One of the questions that comes up the most on IP camera forums is basically, “How do I setup my Foscam camera?” Here’s my guide on how to do this, along with some tips, tricks, and basic nomenclature to get you up and running (and avoid that $39.95 “remote installation” nonsense that some businesses charge!) Please note that we are not responsible for any damages or problems that arise as a result of your installation, this guide is simply here to aid you.
First off, here’s what I used for my installation:
1.) Foscam FI8904W or similar IP camera
2.) Router – I use a Netgear WNDR3700 or the newer/faster version, the NETGEAR WNDR4000. (I HIGHLY recommend these routers, as they have proven themselves over the years).
3.) A computer (Windows PC is what I used for this tutorial).
Alright, so after you unpack the camera, plug the included ethernet cable into the camera, then into the router. Next attach the power supply and plug the camera in. Take a look at the ethernet plug that is attached to the camera, if the camera is functioning properly, you should see a couple blinking/solid lights. This is a good sign, it means the router and camera are (hopefully) talking with each other.
Open your browser and type in your routers IP address (it should be something like 192.168.xx.x), and login with your username and password. Take a look at the screen shot above (I’m using the wndr3700 router from Netgear). Click on “Attached Devices”, or the equivalent settings screen that shows devices (either wired or wireless) that are connected to your network. (Note: You don’t have to have the router connected to the internet for this system to work. As long as the cameras have power and are a connection (wired or wireless) to a router they are happy.)
Assuming you have followed along correctly and the camera is functioning properly, the camera should show up under the “Wired Devices” list. Get a piece of paper and write down the IP address from this list of the newly attached camera. (Note: The software CD that the camera comes with does this same step, but just with more work, i.e. installing more software!) Open a new tab in your browser and type in the IP address, and you should see a screen similar to the one below.
Click the login button and type in the username and password (this is printed on a sticker on the camera body). For this guide I logged in using the “Server Push Mode” because I am using Firefox.
The first setting to check is under the “Device Management” tab, and the “Basic Network Settings”. Make sure the “Obtain IP from DHCP Server” box is checked if this is applicable to you. Basically what this does is the camera will be assigned an IP address (192.168.xx.x) from the router. If you are a home user, check this box. Make sure the “Network Lamp” box is checked, and hit the “Submit” button to apply the changes. The “Http Port” box will come into play when trying to view the camera from the internet if you so wish to do this, but for the meantime, leave it blank.
Next, click “Device Management”, then “Wireless Lan Settings” (Note: the look/placement of this page may vary by model and software version of your camera). Make sure the wireless is enabled on your router, and that the SSID is not hidden (i.e. the network name is visible to anyone). When the camera finds your network on the list, click it and fill out the corresponding information (encryption type of the router, and “share key” which is the router’s wireless password). Alternatively you can fill the information out manually as well.
For security reasons it is HIGHLY recommended that you secure your router and network with encryption, to prevent unwanted thieves and the like from harming your computers or disturbing your network in any way.
Make sure to check the box “Using Wireless Lan” before you hit the submit button. Assuming everything is correct, you should have successfully connected the camera to your wireless network. Unplug the camera from the ethernet and allow it a minute or two to reboot, or reboot the camera yourself (there is a button for this in the menu, see it there in the screenshot above, 2nd from the bottom?). Go back to your router’s “Attached Devices” menu and refresh the list to see if the camera has appeared.
IF THE CAMERA IS NOT SHOWING UP WIRELESSLY, PLEASE CHECK THE FOLLOWING:
- Does the camera have power?
- Is the router transmitting wirelessly?
- Did the IP address change from what you have written down (i.e. changed from it initial state to something else: 192.168.10.1 to 192.168.10.2?)
If all else fails, unplug the camera, plug the network cable back in and verify your settings again. You can also do a reset of the device by holding the reset button on the camera wire bundle.
How To View Your Camera From The Internet
The first step is to visit www.whatsmyip.org from your home network, or the network the Foscam camera is attached to. At the top of the page printed in large letters should be your IP address which will have the following format (XX.XXX.XXX.XXX) where the X’s are numbers. Copy down this address on a piece of paper (trust me, this number is important). Next, unplug your modem/router and wait about 1 minute before plugging it back in again. This step will determine whether or not your IP address, given to you by the internet provider, is static (not changing) or dynamic (changing). Visit the whatsmyip site again and check the number…is it the same? If so then more than likely you have a static IP address, although some dynamic IP’s can change daily/weekly/or monthly.
The next setup step will take place back inside your router menu under the “Port Forwarding/Port Triggering” menu. You should see a menu similar to the one above, where there is a spot to enter the ip address of your camera (#2), then click the add button (#3), and finally the edit button (#4). Before clicking add, make sure the service name is set to “http” rather than “ftp” as it is above by default. When you click the “Edit Service” button you will be brought to a screen like the one below.
Here is where you need to pick a port number (that isn’t already in use), and not port 80. Lets say for example you picked port “1234″, proceed to fill in both the starting and ending port boxes with the number “1234″. Finally hit apply and exit the router menu. Next, open the camera menu again, and go to the following screen, under device management, and basic network settings.
Inside the “Http Port” box enter the port number you choose, in this example I choose “1234″, then click submit. Assuming you did everything correctly, you should now be able to view your camera from the web by typing in the ip address followed by the port number, like this (XX.XXX.XXX.XXX:1234). where the X’s represent your ip address discussed earlier, and the colon and “1234″ are the port number of the camera.
What To Do If Your IP Address Is Dynamic (Changing)
Remember earlier when we unplugged the router to see if your ip address changed? If it did that means your IP address, assigned by your internet provider is ever-changing, and setting up the camera involves one more step. Also, if remembering a letter address rather than number address is easier for you, please following these instructions.
You will want to visit the website http://dyn.com/dns/dyndns-free/ and sign up for a free account. (DynDns is no longer free, so here are a couple alternative (I have not tested these myself) http://www.no-ip.com/services/managed_dns/free_dynamic_dns.html ,or http://freedns.afraid.org/ ,or https://www.dnsexit.com/Direct.sv?cmd=freeSub ; a quick google search brings up many alternatives.
You will be given a username and a short website address that looks like “myUserName.dyndns.org:1234″ that you can use instead of remembering long numeric addresses. This free account will also keep the “myUserName.dyndns.org:1234″ link active even with changing ip addresses. You may also be required to install a piece of software that lets the web server know your current IP address (or if your router does not support DDNS). Some NAS boxes may provide their own DNS service, as does Synology.
One Last Step (Optional)
One step that I have found very useful is to “reserve” and IP address for my network cameras inside the router. This “address reservation” makes it so that if power to the router or camera is lost, the camera is ALWAYS assigned the same ip address by the router, which may cut down on problems you have when the camera is viewable over the internet. First step is to click on the “LAN Setup” menu inside your router, and then click the add button at the bottom of the page.
You should then be brought to a page that looks like the following.
Enter the IP address of the camera, or select it from the list, then click add. Now your camera has a reserved address that it will always connect to!
NOT WORKING OVER THE INTERNET?
- Visit http://canyouseeme.org/ and verify that the port you are using is not being blocked, and is indeed open.
Can’t see the “open” port thru canyouseeme? It may be caused by a firewall inside the router. Look for NAT Filtering settings, Applications, Firewalls, or even Virtual Servers inside the router settings, as this may be blocking you from opening a port. Consult your router user guide for additional help if necessary.
Did this tutorial help you? Need extra help? Have a general questions? Ask it below!