The cameras are Panasonic KX-HCM10 devices and they connect directly to my home network. They have an eyeball style mounting for the camera that allows it to pan & tilt with a wide range. Here are the full specs and the complete operating instructions. So that means that they each have their own web server built in and there is no need for a computer to make them operate at the remote site, my house in this case. All you need is some sort of High Speed Internet Connection with a static public IP address (or some other method of establishing the current leased IP address) and a single camera, or a router and as many cameras as you like! This makes them more reliable than other solutions that involve having a Pentium class Windows server running all the time. There are various other cameras out there but I have not seen anything else that combines the reasonable video quality, small size, wide pan & tilt and alarm the function of this unit. They sell for just under $300 each these days and it's often possible to pickup a used unit on eBay for as little as $170. The cameras can be setup to use any port number which makes it easy to select between a number of them all on the same network. Usually an http request from a web browser defaults to port 80, so if you wanted to access the camera by plugging it directly into your internet connection or with only one camera, then port 80 is what you need. But if there is more than one camera, you need a way to switch between them. This requires you to have an Ethernet hub/switch or a router sometimes called a residential gateway and for you to know how to set it up. As people often ask about this aspect, I'll describe how mine is setup using a D-Link DI-704P. This is a simple Ethernet Broadband Router/Firewall with a parallel port print server. These days the newer models have a USB print server. If your Internet Service Provider can't provide a static public IP address for you like mine has been able to, Panasonic provide the http://www.Viewnetcam.com service that you can subscribe to.
For the physical connections, the WAN plug on the router connects via a CAT5 cable to the Internet connection. This may come from a cable or DSL modem, or in my case a radio. Some CAT5 cables are wired straight through, some are crossover. The D-Link DI-704P and any of the current newer models are able to work all this out so there is no need to give it a second thought or describe it here. Each PC is connected to one of the LAN plugs on the router again by CAT5 cable. As I have a number of computers & cameras etc. I also have a Zonet ZFS3008 8 port Ethernet switch that expands one of the 4 LAN connections on the D-Link DI-704P into 7 LAN connections giving me 10 LAN connections in all. Each camera, connects to a LAN port on the switch again by CAT5 cable. This is the diagram from the Camera Operating Instructions.
To access the router configuration from the LAN you need to enter the IP address of the router. By default. this is http://192.168.0.1 and you get a page like this. Unless you have changed it, the password is "admin". The next page you will see is the main Device Info page that looks like this. Click on "Setup" and you will see the Setup page like this. As you can see, mine is setup with a Static IP address but you can change the WAN settings by clicking on the "Change..." button where you can change it on the WAN type page that looks like this. Now to the parts that relate to the camera. From the Setup page, click on "DHCP" to see the DHCP Server page and then click on the "Fixed Mapping..." button. This takes you to the "MAC Address Control" page that looks like this. On the MAC Address Control page, you can either type in by hand the MAC address of the camera, or if you have previously setup the camera to use DHCP and the camera has been booted after the router, you will be able to find the camera's MAC address in the DHCP Clients drop down list. Select the one you want and where you want it to go with the ID drop down list and press the "Copy To" button. This just saves you from any typo's in entering the MAC address. It also proves that the camera is properly connected to the router, but again, this is just a convenience feature of the router and it is not necessary for the camera to be in the list for this setup step to work. Next, after you press the "Copy To..." button, the MAC address & current IP address will be entered. Again, if you are doing it by manually typing, you will need to choose a spare value for the last part of the IP address. I happen to use .141 and .160 for the two camera's in this example. You can see the MAC addresses for IP addresses .141 and .160 in the MAC Address Control page on row 1 & 2. Now you need to setup the part that connects the port number to the IP address. From the MAC Address Control page click on "Advanced" and this takes you to the Virtual Server page that looks like this. For each camera, enter the last part of the IP address (141 & 160 in my case) and then choose a port number. If you want people to be able to view the camera without entering the port number, you will have to choose 80. Then again, if you have more than one camera, the next one must be different from 80 in order for the router to know where to send the request. In my example, I use port 66 for the second camera. Click on the "Save" button and reboot the router. Most pages on the router have a reboot button if needed and there is also one on the tools page that you can access from the Device Information page by clicking on "Tools".
To set the initial settings in the camera, you should follow this procedure. Connect the camera to the router with a CAT5 cable and then power it up. Depending on the initial state of the camera's memory, you may see it pan from side to side & top to bottom. If this happens, wait until it is done and the camera is still. To make sure the camera is in the correct state, press the CLEAR SETTING button on the back of the camera (with the power on) for at least two seconds as shown to the right. After you release the button, the green LED on the front of the camera will first go out and then flash for about 45 seconds during which time the camera will pan & tilt. If this does not happen, your camera is broken! Next put the CD that comes with the camera into your CD drive and startup the Setup application and a window like this opens. Press the Network Configuration button. You need to do this within about 15 minutes of powering up the camera or it won't work! Almost at once, you will see the new camera come up in the list like this. Select the camera by the MAC address written on the back of the camera that you need to setup if there is more than one and you will see a configuration window like this. Now the settings can be made and when you are done press Save and you will see a saving box like this. There is example data in the section below. In some cases, the save may fail due to conflicting data in the router in which case you should update the router settings and then try the camera again. Also you may need to set the camera to use DHCP and then reboot it by cycling the power. Then you will be able to see it in the router MAC Address Control page. If you reboot the router after the camera, you may not be able to see it from the router menu. You may just have to mess around to find the right order. Once you have it working, you can access the camera setup data from the LAN at http://192.168.0.160:66/Config.html to make any changes where 192.168.0.160 is an example LAN IP address and 66 is an example port number. Periodically, Panasonic update the available firmware for the camera and you can download the latest version here and the instructions for doing it are here. Currently mine are running V1.76 and this version gives a much better user interface with preset pan & tilt positions. Another thing I have found is that if you press & hold the CLEAR SETTING button while the camera is off and then power it on, the camera boots with the "Update Firmware" page and you can access it by going to the cameras default static IP address of 192.168.0.253. This can be another useful starting point if nothing else works!
This table shows how the data is setup in my configuration and where the data comes from. Your setup may or may not be similar but at least I can tell you that this is a working configuration and the cameras do work perfectly well when properly configured. When you click on one of the cameras on my WebCam page, this is the actual data that is being used!
The camera has it's own built-in Web Server that can send all the necessary HTML to the browser to display the controls and the picture. When you access each camera from the LAN, i.e. the computer you have been using to setup the camera, you need to access it as follows where the IP address is the address of the camera allocated by the router and the port number is the port configured in the camera, for example I would do this: http://192.168.0.160:66 (66 is the port number). Of course, this link won't work for you to get to my camera because you are on the Internet and this address is private to my LAN! Go to http://192.168.0.160:66/Config.html to access the camera configuration over the network.
To access the camera from the Internet you need to enter the public static IP address allocated by your ISP, for example I would do this: http://184.108.40.206:66 and this will work for you from the Internet but I'm not going to give you the password! In my case, my ISP has also given me a DNS entry of ark.mycloudburst.net which resolves to the same address so I could also do http://ark.mycloudburst.net:66 and in fact this is the exact link for one of the cameras above on my WebCam page.
One other point to note, you will never be able to access the camera via the public IP address from your own LAN! This is because the outgoing http request on the WAN side of the router is the same address as the camera on the same port! You will have to go elsewhere to access the Internet to try it! In my case I can't even go to my neighbors house to try. He is on the same fixed wireless service as me and in the radio network they are using the same IP address for common resources at some point with Network Address Translation and port forwarding. So again, at some point both the outgoing and incoming IP address will be the same! I have two ways to get around this. First, I can use dial-up access to a different ISP. Second, I can use the secure Cisco VPN service from my PC and then connect to the camera. This has the effect of using a different port number at the PC thus making the outgoing request different from the incoming request to the camera thus looking like two completely different sessions to the radio network. Anyhow, the main point to understand is that you can't do it from an ordinary PC on your LAN.
With everything working, the browser will look something like this! All in all, if you are not familiar with setting up IP networks, there are quire some challenges here! Panasonic do have a help desk you can call, 1-800-272-7033 and they do know all about the camera but they probably won't know about your particular router. They say that the camera's never fail and any problems are always due to local configuration issues! Well I can believe that but I can also tell you that I have had some mechanical problems with one of my cameras!