It is great to be able to watch your house from a remote location if needed. It is actually quick and easy to do. I’ll show you how.
You’ll need the following things to setup a surveillance system accessible locally and remotely:
- IP Camera
- Internet Connection
1.1. IP Camera
There are many types of IP cameras available which can be purchased in stores and online.
I personally wouldn’t recommend buying a DVR system unless it is for a specific purpose. Rather buy multiple IP cameras and if you need to do snapshots and recordings, you can do that to a hard drive on the network as needed.
I bought this IP camera online and it works great. It has a complete admin interface for configuration, dynamic DNS and best of all, it doesn’t need any cables, it has Wifi. It does have an ethernet connection but you’ll probably use that once to set it up and connect it to your wireless network. Another pro about this camera is that you can setup and link multiple cameras together and have them work together in the same interface.
Any ADSL or 3G router is fine as long as it can do port forwarding.
I have a TP-LINK TL-MR3420 router and it works great. It is a 3G/WAN router and has port forwarding built in using Virtual Server.
1.3. Internet Connection
An internet connection of course, especially if you want to access your cameras remotely when you are not at home. The internet will be on the router.
Let’s go ahead and set this up, it really is quick and easy!
2.1. IP Camera Setup
First thing you want to do is set the camera up. It should come with instructions on setting up or at least give you a quick start guide on installation.
Don’t mount the camera on the wall yet. First set it up correctly and ensure it works before you mount it so that you can easily carry it around between the router, computer, etc in case you have a hiccup like setting a wrong setting.
Assuming that you have the same camera as the one above, find the camera on your network. You’ll have it plugged into the ethernet of the router and the router should tell you the IP address of the camera in it’s clients list.
First thing I did was to give the camera a static IP on my network so that I don’t have to search for it each time the router is restarted. The static IP will depend on the IP range of your router. My DHCP range is 192.168.0.100 to 192.168.0.199 so I gave it IP address 192.168.0.102 and the default port was 81 on which I left it.
Saving the settings will most likely reboot the camera so wait a few minutes and then access the camera on the new IP address and port you configured: http://192.168.0.102:81
Then we’ll enable and setup the dynamic DNS in order to access the camera remotely. This specific camera comes with a unique hostname and dynamic DNS included which you may not get with other cameras. If you have to create your own, dynamic DNS you can find many articles on the internet on running a utility on your computer to ping your IP to a dynamic DNS service accordingly.
So let’s activate this dynamic DNS and save the settings. Copy the hostname since you’ll be using it later to access the camera remotely. That’s it for the IP camera!
2.2. Router Setup
Your router has a firewall setup with the purpose of preventing hackers from getting into your home network over the internet. It can easily happen so don’t turn the firewall off, please.
As a result, we need to tell the router to forward access from outside (the internet) on a specific port inward, into the network.
Login to your router. The router manual or quick start guide will tell you how to access it’s admin interface if you don’t already know. Most routers work in the exact same manner… you connect to it over ethernet or wifi and access it through your browser on a static IP address, the gateway. My gateway is 192.168.0.1. So I type that into my browser and login with the username/password.
On my TP-LINK TL-MR3420, I go to Forwarding > Virtual Server and click “Add New”. Then I fill in the port (81) and the static IP address (192.168.0.102) that I configured on the IP camera before.
That’s it, save the settings. The router may need to reboot for the changes to take effect.
3. Test it Out
Now you can go ahead and test it out by typing the dynamic DNS address and port into your browser which you saw earlier on in the IP camera’s interface.
It works well. I can now keep an eye on my house when I’m at the office or away on holiday.
There is so much more that you can do with this camera. It has motion detection for example and takes snapshots or records video when it detects movement within specific hours of specific days. You can also have it save the snapshots and videos to a path on the network so theoretically you can have an ethernet or USB storage device to record your surveillance to.
Enjoy it and feel free to post your comments!