How to View a Wireless Home Security Camera Through the Internet
By Nathaniel Bloom
Security video cameras in the past have required extensive proprietary wiring of their costly and complex controllers, camera units and viewing systems, but today there are simple and inexpensive alternatives. Now there is an ever-increasing number of cameras that take advantage of standard network protocols and wiring that is commonly used in homes and businesses, many of which use a standard personal computer in place of a dedicated controller unit. Either way, virtually any camera that is intended to be used on a local area network may also be viewed and administered via the Internet.
Install the camera on the local area network per the manufacturer instructions. The camera chosen for use should directly offer a Web page interface that allows for viewing of the camera's output. Using the instructions provided with the device or from the manufacturer's website, and the personal computer's Internet browser, connect the camera to the local area network. Configure the camera to use a static IP address rather than one that is dynamically assigned, and make note of this address for later reference.
Setup a port forward on the local area network router. Verify which network protocol port, or ports, the camera uses for incoming connections. Cameras usually use port 80, however it is best to verify this by consulting the instruction manual. Using your computer's browser, login to the administrative Web page of the network router and enable the forwarding of the port, or ports, used by the camera to the static IP address that was assigned to the camera in Step 1. Consult the router manufacturer for full details on how to access the administrative area, and how to program the port forwards, if necessary.
Check the current public IP address of the local area network router. Some Internet Service Providers provide subscribers with a static, or unchanging, public IP address, while other ISPs assign a number that can change at any time. If the ISP uses the changing, or dynamic, IP addresses then finding this address is necessary. To do so, while connected to the local area network simply use the computer's browser to navigate to the Check Your IP Address link in the "References" section of this article.
View the camera from the Internet using a browser program. From anywhere in the world that has Internet access the security camera can be accessed by entering into the browser address bar the public IP address of the local area network. If the camera uses a port other than 80 for connections, then the public IP address must be followed by this port number. If the port number is 9999, the address might look like this "http://123.456.78.90:9999"
Nathaniel Bloom is a veteran in the computer support field, working with some of the major companies in the information technology industry. In 1997 he began writing technical documentation and articles for high-technology businesses, and eHow and kb.norsetech websites. His education includes professional certifications in various technologies in addition to decades of constant, in-depth involvement in real-world computer user needs.