Troubleshooting IP Camera Network Connections

As we discussed in the last post, it’s often difficult to find your IP camera on the network.  In the last article we wrote about using a network scanner to find the IP address of your camera. Now let’s talk about if nothing was found by your network scanner. The very first thing you want to do is check your link lights on your camera and your switch or router. It’s important to know what to look for, so carefully look over the list below and see if you can identify a problem or if everything appears to be working properly. Also compare it with the picture to see what you’re looking for or at.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

  • Example 1 – Both the Link/Activity LED and the Power over Ethernet (PoE) LED are both on. That means the device plugged into it had both a data link and a power link through the PoE switch.
  • Example 2 – Both the Link/Activity LED and the PoE LED are off. This means the device plugged into it does NOT have a data link or a power link through the PoE switch. Check another port to make sure that this remains the case. Don’t assume your switch port is working properly. If that doesn’t work, try another cable. If that doesn’t work, test another working device with the switch. If that device works, but the camera does not, you’ve likely got a faulty device. Make sure to use the same cables.
  • Example 3 – The Link/Activity LED is on but the PoE LED is off. If your device is not a PoE device this is normal. However, if you’re plugging in a PoE camera, the PoE LED should be on. Double check to make sure your connects are secure. If this fails to resolve the problem, try a different port. If you still can’t get it to work, try a different cable. If you’ve tried another cable, and you still can’t get it to work, assume it’s the camera. A hard reset may be necessary or the device may be faulty.
  • Example 4 – The Link/Activity LED is off, but the PoE LED is on.  This is an interesting combination, usually resulting from a camera dropping it’s link or something of that sort. Try restarting the camera by removing power and turning it back on. A hard reset may be necessary. Trying new cables or a different port is also option. More than likely this is a fault with your camera, not your switch or router but make sure to test all possibilities.

On the camera side of things, you should see the same kind of LEDs. Sometimes the LED are hidden inside of the case and you’ll be unable to tell if a link is made without removing the cover of the camera. Some examples are below.

You’re going to be looking for one of the lights to be blinking rapidly, the sure sign of network activity. If the light seems sporadic and only blinks at inconsistent intervals, you know you probably are only getting the most basic levels of network connection, but they aren’t communicating with anything. This may have to do with the camera being set to a static IP address that the current DHCP server or router can’t resolve. A hard reset or logging into to the camera is probably necessary. A reset will set it back to it’s default password and IP address while logging in let’s you set the camera to the correct IP address or to set it to get it’s own IP address on connection.  Static IP addresses are always a good idea for cameras as your recording device and software needs to know where you camera is. If it’s address is changing all the time, you’ll have all kinds of issues in your DVR or NVR.

I should also mention that sometimes you may get lights on the switch or router, but not on the camera. Camera LEDs  can go out. Double check the camera’s IP address before you automatically assume the device is not working. Also check if the cable is good on both ends. This is a weird scenario that usually only happens with older or faulty equipment, but it’s important to be aware of it as a possible problem.

That wraps that up, we’ll look at more IP camera basics soon! Thanks for reading!

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