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Connecting Stuff- Pt. 3a

Putting an IP cam on a LAN... just as an example
Other devices, servers, connect the same way.

Material on this page © TK Boyd July 2017... but if you want to translate the page, or circulate it on DVD or intranet, I will allow that with some conditions.

This is one page of many in a sequenced series that try to get you connecting things to LANs and the internet with as few tears of frustration as possible. There is an overview page, which is your table of contents to this material.


This page, and the pages in my "Connecting Stuff" series has not yet had extensive editing. I apologize for the crudeness at this stage, but, unless you need "bells and whistles", and "slickness", I think you can find useful information here.


This is part of a set of SEQUENCED pages. It assumes you have mastered the material in earlier pages.

For the next few sections of this set of pages, I am going to talk about connecting an IP cam (a camera, like a web cam, but accessed via LAN or internet) to your LAN, and then to the internet. (You can buy simple, limited ones on eBay and Amazon for as little as $20 (+p&p)... but beware the really cheap cameras... they may not allow you to set a static IP LIPA... which you would want, for following these pages about connecting things. Look for "Supports static IP". Avoid "P2P WiFi" devices. Try to find one that lets you download and study a proper manual, in a .pdf, to see how you go about setting the static IP address.)

When you access the many video feeds on the internet showing you live images from birds' nests, or traffic black spots, you are almost certainly accessing an IP cam. (It becomes a "Web Cam" when the owner decides to grant access to it over the WAN (internet)... in other words, by someone who has mastered what these pages (eventually) show YOU how to do! But don't forget... it isn't by any means "all about IP cams". There are MANY things you can connect... once you know how to connect an IP cam. It is just an example.

You can set your own IP cam up at your home or elsewhere, if you want to keep an eye on things there. IP cams can be used to fetch still images, too... they aren't just for video. (They can also be set up to SEND a still image (or video clip) in response to a trigger of some time. Or on a schedule. A big topic!)

All this "IP cam stuff" is JUST AN EXAMPLE! Don't worry if it isn't an IP cam you want to connect. I will be dwelling on connecting issues, not camera issues.

Update your anti-malware software. Plugging anything like an IP cam into your LAN carries certain risks.

Do a little online research... see what you can find about the right sequence to reset your IP cam to its factory defaults. Try to do that BEFORE connecting it to your LAN. At the same time, try to learn the default user name and password for your device. (They may well be "admin"/ "admin").

I generally avoid any software supplied with the IP cam... it's just more "stuff" to confuse, clutter your PC, and generally not needed.

Resetting the camera is usually a simple matter of using an unbent paperclip or similar to press the button under the tiny hole marked "reset". Be careful not to poke a paperclip into an opening that is for a microphone! (They can be very similar.) Sometimes, you need to hold the button down for what seems a LONG time... probably actually only 10 seconds.. MAYBE 30... but it seems longer. (Watch the LEDs. They sometimes "do things" when the reset button has been down long enough... though they don't always help thus.) And sometimes, the button has to be down when power is applied to the camera. Ah, the joys of modern computing!

Go into your router, see what devices are already connected to your LAN. Even if you can't see which is what, merely getting a list of what LIPAs (Local Internet Protocol Addresses... see earlier essay) are in use may be helpful.

Your anti-malware software may also offer a way to see what's connected.

Plug the IP cam into your LAN... using a cable. You almost always have to connect IP cameras to the LAN via a cable, at least initially. With a camera that CAN connect via WiFi, you connect by a cable at least once, at the beginning, to "get in", to tell the camera the WiFi service's SSID, and the WIFI password. (Yes! There are two usernames/ passwords. The WiFi SSID ("user name") and the WiFi password to use the WiFi to "get TO" the camera. Second user name and password to "get INTO" the camera! Easy! (Ha! And easy to get muddled by it all, too. Sigh.))

Check the "connected devices" list again. A new LIPA should have come into use. Let's say that it was 192.168.0.5, for the sake of this essay.

Launch a browser (e.g. Firefox). Enter "http://192.168.0.5" (using the LIPA that was new on your system) as the address you want to connect to. (NOT as something you want to search for.) (The http:// may not be necessary, but enter it at first. Just in case. You can start NOT using it, if that works on your system, after getting in the "long-winded" way.)

You should be asked for a user name and password. This request is coming from the IP cam, over the LAN. Supply username and password, and you should be "in". You MAY not see an image... but at least you should be getting a page with various menu items, etc.

If so, for our purposes here, we are done! You've connected to the camera to the LAN. We've connected to it from a PC elsewhere on the LAN, across the LAN.

The details of operating the camera are beyond the scope of this essay. Search the web for pages specific to the make and model of the camera you have.

You don't need the camera "doing everything" to proceed to the next parts of this essay on connecting things.

However, you do need to go into the camera's settings, and tell it to connect to the LAN at a specific, static LIPA. (See earlier essays.) Remember to assign a LIPA outside of the LIPAs your LANs DHCP is allowed to use. Remember to be sure that there is only one device on the LAN using that particular LIPA. Remember that as soon as you SUCCEED in telling the camera "connect via LIPA xxx", you will lose the connection you were using to make the setting. (You'll probably find that you only need to put the newly assigned LIPA into the browser to get back to the camera. You'll probably have to re-enter the user name and password for access to the camera. If that doesn't "Just Work" do a power cycle of the camera. It is unlikely you will need to reset or restart anything else. If all else fails, go back to the start of what's in this essay, do a factory reset of the camera, work up to this point again... more carefully this time! (^_^).

The next essay in this series tells you how to access the camera from someplace on the internet, from outside the LAN the camera is on... but brace yourself... that essay is long and full of Hard Stuff.



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