Port forwarding video recorder(s) and camera(s)

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Remotely accessing video recorders and cameras on the internet (WAN) is an important feature to most clients and it should be considered when installing and implementing a video surveillance system.  Discussed on this page are three critical aspects of networking a video recorder or camera system:

Page 1 - Port forwarding video recorder(s) and camera(s)
Page 2 - Multiple Router Port Forwarding
Page 3 - Managing an network IP camera system
Page 4 - Bandwidth and throughput limitations 
                                                                                                                                                               Download the Networking guide in .PDF form here.



Get a basic understanding of how the network is laid out. If the video recorder is behind multiple routers, ports must forwarded through all routers.

Find the gateway IP address of the routing device that the video recorder is attached to.  If there is a Windows PC connected to the same network tier (router) as the video recorder, running a CMD from the start menu and typing the command ipconfig at the prompt will display the gateway information.  On a Apple Mac computer, pull down the apple menu in the top left corner and click on System Preferences.  Next click on Network under Internet and Network. The address will appear next to the Router heading.  Also note the sub net mask.

Take note of the video recorder's IP address found in Main Menu > Setting > Network or by using the Config Tool (Windows only).  If the video recorder is set to DHCP, disable DHCP to allow the video recorder to keep a static (non-changing) IP address.  By default most video recorders are set statically at  If the gateway noted in the previous step is different (i.e., change the gateway IP address in the video recorder to match the current network gateway and also change the IP address to match the gateway (i.e.  When changing the IP address of the video recorder, make sure that IP address is available by using the ping command in a CMD prompt (Windows) or Terminal (Mac).  Also in more uncommon situations, the sub net mask may also be different and may need to be changed to match the network. 

Take note of the video recorder's HTTP and TCP ports (Main Menu > Setting > Network).  The HTTP port is the web port used to view the video recorder (or camera) on web browsers and the TCP port is the port used for mobile devices (DMSS) and VMS software (PSS).  By default the HTTP port is 80 and the TCP port is 37777.  If there is more than one video recorder to be forwarded through the same network, the IP address, HTTP and TCP ports must be different on each unit to differentiate them (i.e. – 81 - 40001, – 82 - 40002, etc.).  Some ISPs do not allow for port 80 to be forwarded; in this case, the HTTP port should be changed on the video recorder and forwarded instead.

Access the router by inputting the gateway IP address noted in step 2, into a web browser.  The router will usually ask for a username and password; if the log in information was changed from default, find out the credentials from the network administrator or internet service provider.  Some of the more common default router log in combos are admin:admin and admin:password.  Default router log in information can also be found on http://www.routerpasswords.com.

Once logged into the router, navigate to the Internet or Status section and find the IP address of the router.  If the WAN IP address appears to look like a LAN IP (i.e. 192.168.x.x or 10.x.x.x), then another router is assigning this router an IP and the ports will need to be forwarded through both (see Multiple Router Port Forwarding section below for more details).  Navigate to the Advanced section of the router and look for a Gaming/Applications, Port Forwarding, Pinholes or Virtual Servers menu.  Sometimes the Port Forwarding menu can be located in the Firewall section of the router as well.  Every router brand and model is different, however there are two basic setups:

The router allows for a set number of rules; in this case, select Custom Ports (rather than a preset port) if the option is available. For each rule, the router will usually ask for a private (internal) and public (external) port range. Use the same port for all entries. The rule will also have a protocol setting; set it to TCP. Enter in the local (LAN) IP address of the video recorder that corresponds to the port being forwarded. Make sure to save the port forwarding rules before navigating away from the menu.

The router allows for port groups; in this case, a port group will have to be created and then assigned to an IP. When creating the group, name it something like “DVR_http” or “DVR_tcp”. On some routers, multiple port ranges can be added to the same group. After creating (and saving) the group, assign the group to the IP address of the video recorder. Save the port forwarding rules before navigating away from the menu.

After setting up the port forwarding rules, go to a website such as www.canyouseeme.org or www.yougetsignal.com/tools/open-ports/ to check and make sure that the ports are open.  If the TCP port is open, but not the HTTP port, try changing the HTTP port to a number other than 80 or 8080 (i.e. 2000).  If both HTTP and TCP are not open, try the following steps:

Check the router for any firewall settings that could be blocking remote access. Every router make and model is different when it comes to firewall settings.

Try setting up a DMZ host.  To do so, navigate to the Advanced (or Firewall) section of the router and look for a DMZ sub menu.  From here, enter in the local (LAN) IP address of the video recorder and save the settings.  Sometimes the router will report that there are duplicate port forwarding rules, but this can be ignored.  Test to see if the ports are open again.  NOTE:  The DMZ host only works for one device.  The DMZ essentially opens all ports for that one device.  Opening a DMZ presents a security vulnerability and the user may opt not to utilize this feature.

If a DMZ host does not open up the ports, then double check to make sure that the router is not behind another router(s).  If it is, check the Multiple Router Port Forwarding section below.

If the previous step does not apply, the ISP may be blocking all port forwarding.  Call the ISP to find out more information on why port forwarding is not working properly on the routing device.  If the client is using a satellite internet service, port forwarding may not work unless additional static IP addresses are purchased.

Once the correct ports are confirmed open, take note of the external IP address.  The external IP address of the network can be found on www.ipchicken.com (or on any of the port checking sites linked previously).  The external IP address can be used to view the device remotely or a DDNS can be setup.