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Document History: Original 21 Oct 2004. Edited: 2 Jun 2013. Minor edit 22 Dec 2016

Web and IP cameras

I have had them for years. Here are a few thoughts about setting up IP and web cameras....

Not until you have set up an IP camera to work on your local network is it time to release it unto the big wide internet. Once it is working you can begin to expose it to the outside world but first you need to ensure you have a fixed IP address or subscribe to a DDNS service. Google 'free DDNS'. Okay. Done that?

I base this partly on an old IP camera which I used to have working. Warning: cheap Pan/Tilt cameras are often poor quality chinese knock-off clones of Foscam devices and they die. :-(

Put simply, lets assume your camera has a local IP of 192.168.0.99 on your network of other 192.168.0.numbered devices and it provides a connection to its video on port 88. A camera you have may have a different default IP address or you may have changed it to something else. In practice this means that using 192.168.0.99 in a local browser will probably bring up the camera's internal web server (on port 80) to configure it, but using 192.168.0.99:88 accesses its video (probably another web page). In order to access that on the internet beyond your network, your router needs to operate Port Forwarding such that an incoming request for port 88 is passed to only 192.168.0.99:88 and then the video feed is accessible from outside.

You can set up other incoming port numbers too. This enables incoming connections to be diverted to multiple appropriate devices. As you have only one external IP address (probably) it is possible for several servers to be accessible from outside using different port numbers. This example describes a camera providing video on port 88, and in the same way port 80 is assigned to your web server, if you have one.

Here I had/have the following forwarding rules in my router (where the IP address of the camera has been changed to suit the local network configuration).

'External'
Port
Forwarded to
Local device
Machine name
80 Web Server 192.168.7.25 ROSPi
8080 Web Server 192.168.7.7 Myonix
9000 Media Server192.168.7.14:9000 NAS
88 IP Camera 192.168.7.17:88 ? no name

So, to access your camera feed remotely, you use

<your external IP address>:88 or the address you have been given by DDNS plus the :88

If users have PCs there is an excellent app which handles multiple web and IP cameras - iSpy/iSpyConnect - though this does have a small subscription if you want web access to those cameras. This is what I use to capture up to six webcams. Using it locally to grab clips is free and it helps me keep an eye out for visitors and birds. 'Latest' stills are here: timil.com/webcam and some selected video is here youtube.com/timothyjrhill watch out for the Red Kites!

An alternative to a PC tied to loads of webcams is to buy a CCTV box and a handful of cameras. I once installed a 1TB one with four cameras (£399 - Maplin) and it can simply be accessed remotely - over the internet - with a free smartphone app 'Meye' or the Internet Explorer browser. Of course, port forwarding had to be set up on the router to enable that and nowadays some software which comes with these things can do all the setting up for you, if you have a compatible router. Access to the video is protected by a username/password combination, of course, so don't expect a link from me!

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