Archive for the ‘ CCTV Articles ’ Category

Pre Planning Your Security Camera Installation to Head off Headaches

Written By:
Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

Being a Technical Support  representative can give you a lot of insight into the everyday obstacles and frustrations that a security system installer may run into when setting up a  location.

For older analog camera systems, getting set up on a LAN (Local Area Network) and providing remote access to the DVR was a pretty straightforward task. In most cases, all you had to do was give the DVR an IP Address and set up port forwarding and call it done. Ah…the good old days.

Now that we have entered the 21st Century, security camera systems have changed. Analog systems have become more robust, delivering images at 960H resolution at 30 frames per second across 32 or more channels, and sometimes along with audio as well. These improvements alone have created the necessity for more bandwidth on both your LAN and your Internet connection to provide a remote view that flows reasonably well and doesn’t just ‘drop out’ all the time.

Now, as IP cameras and systems become more and more prominent, the need for a well tuned network becomes even more necessary. Megapixel cameras can put a pretty heavy load on your LAN to the point where your other work related functions can start to suffer if you do not have enough bandwidth available. The need to upgrade from a 10/100 (100 Mb) LAN to a 10/100/1000 (Gb) LAN becomes obvious pretty quickly when you have 10 or more Megapixel cameras. For example, some IP cameras come out of the box with a high bitrate 6000 kbps ~ 8000kbps and CBR.
6000kbps is roughly equal to 6Mbps (6 megabits per second) and 8000kbps is roughly 8Mbps. CBR means Constant Bit Rate. That means one of those cameras at 8000kbps will be using 8 megabits per second  of your available bandwidth regardless of the scene complexity. If you have 10 of those cameras on your LAN, you will be hitting 80Mbps. That is 80% of your total available bandwidth, and that is a point where you’ll begin to see visible slowdowns and transmission errors on your LAN.

The solution to that problem is to move to a 10/100/1000 (Gigabit) LAN. Gigabit LAN is 10 times faster, so your 80% utilization becomes 8%, a much more manageable percentage.

This brings us to today’s standards. Nowadays, you will see NVRs (Network Video Recorders) more and more as the quest for a better image progresses. As the megapixel resolution increases, so does the strain on your LAN from increased bandwidth requirements.

To offset this issue, most NVRs now come with two separate LAN connections. Some have a single LAN connection and a number of POE ports (Power Over Ethernet). In either case, your NVR is ready to communicate on two different subnets. The LAN connection will connect to your LAN subnet and will be used to view the NVR remotely, send email alerts, etc. The second LAN connector and/or the POE ports will be on a different subnet (Different IP address range). This allows you to isolate the cameras from your LAN and keep that traffic to a minimum.
This is where a little discovery and pre planning will help you avoid a huge headache in your security camera installation.

When you have two subnets connected together by a single device, those subnets must be different. You’ll see this on a router more often than anywhere else. A router connects two networks together. Your LAN (Local Area Network) and the Internet or WAN (Wide Area Network). The router’s main function is to translate the communications from one network to the other. If both networks have the same range of IP addresses – well, you can see where that would be confusing to the router. It would not know which direction to send your signal, and would have at least two choices for the same IP address. Routers are not capable of ‘critical thinking’ or ‘reasoning’. They do what you tell them and if you give them conflicting information, they just refuse to do anything at all. Just know that if you have a device that connects to two different networks – those two networks must have different Network Ids. (IP address ranges)

The reason I have explained all of that is because if you have an NVR with two LAN ports, or an NVR with a LAN and 4 or more POE ports, that NVR is acting like a router. It is important to understand the LAN 1 and LAN 2 ports are separate networks. The LAN port and POE ports are also two different networks. Since we know that the two networks must have different IP addresses, it becomes necessary to identify the existing LAN subnet BEFORE you set up the camera subnet. If you set up all of your cameras on a Network ID on the camera LAN, and then discover that the site’s existing LAN is also, guess what? You have created a duplicate Network ID. You will need to re-address every camera on the secondary LAN and reset the secondary LAN to a different Network ID.

SO…How do you avoid this?
The answer is ‘discovery’ and fortunately is pretty quick and simple to do. You will need to be on a PC that is connected to the existing LAN.

On your Windows PC keyboard – locate the Windows ‘Flying Flag’ key between ‘Ctrl’ and ‘Alt’ on the lower left.
Press and hold that key, then press ‘R’ one time. This will produce a ‘Run’ prompt. (this works on every version of Windows, even Windows 10)

In that prompt, type ‘cmd’ (without quotes) and press ‘Enter’.
This will produce a ‘Command Prompt’ (a black DOS box with white letters)

Type ‘ipconfig’ (without quotes as shown above) and press ‘Enter’.
This will produce a sometimes lengthy list of your adapters and their IP Addresses.

Look for the ‘Ethernet Adapter Local Area Connection’ and you should be able to see an IPV4 Address.

This is your current IP Address on the LAN, and the ‘Gateway’ should be your existing router.

Look at the first three sets of numbers (octets) – those represent the current ‘Network ID’.

Those are the numbers that you do not want to duplicate on the camera LAN.

To avoid potential conflicts, you can change only the third octet (third set of numbers) or you can use something entirely different.

If your existing LAN is set to – you could change to, or something entirely different, would work as well.

Since the camera LAN is a ‘closed network’, meaning it has no direct connection to the Internet or any other network, you could actually use just about anything

as a LAN ID. It is always better to stick with known conventions however, since you never know when the infrastructure might change and you’ll need to be compliant with standard networking rules.

Try to stay within these guidelines = ~  (Class C address range) ~  (Class B address range) ~  (Class A address range)

If the location you are installing the NVR in does not yet have a LAN setup, then you obviously can’t do any discovery.
In that scenario, try to ‘best guess’ an odd network ID for the camera LAN. The most common Network Ids in use are = / / / / , so as long as you stay away from those, you’ll probably get lucky.

My personal favorite is using a ‘Zero Config’ address. This is the range. That range almost guarantees that you won’t have any conflicts because it is not a valid internal or external range, and therefore you should never encounter a network using that ID.

So, to put it in a nutshell, find out what the customers existing LAN is BEFORE you address the cameras. Then just make sure you are not using that same range for your camera LAN.

At any point, if you run into a question you can’t figure out, give us a call at the TechPro Security support line. Our technicians can help with just about any network issue you run into, and if you can get to the Internet, we can remotely log in and help you with the installation.

Happy Networking!


How to Set Up a DX Series Access Control Pin Pad System With and Without Pin Codes!

Written By:
Tuesday, September 8th, 2015


We have been receiving calls in tech support regarding the different ways to use a DX Series Access Control Pin Pad with an access control system.  Some people are interested in pin pad only, while some may want to only use a fob.  Others may want the extra security of requiring both a pin pad entry and a fob to access through a door.  This article will show you how to set up the software for all three options and provide you with a greater understanding of how the software works.  Wiring will not be discussed here, so please refer to other articles for that information.

For Maximum security, FOB + pin code will do the job

You swipe your card, and then enter your pin code to open a door.  This is the most secure way to set up your software since all personnel will need both to advance.  Maybe you are setting up the software for a company and want to require all employees to have both criteria met in order to enter the building.  To set up your first user, you must advance to Basic Config > Personnel and click the Auto Add button.


Then choose your door, and in my case is door 1 or m003-1.  On the next screen, you need to select your department and then swipe.  If you do not have departments set up, then you can skip that part.  I created two departments to separate Management and Staff, but you can segregate personnel by any company or organization hierarchy for sorting and control purposes.


Once you are on the User screen, add a pin there.  I used 1234 for testing, and have my Activate and Deactivate range to make sure my user will be active.  We are not quite done with this user, because you still have to make sure that the swipe and pin are both required to advance.


Advance to Access Control > Password Management and then make sure the Swipe + Keypad boxes are all checked to make sure both are required.  Click OK, and now you are ready to upload your changes to the board.


If you are new to the software, click Basic Operate > Select All > Upload so that you can upload all the changes for your doors.  In my case, this is a 2 door board, so I select both doors and then I always keep Basic Configuration and Access Privilege checked when I hit the OK button.  Now I have one user that requires the Swipe and the Keypad to enter the door.  The biggest advantage to requiring a pin with the fob is in case the fob is lost or stolen.  You may not want someone to gain access prior to the account being deactivated.

FOB only setup

The fob only setup is easy since you have to create your personnel the same way as above.  You must advance to Basic Config > Personnel and click the Auto Add button like you did before, but keep the pin code section blank.   Then you have to advance to Access Control > Password Management and then make sure the Swipe + Keypad boxes are all unchecked to make sure both are not required.  Click OK, and now you are ready to upload your changes to the board.  This is the same setup if you have a swipe only reader, and should be very easy and fast for setting up many users.  While it does not have the extra layer of security that the pin code can add, many feel the possession of the fob is enough of a security measure.

Pin code only setup

Let’s say you do not want to deal with fobs at all, and just want to use a pin code.  This is also very easy to set up in the sense that the pin code will be placed in the spot where the card number usually goes.


To set up your first user, you must advance to Basic Config > Personnel and click the Add button.  Create a user name like Joe Code Only and use code 12345 for example.  This same person can also have a fob that can be created as a separate personnel entry if you wish.  One person can have multiple entries if you want to manage people in that manner.  The fob only created user will have to hit the ESC key, and then enter their code of 12345 as an example, and then click the ENT key.  The board really does not know the difference between a swipe and a code, so it just needs the number to allow access.  This means that if someone knew their electronic fob number, they could enter that using the keypad and enter the building.  While the pin code only option may not be the most secure, it may be needed in certain situations or to be used as a second option for people.

In Summary

While you may choose to use a pin code only setup for certain users, you still have options to limit the time of day when they can access the building.  For example, a cleaning crew may only need access late at night in a one hour window for example, so you can choose to limit the pin code only user to that time frame.  There are so many control opportunities when you account for the time management options, that you will likely choose to create multiple personnel entries for some people.  The fob only option is the most common setup, especially since we sell swipe only readers.  It is still a best practice to use both the fob and the pin pad for the added security with a reader that has both data entry options.  Hopefully, you also have a security camera system from to supplement your access control system.  This would give you the highest level of security adding high quality video recordings to your security infrastructure.  Call our sales department today at 866-573-8878 option 2 for a quote on an entire security set up featuring access control and video surveillance.


Covert Security Camera Options

Written By:
Friday, September 4th, 2015

Security cameras are sometimes meant to be seen. If they are in plain sight, they can act as a deterrent to illegal activity. But, this can also make them a target of vandals or anyone committing a crime. There are vandal resistant options, but in general even these wont stand up to someone determined to damage it. This is why that it’s occasionally prudent to have a covert security camera installed. These cameras are usually disguised as something benign, something that that doesn’t remotely look like it contains a camera. And now with high definition advances in camera technology… you don’t need a full size camera to capture full HD video… so not only will your camera be hiding in plain sight, it’ll be capturing incredible detail, allowing the video to be zoomed in and crucial information like faces, clothing, or license plates to be scrutinized.

So here are some of the options we offer in the field of covert cameras. Note: Some of these will record video to a DVR, the same way a typical camera does.. others will be self contained units that are rechargeable and record on-board memory.



One of the smallest cameras we carry is one that could be placed anywhere and not arouse suspicion… inside a nondescript looking pen. This self contained camera / recorder provides full color video recording at 352 x 288px, records at 16 frames per second (AVI format) and and it’s microphone can detect audio from up to 15 feet away. And, its rechargeable Li-Ion battery can run for up to 2 hours on a charge.

This camera would also come in handy for covertly recording video or audio from your purse or pocket. It’s on / off switch is activated in the same way you click a ball point pen.


These small cameras are designed to look like typical rounded mirrors that you’ve probably seen in retail stores for years. But this one way mirror has a small analog camera inside, allowing it to record 420tvl (T.V. line) footage straight into your existing analog security DVR system.


One of our newest hidden cameras, this one is disguised as a PIR motion detector. This covert camera can record in true 1920 X 1080 1080p high definition video.. which is incredible since at first glance there’s nothing to indicate it’s impressive 3.7mm fixed lens. This is an HD-CVI camera which means that it can record high-def video over your old standard analog cables… if you have an existing analog security system in place you can easily install this camera (or any other HD-CVI compatible camera) without having to entirely rewire the building. The only caveat would be that you’d need to replace your analog-only video recorder with an HD-CVI one.

Here’s an example of this HD-CVI camera in action


Again, we have a device that’s extremely common in an office, retail environment, or home.. something that no one would really take a second look at, but can record some powerfully clear video for a camera of its size. This camera, like the previously mentioned Motion Detector camera, utilizes HD-CVI technology, which means that these cameras are perfect for any home or business that has an older existing security system. The camera is hidden among a black mesh around the middle.. making it almost impossible to see unless you’re 2 inches away from it, and actually looking for a lens. Otherwise, this just looks like a run of the mill smoke detector.

And here’s what this camera looks like in action, from a considerable distance away from the subject. Notice that you can still easily make out face details at this distance.

600TVL Indoor/Outdoor Camera in a Single Gang Electrical Box Face Plate

This 1.5mm fixed lens wide angle view 600TVL analog Analog Camera is mounted on a Single Gang Electrical Box (like a light switch), and is compatible with all analog DVRs (it must be wired directly to the DVR). Because this camera has to be mounted into the wall, it will be much more difficult to change the location once you install it. So for this camera, location will be very important. Luckily, it has an extremely wide angle lens, so it will pick up any activity in it’s immediate vicinity, but details will be a bit muddier than the HD-CVI models mentioned above.

And here’s an example of how this camera looks in action.

Desktop Speakers Wired Color Camera


This one’s actually pretty clever, since these speakers are actually 100 percent functional. You can plug them into a computer or anything else with a speaker jack, turn on the power, and presto! Working speakers.. it even has a headphone jack. Also, it has a little hidden surprise of a 380TVL, 3.7mm wide angle hidden camera that can even capture video in moderately low light (you will need at least one light source, like a TV or a nightlight). This analog camera will work with any traditional analog DVR, or a more recent DVR that has additional analog inputs.

Watch Camera with Sound


Like the pen camera mentioned at the beginning of this article.. this one is meant to be worn or carried on your person, though they could also be placed in an area, such as a desk or table, to record a specific event. Incredibly, the lens of this camera is hidden behind the number two! This color video camera watch has 4GB of built-in flash storage, a built in microphone, and a rechargeable battery, and it actually tells time!

And like the camera pen, video is recorded to the AVI video format… all you have to do to retrieve the footage is plug in the included USB cable into any USB port, with no additional software needed.


And these are just a few of the covert camera options we carry. If you have any questions or would like further information, either visit our website at or call our toll free number, 1.866.573.8878


Why Video Analytics is Important When it Comes to Your Security Cameras

Written By:
Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Meet Bob

Bob is in charge of monitoring 86 cameras at his work place Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm. After that, Jeff takes over for middle shift and then Charlie for the graveyard. Bob looks at the same 86 cameras day in and day out, sometimes at the left of the video board, sometimes the right and sometimes at ESPN magazine. One time Bob saw a teenager steal something out of a backpack and got them arrested. “Hero for a day!” they said. What Bob and his employer do not know is that the CCTV system that cost just over 100 thousand dollars is being used at 25% of its ability. And, the company is paying 3 or 4 employees, gambling that one of them will have a chance at catching anything… and that comes with even more of a percentage loss. At this point, you “the reader”, Bob, and his employer are looking at me like I’m crazy. Bob, because he is picturing his future with unemployment benefits. His boss, because of the mismatched investments, and you “the reader” because you’re questioning whether or not  if I am ever going to get to my point or if someone would really spend 100K on a system that they are getting 25% of its potential capacity out of…. Well please sit back while I fill everyone in.

Video Analytics: A type of computer vision that analyzes the behavior of the objects in the scene being captured. Video content analytics (VCA) is widely used in security applications in which a video camera is aimed at secure entrances. The system would attempt to pinpoint a security breach by analyzing a person’s movements, which would be vastly different from a routine ID card swipe versus breaking down the door. The system might send an alarm if an authenticated person went through the door but was followed immediately by someone not identified.

Please note that the definition above states that analytics are a type of “VISION”. How amazing for Bob. “Yes, we still need him Mr. Boss Man!” How incredible would it be for Bob if the CCTV systems he looks at everyday started to work for him in return? What if the only data log he looked at was one filled with real time relevant information of people acting outside of normal identified behavior? It would be just that! Amazing right? Wait! It gets better. What if Bob could utilize the system to track vehicle height, search by color, or even compress 24 hours of video into a small usable short video that shows all events that took place within that time line?…….I know, I have blown everyone’s mind this far…..”Wake up Bob”…… Video Analytics can be sold in many fashions. The best would be a custom built server machine that is designed for the way you do business, alongside cameras that will give you the best bang for your buck. A license can also be purchased separately per camera and used with an existing PC-based machine on site, but keep in mind that the software and the amount of data usage involved could potentially bring any under-powered PC to its knees. No use in having advanced video analytics if you can’t send an email afterwards. In most cases, for existing systems, a new server could replace the old one and any cameras using a standard “ONVIF” protocol could be taken over and added to the new machine. A modern day server rated NVR can be built for a fraction of what most machines you will find with an existing IP system. “Ah yes! Question, Bob’s boss! What if you already had existing video on site that you wanted to run through the analytical software after the fact? Like If want to see what old Bob here missed”? Great question! Yes if the right License is purchased you can indeed run existing video set with parameters through the software. The software you order with your server comes in a few tiers that coincide with your business needs, goals and budget, starting with a Starter license, then Professional and finally Enterprise.

See License layout below.


Total number of servers in the distributed system 1
Total number of cameras per server 30
Multi-domain monitoring no
Failover no
Moment Quest2 no
Tag&Track no
LPR and Face no
Edge Storage yes
External Event Support (POS, ACFA) yes
Macros (Event rule wizard) yes
Time Compressor no
Videowall no


Total number of servers in the distributed system Unlimited
Total number of cameras per server Unlimited
Multi-domain monitoring no
Failover no
Moment Quest2 Optional
Tag&Track Optional
LPR and Face Optional
Edge Storage Yes
External Event Support (POS, ACFA)
Macros (Event rule wizard) Yes
Time Compressor Yes
Videowall Yes


Total number of servers in the distributed system Unlimited
Total number of cameras per server Unlimited
Multi-domain monitoring Yes
Failover Yes
Moment Quest2 Yes
Tag&Track Yes
LPR and Face Yes
Edge Storage Yes
External Event Support (POS, ACFA)
Macros (Event rule wizard) Yes
Time Compressor Yes
Videowall Yes

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In layman’s terms, the starter license will behave very similar to a standard CCTV IP license. The Pro version will provide a much larger analytical platform with more features, and the Enterprise license would be used more for large surveillance jobs such as in an airport, prison or large commercial application where analytics would be used for many cameras that supply a large amount of data.

So, now we see how beneficial Analytic’s Software can be to any work space or business, providing a vast amount of usable data as well as weeding out all of the useless traffic and blank space.

Whether the application is used to monitor stock on shelves, items removed, or left behind, or for police and homeland security doing the same in an airport with passerby’s, video analytics provide a visual depth to your video data unlike anything we have ever seen before. Why not be protected by a second set of eyes with an algorithmic brain that has nothing else to do but just that. For a one time minimal cost per camera the possibilities are endless, especially if you were going to spend the same, if not less money, on a camera license without this depth of scope. Ok, so are there any further questions that don’t pertain to Bob still having a job? “Ah yes, Boss man, does video analytics count as video tampering?” Not at all no, video analytics are basically just taking notes and recording as the data passes by, all while sending an email or red flag notification to the persons in charge when an event trigger has occurred. Long story short, the video is never changed and will be backed up by the watermarking type protocol in place.  Thank you for giving me the time to talk to you today about video analytics and the ways they can give a leg up to any type of business application. Keep in mind that the CCTV industry changes all of the time similar to any other electrical industry and there is always something exciting to see just around the bend. Whenever buying a camera systems ask your local installer, dealer or distributor how else CCTV can be used outside of catching bad guys to benefit your needs. You might be surprised how spending a few extra dollars on higher-end equipment may save you so much more in the long run.

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How to view your Web-Service using Internet Explorer 11 in MS Windows 10 OS

Written By:
Monday, August 31st, 2015

This video will guide you step by step on how to access your CCTV system via the web interface using the new Microsoft Windows 10 operating system.

Web Service on Windows 10
Click the image above if top video does not play.