monitoring tools that is free is "the dude". You can poll and snmp large networks. You can add agents in other networks too, which is nice. Name is kind of wierd, but I remember a very large wisp up here in Maine using it for notification, graphs, troubleshooting, and advanced mapping.

It's a tool from MikroTik isn't it?

This is a very helpful article. Thank you Ethan!

Do any IPVM members have any recommendations for hosting Network Monitoring Software on a Mac OS X computer? I know it exists but would appreciate hearing from anyone who has used it and knows how good or bad it may be. Thank you!

Can SNMP be used to warn if clocks are drifting on network devices on the local network? It could be helpful to keep an eye on the time reported by cameras and VMS servers or NVRs to ensure they are in sync if for some reason they fail to keep in sync with a SNTP server. Of couse, using SNMP to monitor SNTP would be rather confusing!

That would be a very helpful feature if possible.

For those interested, PRTG just announced that they're now free up to 100 sensors. Previously, they were free up to 30, so this is quite a jump. Monitoring a couple of switches and a couple servers in a small or mid-size deployment for free is easily possible at 100 sensors, where it wasn't at 30.

Ethan,

Awesome article.

In essance we have an alarm system for selectable points in the network devices, yes?

Luis Marrero

Chicago Communication Systems, Inc.

Chicagocommsys@aol.com

Hi

We the integrators, need to push for better SNMP support. Surveillance has become critical in these days and ages. Knowing when and why a camera or server or switch ,etc are down shouldn't be a guessing game... Many say they have SNMP support , for the most part, finding MIB fromcamera vendor is a fool errand.

Very nice article. I have PTRG running in my office monitoring primarily bandwidth. I have been thinking of deploying SNMP monitoring to one of my larger sites, but haven't made the jump yet. I hope to soon. I would love to see a pole of how many integrators are employing this in the field.

this can save a lote of time and money, if a problem comes up in your setup you can find it faster with thes programes

test

Being that we are going to all IP cameras this is useful information. thank you

We use Ihiji to monitor all our installations. The service allows us to remotely reboot individual POE ports on managed switches and emails us when a device goes offline. We use it to generate RMR for all our projects.

http://www.ihiji.com/

Wynne

Great topic and well done explaining SNMP.

On that note has anyone ever come across a MIB for Panasonic cameras. I can't seam to find it anywhere.

anyone ever come across a MIB for Panasonic cameras

Here is Panasonic's MIB Interface Specifications Network Camera v 1.03 found on their developer download page. Note: Panasonic responded to your question that we forwarded to them.

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