Archive for the ‘ CCTV Articles’ Category

Network Switches

Written By:
Monday, March 9th, 2015


When building an IP Security Camera Network it can become very difficult when connecting the cameras with your existing network. If configured wrong it can have detrimental effects on your network. Things you can do to alleviate some of the stress on any network will be to add a Network Switch. Network Switches are devices to increase the amount of IP devices on your network. There are many types of switches that are out on the market that range from Layer 1 (your basic switch) to a Layer 7 that is highly managed. They also have different features that will allow your network to do things like multiple VLANs and POE (Power over Ethernet). Network switches can be a very important part of your network, and when adding Security Cameras will help you control the amount of bandwidth that is passed through the network.

Network Switches have been around since 1990 and were introduced by a company called Kalpana, which was the first Ethernet switch created. Network switches (also called switching hubs or bridging hubs) are networking devices that allow packet switching to be received and then forwarded to the appropriate device. This allows you to connect multiple devices to a network and and all of the packet data be delivered to all additional devices. This is important to security cameras because the more cameras you add the more switches you will need.

The quality of a network switch can be important based on how many cameras you have and how big your main network is. This is something to consider when choosing the appropriate switch. Your basic switch, Layer 1, is designed to be very simple when transferring data. It receives the packet from one device and then it sends the packet to all of the ports until it finds the correct port. This can cause what is called “Chatter” on your network and that can create bandwidth issues when all the ports are talking at once. It can also cause packet collision and packet loss. When dealing with large networks (50+ Devices) you want to avoid these switches to prevent those problems. Depending on how large your main network is this switch is ideal for up to a 32 Camera IP camera system. The next step up is Layer 2 switching for more reliable data transfer. This layer allows the receiving packets coming into the switch to be labeled with the mac address it comes from and which device it wants to be transmitted to. This prevents much of the packet loss that you would normally see in Layer 1 switches. This layer can handle a much higher range of devices and with security cameras you can put as many as 100 cameras per port. You can add multiple layer 1 and/or layer 2 switches per port and still alleviate most if not all of the packet loss so you can achieve the 100 cameras per port. Again this is all based off what quality Layer 2 switch you purchase. The last layer I will talk about is Layer 3 switches which allow you to manage the devices at a hardware level. This layer does everything a Layer 2 does but with much more features that can balance data loads and can manage devices that are connected to it similar to what a router does. This is probably the best switch that you can buy for a security camera network to integrate with your existing network without having any bandwidth issues. If done right, you can achieve what you need out of your network just by deciding which switch you use.

Network Switches have many features that can benefit your security camera network. One of the first features that will benefit your system will be the POE (Power over Ethernet) function. This is not on every switch, but here at we sell a variety of POE switches. One example of a POE Switch is the 16 Port POE Switch. This is a very easy POE Switch to use. This feature allow you to power the camera via Ethernet cable. This is a major benefit when running wires for the security camera system. It allows for you to just run one cable to the camera which will save you time and money. This also helps you troubleshoot a cable problem just in case something is wrong. Most of our cameras support this feature, so this gives you a variety of options when it comes to cameras. The next feature is Load balancing (Layer 2 &3). This is a feature that is supported by our NVRs with 2 Ethernet ports. As long as the Network Switch supports this feature you can create a load balance when you have a lot of cameras and streams going in and out of the NVR. This is extremely important when you have over 64 cameras running at a high resolution and frame rate all being streamed to your NVR. Using this feature will allow you to connect multiple Ethernet cables to the same switch to have a 2x better performance. It will also come in handy when you have multiple clients streaming cameras from the NVR. The last feature I want to discuss is the VLAN function (Layer 2 & 3). This can be very useful when you want to split your main and security network but yet still have them communicate with each other. With VLANs that is possible. You can create multiple networks within the same switch and have them communicate with each other via Trunking. This also allows you to add more devices to your network then what is only normally possible with a layer 1 switch. Having all of these features can give you the upper hand when completing an install of security cameras.

Network Switches have many benefits and can contribute to a lot of advances to a network. With the possibility of managed switches that will give you better bandwidth results and features like POE which will save you time an money with installs. Spending the extra money on getting a better switch could save you in the long run and keep your network strong.


Our Goofy Security Camera Videos Part 3: The Final Chapter, Finally

Written By:
Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Finally.. after months of absolutely no demand whatsoever, the third and final chapter… the “Return of the Jedi” if you will… (oh, wait.. that’s not the final chapter anymore).. ok, the “GODFATHER 3″ of our goofy security camera videos trilogy has been compiled. Please withhold your applause til the end.

In the event you’ve been living under a rock, under a tree, on a deserted island… Here’s the premise: For every security camera we produce, we do a video test…. and put those on the inter-tubes for your viewing pleasure. Back in the day, we would occasionally do silly stuff while making these camera demos, primarily to amuse ourselves and hopefully make the videos entertaining AND informative. And while we don’t really do these sillier demo videos anymore, we had some fun making them at the time. Plus, they do in fact show off the video quality of the cameras… so we figured we might as well compile them, so that someday, someone, somewhere in the universe might get a chuckle out of them.

So this is it.. the last of the silly stuff. As usual, we’ve got our 2 trusting guinea pi.. uh, ‘actors’, Ian and Jose.

The Talent

…who have always been ready to put their expendable lives in jeopardy… to risk life, limb, and sanity just to demonstrate to the the world the difference between 1 megapixel HD-CVI box cameras and 3 megapixel IP bullet cameras. The responsibility that rests on these heroes’ shoulders would turn most to puddles of liquid Jell-o, but these hearty men soldier on, unafraid of how their immortalized buffoonery will besmirch their family names for generations to come. Anyway, on with the show…

1) Traffic Cone Beat-down

Day / Night IR Demo – CVIOB-EL1MPIR50-D2-E – 720p HD-CVI Indoor/Outdoor IR Bullet Square Economy Cam

Among those of us in the know… traffic cones have a reputation for being jerks.

bad cone

Always have. So it was no great surprise to us that when a jerky cone in our warehouse made a flippant remark in Ian’s general direction one day, he went absolutely ballistic and gave it a beat-down to end all cone-related beat-downs.

2) Ian Defies Gravity

Day / Night IR Demo – IPOB-EL3MPIR50-D2 – 3 Megapixel IP Network Square Bullet IR Security Camera

In this video, we see Ian displaying his defining talent… balancing gardening tools.

3) A Dance, A Flappy, and A Roll

Day / Night Demo – 2MP 12X Flush Mount IP Pan Tilt Zoom Security Camera – IPPTZ-EL2MPL12X-Mini-F

Name says it all, folks.

4) Chortle Kombat

Day / Night IR Demo – CVIOD-LX1MPIR100L2812-W – HD-CVI LX Series 1.3MP Varifocal IR Camera

Once every three hundred and fifty-three years (give or take).. a portal to a mystical, magical martial arts tournament opens up in our warehouse, and all manner of deadly ninja demons come to challenge us to random fights in the middle of our tech support sessions. Usually we just ignore them til they get bored and leave, but every once in a while they catch us at a bad time and we have to “take out the trash”. And that’s exactly what happens here.

5) Styrofoam Peanut Allergy
foam peanuts

Much like traffic cones… the bags of Styrofoam packing peanuts in our warehouse can occasionally get a bit of an attitude. Maybe it’s because their soft spongy innards will soon be used to ensure the safe travels of our DVR’s when we send them out into the world. But in this case, we suspect this particular bag had a bone to pick with Ian… a personal vendetta… judging by the sheer ferocity of the attack. The bag just thew itself upon Ian’s weak and helpless body from 20 feet up.

It was at this point that Ian’s savior Heath heard his girlish screams… and came sprinting to the rescue.

Heath, the tragic hero

Using his famed bare-handed hunting skills he typically reserves for bears and mountain lions, Heath bravely wrestled the bag off of Ian’s ravaged person, and then, tragically, despite his valiant selflessness was consumed by the non-biodegradable bag-creature while Ian limped away to bandage his wounded pride.

6) Ninja in Training

Day / Night IR Demo – IPOD-TP2MPIR50-W – 2 Megapixel TP Series IP IR Vandal Resistant Dome

After his near fatal battle with a sentient bag of Styrofoam packing peanuts, Ian decided it was high time he learn how to defend himself. So after he saved up about 150 bucks, he started regularly attending a ninjitsu school hidden in the back of an abandoned Sizzler restaurant, where he learned his stealthy skills from a ninja sensei cleverly disguised as a hobo. Sadly, after building his confidence though several victorious battles, he later lost his new-found ninja prowess due to amnesia he acquired in a tragic break-dancing mishap.

7) Argument

Day / Night IR Demo – IPOB-EL3MPIR50 – 3 Megapixel IP Network Bullet IR Security Camera

One day, someone took a big bite out of Ian’s p.b.& j. sandwich, then re-wrapped it in foil and put it back in the break room fridge. Ian, understandably took exception to this, as his wife had spend days making that sandwich. He suddenly became suspicious of everyone. He wanted answers, and he wanted them now.. or then, I guess. Ian thought the evidence could be found on the security camera footage, but sadly, someone, possibly the culprit, unplugged the 3 megapixel camera facing the refrigerator. So he took his frustration out on poor Jose.. who simply wanted to spend his lunch break drinking his quadruple-mocha-frappe-whip-latte in peace. The world was never quite the same after this.

8) Cone Drop

Auto Tracking Demo – IPPTZ-EL2MPIR250L30X-AT – 30X 2 MP Auto Tracker IR IP Network PTZ

Following the infamous P.B.&J. flame out, Jose developed a dark side. He wasn’t taking guff from anyone, least of all from another uppity traffic cone. Look at the pure confidence in which he just casually yet menacingly tosses that cone to one side… like a rapper dropping the mic after besting someone in an acapella rap battle. He just doesn’t give a darn, and he doesn’t care who knows it.

9) Creepy Stare

Day/Night Demo – CVIVD-LX1MPIR50L2812-W – HD-CVI LX Series 1.3MP Varifocal IR Vandal Dome

Witness the moment Jose’s new-found dark side finally took hold. Spooky, ain’t it? Whatever you do, don’t stare directly into his eyes while saying his name 3 times backwards. Nothing will happen, and you’ll have wasted your time completely.

Well, that’s all, folks. We’ll be back next month with a decidedly less amusing but probably more informative article. Thank you for your patience.



How to use a DDNS Service to View your DVR when using a Dynamic IP Address

Written By:
Friday, February 20th, 2015
using dyndns to access devices remotely

Setting up a brand new system for your home shouldn’t be that difficult, and many companies are working hard to make the installation process as seamless as possible. After setting up your surveillance system there are a few small issues you may run into. CCTV System owners will mainly want to view their cameras over the internet. Viewing your system remotely means that you’ll have the opportunity to watch everything that’s happening on your system over an internet connection. This could be your phone, tablet, or even your computer.

Most ISPs (Internet Service Providers) will not allow you to purchase an IP address if the system is being set up in a residential home. This can cause a problem with remotely viewing your DVR because your IP address may change periodically. Sometimes this happens because there’s a power outage, or the modem has been power cycled. Either way, the IP address changes and that address which your were accessing your DVR with is no longer working.

Don’t Panic! There’s a great feature in our DVRs that will help you bypass this issue. Before we get into that, lets first discuss some of the differences between a static IP or a dynamic IP.

  1. A Static IP is an IP address that is issued to you from a service provider, such as Comcast, which does not change over time. Your cable modem will always retain the same IP address any time it’s accessing the internet.
  2. A Dynamic IP will periodically change before connecting you to the internet.

Before you install your surveillance system it is always important to find out if you have a dynamic IP address or you currently own a static IP address if you intend on viewing your DVR or NVR remotely. Using this network capability of the recording unit, you’ll be able to not only view your cameras, but also control the system remotely.

If you find out that you have a static IP address at the location of your digital recorder, you will be able to connect to your CCTV system remotely using the same IP address each time. If you end up finding out that you have a dynamic IP address, things can definitely end up becoming a little more complicated because you never know when the IP address you were assigned is going to be changed by your internet service provider.

Here’s the good news! There are many companies out there that offer a Dynamic DNS Service, or DDNS, that you may sign up for. Some companies charge a fee for their DDNS services and some are free. One of the more popular ones that you’ll come across on the Internet is Sign up for their website and create and account in order to gain access to these services. You will then be able to use a new address that is always up to date no matter what your IP address gets changed to.

When you set up an account with a DDNS service like you can create a host name. For example, an address sort of like “” just like the URLs or domain names that you use to access websites on the Internet. Then, you can associate the name that you created with the IP address that is currently assigned on the network your recorder is on. There are a couple different ways that you can set this up. One of the easy ways is if the router you are using on your network has the feature that supports DDNS. Most of the newer routers you’ll find in electronic stores will have this feature already built in. Just be sure to log into your router and check the settings to locate a DDNS setup screen or wizard. The location in the settings where you will find this tab will vary depending on the type of router you may have. Once you find the section with these settings, enter your DDNS account settings in order to log in. This will include your username, password, and the new domain name that you just registered with them. After doing so, your router will detect that your IP address has changed, and any time that it does it will send out a notification to the DDNS account about the change. It will tell the DDNS service what your new IP address is. Now that your new domain name is always pointing to your current IP address, it’ll allow you to use it to access a recorder remotely over the internet any time you want to log in and view your system. This will also make it easier to remember your address for connecting to the recorder. It’s a lot easier to remember a web address like “” than a long string of numbers like an IP Address.

Here are some basic steps for setting up a free trial account on the DYNDNS website:

  1. Open your browser and head on over to Logo
  2. Choose a plan. Usually the first one will work for most people. That is the standard DNS service for remotely connecting to a device.
    dns services
  3. Next, You’ll create your domain name and fill our the rest of the account settings: setup settings
  4. Once your domain name is created, you will be taken to the page where you put in your username and passwords for your DDNS account:
    dyndns account settings
  5. Here are some images of the settings on a DLINK and LINKSYS routers. This is to give you an example of what you’re looking for once you’re logged into your router. Some routers may look different but the settings are generally in places that are named similar to these:
    linksys router ddns settings
    D-Link router ddns settings

One last thing that I should mention is that our DVRS also have a feature for DYNDNS Settings. You will have the ability to log into the DVR or NVR’s settings and insert all of the information for your DNYDNS account directly into the recorder.

If you have any trouble setting this up, you may feel free to contact us Toll Free at: 866.573.8878 EXT #3 or check out our support forums here.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail Has a New Location – Colorado Extended Hours and Service

Written By:
Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

article colorado version

What our new Colorado office can do for you! announces that our new office is open for business in Colorado! We’ve always worked hard to offer the best possible services and products to our customers. And as demand has grown on the west coast, we’ve grown to meet that need. As a direct result this also means extended benefits to our East Coast customers as well. What are the ways this will benefit both the East Coast and the West Coast? What can we now do to better serve you and your needs that we couldn’t before? What can you look forward to in the future from this expansion? Will any of our services change? How are they going to change? Let’s break some of these questions down together and see just what advantages, services and expectations our company has for you, our customer. We’ll cover the new advantages, changes and what this means to the future of the company!

First let’s talk about some of the advantages that we can now offer you. Not the least of which is that, our new location now allows for faster shipping to the West Coast. While this is a rather obvious benefit it bears mention in that this means instead of having to wait 5-6 business days for your equipment, you can now receive it much faster. How much faster? Generally speaking, it will be delivered in about 3 days depending on your location. Another advantage is that with our new location, we can provide extended hours of operations.

This will include both our sales representatives and our tech support staff from both coasts. So if you are on the East Coast we will be in operation from 9am to 8PM eastern, or on the West Coast 6AM to 5PM pacific, we are available to assist you in your purchases, configurations, installations and most of the general services you’ve become accustomed to. One other obvious advantage we can offer to you is that we will now have increased space, and that means increased stock! We’ve grown a lot, and as a result our products tend to fly off the shelves. Now we will have even more product availability and stock. This will allow for more inventories and a greater availability of product to both coasts. So from longer office hours, to larger stock, we are here to provide you with the best we possibly can.

article colorado version2

That brings us to the new changes that are occurring in the company. This isn’t as bad as you might think; change in this case is a great thing! Many of our regular patrons may be used to working with certain personnel, and while their location may have changed, each and everyone one of us is still just as available and just as eager to assist you. We may have different hours or different locations but all of us will be available by phone and email and we will be able to help all our customers later.. or earlier as the case may be, into the day. Another change in the staffing is that we are growing. Many departments have new faces but all of us are trained in the same manner and with the same expectations of performance to give you the best services we possibly can. And that brings to one final major change that you may notice, and that is our new products. We are constantly updating our inventory with new products and advances to our systems. In truth, this is one of the benefits of this constantly advancing industry. As new more efficient equipment comes out, we are ready to quickly offer you better and better products. You’ve no doubt noticed our HDCVI products and just how quickly they’ve advanced. But as with all our products we stand by them, and you need not worry about finding support or equipment for your older systems. So with every new change there comes a new advantage to you, a new improvement to us, and a new future that has you at the center of it.

Now what do all these advantages and changes mean for the future of our company? Well, we are going to continue to grow and this means a great deal of advantages. The first of which are increased resources offered, and as we talked about, our staff and stock is one thing that’s obviously grown and may continue to. This will mean faster service in tech support and more sales staff to answer your questions and help you build the system that best suits your needs. This will help you both in your purchases and in the installation and maintenance of your equipment. As our space grows we will have increased equipment stock as well. Even with the constantly evolving technology, it is our pleasure to support all the systems we offer and this helps us do so. Again, like we discussed before new stock will become available quicker as we now have an office closer to the west coast, allowing us to offer our new equipment faster to any coast. Aside from greater resources we plan in the future there is also new equipment and advancing products as we continue to be on the cutting edge of development and quality control. This allows you to see the best of what the industry has to offer at competitive pricing.

So what’s the over-all conclusion to all this? The new advantages we can offer will give you better service, equipment and pricing than before. The changes taking place within our company are all to better serve you.   And even with our changes all of the same standards of services and quality products and personnel will still be there, the same as always. We look forward to building a future that continues to serve and benefit our customer base with new products, great services, and knowledgeable staff.   It will always be our pleasure to offer the same great personnel, services and product.


How to Add an IP camera to the Network

Written By:
Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Planning is important!

In order to add an IP camera to the network, your cameras need to be on that same network. There are many ways to accomplish this feat, but the first piece of information needed is how the cameras will receive power.  This article will explain the proper technique in networking IP Cameras. You can use a built in Power Over Ethernet (POE) Switch (providing your NVR has one), an external power supply, or an external Power Over Ethernet (POE) Switch.  If you do not have an external Power Over Ethernet (POE) switch or a separate power supply, you can use the built in Power Over Ethernet switch of your Network Video Recorder to supply power and create the network.  You would need to plug your computer into the POE switch along with the camera so your computer can receive an IP address from the built in POE switch.  The built in POE switch acts as a router and creates a network that is separate from the network that the Network Video Recorder will join.  The default gateway address for most Network Video Recorders’ Switch is, and many units allow this number to be changed.  If you would like to change this network range, look for a section labeled “Switch” in the Networking area of the menu.

It is very important to always plug IP cameras in one at a time to avoid IP conflicts.  Many people have used analog systems in the past, so they tend to plug in all their cameras at one time.  With that being said, it is a good idea to use best practices and number your cameras with static IP addresses in a block.  If you are using a built in POE switch, then all IP addresses are available since the switch creates its own network.  If you do not have a built in POE switch, then you should ping an entire block to make sure they are available.  For Example, if your gateway is located at, then you can start pinging from to if you have a 16 port POE switch.  This will ensure that the IP cameras are easy to find and there are no IP address conflicts.

Don’t throw away your old router just yet, because you may need it to configure IP cameras.  If you have trouble finding the cameras, you can use an old router to configure them.  You can change the network of the router to match the cameras, and then plug your computer in to receive an IP address on the same network.  You do not need an expensive router, but any that will allow you to adjust the gateway address.  This can be a very handy tool, and is worth having if you install many IP cameras.  Keep in mind the cameras still need to receive power via a POE switch or a separate power supply.  The encoding is done at the camera level with IP cameras, so it is best to adjust all your settings prior to placing them in the permanent home.

What is the best way to Network the TP series cameras?

tpfinderIf your Network Video Recorder does not have a built in POE switch, you should be able to find the TP series cameras using the TP Series IP Camera Search Utility that is available in our website downloads section providing you have an external POE switch or an external power source.

The camera should appear in the list window, but if you do not see it simply hit the Refresh button at the bottom to see if it will populate. The default IP address for a TP series camera is likely, but check your manual to verify this information. If you are not using an external POE switch, you can plug the camera into your router and supply power to it using a separate power supply. This will also allow you to adjust the IP address and the settings of the camera temporarily until you provide a permanent home for the camera.

What is the best way to Network the EL series cameras?

The first thing we need to do is find the camera.  The EL cameras require the EL camera finderConfigtoolART utility, also known as the Config Tool to find the camera.  These cameras are different than the TP cameras in the sense that they will take a dynamic IP address when plugged into a switch.  While this may make them more plug and play than the TP cameras, it is still recommended to follow best practices and set every camera to its own static IP so that you know where each one is located and the number does not change.  The Config Tool will allow you to change the IP address and network information in the camera just like the TP finder tool.

Should I do anything before changing the Network information in the camera?

IP cameras are controlled at the camera level, so you need to set them up prior to plugging them into a built in POE switch.  For example, you may decide that you want motion detect, so that will need to be enabled in the camera settings.  More important is the encoding section, and that needs to be set in the camera as well.

If you have already set up the camera and plugged it into a built in POE switch, you can still log into the camera from there.  You need to plug a computer into the same POE switch so that it receives an IP address from the switch.  This will put the camera and your computer on the same network and allow you to log in and make changes.  If you need to leave your computer plugged into the router, you can also change the IP address back to match your computer so that you can make changes and then change it back again.  As long as your computer and camera are on the same network, you can log in and make changes to the configuration.