internet surveillance camera interacts with your internal network. I will be writing more articles that will go into more depth with this technology. I will cover topics such as step by step instructions for IP camera network configuration, remote view technology, and port forwarding.">Due to the popularity of home wireless (a.k.a. Wi-Fi) networks, more and more consumers are opting for IP, or network, camera solutions for their home security requirements. IP cameras offer much more flexibility than do, say, self-contained security cameras. With an IP camera system, not only can you record the footage to any computer on your network, but the video feed can be streamed over the Internet facilitating access from any computer (including Internet-connected smart phones) that is not even a part of your network. This is commonly referred to as remote view, and with some systems you can even record and control the camera remotely. IP cameras are available in both hard wired and wireless versions, with the difference being that hardwired cameras must be connected to your network using a network cable (usually a CAT5 Ethernet cable), where wireless IP cameras have a built-in wireless antenna (sometimes called a wireless adapter). Since wireless IP cameras are the most popular because of their versatility, I will concentrate on the wireless flavor in this article. For hardwired IP cameras, just know that they work in just about the exact same way with one exception - there is a wire connecting it to your network. |
First, let's get some terminology out of the way. IP stands for Internet Protocol. In networking, there are many different protocols used. IP is the protocol used for internet traffic. The purpose of this article is not to give you a lesson on Internet Protocol (Wikipedia has a great article on this), but rather how it is used for the transport of video using an IP camera. Wi-Fi, which is actually a registered trademark of The Wi-Fi Alliance, is a term used to describe the technology that enables electronic devices to exchange information through a wireless computer network, to include high-speed Internet connections. Also, just to clear the air, there are many terms that are commonly used to describe IP cameras. IP camera, Wi-Fi camera, wifi security camera, wireless internet camera, network camera, wireless webcam, internet surveillance camera, etc., are all terms that mean exactly the same thing, so don't let that confuse you. A Wireless Access Point (WAP) is a device that allows Wi-Fi enabled devices (smart phones, tablets, computers, etc.) a connection to a network. It can be a standalone device that connects to a router, but more commonly it is built into the router itself. If your router is a combination wired/wireless router, meaning that you can both hardwire computers into it and connect to it wirelessly, your WAP is built into your router.
A wireless IP camera has a built-in Wi-Fi antenna used to establish a connection to your wireless access point. Initial configuration and pairing of the camera to your network is accomplished by connecting the camera to your router with a standard network cable. This initial configuration, in a nutshell, consists of the assignment of an IP address and port to the camera. This can be done automatically (with DHCP equipped routers) or you can configure them manually. This IP address and port is what you will use to access the camera from within your local (or internal) network. To facilitate this access, the camera has internal software, called firmware, built into it. This firmware is designed to be compatible with Internet browsers, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, etc. This browser-firmware interface allows you to call up the live video feed directly through your browser and maintain certain controls of the camera. Depending on the camera and firmware, you can view and record and may have the ability to pan, tilt, and zoom the camera directly from your browser.
This has been a basic overview of how an IP internet surveillance camera interacts with your internal network. I will be writing more articles that will go into more depth with this technology. I will cover topics such as step by step instructions for IP camera network configuration, remote view technology, and port forwarding.
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