An Introduction to Remotely Viewing Your Security Cameras
Your security camera system is designed to protect your premises 24/7, especially when you’re not there. Even if you’ve got a monitoring company helping out, you still want to check in on the system or be notified if a problem arises. Remote viewing is a critical part of surveillance today, allowing you to watch your camera feeds while you’re out and about.
Understanding Your Network
Remote viewing your security cameras requires you to access your Local Area Network (LAN) from the Internet (a Wide Area Network). Your devices connect to the Internet through your gateway router, which is assigned two different IP addresses – one on the LAN, one on the WAN.
Your router’s local address will generally be 192.168.1.1, depending on your service provider. Any devices connected to that router – smartphones, computers, tablets, NVRs – are assigned a different last number at the end instead of ‘1’. These addresses can only be accessed locally under normal circumstances.
The WAN address can either be static (generally for large businesses) or dynamic for residential and small businesses. Dynamic addresses are rotated by Internet Service Providers for security purposes or power fluctuations. Because its WAN address changes randomly, any web service attempting to visit your network needs either constant manual updates or a static nickname to call.
Setting Up Remote Viewing
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Setting up DDNS gives your network a nickname that ensures you can reach your network even when the IP address changes. This is done through a DDNS provider that associates your network with a customized nickname. You’re basically giving your router a static URL that’s linked to its dynamic WAN address so you can access it from an Internet browser or smartphone app.
Port forwarding assigns specific ports on your router to a device on the LAN, directing any traffic requesting those ports to that device – in this case, your NVR. Without port forwarding, you can’t specify a device on your LAN to visit. Ports are forwarded by logging into your router on the local network via its IP address.
Once you’ve set up port forwarding and DDNS, you have to assign the DDNS hostname to your NVR. In your NVR’s network settings, you’ll have to enable DDNS and enter the credentials for the hosting site – username, password, and hostname. From now on, any web service that requests that hostname will be automatically routed to your NVR.
On-site vs Away Viewing
One catch to all the routing hoops you have to jump through to view your feeds remotely is you can’t view the remote feed when you’re on the local network. If you’re using a mobile device, you’ll have to enter your NVR as two different devices with separate IP addresses. The username and password will remain the same, but you won’t have to enter the ports for the local connection.
Using a smartphone app only requires you to fill in the NVR’s credentials once, but you’ll have to set two IP addresses for your NVR. The first will be the local address you can access when you’re in range of your home or business WiFi. The second will be the IP address you’ll connect to when you’re out. You’ll also have to switch on and off the wireless network manually.
Once the network itself has been configured, you can log in to your NVR from any Internet-connected device. Logging in from a computer is usually as simple as entering your DDNS hostname into an Internet browser and using the NVR’s username and password to view your feeds. On a smartphone, you’ll need to use a compatible app or you won’t be able to connect to your cameras. Once you enter the credentials into the app, you’ll be able to see your live feeds and save footage from anywhere you have a cellular signal or WiFi access.
Get Safe and Sound
Setting up remote viewing is crucial to securing your property, but it’s not the only aspect. You obviously need a security camera system first, and you might be using an access control system or a burglar alarm as well. The best security systems, both commercial and residential, are planned and installed by professionals. If you’re interested in getting a security camera suite or just want more information on surveillance systems, give Safe and Sound Security a call. We’re more than happy to share the experience that has made us California’s best local security system installer for nearly 10 years.