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How to Configure an IP Camera or Webcam

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Friday, 28 October 2011

3Gstore Tech Corner #13: How to Configure a IP Camera or Webcam

tech corner *Updated 4/30/13

One of the many benefits to shopping at 3Gstore.com is the unrivaled technical support our tech team offers. The mobile broadband experts at 3Gstore have helped countless customers solve a wide variety of issues, and in our Tech Corner series we'll be featuring interesting problems our customers have called us for help with, the solutions our team provided, and some simple advice for you to avoid the same problem!

 




How to Configure an IP Camera or Webcam

ip_cam_logo.jpg

3Gstore deals with 3G/4G mobile technology on a daily basis, and we find a lot of customers like to utilize the equipment for remote IP cameras or webcams. This can be useful for businesses looking to monitor their cash registers, parking lots etc, or a home user simply looking to keep an eye out on their children. This can sometimes be confusing as certain technologies work, while others simply have limitations that prevent any type of remote access. So, do words like "DHCP Reservation", "Private IP", "Port Forwarding", "Dynamic DNS" confuse you? Don't worry, we're going to break down what works, what doesn't, and how you can get your camera setup and configured!

What type of wireless cards work?

The majority of users looking to do remote camera configurations prefer to use either Verizon 3G or Sprint 3G modems. This is because they usually come with a public IP that allows you to talk to the device outside the local network. However with cellular providers constantly changing policies, there's really no guarantee you will still receive a publicly routable IP address. Other providers like AT&T, Virgin Mobile and other prepaid services use private IP addresses, which block ports preventing remote access (Verizon 4G LTE Doesn't work for IP Cameras or Webcams). If this is already starting to confuse you don't worry, think of a "public IP" like an address inside the U.S. that you can drive to in your car. Now, a "Private IP" would be like an address on an island surrounded by water, obviously you can't drive your car there. After you've checked cellular coverage and determined which provider to use you must figure out if you want a static IP or use a dynamic DNS provider.

Should you use a Static IP or Dynamic DNS?

To use a Static IP or Dynamic DNS is a question of convenience and how much you want to pay to access your cameras. Using a Static IP is the most popular method, but Sprint and AT&T charge $3/mo (if less than 28 lines of service) and Verizon charges a one time $500 fee (regardless of # of lines) to get a static IP. This gives your device a unique IP that will never change, which means after configuring the router you just type the IP followed by the open port to access your cameras. The alternative is a Dynamic DNS client like dyndns.org that works between your remote router and main location.

Dynamic DNS would be necessary if you don't have a static IP, because a dynamic IP changes every time your modem connects to the cellular network. To explain, this would be like having an address to drive to, but when you get there, you find the building has moved to a new location. Cradlepoint routers have dynamic DNS built directly in giving you a variety of different clients you can use to setup this service. The most popular service is DynDNS.com and they offer everything from basic free services up to enterprise grade solutions. If you plan to use one of these services for professional use, you will likely want the paid versions that can run $30/yr for dynDNS standard, $30/mo for dynECT Enterprise Lite to $195/mo for dynECT Enterprise.


Should I use a MiFi (mobile hotspot) or USB modem?

This is very important when it comes to remotely accessing your network. First, MiFis are strictly WiFi only capable. This means that if your cameras and/or your DVR system MUST be connected via Ethernet, you won't be able to use a MiFi device. Of course, there are routers available which allow you to connect a MiFi rather than a standard cable/DSL Ethernet modem or even USB modem, which then gives you Ethernet ports - however, this too has its limitations. Whether you get a router that uses WiFi as WAN or one that allows the MiFi to be tethered, the technology prevents it from passing through its WAN IP address to the router. To clarify, even if you pay for a static IP address from the carrier, the router will still see the WAN source as a private IP address. To avoid this, we recommend using a USB modem and router. 

Please Note - When you log into your router for the configurations below be sure to select "Advanced" from the menu on the top left after logging in. If you don't do this, you WILL NOT see the settings you need to configure.

Configuring your camera with DynDNS:

You will need to configure you camera’s network settings. You will need to configure it to use the following static IP address settings:

  • IP Address: 192.168.0.50
  • Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
  • Default Gateway/Router: 192.168.0.1

These settings can be changed from your cameras configuration menu. Below you'll find an example of this type of menu. Please Note - Be se sure to make a note of which [http] port number your camera will use, by default this is usually Port 80, we changed it to 8080 as shown in the picture below.

cam_example.png

Creating a DynDNS Account:
Now you will need to create a free DynDns.com account at http://www.dyndns.com. Once you have registered, login to your account. Go to “My Hosts” & create a new host using the Service Type: Host with IP address.

CradlePoint Router Configuration for DynDNS:
  1. Open up a web browser to http://192.168.0.1
  2. Enter the last 8 characters of the Mac address (Bottom of router)
  3. Click the "Network Settings" tab and select "DNS" from the drop down menu
  4. Under the "DynDNS Configuration" Check “Enabled”
  5. Under Server Type select your selection, in our example we choose www.DynDNS.org
  6. Enter you Host name ex. Myhost.dyndns.org
  7. Enter your username and password that you registered with at DynDns.com
  8. Click "Apply"

dyndns_example.jpg

Port Forward Configuration for Static IP:

If you decided to pay for a static IP instead of a Dynamic DNS client you will need to define the ports your cameras will use. Refer to your camera to find out what ports they'll operate, take a note and do the following.

  1. Within the admin interface select "Network Settings" and select "Firewall" from the drop down menu
  2. At the top of the page under port forward rules click "Add"
  3. Enter a name and description for the camera rule (You must enter something in both fields)
  4. Ignore the option for a port range and enter the "Internet Port" you'd like to use to access your camera: Example Port 8080
  5. Enter the IP address of your IP Camera and define the "Local Port"
  6. After clicking next you need to indicate TCP/UDP or both
  7. Click Submit and you've successfully created a port forward rule

port_forward_setup.png

After configuring the port forward rules you'll need to configure a DHCP range. All of the new Cradlepoint NetBSD routers automatically range DHCP, which can create a conflict if it assigns an IP address for the camera inside the local scope. If this isn't configured it's likely that you will not be able to hit your camera from outside the local network. You need to do the following to define the local DHCP range:

Defining the DHCP Range:

  1. Within the admin interface select "Network Settings" and select "WiFi/Local Networks" from the drop down window
  2. Under Local IP Networks place a check mark by primary LAN and click "Edit"
  3. Select "DHCP Server" from the tabbed menu
  4. Change from Auto to a specific range, Ex: If your camera is 192.168.0.100 define the DHCP range as 125-200

dhcp_range_example.png


You can now click the submit button and now have successfully configured your IP camera. Go ahead and test this from another computer by entering the static IP your ISP has provided you followed by a colon and the port you defined earlier. Example 75.100.200.10:8080

If for some reason it doesn't take you directly to your IP or Web Camera you can quickly test to see if the port is blocked by your provider. Under the "System Settings" menu select "Administration" and under remote management check "Allow WAN pings", "Allow Remote Administration" and enter the port you're trying to use. After clicking the apply button the settings will save and see if you can remotely log into the router. If it fails to login you know that the ISP is blocking the port, but if it goes to the admin console then double check each step above and make sure you haven't forgot something.


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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 30 April 2013 )
 
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