Setup Your DVR or IP-Cam For Online Remote Access

Here is a simple guide that will help you setup your DVR (Security System) and Router for remote web access, using a DD-WRT router and a free DDNS service. This guide is intended for personal and home use. Corporate or industrial setups are far more complex to setup than this. I will not discuss about complex firewall and RADIUS setup here, since this guide is primarily intended for simple and basic home use setup. You could setup your own advance CCTV system once you understand and learn the basics of simple networking.

If you follow this guide, I’d like to warn you first that this requires a DD-WRT flashed router. I don’t have any other routers at hand right now, that is why this is the thing that I’m gonna use with the guide. The idea would be the same even when you use another router, you may still follow this guide. I’ll discuss with you about Port Forwarding, this feature is almost available in all modern-day routers in the market. I will not dig into technical details and will not explain every terminology used in this guide, but I will walk you through to setup the necessary things so you could access your DVR or CCTV system remotely via the Internet.

Follow this guide step by step and you will surely learn how to access DVR remotely even without a public static IP address.

You need the basic stuffs enumerated below for this guide. Read on.

Preparation

Before following this guide make sure your Internet and CCTV/DVR are working as they should and that you already have a working home-network setup. When all is running fine, go ahead and start with this guide. Check the stuffs below and make sure it comes handy.

Things You Need:

  • DD-WRT Flashed Router, or any other Router w/ DDNS support
  • Router already configured to use PPoE
  • ISP issued modem already in bridge-mode
  • Network Switch/Hub, if you don’t have extra port from your router
  • DDNS Service Account from No-IP.com

Steps To Take:

  1. Assign static IP and port number for your DVR or IP-Cam
  2. Setup port-forwarding
  3. Signup for Dynamic DNS service & setup DDNS in your DD-WRT Router
  4. Testing

Terms You Need To Get Familiar With (in case you’re not)

  • Private IP – means the IP address assigned and usable within your internal network or LAN.
  • Public IP – means the IP address assigned to you by your ISP, most are dynamic IPs and changes all the time.
  • Static IP – means an IP Address assigned manually and not by a DHCP server.
  • Dynamic IP – means an IP address assigned dynamically by a DHCP server, like the ones issued by your ISP or by your router within your LAN.
  • Port Forwarding – means the technique to re-route or redirect a packet bound to a specific UDP/TCP port and machine, to another specified port or machine.
  • Dynamic DNS (DDNS) – is a method that keeps a Name Server constantly updated with a host’s IP address.

    Note: You don’t need a STATIC IP subscription from your ISP, just to get your CCTV remote viewing setup working or to setup your DVR for remote access. The reason why I’m telling you this is that, I came across a forum site where some of it’s veteran member suggests that you need to get a Static IP from your ISP to get the setup working. Not really a mandatory thing to get, with the power of Port Forwarding technique and DDNS, static Public IP will not be a requirement. What is required, is a static IP address assigned to your DVR or IP-Cam.

Let’s Get Started, Whenever You’re Ready

Before proceeding with the following steps below, make sure that you’ve already assigned a subnet for your private or internal home network. But in case not, do the first step below.

  1. Assign static IP and port number for your DVR or IP-Cam.. There are ways to accomplish this; assign a static lease from your router or assign a static IP address from your DVR/IP-Cam Admin Panel. But I suggest that you assign the IP address using the admin panel. What you’ll be assigning is a Class C addressing, which are used only for internal network (ie: 192.xxx.xxx.xxx/255.255.255.0). Most routers are pre-configured to use 192.xxx.xxx.xxx as the router’s IP address and 255.255.255.0 as it’s subnet mask. I suggest that you follow this scheme and assign one to your DVR or IPCam.

    Advancing further with this guide, assign a static IP address to your DVR or IP-Cam using its Admin Panel. You may press the button Menu either from the DVR itself or remote control. Generally you should see the settings from Network Setup or Networking screen or other similar words. If you don’t see it from the main screen, explore the sub-menus.

    When you found the setting, assign an IP using 192.xxx.xxx.xxx (ie 192.168.100.101) and also assign a port. There are two ports to fill-up, port for administration and port for viewing. So go ahead and fill those up, you may enter a port number like 9001 and 9002. Most DVRs comes pre-configured with IPs and Ports, if your device comes with pre-configured network settings, I suggest that you just adapt and use it with this guide. You may adjust your router settings to match your DVR or IP-Cam’s network setting. The purpose of the port assignment is to specify a port dedicated for administration and another port for viewing only. To illustrate this further, take a look below.

    Note: Only choose port range above 1024. Higher port range would be nice, but keep it below 65535.

    When you access the Admin Panel via network, you typically type this in your browser’s address bar;

    http://192.168.100.101:9001
    

    To just view or monitor a camera via Web, you would type like this in your browser’s address bar;

    http://192.168.100.101:9002
    

    Take a look at the images below. That is how I’ve setup my IP address settings in my DD-WRT router.

    Some DVRs or IP-Cams are configured differently, so it depends how its web server are configured. So you might need to consult your manual on how to reach your Admin Panel via web browser. With some model you have to type in like this (yours may be different);

    http://192.168.100.101:9001/admin < -- for web admin
    http://192.168.100.101:9002/view <-- for web view
    

    Alright, if your done with the IP address assignment, you can now test your settings and open up your DVR or IP-Cam’s admin panel using any browser you like (some old models have incompatibility issues with Internet Explorer 7 and below). Use the IP address and port combo that you had set in the previous steps mentioned above. You need a computer hooked to the same network and configured to use the same IP/subnet as your DVR configured with. So if your DVR is configured to use 192.168.100.101 your computer should be configured to use 192.168.100.xxx (ex. 192.168.100.100)

    This is how it should look like in your DVR network setting:

    • Your DVR network setting

      Address:    192.168.100.101
      Netmask:    255.255.255.0
      Gateway:    192.168.100.1
      

    This is how it should look like in your computer network setting:

    • Your computer network setting

      Address:    192.168.100.100
      Netmask:    255.255.255.0
      Gateway:    192.168.100.1
      

    You don’t have to follow exactly the way I put the IP, you can make your IP addressing like 192.168.xxx.xxx with a subnet mask of 255.255.255.0. The Gateway IP should be the IP of your router.

    If you successfully accessed your DVR using your network config, then you may now proceed to the next step.

  2. Setup the router and configure Port Forwarding. In this step I will discuss how to port forward in DD-WRT flashed routers, so I suggest that you have this router handy before proceeding with this step. But if you don’t have it, you may still follow, since port forwarding is generally the same with most routers. You’ll always find these fields; port range (port from and port to), application name, IP address and protocol The only difference are the location of menus and arrangement and placement of input fields.

    I’m gonna be using my Linksys WRT54G2 v1 model, flashed with DD-WRT v24-sp2 (10/10/09) micro. If you have a different router it’s alright, you can still follow this guide, since most routers has similar port forwarding menus.

    Alright let’s start. Login to your DD-WRT router using your login credentials. Upon logging in navigate to NAT / QoS >> Port Forward.

    Then do the following steps:

    1. Fill up te Application field and enter cctv-admin, or name it whatever you like. In this step, we’ll be forwarding ports to your DVR’s Admin Page.
    2. Fill up Port from and enter 9001. This is the port you had setup in your DVR or IP-Cam from the previous step.
    3. Fill up Protocol, you may select Both
    4. Fill up IP Address and enter 192.168.100.101. This is the IP Address of your DVR or IP-Cam.
    5. Fill up Port to and enter 9001.
    6. Check Enable.
    7. Repeat step 1, but this time you should enter cctv-view or name it whatever you like.
    8. Fill up Port from and enter 9002. This is the port you had setup in your DVR or IP-Cam.
    9. Repeat step 3 and step 4, you may substitute the IP address with your IP.
    10. Fill up Port from and enter 9002.
    11. Check Enable.
    12. Finally, click Apply Settings.
    13. We’re done with this step, next we test our settings.

    Test Your Port Forwarding Settings. To test if you successfully configured a port forward setup, you need to access the IP address with a port number combo and from another separate network, that is not within your network. It should be from another outside network. So you’ll need another separate Internet connection to test your config.

    To test your config, you should know what your current Public IP Address is. You can find this out by just typing what is my ip in google.com’s search field. Doing this will show you the result page similar to the image below.

    Now that you know what your Public IP is, go ahead and fire up your browser and enter the following in your address bar.

     http://128.199.252.11:9001
    

    You should be redirected to your DVR’s admin panel’s web page. If you reached the page, then you have successfully configured a port forward setup in your DD-WRT router. By now, you already have a remote web access to your DVR or IPCam using your known public IP address. But that’s not it.

    If your rebooted your router or your ISP changed your IP address, you can’t access your CCTV system using your previously known IP address any more. You need to know your new public IP address so that you could type it in and access your DVR or IPCam. But how would you know about the change? Your ISP or your CCTV system won’t even notify or update you about the change, so you need a method that will do this for you. This is where DDNS comes into play. DDNS service will not only notify you about the change, it will also notify and update a name server that maps your Public IP Address to an easy-to-remember hostname. So with this method, 128.199.252.11 shall be mapped as name.domain.tld or your-own-domain.tld.

    Read on, to follow the DDNS guide.

  3. Setting up a Dynamic DNS in DD-WRT. You need to configure this service in your DD-WRT router, specially when you’re on a a Dynamic IP Plan. You may also use this service with your static IP plan, but you may rather use a registered domain name if you have a static IP.

    Subscribing to a static public IP plan is expensive in most third world countries, in my country (Philippines) static IP address subscription is almost 5 times the monthly subscription fee of a regular Internet Plan. It’s impractical to subscribe for such service only for the purpose of setting up a DVR for remote online access. But I’ve seen and met several people, personally and from forum sites, they subscribed for a static IP just for the sole purpose of “CCTV Remote View” or “DVR Remote Access” setup. I like to mention this again, what you need is a static IP address assigned to your DVR or IPCam, and not a Public Static IP (your internet ip address assigned by your ISP).

    That being said, I like to mention that static public IP address that comes with a Web hosting account is not that expensive compared to the ones issued by Home Internet ISPs.

    Let’s continue with this step, first of, login to your DD-WRT router and navigate to SETUP >> DDNS. From the DDNS Service drop-down menu, you’ll see a bunch of Dynamic DNS services like, DynDNS.org, No-IP.com and easyDNS.com. For this guide we’ll be using No-IP.com DDNS service for our Remote DVR Access setup.

    DDNS is also available in most known stand-alone DVRs. Only thing is, they are bundled with a Paid-Subscription service like DynDNS.org or the manufacturer’s own DDNS service.

    You need a No-IP account to follow-on with this guide, so if you don’t have an account yet, head over now to https://www.noip.com/sign-up and create an account. No-IP is a paid service, BUT you may signup for a FREE Account. The FREE account offers 3 hostnames but offers no-phone support and it’s Ads enabled. Plus you have to login every month to re-activate your account so you won’t lose your host name. If you fail to re-activate your account, your hostname will be deactivated. Not that bad for a Free Account.

    To setup a proper Dynamic DNS in DD-WRT using the No-IP account, we need to input your No-IP account username and password in the designated input fields. So if you already have your No-IP account, input it now in the proper fields (username, password and hostname). Hostname is the name you configured during your No-IP account signup or the hostname you’ve created in Manage Host page of the No-IP account dashboard. After doing this click Apply Settings. When everything went smoothly, you’ll see a log status on the same page, under DDNS Status field.

    Note: From the screenshot above, Force Update Interval is set to 1. This setting will check your current public IP address and will update and notify No-IP.com about your IP address change, with an interval of 1 day.

    So everything went smoothly right? The question now is, how to access the DVR or IPCam remotely? Read further below to find out.



1. Time To Test Your Setup For Remote Access. To test your settings, you need another network for this. You have to access your DVR or IPCam remotely using another computer from another network. There are various ways to do this; you may use a pre-paid usb internet, use your data plan with your android or ios phone, ask a friend to access your DVR or IPCam remotely from his network or use web services like http://www.portcheckers.com/ to test your port forwarding configs.

Upon logging in from another network, start a browser and access your DVR remotely by typing your No-IP host-name plus port number combo. In my case, I don't have a DVR but IPCam and I've forwarded port `9001` to my IPCam's IP address, that is `192.168.100.101` and my No-IP host-name is `chubbable-dvr.ddns.net`. So this is how I would type in my browser's address bar;

     http://chubbable-dvr.ddns.net:9001


It should take me directly to my IPCam's view page. In your case if it doesn't, read back and make sure you have followed the guide correctly.

I've mentioned before in the previous steps (Step 1) that you need to assign a different port number for the DVR's admin page and the view page. Because each port number will be used for specific page. In my example I've used port number `9001` for admin page while port number `9002` for the view page.

**So this is how you would type in your address bar:**

-

*   To access the DVR or IPCam's admin page remotely, type in `http://yourhostname.domain.tld:port`. In my case...

        http://chubbable-ipcam2.ddns.net:9001


-

*   To access the DVR or IPCam's view page remotely, type in `http://yourhostname.domain.tld:port`. In my case...

        http://chubbable-ipcam2.ddns.net:9002


    > Just substitute `http://yourhostname.domain.tld:port` with whatever you came up with in your No-IP Host Name Settings.

So there we have it, simple guide to get your setup working.

It’s a Wrap

I hope you successfully configured your own DVR remote access setup with this guide. It’s not that difficult right? It’s just a matter of simple port forwarding plus free Dynamic DNS service. You don’t need an expensive Static Public IP with your Home Internet Plan.

I hope you’ve learned now how to access your DVR or IP-Cam remotely with this easy and step-by-step guide.

In my next set of articles, I will write a guide on how to port forward with various router brands and how to setup bridge-mode with various ADSL Modems.

If you have questions, clarifications, suggestions or additional info with this guide, feel free to put your comments below.

Chubbable

Hi, I'm Chubby! That's what my friends call me. I'm a tech savvy dude who is passionate in learning stuffs by himself. I post stuffs that I recently learned and also stuffs that I'm very knowledgeable of. I also post articles here to serve as my own reference and knowledge base archiving.

  • Eddie Iglesias

    I’m struggling to get my new Samsung DVR setup through a DD-WRT flashed router. Please help! Can you please reach out to me at fasteds718@gmail.com so we can try and connect and fix this issue?

    • Hi there Eddie!

      Have you fixed the issue now? You need a proper portforward config to make it work.

  • J John

    Hey, I’m a static IP for a CCTV dvr system. We have one running at my mother’s house in the Philippines. We’d like to set this up so it would be possible to monitor here from the UK. The system is connected to PLDT broadband.

    I will be going to the Philippines next month and will try to sort this out. I wont really have much time to shop for bits and pieces while i am there. What equipment (router, laptop, cables etc.) would I need to bring with me from here to be able to get this sorted? Do I need to get a DD-WRT flashed router?

    Any help would be appreciated brother.
    Hey, I’m a static IP for a CCTV dvr system. We have one running at my mother’s house in the Philippines. We’d like to set this up so it would be possible to monitor here from the UK. The system is connected to PLDT broadband.

    I will be going to the Philippines next month and will try to sort this out. I wont really have much time to shop for bits and pieces while i am there. What equipment (router, laptop, cables etc.) would I need to bring with me from here to be able to get this sorted? Do I need to get a DD-WRT flashed router?

    Any help would be appreciated brother.

  • J John

    Meant to say “I’m trying to setup a static IP”
    I’m not a static IP….that would be weird lol

    • Below are the basic steps to get you started:

      1. Set your Modem to bridged-mode
      2. Configure your Router to have a PPoE WAN Connection
      3. Setup DDNS (You must have an account from any DDNS services). You don’t need this if you have a PUBLIC Static IP address.
      4. Assign a static IP address to your DVR or CCTV System.
      5. Port Forward the necessary ports to your DVR or IP-Cam

      Basic Ingredients:
      1. Modem in Bridged-mode
      2. Router (you could use your modem if it has a built-in router). If you have a DD-WRT flashed Router, better. The cheapest one I know is the TP-Link TL-WR720N.
      3. Any Pre-paid Internet service like 3G or Mobile Data. You need this for real-world tests.
      4. Any computer you could use to configure everything
      5. Of course you need an already working home network.
      6. You need ethernet cables too. Nowadays, you don’t need to worry whether you have straight-through or patch cable.

      To know the basic idea of the remote access setup. read the guide:
      https://chubbable.com/setup-dvr-ipcam-online-remote-access

      • J John

        Bro, your a star…trust me this is all very much appreciated!

        I thank you then follow up with another question. Lol

        Can this be configured and setup on a mac? Or should it be done through windows?

        • Yes of course! Any System with the latest Internet browser. Chrome, Firefox, etc.

  • SASHAH

    Is there any way of accessing the DVR from an outside connection if port forwarding is not allowed from my ISP?