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Security Guide

Connect a Security IP Camera to PC or Mac – 5 Little-Known Solutions

How to connect an IP camera to your PC or to the computer monitor? Setting up an IP camera is easier than you think. An IP camera can connect directly to your network or computer, and there are three ways to do so. The 5 solutions listed below do not require an NVR. It involves a basic understanding of networking, and by following some simple steps, you’ll have your IP cameras functioning in no time.

Pleased be noted: Install your security cameras in the right positions firstly. You can refer to How to Install Home Security Cameras Successfully.

Content:

And I’ve covered third party software to connect your IP Camera to a computer in the last part.

Those methods will guide you to connect a wireless or PoE IP camera to PC (on Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows XP and Windows Vista), and to a Mac (on Mac OS X 10.13, 10.12, 10.11, 10.10, 10.9, etc.).

Important Note: The methods recommended below may NOT apply for the battery-powered security cameras, which require initial setup on your phones.

Do I need a NVR for my IP security camera system?

A NVR is not necessary in order to view your network cameras or even record video. If you are testing cameras, looking for a temporary setup or want to set up something inexpensive then using a computer with an IP camera is a good alternative to a NVR. SmartPSS is our computer software program that allows PCs to view and record IP cameras. However, this kind of processing will demand a lot from the computer. Most likely, you wouldn’t be able to use that computer for personal use as it would be bogged down processing video from high resolution IP network cameras. Also, computers can be unreliable and crash, potentially leaving you with no recorded video.

NVR products are standalone devices using a Linux operating system which is known to be rock-solid and crash free, and designed to be operate 24/7 and maintain system security with user account access permissions. For a complete security camera system, you will want to use a NVR along with cameras. SmartPSS software can be used as a client software to connect from a computer to a NVR to watch cameras connected to the NVR and to playback/download recorded security footage.

5 Solutions to Connect Your Security IP CCTV Camera to PC/Mac

Solutions 1. Connect a WiFi or PoE Camera Directly to PC/Mac (without Internet)

The steps below detail how to connect your security IP camera directly to PC/Mac, without an NVR or DVR, without a router network, without WiFi, and without any fees or complicated configuration.

Requirements:

  • Your WiFi or PoE camera
  • The camera’s power adapter
  • Your computer (desktop or laptop)
  • A network cable

Step 1. Get your security camera charged.

Use the power adapter to get the camera plugged-in and charged. Normally, when you buy a WiFi IP camera, it comes with a power adapter. For a PoE camera, ask the supplier and buy one that’s workable for the camera.

Step 2. Use the network cable to connect to the camera and the computer.

Normally there would be a 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 cable attached from the camera. Find the network connector from that cable and use the network cable to connect to it. Then connect the other end of the network cable to the computer.

If your computer has a network already, disable it – make sure your computer is offline.

Step 3. Scan and find out the security camera’s IP address on the computer.

Now the security camera is connecting to your computer basically and physically. But you still can’t view the camera on the computer.

What you need to do now is to scan and find out the camera’s IP address. There should be surveillance software from the same supplier with the camera.

Take our test as an example. We have ZOSI Client on the computer. Launch it and it will automatically scan all the cameras in the same local LAN and show the default IP address (every camera has a default and unique IP address when it leaves the factory). Easy peasy!

Step 4. Change the computer’s IP address to the same network prefix of the IP camera.

So in Step 3, you get your security camera’s default IP address. In our test, the default IP address of the camera we use is 192.168.177.100, and now you need to change your computer’s IP address to 192.168.177.x, where x identifies the node/host and is the number between 2 and 254. So let’s say the computer’s IP address is 192.168.177.12.

IP address 101: An IP address consists of two parts – one belongs to the network address and one belongs to the node address. All nodes on a given network share the same network prefix but have a unique host number.

Now to change the computer’s IP address (we take Windows 10 as an example):

1) Press the Windows + R keyboard shortcut to bring out the Run box.

2) Enter ”ncpa.cpl” and open the ”Network Connections” window.

3) Right-click your computer’ network adapter and select ”Properties”.

4) Select your computer’s Internet Protocol Version and click ”Properties”.

5) Select ”Use the following IP address” and change the IP address into 192.168.177.12.

And done. Now your IP camera is connecting directly and communicating with your PC, because they are now in the same little LAN. You can watch your IP camera with ZOSI Client on your computer.

Important: Since there is no router network, the IP camera would not transmit data or send alarms to your phone. Still, you can record and save all the footage onto your computer.

If you’re gonna use your IP camera with the computer all the time like this (without router network), you’d better change the default status of your IP camera’s IP address to the static to keep it the same all the time, because each time you reboot the IP camera, its IP address will be changed and you will need to do all the steps above again. To keep the IP camera’s IP address the same all the time, head to ”Device Settings” and ”Network General” on the Client (ZOSI Client in our test), and choose ”Static” for ”Network Access”. And done.

Solutions 2. Connect a Wireless/WiFi Camera to Computer via Router (with Internet)

If you do have WiFi network and need to remotely see the IP camera when you’re not there, you can connect your wireless or WiFi camera to computer wirelessly via your router.

Requirements:

  • Your WiFi camera
  • The camera’s power adapter
  • Your computer (desktop or laptop)
  • A network cable
  • A router

Step 1. Get your WiFi security camera charged.

Use the power adapter to get the camera plugged-in and charged.

Step 2. Use the network cable to connect to the camera and the router.

A WiF camera needs to connect to the router with a network cable for initial setup, because the new camera itself wouldn’t recognize and auto-pick up a network that it never uses. Only after the correct WiFi settings can you disconnect the cable from the camera and the router.

And yeah again, normally there would be a 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 cable attached from the WiFi camera. Find the network connector from that cable and use the network cable to connect to it. Then connect the other end of the network cable to the router.

Step 3. Watch the IP camera on PC/Mac

On the computer, launch the surveillance software to add the camera and watch live view directly.

In our test, we open ZOSI Client. Since the computer and the camera are in the same network (using the same router network), ZOSI Client automatically searches and displays the camera directly. Click ”Start” and you can view the camera on PC. And you can set up the configurations for all the functions you want the camera to have.

Here’s the video footage shared by one of our customers.

Step 4. Set up WiFi settings and remove the network cable.

Do remember to make the WiFi settings for the camera. On the software, navigate to ”Device Settings” and ”Network”. Choose the WiFi network and enter the password, and done. Cameras from the different brands would have different WiFi settings. Please refer to the guides you get from your supplier.

After that, remove the network cable, and then the security IP CCTV camera connects to the computer wirelessly.

Important: If you need to see the IP camera from another computer that is not in the same network, you need to input the camera’s UID into the software to remotely access the camera.

Method 3. Connect a PoE (Wired) IP Camera to Computer without PoE Injector/Switch

Connecting a PoE wired IP camera to a computer via the router is similar to that of a WiFi camera, and even much easier – you don’t need to use a power adapter, set up the WiFi and remove the network cable.

Requirements:

  • Your PoE camera
  • Your computer (desktop or laptop)
  • A network cable
  • A router with PoE feature

Step 1. Use the network cable to connect to the camera and the router.

PoE (Power over Ethernet) means you can just use a single network cable for both video and power transmission. So just connect the camera to the router via the network cable, and the camera will get power supply and network access.

Please make sure your router has the PoE feature. If not, try the next method.

Step 2. Watch the IP camera on the computer.

On the computer, launch the surveillance software to add the camera and watch live view directly.

In our test, we open ZOSI Client. Since the computer and the camera are in the same network, ZOSI Client automatically searches and displays the camera directly. Click ”Start” and you can view the camera on PC. And you can set up the configurations for all the functions you want the camera to have.

Important: If you need to see the IP camera from another computer that is not in the same network, you need to input the camera’s UID into the software to remotely access the camera.

Method 4. Connect a PoE (Wired) IP Camera to Computer with PoE Injector/Switch

If your router does not support PoE, you need a PoE injector or PoE switch to help connect your IP camera to PC.

Requirements:

  • Your PoE camera
  • The camera’s power adapter
  • Your computer (desktop or laptop)
  • A network cable
  • A router
  • A PoE injector or PoE switch

Since the steps on how to connect a PoE IP camera to PC via PoE Injector/switch are quite the same to that of connecting without a PoE Injector/switch, we’d like to make it more simpler to understand here.

Connect all the devices as the picture showed below:

Important: Once you connect the PoE IP camera to the PoE injector or switch which is connected to a router via Ethernet cables, you’ve successfully connected the camera to the network. For a wireless IP camera, you need to use a network cable to connect it to the router if you haven’t set up the WiFi network configuration. And then the wireless IP camera is in the network. You can set up the WiFi configuration later to make the wireless IP camera connect wirelessly.

Make sure your wireless IP camera is connected to a power supply.

Then on ZOSI Client, add the camera and watch live view directly.

If you need to see the IP camera from another computer that is not in the same network, you need to input the camera’s UID into the software to remotely access the camera.

Method 5. Connect a CCTV Camera System to PC/Mac (with or without Network)

ZOSI security camera systems, like the PoE kit ZOSI 8RN-261W8, have their own proprietary networks, and can work with and without your router network.

How to connect a CCTV security camera system to a computer without router network

Step 1. Connect all the cameras to the NVR.

When you receive the new IP camera system you bought, connect all the devices you got – connect the NVR to your computer’s monitor and the mouse, use the power adapters to charge the NVR and cameras, etc. For a WiFi system, once the WiFi NVR and the WiFi cameras are charged, they connected to each other automatically and would start to communicate. For a PoE system, connect the PoE cameras to the NVR via the network cables provided.

Step 2. Start watching the IP cameras.

The startup and setup wizard will pop up to guide you to watch your cameras and do other configurations.

Now you can see all the IP cameras on your monitor and start recording.

How to connect a CCTV security camera system to a computer with router network

Step 1. Do the step 1 shown above again.

Step 2. Connect the NVR to your router via the network cable provided.

Step 3. Start watching the IP cameras.

The startup and setup wizard will pop up to guide you to watch your cameras and do other configurations.

If you need to see the IP cameras from another computer that is not in the same network, you need to input the NVR’s UID into the software to remotely access the cameras.

Third-Party Software to Connect IP Camera to PC/Mac

You can also opt for third-party software to connect and set up a security camera on the computer. Make sure the software can handle all the cameras on the network and support all the features for the cameras. Normally, the third-party software has several versions. And if you want to use full features of the camera, you need to pay for a premium version.

If your security IP camera is not working properly as expected or if you get any issues, you can try the top 10 solutions to fix IP cameras not working.

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