Don Colton, 2016-10-14
How can I make two or more Swann NVR systems that share the same local area network (external IP address) visible for remote viewing? How do I assign the ports?
This webpage tells how we got two Swann NVR video surveillance systems to work in harmony on the same local area network.
We have been running video surveillance cameras for a few years now. We find them to be greatly entertaining at times, and they support our couch-potato lifestyle.
X-Home Wireless (2011): Our first system was a $300 wireless system from X-Home. That was pretty horrible, but it helped us get our feet wet, so to speak, and helped us understand more of what is involved with video surveillance.
Lorex Analog (2011): Very soon we upgraded to a Lorex analog system that we bought at Costco. The Lorex served us well for many years.
Q-See IP / PoE (2014): When we moved, we left that behind and upgraded to IP cameras with PoE (power over ethernet) with a QSee system, also purchased at Costco. The QSee made us happy for several more years but we had trouble with the cell phone app and eventually our system failed.
Swann IP / PoE (2016): When I went shopping again I found Swann. The cameras were very nice and the prices were delightful. We now have three Swann systems (identical hardware: NVR16-7095, also known as SWNVR-167095) that were about $1000 each, also purchased at Costco. Hikvision seems to be another name for Swann.
We really like our Swann systems.
When we built a two-story addition to our one-story house it was a perfect time to add video surveillance cameras. We put five cameras on the house itself, pointed in different directions, and two more on the driveway, attached to a tree.
If I could do it over again, I would probably pick the mounting locations to be easier to reach. That is because my initial system was a QSee, but it failed after a few years, and my replacement system was a Swann. Even though the holes for the mounting screws were compatible, it was a pain to swap out the cameras because I put them in hard-to-reach places.
The first thing we did was attach an HDMI monitor using the cord that came with the Swann, as well as a USB mouse, also provided by Swann. This gave us the ability to see our cameras and to configure our system. The NVR (network video recorder) is just a few feet away from the desk in my study and the monitor sits on one corner of my desk. It is fun to watch.
My wife wanted to be able to see the cameras too. It took a bit of doing before she could see the cameras on her cell phone but we got it done. Now if she hears a strange sound at night, she can pull out her cell phone and check out what the cameras can see. It makes her happy.
SwannView Plus: The app that we use on our Android devices is called SwannView Plus. We got it for free in the Android App Store. Here are some relevant screen shots.
Swann has a configuration tool that uses a two-dimensional QR code to help you set up your app on your cell phone. I decided to not use their QR system but to do my setting up manually.
Static IP: I picked a static IP address for Swann1. In my case, I picked 192.168.18.211, but the specific number does not matter. It just needs to be picked and used consistently. I configured Swann1 to know its static IP address.
There are three places where things get configured. They have to match each other. (a) The NVR (network video recorder) itself. (b) The SwannView Plus app on my cell phone. (c) The router needs to do some port forwarding if you are doing remote viewing.
I installed SwannView Plus on my Android device and added Swann1 as a new device. I told SwannView the IP address of Swann1. I used the default server port number, which was 8000.
Passwords: Initially I had trouble because I was sloppy in assigning passwords and forgot which was which, but after carefully resetting all the passwords, things worked great.
It worked. My wife and I could watch our Swann1 cameras locally. Yay!
We wanted to be able to see our cameras when we were away from home, and also let our kids see them.
Swann has a tech support article that is very helpful. If you have not already read it, you might find it useful. 1688189-general-port-forwarding-guide
To see things remotely, you need to know the IP address of the system. This is not the internal network IP address (x.x.x.211 from above), but the IP address assigned by our ISP (Internet Service Provider).
DDNS: DDNS (Dynamic Domain Name System) is a method that lets our NVR tell a server what our IP address is. The server can share that information with anyone that needs to know. Swann provides a DDNS server at SwannDVR.net for our convenience.
SwannDVR.net: I created an account on SwannDVR.net. I added the account name and password to my local Swann configuration.
I added the remote address as a new device in SwannView Plus.
Port Forwarding: In my router, I did port forwarding for port 8000 and directed that traffic to 192.168.18.211. I also did port forwarding for port 554 (RTSP: Real Time Streaming Protocol) and directed that traffic to 192.168.18.211. I did not forward HTTP (port 85) or HTTPS (port 443).
It worked. I could watch my Swann1 cameras remotely. Yay!
I bought an old shipping container to use for storage and a workshop for things I did not want to do in the house. We put it about 100 feet away from the house. I ran electricity and Internet (one cat6 cable) out to the container.
I decided to put some cameras on the container pointed back towards the house. I bought our second Swann system.
Temperature was a worry. During the summer (in Oregon) my container temperature ranges from 50F at night up to 105F in the afternoon. The cameras were going to be fine but I was not sure about the NVR. I contacted Swann technical support and they assured me that our NVR would work fine up to 120F.
I put an old router (Linksys WRT54GS) in the container and configured it to act as a switch within my main network rather than a router with its own network.
I picked a static IP address. In my case, I picked 192.168.18.214.
I configured Swann2 to know its static IP address.
I added Swann2 as a new device. I told SwannView the IP address of Swann2. I let the server port default to 8000.
It worked. I could watch Swann2 cameras locally. Yay!
I could tell right away that this was going to be a problem. Port forwarding could not send port 8000 to Swann1 and Swann2 at the same time. Port triggering might have worked, but I wanted to be able to see both Swann1 and Swann2 at the same time.
One thing that really confused me was setting the RTSP port number. The default port, 554, can be changed on the Swann, but not on the SwannView Plus app. This worried me. But it turns out that the server tells the app what port to use, so all is fine.
I ended up changing the server and RTSP port assignments for both Swanns. (I tried a bunch of other things that did not work, and several other things that did, but this is what I eventually settled on.) Special thanks for their guidance goes to Swann Communications in Australia, and particularly to Michael, Senior Technical Support. Thanks, Michael!
For Swann1, I changed the server port to 8010 and the RTSP port to 8011. In the router, I changed the port forwarding to send 8010-8011 to Swann1. In SwannView Plus I changed the port to 8010.
For Swann2, I changed the server port to 8040 and the RTSP port to 8041. In the router, I changed the port forwarding to send 8040-8041 to Swann2. In SwannView Plus I changed the port to 8040.
We are building a new garage about 150 feet away from the house, and naturally we are putting yet another Swann system out there. Because we had such success with the first two systems, we have no worries at all about whether we can integrate another system into our network.
I hope this webpage has been useful. If you have comments for me, or requests or corrections for this webpage, please drop me a line at email@example.com and put the word Swann in the subject line.
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