Remote Video Access Frequently Asked Questions
Many of Lorex's video surveillance products are capable of sharing their video signals across digital networks and the Internet, allowing access from anywhere in the world. However, many users are not familiar with the technologies needed to setup their systems for remote connectivity.
This document provides a background to networking concepts relevant to video surveillance and is intended to give users an understanding of key concepts for Lorex network video products.
- What is the difference between local and Internet / remote network surveillance?
- How do I configure my Lorex system for Internet / remote network surveillance?
- How do I port forward my gateway or router?
- How do I find the model number and version of my router?
- How can I test my port forwarding configuration?
- What is port forwarding?
- What is Lorex DDNS?
- What is DDNS?
- What software do I need to remotely access video from my Lorex system on my computer?
- Can I connect to my Lorex system using a smart phone or tablet?
- How do I find my system's IP and MAC address?
- What is a MAC address?
- What is an IP address?
- What is the difference between an internal and external IP address?
- How can I find my external IP address?
- What is the difference between static and dynamic IP addresses?
Local network surveillance uses applications or web browsers over a Local Area Network (LAN) to access video from network-enabled video devices. The video signals are not transmitted over the Internet, and there is no special setup required.
A LAN is a group of associated computers and devices which generally shares one connection to the Internet. In the figure above, the DVR system and IP camera on the left are connected to the LAN. The computer and laptop on the right are connected to the same LAN through the same router, so they can both access video from the devices on the left without having to connect over the Internet. Devices can share the same LAN using either wired or wireless connections.
Remote network surveillance generally uses the same applications or web browsers to access video, but from a remote location that is not connected to the LAN. The video signals must be transmitted over the Internet, and remote access setup is required.
In the figure above, the DVR system and IP camera are connected to the Internet via the router. This enables the computer and the mobile phone to connect to the system from a remote location over the Internet. The DVR system, IP camera, and the router must be configured to share the video signal over the Internet. The computer and mobile phone must have Internet access and the appropriate application or web browser to connect to the devices.
For Lorex products, instruction to set up connectivity over a local network or the Internet are in the Quick Start Guide. After the steps in the Quick Start Guide are followed, you can connect to your system from any compatible computer, smart phone, or tablet over the Internet to view the video from anywhere in the world.
The setup process varies from product to product, but the process to configure your Lorex system for Internet connectivity generally entails the following steps:
- Connect your Lorex system to your router and connect to it over the Local Area Network (LAN).
- Configure your router or Internet gateway for port forwarding.
- Create a Lorex DDNS account to create a permanent web address for your system.
- Connect to your system over the Internet.
This question depends on the particular model of router you have. Nearly all models support some form of inbound TCP/IP routing, or port forwarding, and there are many resources to help you to forward an incoming connection to your video device. We provide an exclusive Auto Port Forwarding Wizard (for PC only) that automates the port forwarding process and is compatible with a large number of router models and versions. You can also check our Port Forwarding a Router guide for instructions on how to manually configure your router or gateway or www.portforward.com for details on a large variety of routers.
NOTE: The information on www.portforward.com is not maintained or supported by Lorex. Please check the instruction manual for your Lorex system to determine which ports must be configured to enable a remote connection.
On most routers, the model and version number can be found underneath the router, printed on a sticker.
There are third-party websites that provide free port forwarding testers, such as http://canyouseeme.org/ and the Port Forwarding Tester at http://www.yougetsignal.com/ These websites will find your external IP address and test if specified ports are open at that address.
NOTE: These websites are not supported by Lorex.
Computers, DVRs, and other devices inside your network can only communicate directly with each other within the internal network. Computers and systems outside your network cannot directly communicate with these devices. When a system on the internal network needs to send or receive information from a system outside the network (i.e. from the Internet), the information is sent to the router.
When a computer on the Internet needs to send data to your internal network, it sends this data to the external IP address of the router. The router then needs to decide where this data is to be sent to. This is where setting up port forwarding becomes important.
Port forwarding tells the router which device on the internal network to send the data to. When you set up port forwarding on your router, it takes the data from the "external IP address:port number" and sends that data to an "internal IP address:port number" (for example, Router External IP 184.108.40.206:80 to DVR Internal IP 192.168.1.102:80).
Lorex DDNS allows you to assign a permanent web address or URL (Uniform Resource Locator) to your Lorex system. This means when you connect to your Lorex system, you use the Lorex DDNS address (for example, http://tomsmith.lorexddns.net), rather than your system's IP address.
This has two advantages over using an IP address to connect to your system:
- Lorex DDNS ensures 24/7 connectivity: unless you have a static IP address, your IP address will change from time to time. Lorex DDNS service ensures that when the IP address of your system changes, it will automatically update the DDNS server with your system's new IP address. Please note that whenever your IP address changes, it takes a short time, typically a few minutes, for the DDNS servers to update with the new IP address.
- You can connect to your system using an easy-to-remember web address, rather than a numerical IP address.
Lorex DDNS is bundled for free with compatible Lorex systems, and there are no recurring payments for this service. If you have purchased a Lorex system that is compatible with remote viewing, please visit http://lorexddns.net to sign up for your free DDNS account.
Dynamic Domain Name Service (DDNS) is a service used by a host system (such as a Lorex video surveillance system) to register its current external IP address (as provided by the Internet Service Provider) with the external DDNS system. The DDNS system associates the host system with a Universal Resource Locator (URL) to enable remote systems to connect to the system over the Internet.
This depends on which Lorex system you have. On the PC, all Lorex Vantage systems that support remote access are compatible with Internet Explorer. Some systems are bundled with remote client software, and some are compatible with other Internet browsers. Please note that you may need to install plugins to remotely access your system using an Internet browser.
On Mac, some systems are compatible with the Safari browser and some are bundled with client software. Please note that you may need to install plugins to remotely access your system using the Safari browser.
All Lorex remote client software is provided free of charge and is available as a free download from your system's product page. Check the Remote Connectivity Compatibility Chart and App List for a detailed list of browsers and client software applications that are compatible with each system.
Yes, smartphone and tablet applications are available for most Lorex systems. Check the Remote Connectivity Compatibility Chart and App for a detailed list of smartphone and tablet applications that are available for each system, as well as download links and how-to-videos.
Lorex smartphone and tablet applications are provided free of charge, but you need a mobile data plan from your service provider to access your Lorex system over a mobile network. When using a mobile network, data charges may apply. Check with your service provider for details.
Please note that you must complete the process to set up remote viewing that is detailed in the Quick Start Guide before you can access your system using a smartphone or tablet. Also, features vary between different smartphone or tablet applications.
In most Lorex systems, you can find your system's IP and MAC address using the System Information screen. This is often available by pressing the Enter button () on the front panel of DVR systems; however, this varies between systems. Check your system's instruction manual for more details.
System Information Screen on Edge2 LH330 Series
The Media Access Control (MAC) Address is your device’s 12-digit hardware address that identifies the device on a LAN. A MAC address is unique to each network device.
MAC Addresses follow a specific format: mm-mm-mm-ss-ss-ss. The mm’s are the manufacturer’s ID number and the ss’s identify the product’s ID number.
You MAC address is necessary when registering for Lorex DDNS because it identifies your specific product to the DDNS servers.
Computing devices connected to a network, such as a LAN or the Internet, are assigned a numerical address. This number is called an IP address (IP stands for Internet Protocol). Each IP address consists of 4 numbers in the range 0-255, and is written as: aaa.bbb.ccc.ddd (e.g. 220.127.116.11).
Every device that communicates over the Internet must have a unique IP address. These are called external IP addresses (sometimes referred to as public IP addresses). However, there are ranges of IP addresses that are excluded from this address space, so that they can be used internally by devices connected to Local Area Networks (LANs). These are internal IP addresses (sometimes referred to as private IP addresses). If devices that are using internal addresses wish to communicate with devices on the Internet, they must pass their messages through a network gateway, which will map the internal IP Addresses into a valid external IP address. This is called Network Address Translation (NAT), as shown in the following figure.
If you wish to find your external IP address, you can use a third-party website such as www.showmyip.com. Your external IP address can also be found within your router settings. Refer to your router’s instruction manual for further details.
IP addresses are the numbers used by the Internet Protocol (IP) to identify your computer or device. Every computer or device that wants to communicate over the Internet must have an address, unique to that computer or device.
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can issue IP addresses in two ways:
- Static assignment: The ISP issues a permanent, non-changing address that must be manually entered into the computer or device. This number cannot be used by any other device.
- Dynamic assignment: The ISP uses a protocol called Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) that generates an IP address and leases (i.e. provides) it to your computer or device for a predetermined length of time. After that time expires, your computer or device must request a new IP address. This means that your external IP address will change occasionally. Most residential Internet service packages use dynamic assignment.
Check with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to determine whether your IP address is static or dynamic.
Last Updated: 7/6/2012