April 16, 2013
My intended use for the camera system is home monitoring. The capability of watching my home from other locations is an important feature I plan to utilize. This is my first video monitored security system, so my comments will reflect only my observations of this equipment. I have three PCs in my home on a local area network connected to the Internet with a wireless router.
After unpacking the box I plugged the DVR into the wall and then connected it to my router with the supplied Ethernet cable. Then I plugged the power supply for the eight cameras into the wall and plugged it into the back of the DVR and attached a camera to it. Then I inserted the DVD into my computer thinking it might have some essential software on it I found four buttons, one for the" user manual " (a hard copy of the manual is included in the box,) "acrobat reader" (if not already loaded on your computer so you can read the manual,) "warranty information" and "buy accessories."
When I plugged the DVR into the router it automatically got a network address and then I put the address in Internet Explorer and a log in screen appeared on my monitor. Passwords are disabled as a default, but I'm sure I will change that setting so it requires a password. When completely installed, the screen shows frames for each of the eight cameras.
Next I needed to get a personal web address to view the cameras remotely from the Internet. On page 44 of the instruction manual the Lorex DDNS website is noted. Once there, I was prompted for my MAC (media access control) address found by going to the "main menu," selecting "advance" and then "info." At that time, a customer server name will also be selected. Perhaps this is obvious, but for security purposes, it would be wise to use something other than the address of the property. The equipment will also be registered at this time, along with a password, user name, etc. After that process is complete, an email will arrive from Lorex with some additional information that is needed to be entered into the DVR to maintain the DDNS connection.
Note, port 80 is used to view the cameras from the Internet outside of your home/business network. The problem is some people may already be using port 80 to host their own website. If you want to change it to a different port, there is information on Lorex's website on how to configure your router to forward to a different port. Then to configure the DVR to use the forwarded port, the instructions are in the user manual - Appendix C. Go to the main menu displayed on the monitor and select "advance", "network" and then use the mouse to change the web port from 0080 to something else. Select a number larger than 1024, in order to avoid using a port that may be in use by one of your other devices. Then to monitor your security cameras from the internet, enter your personal web address and follow it with a colon and the new port number. I checked the set-up from a remote address and it worked perfectly - it looked the same as viewing it on a web browser on the local area network.
Other than plugging in the DVR, no electricity is required in connecting the cameras, so if you have access either through an attic or basement, and a tool to thread the cables through your walls and a drill, it is a viable do-it-yourself project. Dropping the cables through the wall and fishing them down into an unfinished basement and then to the DVR will, in some locations, require more than the included 60 foot cables. On the website, additional 60 foot cables can be purchased for $24.99 each plus $4.50 for the connector needed to attach the two cables together.
Ultimately I am impressed with this system. Granted, it isn't a commercial grade set-up, but for a homeowner, the price is very reasonable and the cameras have a strikingly clear picture, even in pitch black applications. The downside for me is the temperature range, which although broad, isn't quite broad enough for me to safely install the cameras outside. Exterior installation in Colorado might always be an issue considering the number of snowstorms experienced each winter. The cameras might be frequently covered in snow and not provide helpful pictures even if the temperature range permitted installation.
The cameras work beautifully, and the computer set up was smooth.