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Connect Your DVR to Your LAN - Basic Network Connection

Since most businesses and many households have local area networks (LANs), you will find the task of connecting a security DVR to a LAN is a common procedure. While it is a relatively simple thing for most security equipment installers, it is complex enough to confuse many users, especially users who have never worked with IP numbers before or have never worked with LAN topology.

Let's begin by identifying your LAN topology. To do this, locate your 1) security DVR, 2) the router attached to your security DVR and 3) a computer/workstation that is attached to the same router. It can also help if you locate 4) the modem  (or router AND modem)  that connects to the internet outside your home or facility - it is usually the first piece of hardware attached to the internet cable the comes through the wall. If you don't have #3 (computer attached to the same router shared by your security DVR), create one now and verify that the PC/workstation has a working connection. If you can't find or locate #4 (modem that provides connection to the internet) don't worry about it at this point since locating it may not be necessary.

Some typical network topologies are shown below. Figure #1 represents a simple network topology you might find in small business, while figure #2 represents a very simple network you would find in many homes. (Figure #2 actually represents the bare minimum hardware & connections you need for remote DVR monitoring/programming.)

Make sure (verify) your network connection is active and your PC can connect to the internet without any problems. Start at your PC and do the following:

1. Go to the COMMAND PROMPT. Different Windows versions have different ways of getting a COMMAND PROMPT. Most Windows versions let you reach a command prompt by going to START, then RUN, then type CMD into the window and hit ENTER. If you need help go to www.windows.com or use any search engine to research your OS version command prompt. If successful you'll see a screen similar to Figure 3.


Figure 3

2.  Figure 3 shows a computer screen with the command prompt, and the PROGRAM FILES folder is open. That location should be fine. Type IPCONFIG/ALL and hit ENTER.  You should see a display screen similar to Figure 4.

( If you DON'T see Figure 4, they you are probably getting an error message. You'll need to find the person who installed your OS and find out why it doesn't have essential DOS files - you won't be able to continue this procedure without them.)

IPCONFIG is a standard Microsoft DOS command. You can read all about it at the official Microsoft website (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb490921.aspx), if you want. When you use this command as described here, it will report the computer's IP numbers so you can record them for your records. It does NOT change any settings or perform any kind of configuration process.

3. Write down the IP numbers shown under IP ADDRESS (192.168.1.100), SUBNET MASK (255.255.255.0), GATEWAY (192.168.1.1) and DNS SERVERS (206.222.98.82, 216.199.46.11, 206.222.98.82 - this particular computer has 3 DNS SERVER connections) and label them.


Figure 4

NOTE: Some versions of MS Windows will display IPv4 ADDRESS and an IPv6 ADDRESS - you want to use the IPv4 ADDRESS numbers.

4. Now get the IP Address of the security DVR. Got to the VRR andaccesssthe programing menu and get to the NETWORK settings area. Find the option that says DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) and ENABLE it..

5. Still at the DVR, write down the IP addresses it shows in the DHCP screen. Now turn OFF DHCP (or DISABLE it). If the IP addresses shown did not change, go to the next step. IF THEY DID CHANGE, re-enter them in the fields shown (DO NOT enable, or turn on, DHCP again).). If the IP addresses shown did not change, go to the next step. IF THEY DID CHANGE, re-enter them in the fields shown (DO NOT enable, or turn on, DHCP again).

6. Note the PORT NUMBERS shown in the DVR NETWORK screen. Write them down.

7. Test your configuration. Do the following at the PC/workstation that shares the same router as your DVR:

  • Get to the COMMAND PROMPT.
  • Type PING [IP Address], hit ENTER. (In our example the IP address is 192.168.1.100)
  • If you get a REPLY message, it communicated. If not, and you got a TIME OUT message of any kind then check your settings.

8. Your DVR has CLIENT SOFTWARE or REMOTE VIEWING SOFTWARE that was included in the box. Locate it and install it on the PC/workstation.

  • If your DVR has a webserver you can use IE Browser to communicate with the DVR - just type in the DVR IP Address in the URL bar of the browser.

Port Forwarding & Accessing Your DVR from Outside Your Network

To set up external (remote) viewing of your DVR and attached cameras, you will need to access your router. Refer to the router's User Manual to learn how to set port forwarding. If you can't find it, look here http://www.portforward.com/english/routers/port_forwarding/routerindex.htm. All routers have a different method of setting up port forwarding so it's impossible to instruct you here.

Program the router so that when it gets an internet request for the IP ADDRESS of the DVR it will refer (or activate) to the PORT NUMBER of the DVR (you wrote these numbers down earlier, right?). Normally most routers have a field for each physical connection and it will be obvious where to place the IP and PORT NUMBER information. If you can't find how to access your router, look at the router closely and make sure it is indeed a router and NOT a switcher. It should be ok if it's labeled ROUTER/SWITCHER but if it is an older piece of hardware and just says SWITCHER, discard it and get a true ROUTER.

Test the connection from an network external location. If the IP numbers and Port Forwarding numbers are set correctly you should be able to receive streaming video.

Using IE Browser VS Client/Remote Viewing Software

If the DVR has a webserver, then you can use IE Browser to connect to the DVR. Put the DVR IP address in the URL bar of the browser (like http://192.168.100.200, etc).

If the DVR does NOT have a webserver, then you will need to install the client/remote viewing software (that came with the DVR) on the PC/workstation you are using to view your security installation. The Client Software (or Remote Viewing Software) gives you additional features, such as ability to program motion detection, etc., that the IE Browser can not provide. Since each surveillance DVR has it's own client software, you'll have to refer to the software manual for help using their software.

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