Video security project – Connections

We have a computer package to run the system, and we have cameras to supply the system with video and still images.  We will use an ethernet cable to connect to the cameras, and also to supply power to them.  What else do we need?

We need a special type of switch to obtain the data connection to the cameras and to supply power to them.  Regular switches just handle the data connection, so we’ll need a POE switch.  You can find them in various configurations, the one I chose was an 8 port model.  4 of the ports will go to the cameras, and a fifth will connect to the router.  The last connection (to the router) will allow computers on our network to access the video data.  We’ll talk about security for the video streams a bit later.

I would recommend a wired connection for the computer that will be running the system.  Wired connections are much more difficult to break into than wifi-based communication, and video streams from your home should be as private as you can possibly make them.

A bit about cameras setup with an eye towards security for your video streams.  With most IP-based cameras, once you’ve connected them to a POE switch and connected that switch to your network, the streams are available to any device on your network, AND POSSIBLY TO THE INTERNET AS WELL.  We need to fix that right now.

You can scan your network looking for the cameras using nmap, but if you’re not THAT deep into network security, your router probably has a page that displays the devices connected to your network, both wired and via wireless connections.  Just note the IP addresses that were assigned to the cameras you’ve connected – we’ll need them when we tighten up the security.

Before we continue, a bit of background.  Usually, when your router is configured you choose a range of IP addresses that can be assigned to devices – like phones, laptops connected via wifi, tablets, etc.  Looking at your router’s wireless page should tell you the range of IP addresses that are used.  I prefer to assign a dedicated IP address to each camera, and the most reliable way to do that is to select addresses that are not used for other devices.  Let’s say that your router uses IP addresses from through 192.168..1.199 for devices that connect to your network.  We’re going to assign IP addresses for the cameras using IP addresses that are not in that range.

This getting a little long, but this is a very important discussion, so lets continue this on the next post.

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