How to:
Gain access to the Axis network camera via the Internet

 
Scenario:
Now that you can access the Axis network camera from your local computer, you decide that you would like to be able to access the camera wherever you may be via the Internet. For example, as a store owner, you may want the ability to monitor activities at the store from the comfort of your home instead of having to be at the shop.

 

  • Step 1: System requirements

  • Scenario A) 
    If your building (where the camera is to be located) is already wired with Ethernet cabling to an Internet Service Provider (ISP), simply sign up for an account, plug the network camera into a switch, which connects to the network outlet, and you will commonly receive a dynamically assigned public IP address for the network camera. Follow the installation instructions for the network camera. The AXIS Internet Dynamic DNS Service or the AXIS IP Utility will be helpful in identifying the IP address for the camera. 
      
    As the assigned IP address may be changed by your ISP (due to a limited supply of IP addresses being shared among its customers), find out how you can still maintain one address to reach the network camera. See Step 4 below.
     
  • Scenario  B)
    If your building isn't wired with Ethernet access, then you will in many cases require the following devices:
     
    - a broadband modem, such as for an ADSL hook up (usually supplied by your ISP) or TV-cable modem
     
    - a broadband router, which may be referred to as a NAT-Router, Internet Gateway, Broadband sharing device or Home firewall
     
    (A broadband router allows users on a small network to share a single connection to the Internet. It also acts as the interface between the Internet/ISP and the private local area network.)
      
    - a switch (which allows different devices on a network to communicate directly with one another and enables devices on the local area network to have separate IP addresses)
     
    NOTE: Most broadband routers have built-in switch function, so a separate equipment is not required
     

    - the network camera

    - a local PC
     
    - a PC at a distant location for remote viewing
     
  • Step 2: Assign an IP address for your camera

  • Since a broadband router typically assigns automatic, private IP addresses to devices on the local area network, such IP addresses may change. A fixed IP address is recommended for a network camera. To assign a fixed IP address, look up the router's IP address range, which, for example, could be 192.168.0.2 through 192.168.0.35. If you use an IP address above that range, such as 192.168.0.100, as a fixed IP address for the camera, it is likely that you won't be risking conflicts with other devices that receive automatic addresses.  
  • Setting the IP address for your camera can be done in three different ways, as outlined in the camera's manual. Once the IP address is assigned, set the subnet and gateway (this information can be derived from the router) and configure the camera settings as desired. Set password and authorized users to secure access to the camera.
     
  • Step 3: Port forwarding

  • The broadband router, as mentioned earlier, provides the interface between the Internet/ISP (public area) and the local area network (private area). The router receives a public IP address from the ISP and supplies local IP addresses for devices on the local area network.
  • In order to gain access to a network camera residing on a local area network, you need to identify your router's public IP address (see your router's manual) and configure your router so that the public IP address is directed to a fixed, local IP address for the Axis network camera. This process is called port forwarding; that is, when you type the router's public IP address from any networked computer, the Internet locates your router, which then forwards your request to the IP address that is assigned for the network camera. See illustration below.


 

  • Start a Web browser and go to the router's built-in Web pages. Log in to the router's configuration pages.
  • Find the menu item "port forwarding" (or similar), with a table as illustrated below:
    Service name Start port End port Server IP Address
    FTP 21 21 Not configured
    HTTP (Web) 80 80 Not configured
          Not configured
     
  • Since the camera sends its video over HTTP, you need to configure the HTTP service to the following:
    Service name Start port End port Server IP Address
    FTP 21 21 Not configured
    HTTP (Web) 80 80 192.168.0.100
    Unofficial port 80xx 80xx 192.168.0.10x
     
  • Save the configuration in the router and exit the configuration pages. The configuration is complete. Any requests reaching the router's external IP address on port 80 will now be forwarded to the camera's IP address: 192.168.0.100.
  • If you are making more than one network camera available for access via the Internet, then you will need to use the router's unofficial ports, such as 80xx and link it to the network camera(s) IP address.
     
  • Step 4: What you can do if your ISP frequently changes the public IP address

  • Create an account with a Dynamic DNS service and register a domain name and your public IP with the service. A domain name, such as www.axis.com, is a user friendly, easy-to-remember name that you can assign to a networked device so that it takes the place of its IP address. Whenever the router's IP address changes, it will automatically notify the DNS service to update the IP address, thus allowing you to continue to use the same domain name to access the network camera. (In other words, a dynamic DNS service allows you to alias an ever-changing, dynamic IP address to a static hostname, allowing computers or network cameras to be accessed from various locations on the Internet.)
  • Most broadband routers have native support for a dynamic DNS service such as www.dyndns.org.
  • Another alternative is to purchase a fixed, public IP address from your ISP (normally an additional cost).

For more information, see:
Guide to configuring and using the AXIS Internet Dynamic DNS Service. Information on configuring a broadband router. (PDF file)