The information on this website is intended for Installers / Integrators or Distributors only. For any Technical Support, please contact your Installer or Distributor.
Home | About Us | Knowledge Base | Remote Access FAQ | Contact Us

Remote Access FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Important Note:
When setting up DDNS and forwarding ports, it is very important to know the network environment. DDNS issues, IP address conflicts and port forwarding settings can cause problems with devices on the network such as POS systems or web printers, or can cause network security issues.

When in doubt, always consult an IT professional or the clientís system administrator. MyDVRRemote.com is not responsible for networking issues caused from the use of the information found herein.

Not all DVRs found on this site are compatible with all computer operating systems, browsers or mobile devices. See the literature for your DVR for information on compatibility.

Table of Contents
How to use this guide
Before you start
I'm familiar with networking. What's the quick version?
My DVR was set up for remote access but I changed my ISP or got a new router. What do I do?
What is DDNS?
What is port forwarding?
How do I forward ports to the DVR?
How do I know what the DVR's local IP address is (or should be)?
How do I know what the WAN IP address is?
How do I know what ports to forward?
How do I know my gateway IP
What is a subnet or subnet mask?
What should I put for DNS address?
How do I access the DVR through a browser?
What are some examples of remote access setups?
How do I use this information to set up a mobile app?
What is CMS software?
How do I use this information to set up CMS software?
I feel like I've tried everything. Now what?
Glossary (Key Words)

 

 

How to Use This Guide

This guide can be used by networking novices as well as people with moderate networking experience.

If you are somewhat experienced with networking and know most of the terms and concepts on this page, you may want to go straight to the quick version section on this page. When setting up a new DVR for remote access, the quick version section is a good checklist to follow.

If the DVR was previously set up for remote access but has stopped working after you installed a new router or modem or changed Internet service providers you can skip directly down to this section for more information on getting the DVR back online.

Setting up a DVR for remote access can seem daunting to someone with little or no IT experience. There is a lot of technical jargon on this page, but if you read it all from start to finish, then try it hands on, you'll be an expert at this in no time.

First skim this page from beginning to end, and familiarize yourself with the terms and techniques.
Pay close attention to port forwarding and DDNS. Once you've looked over everything, check out the quick version of DVR remote access setup and use it as a step-by-step guide, using the rest of the page as a knowledge base to fill in gaps in formation you might have.

At the very bottom of the page is a list of keywords that are good to know.



Before You Start

What you'll need before you start:
-Your DVR manual (This may have been included with your DVR on paper or on a CD. If you do not have it, search the Internet for it by entering your DVRs model number, usually found on a sticker on the back or bottom of the unit.)
-The administrator password for your DVR (This is how you will adjust the network settings in the DVR)
-A laptop or other computer connected to the same network as the DVR
-The brand model number of the router
-Administrator username and password for the router (This is how you will forward the port to the DVR)
-Pen and paper (to write down IP addresses, ports, DDNS addresses, etc.)
-Any mobile devices such as smart phones or tablet PCs that will need to be set up for viewing the DVR.

Next, with your DVR's manual handy, log into the administrator menu and go to the network settings. Usually all the DVR's network settings will be found on one or two pages in the administrator menu. You should see "IP address" "gateway" "DNS" etc. and as you go down from line to line, you'll quickly sort out what questions you already know the answers to and what questions you still have. Refer back to the questions in the table of contents to figure out the answers. Have a pen and notepad handy for writing down settings you enter and information you need.

If all of this still seems beyond your ability, consult an IT professional for assistance. This entire process should take less than an hour, assuming all the network equipment is capable of the required functions.

 

I am familiar with networking. What's the quick version?

Without any sort of hang-ups having to do with odd network setups or incompatible equipment, this can take as little as 15 minutes. Most steps include direct links to the sections of this page that address the step.

The short version of setting up a DVR for remote access:
In the DVR:
-Set a static IP address in the DVR(FAQ)
-Enter the IP address of the gateway into the DVR (FAQ)
-Make sure the subnet mask is filled in and correct (FAQ)
-Fill in DNS addresses if they did not automatically populate (FAQ)
-Set the port on the DVR (FAQ)
-If the site does not have a static WAN IP, set up a DDNS service in the DVR (FAQ)

From a computer on the network:
-Open a browser and enter the (local) IP address of the DVR, and the port if anything other than 80 (FAQ)
-Make sure the browser's security settings allow the DVR to install the plugins.
-If the DVR's web interface does not come up, check the network settings and try again.
-If the DVR's web interface comes up, you've successfully set up the DVR for local network access.

In the router:
-Log into the router's web interface. (FAQ)
-Forward the port set in the DVR to the IP address set in the DVR(FAQ)

From a computer outside the network:
-Enter the DVR's WAN IP address and port or DDNS address into a browser. (FAQ)
-Make sure the browser's security settings allow the DVR to install the plugins.
-If the DVR's web interface does not come up, check your network settings and port forwarding settings and try again.
-If the DVR's web interface comes up, you've successfully set up the DVR for remote access.

From a mobile device:
-Download and install the appropriate app for your DVR (FAQ)
-Enter the WAN IP address or DDNS address, port and login information (FAQ)
-Save the login information and connect to the DVR
-If the DVR does not come up, check the login settings and try again
-If the DVR comes up, you've successfully set up the app to view the DVR

 

My DVR was set up for remote access but I changed my ISP or got a new router. What do I do?

If your DVR was already set up for remote access and worked previously, but stopped allowing remote access when you changed your Internet service or got a new router, modem or other networking equipment, the fix is relatively easy.

You'll need to find out the local IP address of the DVR and the port it previously used, then you'll need to log into the new router and forward the port to the IP address of the DVR.

In a lot of cases, you will not need to change any settings in the DVR, but you may have to change the gateway IP address in the DVR and make sure the DVR IP address is on the same subnet as the rest of the network. If a DDNS service was previously set up in the DVR, this shouldn't need to be changed and will work as it did before once your network settings are correct and the port is forwarded.

If your old network setup had a static WAN (public) IP and so does your new network setup, this will be the new IP address you'll use to access your DVR remotely.

If you are not sure how to do any of this, go back to the top of this page and check the table of contents for questions you may have have, such as how to find out your gateway IP or the local IP address and port of the DVR. You may need to consult an IT professional if you are unable to do this yourself.

Your ISP might help with port forwarding if you purchased the equipment from them, but you will still need to know the IP address and port that the DVR is using.


What is DDNS?

DDNS or "dynamic DNS" is a way for users without a static WAN IP to allow external access from outside the network by associating a web address with a changing IP address. 

If a client has a static IP, DDNS is optional, but not necessary for remote access to the DVR. A pretty good rule-of thumb: if a client does not know whether or not they have it, they most likely don’t. 

Most internet service providers change the public IP (also known as a WAN IP) periodically when the network gateway connects to the internet. As an extra feature, users can purchase a static IP service from the ISP, but this can be very costly. This is meant to discourage power-users from hosting websites from their homes or offices without paying extra for the increased traffic on the system. 

With most website addresses, a static IP is tied to a domain name. For instance typing google.com into a browser is really requesting to access a web server at IP address 74.125.224.72. (If you type that IP address in your browser, and are located somewhere in California, you’ll see the Google homepage.) DDNS services allow an address like “yourname.yourddnshost.com” to be associated with your network’s IP address, even though it is periodically changing, so when you request yourname.yourddnshost.com into a browser or mobile device, it can find the DVR’s network. 

It is important to understand the difference between a local or LAN IP and an external or WAN IP. The WAN, or “wide area network” IP is like the street address of a large apartment complex, and the LAN, or “local area network” IP is like an apartment number within that complex. DDNS services make sure that a network can always be found, even when the “street address” changes. 

A DDNS service will call out from your DVR to a remote DDNS server and tell that remote server how to find the local network. When that network’s IP address changes, it will let that remote DDNS server know the new IP address. 

See your DVR’s manual for instructions on how to set up DDNS. You will need to come up with a unique host name, or the DDNS service will reject your entry. For most DDNS services, "home", "mydvr", "cctv" etc. are probably already taken.

Now, when a client wants to view the DVR on a smart phone or computer outside the local network, you have an address to enter into the app or browser so the DVR can be located. As an installer, this is also useful, since you don’t have to be on site to see what the cameras are recording. 

Some DVRs require a port as part of the DDNS address when accessing the DVR through a browser and others do not. Consult your DVRs manual for more information, or try both options. (Example with port: http://dvr01.ddns.myddns.com:87, example without port http://dvr01.ddns.myddns.com)

More Information About DDNS:
Some DVRs have a built-in first party DDNS service. Generally it will require only a host name and the DVR will do the rest of the set-up and provide you with a full URL from which to access the DVR. Some DVRs are also compatible with some third party DDNS providers. Some DVRs do not have a first party DDNS service and only are compatible with third-party providers.

Third party DDNS providers may have paid and free services, and you'll have to have an account set up with them before using their DDNS addresses for the DVR. One example of a third-party DDNS provider is DynDNS.com. They currently have no "free" DDNS services at this time, but if you sign up for the $20/month Pro service with a free month trial, you can immediately cancel and they will allow you to keep and use one DDNS address for free.

DDNS will usually be set up in the DVR, but some advanced routers allow you to set up DDNS service right in the router. This will not be covered in this guide, but is a potential option.

Note about multiple DVRs at one location using DDNS:
If the DDNS address requires a port, and there are two DVRs at the location, only one DVR needs to be set up for DDNS service. Each DVR will be set up with a different port, and both ports must be forwarded to their respective local IP addresses, and to access them you'll use the DDNS address followed by a colon and the port. (Example: bobsusedcars.ddns.iview-ddns.com:81 for DVR 1 and bobsusedcars.ddns.iview-ddns.com:82 for DVR 2)

If the DDNS address does not require a port, and there are two DVRs at the location, both must be set to different ports, both ports must be forwarded to their respective DVRs' local IP addresses, and both DVRs will need to be set up with a DDNS service under different host names. (Example: bobsusedcars1.ddns.iview-ddns.com for DVR1 and bobsusedcars2.ddns.iview-ddns.com for DVR 2)


What is port forwarding?

When you access a DVR through a DDNS address, the path it follows is: 

-Your remote computer, which queries a DNS server for information about the DDNS server 
-DDNS server, which lets your computer know the WAN IP of the DVR’s network 
-The router of the DVR’s network, which directs the traffic to the DVR 
-The DVR 


When you access a DVR directly using the IP address, the path is similar but more direct: 

-Your remote computer, which queries the DNS server with the WAN IP address of the DVR's network 
-The router of the DVR’s network, which directs the traffic to the DVR 
-The DVR 


Without port forwarding, the router gets the request from the remote computer and has no idea what to do with it. With the port forwarded to the DVR’s local IP, the router will know “Every time I see traffic requesting this port, I must connect it to this IP address on my network.” 

In other words, DDNS services point the request to the correct “street address” of the network, but port forwarding allows the request to continue on to the “apartment number” of the DVR. 


How do I forward ports to the DVR?

Important note:
In order to set up port forwarding, you will need to know the local IP address of the router, as well as the administrator username and password. If you do not know this, ask your client or your client’s IT manager. If they cannot provide this information, the DVR cannot be set up to be accessed from outside the network in most cases, without resetting the router to factory defaults and checking the manual for the default IP address, username and password. This can cause connectivity issues for every device on the network if not set up properly, so this is only a last-resort option and should only be done by an IT professional who is familiar with the local network environment and the ISP login credentials. 

The exact method to forward ports will differ between brands and models of routers, but instructions for nearly every router brand and model ever produced can be found at http://portforward.com. This site is very useful and informative, but has no affiliation to MyDVRRemote.com. Port forwarding will not require any downloads or additional software, so remember this if you click a link or see a page that asks you to download anything while on portforward.com. Most pages will require you to skip through or close an advertisement before sending you to a useful page. If you have trouble finding instructions for the router in question, or find the instructions confusing, it may be necessary to consult an IT professional. PortForward.com provides instructions, and will not forward the ports for you.

Using portforward.com
1. Before going to portforward.com, make sure you look at the router for the brand and model number first.

2. Make a note of the DVR's IP address and the port you will need to forward to that address.

3. Go to http://portforward.com Close any ads that pop up. (This site has many ads, so skip or close any ads you see that block the view of the page or that come up between pages.)

4. At the top of the page, select the link that says ROUTERS, then select PORT FORWARDING GUIDES

5. Find your router's brand from the alphabetical list

6. Next find your router's model number from the list that comes up on the next page
(If you do not find your router's exact model number, you might find another router by the same brand has a similar method of port forwarding. Try another guide from the same manufacturer. If this does not help, consult the manual of the router for more information)

7. Under the section labeled "Port Forwarding for the [make/model#]" you will find the text "If you do not see the program you are forwarding ports for, be sure to visit our default guide for this router." (Ignore the long list of lnks below that.)

8. Click on the "default guide" link.

9. Follow this guide step by step, starting at the line "Open a web browser like Internet Explorer or Firefox." (You might have noticed, this is below the line that says DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP! Feel free to confidently proceed past this step. If you have already set the DVR's static local IP address, then you haven't skipped the step they're warning you about.)

Problems can arise from improperly set up networks. For instance, if your client bought a wireless router and set it up on the same network as a wired router, and left most of the default settings in the new wireless router, DHCP conflicts and other incorrect settings can cause issues when trying to set up a DVR to be accessed remotely, and can also lead to confusion as to whether or not you are logged into to the correct router that should be handling the port forwarding.

It is important to know which device is actually providing internet access to the devices on the network. While you may be logged into a device that is techically "a router", it may not be the router that is servicing the DVR, which means forwarding ports in this router will not actually do anything useful. Many networks are simple and set up correctly and a DVR can be networked in a matter of minutes. Other networks will almost certainly require the expertise of an IT professional.

Lastly, some ISP's Internet connections are not completely compatible with third-party equipment such as a router. While a 3rd party router may work fine for traffic within the network and from inside the network to the outside, it may not allow requests from the outside to the DVR. If you are sure all the settings are correct and the port forwarding should be working, but isn't, contact your ISP for more information. You may have to purchase equipment from them. An experienced IT professional may be able to get 3rd party equipment working with the ISP connection with port forwarding, but purchasing compatible equipment directly from the ISP still could be less expensive than hiring an IT professional for a couple hours, even if it's $100 or more.

It may be hard to explain this to your client, since their network seems to work fine right now. Just let them know that while their equipment is compatible enough to allow traffic to flow within the network and from the network to the outside world, remote viewing the DVR requires connections coming from the outside and the existing equipment isn't able to do that. The client might be familiar with services like GoToMyPC or TeamViewer, which allow remote access to their network computers without the need for port forwarding. These services generally use proprietary methods of connections through a remote server. The DVR does not use this same method of connection, mostly due to the fact that video quality would suffer.

The good news is, ISPs that tend to be finicky about 1st-party-supported equipment are usually willing and able to remotely log in to that equipment and edit port forwarding settings for you while you talk to their tech support department on the phone.


How do I know what the DVRís local IP address is (or should be)?

When you first set up the DVR, you will need to assign it a static local IP. This IP address must not conflict with other devices on the local network. Once it has been set, it can be found by checking the networking section of your DVRís administration menu. (See your DVRís instruction manual for information on network setup.)

If it has not been set up yet, you will need to assign the DVR a static local IP address.

There are two easy methods of figuring out an available IP address for the DVR. The DHCP method is simpler, but may not work on all DVRs. The Netscan method is slightly more complicated but will work for any DVR or any other piece of network equipment on the network.

DHCP method:
One method of assigning a non-conflicting IP address is to allow the DVR to pull an available address from the network's DHCP service on the network, making note of that IP address, then assigning the IP address to the DVR as a static IP. Most DVRs are capable of this functionality. You will need to enter the gateway IP address into the DVR first in order for this method to work.

Remember that if you set the DVR to pull an IP address from the DHCP service, it may or may not keep that address when the DVR is restarted. If you want to view the DVR outside the network, you must set the DVR to a static IP. See your DVR manual for more information on assigning an IP address.


Netscan method:
A helpful tool for scanning a network to see which IP addresses are used and which are available can be found here. It will require a computer that is connected locally to the DVRís network.

You can use this network scanning tool by giving it a range of IP addresses to scan, then reading what it reports back. For example, if the network addresses start with 192.168.1 enter 192.168.1.0 in the FROM box and 192.168.1.255 in the TO box, then hit "start scanning". The range you enter will be xxx.xxx.xxx.0 to xxx.xxx.xxx.255, where xxx.xxx.xxx is the first three groups of digits of IP addresses on your network.

Once the network is scanned, you will be able to see which IP addresses are taken and which are available.


Router Method (Advanced):
Many routers can be set to assign a device with a particular MAC address the same local IP address every time. This will not be covered in this guide, but is an option for network experts. See your router's manual for more information.

You may also put a public IP address if a client has multiple static public IPs. This is only recommended for networking experts as it generally involves complicated subnetting and will not be covered in this guide. Your ISP tech support may be willing and able to help with this.


How do I know what the WAN IP address is?

There are several ways to check the WAN IP from a PC or the router itself, but the simplest way is to go to whatismyip.com. It will tell you the IP of the network you are currently using to access the Internet. It will not tell you if the IP is static or dynamic, so when in doubt, set up a DDNS service as this WAN IP address may periodically change.

Important note:
If you check the WAN IP using this method from a network other than the one the DVR is on, you will be getting the WAN IP of whatever network you are on and not the DVRs network.

 

How do I know what ports to forward?

In a majority of cases, the default port of the DVR will be 80. Most DVRs allow a user to change this port, if necessary.

You might need to use a port other than 80 because port 80 is already in use on some other device like a home media server, web server, home automation system or any number of web-connected devices that can be accessed through the Internet, or if you have several DVR devices on the same network, they will need to have different ports.

Sometimes an ISP or even a wireless (cell phone) carrier may block traffic on port 80, so if you find that remote access is not working with this port, you may have more success with another port.

If you change the port in the DVR, that is the port that must be forwarded to the DVRís local IP in the router. (See your DVR manual for instructions on setting the port and see your router manual for instructions on port forwarding, or check the port forwarding section of this page for more information.)

Port 80 is the default port for browsers, so when an IP or web address is entered into a browser without specifying a port, it is going through port 80.


How do I know my gateway IP?

The gateway is the device on the network through which all attached devices connect to the Internet. For most networks, the gateway is the router, although on some networks the gateway may be the ISP's modem itself. In most cases, if the gateway IP is unknown, it can be found by checking the IP configuration of a computer on the network. If the computer is on the same network as the DVR and has working Internet access, the gateway of that computer is probably the gateway the DVR will use.

In Windows XP, click Start then select RUN. Enter "cmd" into the OPEN field and click OK. A command line window will pop up. Type IPCONFIG and hit ENTER. Read the resulting output. "Default Gateway" will usually be the gateway address you should enter into your DVR.

In Windows 7, click Start then enter "cmd" into the search box at the bottom of the start menu. Click cmd.exe and a command line window will pop up. Type IPCONFIG and hit enter. Read the resulting output. "Default Gateway" will usually be the gateway address to enter into your DVR.

In Mac OS, access the Unix command prompt by opening the Terminal application. It is located by default inside the Utilities folder, which in turn is inside the Applications folder. Type "netstat -nr" and hit ENTER. Read the resulting output. "Default Gateway" will usually be the gateway address to enter into your DVR.

Knowing the gateway IP isn't just important for allowing the DVR Internet access. It is important to know the gateway IP, because that is usually how you will be accessing the port forward settings.

For some network situations, especially those with the modem acting as the gateway, or networks with multiple routers, you may have to contact the system administrator or consult with an IT professional.


What is a subnet or subnet mask?

This is a fairly complicated subject to cover in a nutshell, but for most applications the subnet mask will be 255.255.255.0. This is usually the default entry in the DVRs network settings, but you see something other than 255.255.255.0 when first setting up the DVR, it is highly likely you will need to change it to that. If the DVR is attached to a complicated network with subnetting implemented, you will need to consult the system administrator or an IT professional in order to know what subnet mask to enter in the DVR.

If you are assigning a public static IP address to the DVR, the subnet mask may be something different than 255.255.255.0. Check the router's subnet mask (sometimes called netmask), and as a general rule, this will be the same as what you will enter into the DVR. (e.g. 255.255.255.248) If you do not know what this means, you may need to consult an IT professional or your ISP tech support.

 

What should I put for DNS address?

A DNS or Domain Name System is a special server that acts like a phone book for the Internet. It can quickly locate the IP address associated with a domain name, and is essential for being able to access the Internet. Each Internet service provider will have their own DNS server IP addresses, and many DVRs will automatically populate these fields when they are connected to the gateway. There are also public DNS servers that work just as well or even better than an ISP DNS server. If you do not know a DNS address and the DVR is not populating those fields by itself, try 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4. These are Google's public DNS addresses, and in addition to working well, they are very easy to remember.

 

How do I access the DVR through a browser?

A browser is the simplest way to view a DVR remotely, and is a helpful way to troubleshoot network and remote access issue with DVRs.

Some DVRs may be designed to work better with certain browsers. For instance Internet Explorer may be a better choice for viewing a DVR than Chrome, or Internet Explorer 7 might work better with an older DVR than Internet Explorer 9. See your DVR's manual or consult your distributor or manufacturer for specific information on the most compatible browser to use. Other DVRs will be semi-compatible with some or all browsers, but have limited functionality on particular ones. If you find a browser is not working, trying a different browser or version may help.

To test if a DVR is viewable on the local network, type in the local IP address of the DVR into a browser. (Example: http://192.168.1.108). If you've set up the DVR to use a port other than 80, you will need to include the port with the IP address (Example: http://192.168.1.108:88) If the web page times out or otherwise doesn't show up, check the IP address and port of your DVR, make sure to include http:// when typing the IP address, make sure the ethernet cable is connected firmly and make sure the DVR and the computer are both indeed on the same local network.

A login box or screen should pop up to enter a username and password. The website may require plugins or ActiveX controls to be installed in order to view the DVR. Make sure your browser's security settings are not blocking the installation of these small files. If you see the login box and are asked to install plugins, you know your DVR is successfully networked locally, and only need to set up port forwarding in the router in order to view it from outside the network. Possible login errors include capitalization issues, password mismatches and in the case of some DVRs, limits to the number of users

To check if port forwarding is set up correctly, you should have someone on an Internet-connected computer outside the network enter the WAN IP of the network, including the port of the DVR into a browser. (http://ipaddress:port, Example: http:/60.65.75.250:99) If you are able to log into the DVR, your DVR is properly networked and available outside the network. At this point you can set the DDNS service on the DVR and use that address for remote access. If you cannot view the DVR, check port forwarding settings and confirm the WAN IP address and port is correct. It may require an IT professional to troubleshoot some connectivity issues

Once the DDNS service is set up in the DVR, the DVR will tell you the complete web address to type into the browser in order to access the DVR. Some DVRs require the port after the DDNS address and others store the port information on the server. If you are using a port other than 80 and the DDNS address does not seem to work, add a colon and the port after the DDNS address. (e.g. http://yourdvrname.yourddnshost.com:87)

 

What are some examples of remote access setups?
Example 1:


DVR has a local IP address of 192.168.1.111 and is set to port 80

DVR has DDNS set up with an address of http://jonsgrill.remote.ddns.com

The WAN has a dynamic (non-static) IP

In the router, port 80 should be forwarded to 192.168.1.111

To access this DVR, enter http://jonsgrill.remote.ddns.com into the browser. A prompt for a username and password will appear.

Example 2:

DVR 1 has a local IP address of 192.168.1.115 and is set to port 81

DVR 1 has DDNS set up with an address of http://smith.yourddnshost.com.tw

DVR 2 has a local IP address of 192.168.1.116 and is set to port 82

(In this example the DDNS service requires a port after the address, so only one DVR is set up with a DDNS service)

The WAN IP is static 60.15.22.10

In the router, port 81 should be forwarded to 192.168.1.115 and port 82 is forwarded to 192.168.1.116.

To access DVR 1, enter http://60.15.22.10:81 OR http://smith.yourddnshost.com.tw:81 into the browser. A prompt for a username and password will appear.
To access DVR 2, enter http:// 60.15.22.10:82 OR http://smith.yourddnshost.com.tw:82 into the browser. A prompt for a username and password will appear.

Example 3:

DVR 1 has a local IP address of 10.0.1.105 and is set to port 1024

DVR 1 has DDNS set up with an address of http://widgetfactoryinside.dynamicddns.com

DVR 2 has a local IP address of 10.0.1.108 and is set to port 1025

DVR 2 has DDNS set up with an address of http://widgetfactoryoutside.dynamicddns.com

(In this example the DDNS service does not require a port, so only both DVRs are set up with a DDNS service)

The WAN has a dynamic (non-static) IP

In the router, port 1024 should be forwarded to 10.0.1.105 and port 1025 is forwarded to 10.0.1.108.

To access DVR 1, enter http://widgetfactoryinside.dynamicddns.com into the browser. A prompt for a username and password will appear.
To access DVR 2, enter http://widgetfactoryoutside.dynamicddns.com into the browser. A prompt for a username and password will appear.

Example 4:

DVR has a local IP address of 192.168.1.200 and set to port 89

DVR has DDNS set up with an address of http://wongnetwork.ddnsservice.com
Port 80 is already in use by a home media server

The WAN IP is static 75.52.225.3

In the router, port 80 will already be forwarded to local IP of the home media server, and 89 should be forwarded to 192.168.1.200

To access the DVR, enter http://75.52.225.3:89 or http://wongnetwork.ddnsservice.com into the browser. A prompt for a username and password will appear.

In this example, entering http://75.52.225.3 without any port specified will access the home media server, since the browser uses port 80 by default.

Example 5:
A problem to troubleshoot:

A client might notice that whenever they are on their mobile device at home, they can access video from the DVR, but as soon as they go to work the phone can no longer view the cameras. This problem occurs when a local IP address is entered into the remote viewing software. Since the mobile device connects to the local network wirelessly, and the DVR is on that same local network, they have no trouble communicating, but when the phone leaves wireless range of the network, it no longer knows the path to find the DVR. This is just one example of why it is important to know the difference between a local IP and an external IP, and why proper setup of the remote access features is absolutely necessary.

How do I use this information to set up a mobile app?

All mobile apps are different based on the model of DVR and the platform you are using (iPhone, Android, etc.) and you will need to install the correct app for your DVR and follow the setup instructions for that app for the exact methods, but all of them will have a place to enter the following:

Username: which will usually be the same username used to access the DVR through a browser
Password: the associated password for the username used to access the DVR through a browser
Address/Host: which is the WAN IP address or the DDNS address of the DVR
Port: which is the port you have forwarded through the router to the DVRís local IP

Once those are entered, you will be able to access the DVR through that app, assuming that the DVR is set up on the network correctly and the remote access port is forwarded to the local IP of the DVR through the router.

If you are having problems viewing the DVR through a smartphone app, carefully make sure the login settings are correct (for instance some apps require HTTP:// in the address, and others will not work if HTTP:// is entered.) Make sure the DVR is correctly set up for remote viewing by logging into the DVR through a browser on a network different than the DVR's local network. If the DVR is accessible from outside the network through a remote computer, but not the app, the port may be blocked by the carrier, or the app may not be fully compatible with the phone. If the DVR is not accessible through a browser in a remote computer, follow the steps beginning at the top of this page to troubleshoot the networking issue or consult an IT professional.

 

What is CMS software?

CMS stands for Central Management Software or Camera Monitoring Software. If your DVR has a compatible CMS software, it will usually be included on a CD with the DVR, or will be available for download from the manufacturer's website. The software is installed to a desktop PC for remote viewing and playback. Most networked DVRs will be viewable from a web browser, but a CMS can offer more robust features for viewing, playback and data-management than a browser-based viewer.

CMS software can be used to view and even record video on a PC on a local network, or can access a DVR on a remote network. Remember that video quality is dependent on network bandwidth, so local network viewing will generally be a better quality than remote viewing.

Features will differ between manufacturers and even platforms, such as Windows or Mac but all CMS software, at a minimum, will be capable of viewing live video and searching recorded video for playback, and will allow multi-channel and single-channel views. Most will allow an administrator to adjust certain settings within the DVR remotely. Some additional features may include viewing of multiple DVRs simultaneously, recording to a local hard drive or cloud-based storage, saving and converting recorded video, the ability to update firmware remotely and managing user accounts.

Depending on your DVR and your cloud storage service, you may even be able to record video directly to the cloud. This can be a highly useful feature, since during a break-in, the DVR may be stolen, and the computer making back-up recordings may be stolen too, but with online storage, the video will still be available. Real-time (30FPS), D1 resolution recordings use about a gigabyte per hour, per camera. This can quickly get expensive depending on the rate plan, so remember to check your cloud storage provider's rates.

Consult the manual for your particular DVR or CMS software for specifics on capabilities of your DVRs software.

 

How do I use this information to set up CMS software?

All CMS apps are different based on the model of DVR and the software you are using, but all of them will need to be installed to a computer (see your DVR or CMS manual) and all will have a section to enter the following:

Username: which will usually be the same username used to access the DVR through a browser
Password: the associated password for the username used to access the DVR through a browser
Address/Host: which is the WAN IP address, the LAN IP adress or the DDNS address of the DVR
Port: which is the port you have forwarded through the router to the DVR’s local IP

Once those are entered, you will be able to access the DVR through the CMS software, assuming that the DVR is set up on the network correctly and the remote access port is forwarded to the local IP of the DVR through the router (if accessing the DVR remotely.)

If you are having problems viewing the DVR through the CMS software, carefully make sure the login settings are correct (for instance some apps require HTTP:// in the address, and others will not work if HTTP:// is entered.) Make sure the DVR is correctly set up for remote viewing by logging into the DVR through a browser on a network different than the DVR's local network. If the DVR is not accessible through a browser in a remote computer, follow the steps beginning at the top of this page to troubleshoot the networking issue or consult an IT professional.

 

I feel like I've tried everything. Now what?

To troubleshoot remote access issues, start with the simplest things and work your way to the most complicated.

Can you access the DVR from the local network, but not from outside the network? If yes, skip to 4. If no, start at 1. (If you can access the DVR locally and remotely through a browser, but not through a smart phone app, skip to 5)

1. Start with the DVR itself:
Make sure the DVR is hooked up to the network using an ethernet cable plugged in firmly to both the DVR and a port on the router or a switch, and make sure that ethernet cable works.

Some DVRs need to be restarted after changing network settings. Those that do may have a "network restart" option under network settings while others may require you to power down or restart the unit.

Make sure your DVR's local IP address is not used by another computer or device on your system. Most DVRs can be set to pull an address from the DHCP server, which will be an unused address. Once you have that address, set the DVR's IP to static so it keeps that address.

Unless the client has several static WAN IP addresses, make sure the IP address you are entering into the DVR is a local IP address and not a WAN IP address. Local IP addresses usually start with 192.168.x.x or 10.0.x.x. Check the local IP address on a computer on the network to see what the local network is using for local IPs.

Also unless you will be using a static WAN IP address in the DVR, the IP address of the DVR should generally have the same first three groups of numbers as the rest of the equipment on the network, or at the very least the router. (e.g. If the router's IP address is 10.0.5.1, the DVR's local IP should be something like 10.0.5.x.)

If the client has several static public IP addresses (WAN addresses), you can set the DVR to have a public IP address, but you'll still need to forward the DVR's port to the DVR's IP address.

Carefully make sure the IP address is entered correctly both in the browser and in the DVR settings. 192.168.1.100, 192.168.0.100, 192.186.1.100 and 192.178.1.100 all look similar and may look correct at first glance but these are four different IP addresses. Likewise, make sure the gateway IP is entered correctly in the DVR settings.

Some DVRs require leading zeroes in their IP address. You'll know this is the case if the DVR seems to require 3-digit groups in its IP address entry boxes. This means that if an IP address needs to be 10.0.1.50, it should be entered as 010.000.001.050. (10.0.1.50 and 010.000.001.050 are the same IP address.)

2. Check the network:
Make sure your computer is actually on the same network as the DVR. A building with a complicated network environment might have many routers and switches and they may not be tied together. Some advanced switches virtually divide up the network into non-communicating segments that share one Internet connection. In complicated network enviroments, it can be helpful to have the in-house IT professional or an IT consultant on the job with you.

Some routers, especially older ones, may require a reboot when plugging in new network equipment.

If your computer is on the network wirelessly, connecting to a WiFi access point that isn't set up quite correctly might be the problem. For instance, DHCP is turned on in both the wired and wireless router which is creating DHCP conflicts.

The wireless network you are connected to may not be the same network as the DVR is on. When logging into a wireless network, make sure it is on the same network.

Problems can arise from improperly set up networks. For instance, if your client bought a wireless router and set it up on the same network as a wired router, and left most of the default settings in the wired router, DHCP conflicts and other incorrect settings can cause issues when trying to set up a DVR to be accessed remotely.

It is important to know which device is actually providing internet access to the devices on the network. While you may be logged into a device that is techically "a router", it may not be the router that is servicing the DVR.

3. Check the computer:
Make sure the computer you are using and the DVR are on the same subnet. If your computer has an IP address of 192.168.1.100 and the DVR has an IP address of 192.168.0.50, the computer will not be able to find the DVR through the browser. In most simple networks, the first three groups of numbers will need to be the same for two devices on the network to communicate with eachother. This is not always the case, so if you notice many devices on the network with different sets of the first three groups of digits, you will probably want to contact the in-house IT staff or hire an IT consultant.

Make sure you are typing the correct local IP address of the DVR, including the port if the port is anything except 80. Sometimes browsers are picky about adding http:// so if you haven't added that, try it. (e.g. http://192.168.0.10:123 would be a DVR with a local IP address is 192.168.0.10 and a port of 123.)

Try a different browser if you are not having luck accessing the DVR locally. When in doubt, try Internet Explorer

If the browser seems to be going to a site, but that site is blocked, turn down your security settings in the browser or add the DVR's IP address to the browser's trusted sites.

If you are getting a login prompt, you are succesfully accessing the DVR. If the username and password are not allowing you to log in, make sure you are using the correct login credentials, and check if these are case-sensitive (For instance Admin vs. admin.)

4. Look at the router:
Carefully check that the port is correctly forwarded to the correct IP address (the IP address of the DVR without typos and the port exactly as it is set in the DVR)

Some ISPs block port incoming traffic on port 80. Consult the Internet service provider to see if this is the case, or try setting another port in the DVR and forwarding that new port in the router to the DVR's local IP address.

Check if the router and modem are an all-in-one unit or if the router is connected to a stand-alone modem. If the modem and router are both acting as DHCP servers, this can cause network conflicts that can make the DVR inaccessible. A modem-and-router-in-one unit will not have these DHCP conflic issues.

Generally, the modem should be set up as a transparent bridge and the router will act as the Internet gateway. There are other ways to set this up, for instance allowing the modem to do all the routing and letting the router act as a switch. This is a situation where trying to change settings without fully knowing how or why can lead to the entire network losing Internet conectivity. It may be a good idea to consult an IT professional if you think the problem may be with the modem and router not being set up correctly together.

Some ISP's Internet connections are not completely compatible with third-party equipment such as a router or modem. While a 3rd party router may work fine for traffic within the network and from inside the network to the outside, it may not allow requests from the outside to the DVR. If you are sure all the settings are correct and the port forwarding should be working, but isn't, contact your ISP for more information. You may have to purchase equipment from them. While this may be about $100, it still could be less expensive than hiring an IT professional for a couple hours. The good news is, ISPs that tend to be finicky about 1st-party-supported equipment are usually able to remotely log in and edit port forwarding settings for you while you talk to their tech support department on the phone if are using their supported equipment.

Doing an Internet search for the model number of your modem or router along with the phrase "port forwarding" might bring up results of people who have similar problems and the answers that either solved the problem or verified that this equipment doesn't work for port forwarding.

5. Check the app:
If you are trying to access the DVR through a smartphone app and are unable to connect to the DVR, the first thing to check is if you are able to access the DVR remotely through a browser. If you can, you know that port forwarding is set up correctly. If not, go back to step one and try to access the DVR through a browser on the local network.

Make sure the app you are using is the correct app for your DVR. Your manual should tell you what to look for and if it doesn't, the person who installed or sold the DVR should know. If you cannot figure out which app to use or your DVR manufacturer doesn't have an app, there is an app that works with many, many different brands and models of DVR called IP Cam Viewer. This is a paid app, and was $4 at the time of the writing of this guide. There is a "lite" version for free that allows for up to 6 cameras, so you can test if your DVR is compatible before buying the paid version.

Make sure the DVR and app both support your phone. Most DVRs will support iPhone and Android operating systems, and some will also support Blackberry, Windows Mobile, PalmOS, Symbian. Check your DVR manual or contact the manufacturer for more details.

If you know the name of the app, but do not know how to install it, a helpful person at the store of your wireless service may show you how to install it. You can have an IT professional do this for you, but you're likely to find a friend or family member with their nose buried in a phone who is willing and able to do this for free.

See the section of this guide on how to set up smart phone apps to make sure you are following all the steps. Carefully check the IP address (remember this needs to be the WAN IP address) or DDNS address. Check that the port is entered correctly.

Some apps require http:// in the address, and others will not work if http:// is entered.

Your wireless provider may be blocking port 80. If you are using port 80, try a different port or contact your wireless service provider.

After entering an IP address or DDNS address into the app, the app may require a restart. If you've made a mistake typing in something and the app does not let you change it to the correct entry, there may be a glitch in the app. Delete that DVR site and start a new entry in the app.

If none of this works, contact the DVR manufacturer to check for compatibility with your phone.

 

Glossary (Keywords to know)

IP address - a series of numbers that uniquely identifies a location on the network

LAN - local area network - Computers and devices that are connected through a router, hub or switch, usually within the same building and usually sharing the same Internet connection.

WAN - wide area network - The network outside of the LAN which includes any Internet connected device that can be reached remotely through the Internet. Basically, the world outside your building that is accessed through a connection to your Internet service provider.

LAN IP - The IP address that identifies a location on the local network. In most cases the first three groups of numbers in the LAN IP will be the same all devices on the network and the 4th will be unique to a particular device on the network.

WAN IP - Also known as a public IP. This can be thought of as the address of the entire LAN. When something wants to access data from a device on a local network, it finds the local network through the WAN IP, then the local network must route the request along down the line to a local device.

Static IP - An IP address that does not change. A WAN static IP means the WAN has a set IP that can always be found through that IP address. A local static IP means the IP address is set within the device and does not change when it connects to the DHCP server in the router.

Dynamic IP (or Non-static IP) - An IP address that may or may not change periodically. Usually an ISP will assign a new WAN IP address each time a router or modem is reset. A non-static LAN IP will be assigned each time a device is connected to the DHCP server and may change when the device is reset and requests a new IP address.

DHCP - Dynamic host configuration protocol - The server in the router or modem that keeps a database of available IP addresses and assigns IP addresses to devices on the network that "ask" for them.

Ethernet cable - A cable with 8 wires and a clear connector on each end with 8 small copper connectors and a clip, resembling a wide telephone connector. This is used for attaching network devices to a network.

MAC Address - A unique identifier, like a serial number for network devices. This can be useful to know when scanning a network for IP addresses to find out what IP address belongs to what device. The first three sets of letters/numbers identify the manufacturer of the device and the last three are unique to the device itself. These are generally written in 6 groups of 2 hexidecimal digits each, like xx:xx:xx:xx:xx or xx xx xx xx xx xx, and most networked equipment will either have its MAC address on a sticker on the outside of the unit, or viewable somewhere in the unit's user interface. A device that is both wired and wireless has a MAC address for each type of connection.

ISP - Internet service provider - The company that provides Internet service to the building.

Modem - Also known as a bridge, this is the device that is plugged into the ISP's network, usually through a phone line in the case of DSL or coax cable in the case of cable Internet. Other modems might use fiber optic connections, or some other method of connecting to the ISP.

Wireless or WiFi - A protocol for connecting computers and other devices to a network wirelessly.

Router - The device that sorts incoming and outgoing data requests to and from the outside world.

Switch/Hub - A device that sends data requests between network devices that are attached to it.

Port - An identifier in network infrastructure that identifies what a piece of data is and how it is to be used by network attached devices. Port 80 is generally used for surfing the web. 5190 for AOL Instant Messenger. 21 for download files from an FTP server, etc. A rough real-world comparison would be a worker in a company mail room that can sort mail all addressed to one person by what the mail looks like, e.g. catalogs, bills, magazines, packages, solicitations, birthday cards, paychecks, etc.

Port fowarding - Since the network must be accessed from the outside world by it's WAN IP address, the data request will get the the router, and the router will not know what to do with it. In order for a request from the outside world to reach a device on the local network the router must be told what to do when it gets a request on a particular port. Port forwarding accomplishes this by letting the router know "whenever I get a request on this port, I know to pass it along to this device on my network."

DNS - Domain name service - This is like a phone book for the Internet. Servers on the Internet all have IP addresses, but the World Wide Web would be very hard to use if we had to remember in order to to get to websites. DNS servers associate user-friendly URLs like www.google.com to their IP addresses.

DDNS - Dynamic domain name service - For people who do not have static WAN IPs, it is difficult to keep track of their ever-changing IP addresses. A DDNS service allows a network device to call out to a central server, let that server know its current IP and the service associates an unchanging URL with the current IP address.

Browser - the software used to access the World Wide Web. Examples of browsers are Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome

App - Short for application, these are the small pieces of software installed on smart phones and tablets for everything from email to web browsings to games. In the case of this guide, the apps are used for viewing DVRs.

CMS - Camera management software or Central management software - A program installed on a computer that allows access to one or more DVRs or IP cameras that has more features and functionality than browser-based connection methods.

 


BACK TO: Home
Copyright © 2015 MYDVRREMOTE.com All rights reserved.