How to Install IP Surveillance System

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What is needed to setup an IP camera system over the network?

The following 5 components comprise an IP based camera system that is setup over a network.

1. PoE Switch that is 802.3af/at Compliant

At the heart of the whole network that pumps data between cameras and recorder is the PoE switch. Powering and transmitting data from IP cameras requires networking equipment to do so. IP cameras can be powered near the installation point with 12V DC adaptors, or can utilize PoE technology in the PoE switch that provides power and data from one convenient device and over one cable.

It is very important to use PoE equipment that is compliant with 802.3af or 802.3at standards, which ensures correct power delivery to the cameras. PoE switches and injectors meant for wireless access points are Passive in their power delivery, meaning they do not negotiate the correct power required for the camera. Passive PoE equipment will damage any IP camera and void its warranty. For more information on why it is so important to use an Active PoE Switch or Active PoE Injector, refer to our guide on understanding the Difference Between Active vs. Passive PoE.

2. Security Camera Recorder

The surveillance camera recorder is the brains of a surveillance system if you are looking for a central location to manage, record, playback, and download recorded video. The recorder in an IP camera system can be any one of our DVRs or NVRs.

If you are setting up a system composed solely of PoE IP cameras, then we recommend using a NVR as it provides the greater compatibility with the video analytics offered by these security cameras. Our recorders range from 4-channels all the way up to 128-channels. All of these NVRs can be networked and configured to capture the video stream from an IP camera from CCTV Camera World, which are tested to be compatible with all of our NVRs and DVRs.

When using third party ONVIF cameras purchased elsewhere, we recommend the user test the cameras with the NVR to assess compatibility. The ONVIF compatibility claimed on a camera is not a guarantee that it will connect to the NVR or work flawlessly as explained in this guide.

3. IP Security Cameras

Of course you will need IP security cameras as they are the eyes of a camera system. IP cameras capture video and send it to the NVR as digital data through the PoE switch.

As pictured above, IP cameras and PoE cameras have a pigtail with at least one RJ45 connector for PoE connectivity and one 12V DC connector. If a PoE switch is being used to power the cameras, the 12V DC connector can be ignored because it is only used in installations where PoE power is unavailable.

When installing an IP camera it is important to protect the pigtail from the elements. All of our IP cameras come with a weather boot that should be used to protect the RJ45 connector from corrosion as demonstrated in the video below.

Before making a camera system purchase we recommend giving our security camera buying guide a read to understand the difference in clarity between various security camera resolutions. Our IP security cameras range in resolution from 1080P to 4K. We even have some 12MP security cameras for users looking for more clarity than what 4K security cameras offer. Fixed lens, motorized zoom, PTZ, two-way audio, cameras with built-in mic, wireless, license plate and fisheye cameras are the different types of IP cameras available on our website.

4. CAT5e or CAT6 Network Cable

Good quality network cable is crucial for proper power and data transmission between the cameras, PoE switch, and NVR. As explained in our network cable page there are a variety of cable grades available. For runs over 150ft we always recommend using a full copper CAT5e cable at the least which usually comes in a role.

Most importantly, if you are crimping your own network cables, be sure to use the T568B standard for RJ45 crimping and use a cable tester to confirm that the cable is crimped properly. Too often we see the latter being skipped and leading to the misconception that a camera is faulty. To learn how to correctly crimp your network cable, please watch this video.

It is also important to note for the novice user that network cabling has a transmission limit of 328ft. For longer wire runs, a PoE extender is required. A PoE extender borrows a small amount of power to amplify the data signal and send it down further. Here are a few tips for proper PoE Extender use:

5. Internet Service Provider Modem/Router for Remote Viewing

While not required to setup an IP camera system, the last component is an internet router. Often times a customer will already have an internet router, modem, or a combination of the two provided by the Internet Service Provider (ISP). A router ties together the whole network and routes data between switches, recorders, and computers on the local network.

A router also enables a camera system to communicate through the internet for remote viewing. We advise our customers to purchase their own router that is separate from what an ISP provides. ISPs often sell or lease low-quality routers that are not designed to handle the large amounts of video data involved in an IP camera system, which creates a bottleneck for the cameras and recorder to communicate.

How to connect an IP cameras system?

Preparation

Before you install any cameras it is extremely important to bench test all equipment to avoid the hassle of troubleshooting after installation. Bench testing is also a good time to learn how to configure the cameras to record. Many times improper cable crimping can lead to a lot of confusion. For proper network cable crimping technique, please refer to the section above.

For installing an IP cameras system there is no “one size fits all” solution. It is a good idea to plan the system ahead of time noting where each camera will be installed. Label each camera and wire so that you do not confuse cameras when connecting them to the NVR.

Planning

In the section below, we’ve made it simple to understand the different ways that components of a NVR camera system or IP camera system can be connected to each other. Please spend some time watching the videos to understand the common methods to connect a NVR and PoE switch together. The way all components are connected together depends on the following factors:

  • The number of uplink (LAN) ports present on the PoE switch
  • The number of LAN ports present on the NVR
  • Whether a strong router is present on the network that is capable of handling the large amount of continuous data traffic required for surveillance cameras on the network
  • Whether it is more convenient to run a cable directly from the PoE switch to the NVR or router

Method 1: PoE Switch with 1 Uplink Port to Router

Our first method diagram shows how a PoE switch with one uplink should be setup to connect network cameras to the network. The PoE switch is connected to a router using its uplink port, and the NVR is connected to the router directly as well. Cameras communicate through the PoE switch and the router. Since everything is on the same network, the NVR or DVR recorder is able to communicate with the cameras through the router.

If you prefer watching videos, below we show how to put everything together for this simple setup. Birefly, here is a list of simple steps:

  1. First connect the NVR’s LAN port to a LAN (numbered port) port on the router.
  2. Connect the uplink port of the PoE switch to a different LAN (numbered port) port on the router.
  3. Connect a PoE camera to one of the PoE ports of the PoE switch.

The router “networks” the switch and NVR together, meaning it creates a flow of camera data from the PoE switch to the NVR.

Method 2: PoE Switch with 2 Uplink Ports to connect Router and NVR

In this section we discuss how to setup an IP system using a PoE switch that has 2 uplink ports. This approach is advantageous as it allows the NVR to be connected directly to the switch and fetch data from the cameras without having data bog down the router. The below diagram illustrates this setup.

In the video below we demonstrate how to set up the required components. It is also an easy process, involving the following 3 steps:

  1. First connect the NVR’s LAN port to the uplink port on the switch.
  2. Connect the second uplink port of the PoE switch to a LAN (numbered port) port on the router.
  3. Connect a PoE camera to one of the PoE ports on the PoE switch.

While we have the NVR located close to the switch in our example, it can be placed up to 300ft away from a network switch.

Method 3: PoE Switch with 2 uplink ports to add Additional cameras

This method is applicable if you purchased a PoE NVR and are trying to add IP cameras over the network. The LAN port on a PoE NVR is the network port that is separate from the grouped PoE ports on the back of the NVR. Connect the LAN port to an uplink port on the PoE switch as shown below, or you can even connect it directly to the router. Connect the other uplink port on the PoE switch to the router. The cameras connect to the PoE switch.

Method 4: Using Multiple PoE Switches – Advanced Difficulty

This method works by utilizing the uplink ports on the NVR to bridge two networks together. The networks are your local network and the camera network also known as LAN1 and LAN2. These networks can be the same network scheme, or different depending on how you want to configure the system. For example, your home or office network might be 10.1.1.xxx if you have a Comcast modem, but your camera network can be a seperate 192.168.1.xxx network.

For the rest of our guide you will need to remember to set your cameras up on your camera network and not your home or office network unless you intend for them to be the same.

This method can be complex and difficult to set up. If you would like to set your system up this way but are having trouble configuring the equipment feel free to check out our paid Networking Support services.

You can configure each network port to connect to the network it is wired to. In our example below LAN1 is a local network for internet and computers, and LAN2 is the network for our cameras. Make sure you do not set either LAN to 192.168.1.108 if you’re initializing cameras.

advanced setup with multiple PoE switches

How to configure a security camera recorder on the network?

After physically connecting the security camera recorder to the network, the first thing to do is to set its IP address that conforms to your network. You’ll want to set the recorder to a static IP address that matches your network scheme. If you would like to learn what’s an IP address and how to properly set devices on a network, we suggest you give this guide a read. For this guide we are going to take a shortcut with the help of the NVR or DVR as shown in the videos below.

1. Change the recorder’s IP address to match the network

All of our IP cameras, NVRs and DVRs ship with a default address of 192.168.1.108. A duplicate IP address conflict is going to happen if you try to connect multiple cameras and recorder without setting each to a distinct IP address.

As a first step it is important to change the IP address on the recorder before attempting to connect any cameras. The new IP address cannot be used for any other devices or cameras. The new address must match the existing network scheme or range.

In the video below we show how to modify the IP address on a recorder to set it to a static IP address that conforms to the network. We set our NVR to 192.168.1.80.

If you are unsure what IP address to set your camera recorder to then let’s use the DHCP function on the recorder to determine what is a correct IP. For this to work, it is important that you have a router on the network that has DHCP enabled. This is an advanced step for some. Make sure that you restart the NVR after setting it to DHCP so that the recorder can retrieve an IP address from the router.

2. Verify the NVR is communicating on the network

To verify that the NVR is properly configured to communicate on the network run the Ping command on a PC that is connected to the same router as the NVR. The video below demonstrates how to verify that the NVR is communicating with a router. This process can also be used to find out what IP addresses are open on the network for IP cameras.

3. Initialize and connect an IP Security Camera

Initializing the camera on a 192.168.1.1 network

After the equipment is physically connected it is easy to configure and start recording each camera. CCTV Camera World’s NVR and DVRs support initializing and configuring an IP address on a camera from the Camera Registration menu in the user interface of the NVR or DVR. We show this process in the video below. We set our NVR to 192.168.1.80 and initialize our first camera to have an address of 192.168.1.81.

Initializing the camera on a network other than 192.168.1.1

After the NVR is configured to communicate on the non-192.168.1.xxx network you must initialize and configure the cameras to be on the same network. Conveniently our recorders support initialization and configuration even if the camera is on a different network. The video below explains and demonstrates this process.

Once you have cameras connected and viewable from the NVR you are all set. Repeat the process for each camera that you plan to deploy. Be sure to set each camera to a different IP address.

Tips and tricks for adding cameras to an IP security camera system

Here are some preparation tips you should read before connecting any cameras:

  • It is very important to connect only one camera at a time when initializing and configuring their IP addresses. Having multiple cameras with the same IP address causes a conflict on the network and prevents the NVR from successfully modifying configurations.
  • Ping the network to find an available IP address range. If you are unsure how to check if an IP address is available, please refer to Step 2 above.
  • Planning the system out before configuration is a great idea as well. Make a list of IP addresses for each camera that will be connected to the system. This helps avoid duplicate IP addresses being assigned. The table below can be used as a good framework to document each camera and its IP address in your surveillance system.
Camera NumberCamera NameIP AddressLocationUsernamePassword
1Front192.168.1.81Frontassigned by NVRassigned by NVR
2Back192.168.1.82Backassigned by NVRassigned by NVR