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How to Monitor Surveillance Cameras, IP Cameras, or Digital Video Recorders over Network

In this article, we will tell you how to monitor the status of surveillance cameras, IP cameras, or digital video recorders (DVRs) over the network using 10-Strike Network Monitor Pro. Oftentimes, surveillance cameras and DVRs are located in remote corporate networks, behind NAT routers, and it is impossible to access them directly via the Internet. In that case, you need to use a distributed network monitoring system.

How to Monitor Video Surveillance Systems on Remote Networks

Video surveillance systems are widely used in warehouses, retail stores, hospitals, factories, and many other locations. Of course, the status of devices in such systems should be constantly monitored. Otherwise, if something bad happens and you urgently need to view video footage from a surveillance camera, you may find out that it had stopped working a week ago! But how can you monitor such devices, set up an automatic notification in case a camera or DVR fails, and fix malfunctions in good time?

We have the answer: You can use 10-Strike Network Monitor Pro. It is a distributed network monitoring solution developed by 10-Strike Software.

If you use 10-Strike Network Monitor Pro to build a distributed monitoring system, you can monitor any networked hardware used in remote offices from your monitoring center. In this case, the ďdistributed monitoringĒ means that a number of monitoring servers in remote offices will send the data they have collected to the central database. The monitoring center operator can view any data in a dialog box of Network Monitor Pro.

10-Strike Network Monitor Pro can be a great help to a company that installs and maintains video surveillance systems, or to a company that has multiple remote offices and a single IT department.

monitoring program installation

10-Strike Network Monitor Pro supports several monitoring methods. The choice of a method depends on the structure of the local network and the hardware used in it. Regardless of the method, you need to follow the general instructions to install and configure Network Monitor Pro on your central monitoring server that will receive data from remote servers. The setup process is mostly automated, so the operator does not need to have any special skills. The installer will automatically configure the central monitoring core and the database. It will also set up the web server included in the Network Monitor Pro's distribution package. After that, the installer will create several tests, so that the operator can immediately see how the monitoring system works. Further configuration of the distributed monitoring system will depend on your specific situation.

How to Monitor IP Cameras on Network

Letís consider the most common case, which is also the simplest one: Your video surveillance system consists of multiple IP cameras and a single server connected via routers and switches into a network. You need to do the following, so that the monitoring center operator can remotely check the status of the IP cameras:

1. Install a new monitoring core on the server using the distribution kit of the system deployed at the monitoring center. The monitoring core is a Windows service that allows a remote server to connect to the central database. Configure the monitoring core at the server, and then start it. As soon as it connects to the central database, you can manage the remote server from the monitoring center.

2. Open the main management console (you can use the desktop version or the Web version) and create an account for your new monitoring server. Enter its IP address. In most cases, a numeric identifier (ID) will be assigned automatically.

adding check

3. Add new hosts, enter the IP addresses of your IP cameras, and force the newly added monitoring server to poll the hosts.

specifying host properties

4. If you add a new host, Network Monitor will automatically create an ICMP ping check for it, so that you can monitor the IP cameraís status. Depending on the camera model, you can also monitor its status using a TCP connection to its HTTP or Telnet port.

If you did everything correctly, you will see something like this:

video camera monitoring example

Each green row is a normally operating IP camera. A red row means that something is wrong with the IP camera. You can also set up a notification for each check. In that case, if an IP camera doesnít respond, an SMS text message or email message will be immediately sent to you.

How to Monitor Digital Video Recorders Connected to Computer

In more sophisticated video surveillance systems, multiple cameras are connected to a DVR, and video footage is written to a hard drive. In that case, you can use any analog or digital cameras, provided that they can work with a digital video recorder. DVRs are usually connected to the network through a router or switch. In that case, you can use the same procedure as for monitoring multiple IP cameras. The only difference is that, when adding a new host, you need to enter the IP address of the DVR.

In some cases, a DVR is connected to a dedicated computer, and video footage is written to the computerís hard drive. It means that you cannot check the DVRís status by pinging it from the monitoring server. What can you do? Thankfully, 10-Strike Network Monitor Pro provides remote agents. A remote agent installed on the computer will send locally obtained data in response to the monitoring serverís request. (In that case, you donít need to assign remote access rights or configure network protocols.) You can easily set up a remote agent as follows:

1. Install the remote agentís Windows service using the distribution kit of the monitoring system deployed at the monitoring center. Then configure the remote agent to work with the monitoring server in the local network. (One TCP port will be used for that purpose.)

2. Open the management console and add a host. Enter the IP address of the computer the DVR is connected to. Force the monitoring server to poll the host.

3. Create an ICMP ping check for the host and check the ďUse agentĒ checkbox. Enter the DVRís IP address in the ďHost address for checking by agentĒ field. The agent will ping the DVR locally, so use the local IP address.

editing check parameters

Thatís all! The monitoring server in the local network will send a request to the agent at regular intervals. The agent will poll the DVR and send the result back to the server. Finally, the server will send the result to the central database. The problem is solved!

Conclusion

This article describes only one of 10-Strike Network Monitor Proís many application areas. The Network Monitor allows you to monitor any networking or networked hardware, managed switches, uninterruptible power supply units, network services, communication links, and more. You can use it to create and configure many different checks to monitor the availability of hosts, services, and databases, as well as CPU load, device temperature, and other parameters. The Network Monitor supports common network protocols and SNMP, so you can monitor any Windows or Unix servers, and also any networking or networked devices, including door opening sensors.

For testing the performance issues in your specific environment, we recommend you to download and try our fully functional free 30-day trial version.

 

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Best Soft'2015 PC Magazine/RE review 10-Strike Network Monitor Pro in PC Magazine/RE's annual software review "Best Soft 2015": "This program allows you to monitor the IT infrastructure starting from switches and servers, and ending with UPS and door sensors in racks with equipment polled via the SNMP protocol. It is allowed to control not only the device operability, but to check whether some device's parameters are beyond critical thresholds. For example, it can be the CPU temperature, voltage, toner level in a printer, signal level in a fiber optic line, or amount of free space on disks. There are several methods of notifications available for an administrator. Charts displaying parameters help predicting trends before a real failure occurs."