Finding My IP Camera On The Network

One of the most commonly asked questions is “Where is my IP camera!? I can’t find it!”

I feel your pain. Trust me. It’s so aggravating trying to find your camera, especially when you’re not even sure it’s working or not.

The first road block we often run up against is finding a camera that’s on a different subnet. Let’s stop here for a second. What’s a subnet? Good question.

The way I think of subnet is as a section of your whole network. Think of a big pie graph and each division within the pie graph is a subnet.  Most home users use the default IP address range of 192.168.x.x – 192.168.x.254. This is by far the most common thing you will see and so we want to show you how to find something that is NOT in that range.

The first step in this process is to get what’s called a “Network Scanner”. I personally recommend SoftPerfect Network Scanner. Don’t worry, it’s safe and free.

Once you download the Network Scanner, you’ll want to configure the program to let you see the NIC vendor of the devices being scanned on the network. To do this,  just follow the directions below.

  • Launch SoftPerfect Network Scanner
  • Go to Options > Program Options (Or press Ctrl – O)
  • Click on the Additional tab.
  • Check the “Lookup NIC vendor” box.
  • Click OK.
  • Specify the IP range you’d like to search within and then click Start Scanning.
  • You should get a notification window that says if you want to see vendors, you’ll have to download a file called oui.txt.
  • Click OK and let it load the page it sends you to. (If it doesn’t you can visit it here: http://standards.ieee.org/develop/regauth/oui/oui.txt)
  • Save that webpage by going to File > Save As in your browser. Save it in the same directory as your network scanner .exe file.
  • Once that’s saved, close out of SoftPerfect Network Scanner and restart it.
  • Now when you search, you should get results like the following:

This is valuable information to us because it allows us to see which device is made by what vendor along with it’s MAC and IP addresses. If we’re working with Geovision, we’ll see it’s Geovision. If it’s ACTi Corporation (as in this case), that’s what we’ll see. This way you know the IP address of your camera. This technique is especially useful if you forget the IP address you had your camera set to but don’t want to reset it back to defaults. I’ll do another post some other time on common ways to reset to defaults, but for now, we’ll just stay on the topic of finding your IP camera.

Now that we’ve got our scanner configured, let’s talk about the scenarios in which the scanner does NOT find your camera. This could be for various reasons, as listed below:

  • Camera CAT5e cable is not connected properly to the camera or the switch, router, etc.
  • Camera’s LAN socket is damaged.
  • Switch/Router socket is damaged. (Try another port on the device)
  • The CAT5e cable being used is damaged (try another cable).
  • The camera is on a different subnet.

Ah ha! So we’re back to subnets. But how do we scan another subnet? Usually, the camera comes with documentation that tells you what the default IP address is. Simply type in that IP address into both fields in the network scanner and see if you get a hit. If you do, you can use your cameras software to change the IP address or you can manually configure your NIC to allow you to connect both subnets. I’ll provide a guide at a later date, but if you need an answer now, you can always Google it. http://answers.vt.edu/kb/entry/697 is a good resource, but I’ll make a better one later for those who are more graphically oriented.

Thanks for stopping by and reading!

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