Summary: This article describes how to configure and install an Axis network camera or video server when using home routers in order to access it from the Internet over a broadband connection.
The information in this article applies to all Axis network cameras and video servers.
Requirements & benefits
When using a high speed internet connection, the subscriber typically receives a public IP address that is accessible directly from the Internet. In this article, it is assumed that the user is setting up a local network using a home router, such as D-link, Netgear, Linksys or similar. Most of these routers have support for 'dyndns' out of the box (more on this further down). These devices cost in the range of $50 to $100 and are available in most network stores or online. By paying a little bit more, the network experience can be further improved, by using a Wireless 802.11b/g home router.
The use of such a home router is highly recommended as it brings some significant benefits to a home network:
By using the NAT function (Network Address Translation) or IP-masquerading, the network addresses will be protected, and the PC(s) will be effectively hidden from attacks originating from the Internet.
It is possible to have multiple PCs in a home sharing the same Internet connection.
Other devices, such as a network camera, can easily be connected.
A static (preferably) or dynamic IP address from the high speed internet connection supplier. Further discussion on static/dynamic IPs appears below.
Basic setup for a single camera
First, follow the setup of the home router. Typically they take an Internet IP address using DHCP from the ISP (Internet Service Provider), which will from now on be referred to as the WAN IP. This is basically transparent to the user, but it is needed in order to access the network camera externally.
On the LAN the router will have a local address. Typically this is 192.168.0.1. The home router then acts as a DHCP server, assigning IP addresses on the LAN. The default is that these addresses are assigned from 192.168.0.100 and upwards. This leaves room for static IPs which is what the Axis network camera needs. So a good sample number is to use IP addresses from 192.168.0.50 in such an environment. These addresses need to be configured manually, and it is recommended that this be done after the home router is installed. Then assign the IP address to the camera as described in the camera's Installation Guide/User's Manual.
Once the camera has its IP number set, the images should be viewable on the local network using a Web browser. Disable any proxy settings in the browser (this is normally disabled by default) and then enter the IP address of the camera in the browsers address field (e.g. 192.168.0.50). The picture should now be viewable.
In order to make the camera externally available, use the 'port forwarding' function of the home router. This is a feature available on most routers. Specify that port 80 of the WAN IP is to point to port 80 of the local IP 192.168.0.50 (the Axis camera). This will now make the camera accessible on the Internet, given that the WAN IP address is known. This can be found in the status page of the home routers setup. The network camera is now live on the Internet.
When the camera is live on the Internet, remember that anyone on the Internet can monitor it. If privacy is required, Axis strongly recommends that the anonymous viewing is disabled or the password in the camera is changed from the default (for older cameras).
Using multiple cameras with a home router
First, configure the cameras according to the basic setup. In this example it is assumed that there will be 5 cameras with IP addresses in the range from 192.168.0.50 - 192.168.0.54.
As there is only one WAN IP address available, different ports on the router will need to be utilized. As an example, the HTTP protocol by default uses port number 80. Most port numbers below 1024 are standardized, but they can be used if necessary. However, it is strongly recommended not to use port numbers below 80 as some common services rely on these. In this example ports 81 and upwards are used.
In order to set up the different cameras, ports on the WAN IP need to be individually mapped to the internal camera IP addresses. Assuming there are 5 cameras they may be mapped according to the table below. This example assumes that the home router can map one port number to another IP addresses port number (e.g. having port 80 of all the cameras mapped to different ports on the WAN). On some routers this is not possible. Then the user must configure the local cameras so that they use the same port number as the external port number. HTTP port on the cameras can normally be changed under Network settings in the administration part of the built in web interface. Once changed, it is not possible to access the cameras using the default HTTP port and the user will always be required to use the new port number as in the table below:
|WAN IP||Port||Local IP||Local URL without cross port mapping|
At this point the cameras can be viewed externally from the Internet. Remember the privacy.
Static or Dynamic IP address?
Most ISPs will provide a subscriber with a dynamic IP that in theory may change every hour. However, it is common practice to maintain the same IP address for as long as the connection is active. So given that there is no down time, the IP will remain the same, and when the connection is re-established after a period of downtime, a new IP address will be assigned. The best scenario is of course if the ISP can provide a static IP, which guarantees that the IP will not change.
The WAN IP address can be found in the status page of the home router. Make a note of this and try the cameras.
The ISP will most likely not inform a user if their dynamic IP addresses actually change or not (although asking them is recommended). The only safe way to know is by trial and error. Run the home router for a couple of weeks, and make a note on which WAN IP address it has. If it changes, it will be more difficult to have the cameras easily accessible on the Internet. Information regarding this can be found on www.dyndns.org .
Obtaining a domain name for the cameras
As having to remember the IP address of a Web site is tedious, it is preferable to have a personal domain name (e.g. www.joecamera.com ). There are three ways of obtaining a domain name that Axis can recommend:
Register a domain using some of the popular dynamic DNS sites, e.g. the DYN DNS service (www.dyndns.org).
Register a real domain by any of the domain registrants e.g. the www.register.com
Use The Axis Internet Dynamic DNS Service (applies to the new generation of products, running firmware version 4.xx)
See also: One Click Installation & Axis Internet Dynamic DNS Service (pdf).
Important: Axis does not take any responsibility for how these configuration changes may affect your system. If the modification fails or if you get other unexpected results, you may have to restore the factory default settings as described in the User’s Manual.