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Port-forwarding for IP network cameras
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By Maurice on November 9, 2010 (update on November 3, 2010) popularity:
As the author of some IP network camera apps I’ve been asked more and more often on how to access the camera from outside the local network. The answer is: portforwarding and it needs to be setup on your router.
I’ve written this article out of pure selfishness: I hope spending a few hours writing this down will save me a factor of hours more not spent on support questions . But that doesn’t mean this article can’t save you some hours of setting up your camera and diagnosing problems, too!

Terminology

First let’s define some terms so we are talking the same language.

Camera: One of your wired or wireless IP network cameras
Local network: the network your camera or cameras are connected to. If you use the camera at home, this is your home network.
Router: the device that connects your local network to the internet.
iDevice: Your iPhone/iPod/iPad device where my (or any other) remote camera app is installed on.
3G connection: Access to the internet (in this context from an iDevice) through a cellular provider.
Your computer: A device in your local network with a webbrowser (like a Linux PC, Windows PC, Mac or iPad).
External computer: A device NOT in your local network with an wired internet connection (like a Linux PC, Windows PC or Mac in your office). Preferably not a device using a 3G connection.
Internal IP address: the IP-address of a device inside your local network.
Public IP address: the external IP-address of your router provided by your internet provider.
Webinterface: In this context this is the webpage you access to configure or view your camera in a webbrowser.
My app: One of my remote camera apps.
Portforwarding: wiki explains it better than me
Dynamic DNS: An internet service like dyndns.com to map your dynamic IP address to a fully qualified hostname. See wiki.



Prerequisites

Some network knowledge (you probably already have that if you have your camera up and running). If terms like ‘IP address’ and ‘router’ and ‘fully qualitifed hostname’ makes you look like a Southpark character blinking his eyes, pelase ask the neighbor kid to help you.
IP network camera
Local network correctly set up with a working internet connection
A PC or Mac in your local network
A PC or Mac outside your local network (eg. from your office)
Optionally: an iDevice with my (or any other) remote camera app installed.
Ensure that your camera is working on your local network by accessing the camera’s webinterface from your computer.

Gathering information

Before you continue first gather the information below:

The internal IP address of your camera (this is the IP address you type in your computer’s webbrowser to access the webinterface of the camera).
The internal IP address of your router (this is the IP address you type in your computer’s webbrowser to access the webinterface of the router).
The public IP address of your router. Find it by visiting the website http://www.whatsmyip.org/ from your computer’s webbrowser:

Use small steps

Configure your camera in small steps and validate that it’s configured correctly after each of those steps:

1) First ensure that the camera works in your local network by accessing the camera’s webinterface from your computer (not covered in this article, please refer to your camera’s manual for help and your camera’s manufacturer for support).
2) Enable portforwarding on your router (see next section) and verify this by accessing the camera’s webinterface from an external computer.
3) Not until then try a camera app on your iDevice over a 3G connection (optionally)
4) Try setting up dynamic DNS (optionally)

Setting up portforwarding

There are hundreds of different routers with hundreds of different webinterfaces and I cannot give detailed steps for all of them. So I will use 2 different examples of the most used ways of configuring portforwarding on routers.

About portforwarding

Normally the device in your local network cannot be accessed from the Internet. Your router is responsible for that and it’s a good security measure to keep malicious software and people away from your local network. But if you want run a webserver from your local network or - in our case - have attached a network camera that you want to access from the internet then first you have to configure your router.


For the examples below I use the IP-addresses in the picture above as an example, please replace with the correct ones.

A network device can be accessed by its IP address and portnumber. See the documentation of your camera. I assume that you already have setup your camera and have accessed it’s webinterface from your computer. To access the webinterface of the camera you likely have to open a webpage like:

http://192.168.1.23:80/

Here 192.168.1.23 is the IP adress of the camera and 80 is the portnumber. Again, this differs from camera to camera and on how you have set it up.

To access the router's webinterface for setting up portforwarding, use a webrowser and type the IP-address of the router. Eg.

http://192.168.1.1/

Most routers have feature called portforwarding or port range forwarding. On some routers it’s plainly called ‘Applications’ or something like that. Look it up in the usermanual of the router. The page on the router’s webinterface will probably look something similar like the picture below:


Example router webinterface showing port forwarding


In the application (sometimes called ‘name’), just type some human readable name. It’s not being used.

In the source port (sometimes called ‘from port’) type a portnumber to access your camera from outside your local network. It may - but doesn’t need to be - the same as the port on your camera. It can be anything between 1-65535. Good practice is to keep it in the 4 digits to not get in the way of some reserved ports. Better not to use port 80, because it could be in use by your router itself or some webserver in your network.

Don't use ports below 1024 (other than port 80). Some user experienced problems with it. When opening the URL in Chrome, the browser reported a 'net::ERR_UNSAFE_PORT' error. When opening the URL in Safari, the browser reported "Not allowed to use restricted network port"

Some routers allow you to specify the packet types (TCP or UDP). Select both if that’s possible, otherwise select TCP.

As destination IP (sometimes called ‘to IP’ or ‘internal IP address’ or something similar) enter the internal IP address of the camera.

As destination port (sometimes called ‘to port’) enter the portnumber you have configured on your camera.

Click Apply or save to make the changes persistent.

Disconnect the powercable from the router and reconnect it after 20 seconds.

When you have multiple cameras you can add a separate entry for each camera. Please note these rules:

Each camera needs its own internal IP address (the internal portnumbers may be all the same)
For each camera the ‘source port’ needs to be unique (eg. 1001 for camera1, 1002 for camera2)


Some routers (only) offer port range forwarding, where a port range has to be specified. Other routers don’t offer separate portnumbers for source and destination ports. It this case the portnumber has to be changed on the camera also.


In this case the portnumber on the camera has to be changed to 1000


When you are on your local network, use the internal IP address and portnumber of the camera to access it. Outside your network, use the external IP address and the portnumber configured in the router to access the camera. Some, but not all routers also allow you to use the exernal IP address and portnumber when you are connected to your local network.
Copyright © 1999-2010 by Maurice de Bijl. This article was published on 2010-11-09, the last update was done on 2010-11-03 in

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Comments on this article

There are 13 comments

Obfuscated IP-address: 712026639
Obfuscated E-mail address: bmsllmmcjamf
Click for more details  2010-12-22 11:23:33 posted by Ip Camera Man
Excellent and thorough explanation! Thank you!
Obfuscated IP-address: 176828490
Obfuscated E-mail address: bkljoyhouhdm
Click for more details  2011-07-21 17:35:42 posted by ferrebar
Hi Many thanks for taking the time to produce this article.
I have been for several days "on and off" been trying to get my head around the problem of why my ip-camera worked fine while using the wi-fi (local network) but not if away from home using 3g, or a wi-fi at my friends home. It never occurred to me that a second option was necessary for accessing the camera via my external IP address. That point is not made clear in the instruction manual and their reference to "Outer access" as http://aabrmx.easyn.hk did'nt help.
Now it all works fine, thanks again
Obfuscated IP-address: 111061245
Obfuscated E-mail address: bdxncdxultxz
Click for more details  2011-08-29 04:17:27 posted by Tareq
I purchased this software three days ago but I am having a tough time make it to work with your software. The only reason I purchased this product because of the remote option which allow you to move the camera up and down,and my Syology SD software is lucking. I am able to access my camera(FASCAM FI8918W)using my computer at work through my pc using the DDNS (Register host name). I am also able to get to my camera using my iPhone using the Synology(DS seveilance station app for iPhone). Using the same configuration on your applicaiton but fails to connect, I am using port 8090, not sure what's missing?
On your software configurtion I added the my registered hostname so I can access it outside of my house and added port 8090,and my usrname and password. When I try to login it goes to hourglass with black screen no connection.
Any help will be appreciated.

Thanks,

Tareq N.

Please see your mail, probably URL redirection is being used, which is currently not supported by the app, see FAQ at 'Q: I only see a black screen or a black screen with a blue/white question mark icon'
Obfuscated IP-address: 172485226
Obfuscated E-mail address: bpzsipuizgsd
Click for more details  2011-09-13 21:54:44 posted by Erik
Nu snap zelfs ik het en beter nog.....het werkt!
Prima uitgelegd waarvoor dank.
Erik
Obfuscated IP-address: 313135230
Obfuscated E-mail address: txonsxfmkbeq
Click for more details  2011-09-17 17:58:16 posted by itsonlymeron
I just purchased the FI8918W and the Foscam surveillance pro for my iphone. I don't have a formal tech background.

Making it work w/ my 3G was a bit complicated. I have an internet-Ooma-wifi router set-up. The illustration and instruction given above was quite thorough and did help me think what I might need to do but I just need to be patient.

If you have an OOMA attached in-front of your router, do the usual port-forwarding instruction given. Then go into your ooma setup http://setup.ooma.com and change your DHCP Configuration to be the same for both Start and End Addresses, Enter this same address in the DMZ line and click Update. Reboot your router, so it will take the new address assigned by ooma. Great app!
Obfuscated IP-address: 129804772
Obfuscated E-mail address: hnkvlwlgbrks
Click for more details  2011-10-16 14:55:49 posted by Pierre
Hello,
If anyone would be able to gime me specific instruction for a :
2701HG-G Gateway i wouldb bery grateful.

Thank you
Obfuscated IP-address: 911064327
Obfuscated E-mail address: bbabcijtaarf
Click for more details  2011-10-21 03:26:36 posted by steve
I'm using a netgear router , an apexis apm -j011 camera and the apexis app from itunes and still no connection after portfowarding. i'm using the ip address of the camera (the one for accessing the camera interface from browser )in the camera server section of app and port i use to access camera also username and password of camera. still no connection via internet. Wifi works though. Can someone help? am i portforwarding wrong? 2 days still frustrated thanks
Obfuscated IP-address: 491269576
Obfuscated E-mail address: bbaluyejskue
Click for more details  2011-11-09 21:23:07 posted by Tammy
I have a 2wire router.
I had no problem setting up cameras on PC but NO LUCK setting up on my iphone using 3g. Pls pls someone help with detailed instrustions.
Thanks in advance.

Please use the forum for support, thanks
Obfuscated IP-address: 911374644
Obfuscated E-mail address: bupjhnbhfkwa
Click for more details  2011-12-22 04:34:09 posted by ed nelson
I've spent 2 full days on this. The camera works on my local network at home. It doesn't work on my iphone away from home.

I set up port forwarding like this on a linksys wrt610n router:

external port=80
internal port=80
protocol both=tcp/udp
To ip address=192.168.1.102

Am I missing anything?
Obfuscated IP-address: 656724169
Obfuscated E-mail address: nnandgopsljl
Click for more details  2012-02-08 06:47:21 posted by Mariusz
Hi Maurice,

Is there a possibility you can publish instructions how to setup port forwarding on Apple Airport Express? Airport Utility software looks different than most other routers but it is also very common device. Instructions would be super helpful. Could I email you a screenshots?

Thank you,

Mariusz

Portforwarding is a feature used for all kinds of applications, please do a Google search, there should be enough info on the web
Obfuscated IP-address: 216216673
Obfuscated E-mail address: itmimgxqdrmd
Click for more details  2012-03-24 19:34:51 posted by cori
Hello,
I am having trouble setting up my port forwarding to my iphone 4s. I have a Belkin router. Can you please help me

Please no support through the comments, please use the forum instead. Personally I cannot give support for setting up portforwarding on specific models of routers, but the forum community maybe could
Obfuscated IP-address: 352255705
Obfuscated E-mail address: nylkqjmvbkli
Click for more details  2012-03-30 06:30:13 posted by Bob Briggs-Jude
Great app. Well worth the 5 dollars
Spent better part of three days to set up Port Forwarding on my 2wire router but eventually made it
This was super easy to install and the final setup was very straight forward.

Perhaps it's that experience ...
Only problem I have is trying to delete a device I first entered incorrectly
Thanks for your efforts.
Foscam FI8910W
Router 2wire model 2701HG
Obfuscated IP-address: 454234964
Obfuscated E-mail address: boaltgnixzdi
Click for more details  2012-09-06 02:41:22 posted by Chuck Morrow
I have a slightly different problem. I live in Japan, can speak Japanese but do not read/write Japanese. My router is provided by my ISP and of course, the web interface is in Japanese! Now this is not your problem. But I cannot setup port forwarding for this reason and although I could have a Japanese friend do this, which I will get around too, I have another related question.

I used to own Stem Innovation's iZON remote remote room monitor. It only worked with the iPhone so I couldn't use it for what I wanted to do with it. But one of the best features of the iZON is that the setup to view on a remote iPhone was that no port forwarding setup was required. I don't know how it did that but that is a technology I hope you can someday implement with your software.

I noticed another app, iCam that also claims not to require any router setup, why not yours?
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