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How to set up IP cams remotely?

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 6:31 pm
by ron
Hi all! I'm trying to set up a big CCTV system at my parents' house. Last time I visited, I set up a pretty extensive network for it along with the first few cameras. But it's not nearly finished yet; lots more cameras to go! This is the network topology:

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internet <==> modem <==> router1 <==> router2 <==> server
                         ^ ^ ^        ^ ^ ^ ^
                         | | |        | | | |
                         | | v        | | | v
                         | v laptops  | | v router3 <--> cams
                         v phones     | v router4 <--> cams
                         xbox         v router5 <--> cams
                                      router6 <--> cams
Where double lines (==) are wired connections and single (--) are wireless. All the routers are WRT54GLs running DD-WRT. The server runs ZoneMinder on Debian.

My problem is that I need to set up various brands of IP cameras remotely, because troubleshooting over the phone is terrible. I've set up remote access to each router and to the server. My original plan was to have them plug cameras one by one into router2 by ethernet, and I would do the rest. I figured they would get DHCP addresses, I would forward a port to the camera, then log in and set everything up. But it's not working! I can ping the camera, and check that it has port 80 open (or 81 on some models) by scanning with for example:

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from the server. But when I forward a TCP port and go to it in a browser I don't get anything.

Anything obvious I'm missing? I can add a lot more detail about the subnets/DHCP/ports/whatever if that helps. Also open to asking other places, like maybe SuperUser or the DD-WRT forum. But I thought you guys would have more experience setting up cameras.

Re: How to set up IP cams remotely?

Posted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 1:14 pm
by Gary S
I'll take a stab at this, but you have to excuse my ignorance as I'm no networking expert. First of all, why all the routers? You need only router 1. The rest would simplify the system if replaced with cheap ethernet switches.

My approach on this would be to replace routers 2-6 with switches. Then, assuming these cameras are new and set up to factory defaults, I would determine what those defaults are for network IP. Connect each camera directly to a local PC that is set up on the same subnet as the camera default network, and reconfigure it to a static IP on the network it will be used on. Also, at that time, assign each camera a different port so they can easily be routed through the single router. Then, set up the router with the IP and port of each camera for port forwarding. At that point, the cameras should be able to be connected to the final system and accessed remotely.

Or, I could be all wrong.

Re: How to set up IP cams remotely?

Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 3:06 pm
by melloa
Very complex network and maybe creating lots of double nat'ing in the process.

I run all my home n/w with only one router (a pfsense) and several 1gb switches. For wireless I'd recommend using your routers as APs, if you really need for places that the "main" Ap can't provide a good connection, although for all wifi cameras I have got wifi has never been a good solution for streaming and access. For instance I installed an AP on my roof for a camera installed 50ft away outside to get it going and wasn't perfect.

My recommendations would be:

- Simplify your network and avoid multiple routers to won'r double nat
- Install a jump box or VNC on your server for remote access (filter access to your IP only to avoid been hacked)

Good luck!