Blog2006 ≫ Squirrels and webcams

Ew, bogus squirrel rat crossbreed1... surely that's just got the mange and lost the fur on it's tail though? It's a bit of a scrappy picture, could be some potatoshopping going on too.

Also WOO, cheers Andy, got my webcam up and running in the end - I think it must have been running before I realised. Nothing very exciting to see right now, though I have a live video feed of the Folkestone sky2 (the camera's stuffed in a corner out of the way, pointing upwards). Maybe an interesting seagull will fly over.

That's just a grab, not a live picture obviously3. Going to update this with what I did and how I got up and running, and gotchas I found along the way. Humungous thanks to for talking me through all this, that's who I'm mostly paraphrasing below. My setup is Linksys WVC54G wireless network camera5 and Netgear DG834G wireless ADSL modem firewall router5, here's how to make things work:

Reserve an IP address6 on my network for the camera - the router is a DHCP server, but I want the camera to have the same IP address each time things are rebooted. On the router admin page this is under Advanced -> LAN IP Setup. I set it to as this is what it defaulted to.

On the "Services" menu on the router admin page, add a custom service with these attributes:

Name: [Camera](/wiki/#camera)
Start Port: 1025
End Port: 1025

The router admin page link is to my internal IP address, the default address for the router. If you've got the same router as me and you're at home, it should link to your router - if not, I don't know where it goes, not to me or my router anyway. When I forgot that address I Googled for netgear router default ip address, you'll find the default password there too, hope I've remembered to change mine...

On the "Firewall rules" menu on the router admin page, add a new inbound rule with these attributes:

Service: [Camera](/wiki/#camera) (TCP/UDP 1025) (selected from the pulldown list)
Action: Allow ALWAYS
Send to LAN server:
WAN users: ANY

And that, friends, should be that. Now I had a few hiccups along the way that drove me mad. Somewhere in my home network, something was caching IP addresses. So, the camera was working when I thought it wasn't working, this drove me absolutely spastic. Have confidence in these instructions!

More things I learned here, when I remember them...

A few more points about the camera, things that are annoying about it. To get a picture from the camera over the web, you have to be using MSIE. This is outrageous, and I'd recommend NOT getting this camera for that reason. There's currently no way to get even a static picture on a web browser if you're using another browser. It would be great to be able to grab a picture or video using the PSP, even if just to show off to people how modern our household is, but you can't do it. There's some "downloading and recording scheduling" software that comes with the camera, which can grab you an image or show you video, but you won't necessarily have that installed everywhere you might want to see the picture. I've emailed Linksys support to see if they'll update things, I'm sure they will. Also annoying is the way the camera comes bundled with some dynamic dns software that you have to pay for - basically depending on your ISP at home, your IP address is likely to change every so often. To get a consistent link to the camera you need to use a dynamic DNS service, so I can give a domain name to the camera (I've got and that will always point at the camera no matter if my IP address changes. I'm using dyndns.com7, and they're free. If there's such a thing as a punter out there who knows less than me, they might have stumbled straight into the free trial with some other company that comes with the camera and ended up paying needlessly.

There are plenty of positive things about this camera, it's wireless, it has a built in web server (so doesn't need a computer at home to be on to view it), and it comes bundled with motion detection and "email me a video clip when someone's burgling my house" type stuff. I've not looked at alternative cameras since I bought this one, because DUH, I've got it now, but I would recommend you do before settling on one. Let me know how you get on.

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Paul Clarke's weblog - I live in Hythe in Kent. Married to Clare + father to 2, I am a full-stack web developr, + I do js / Node, some ruby, other languages ect ect. I like pubs, parkrun, eating, home automation + other diy jiggery-pokery, history, family tree stuff, TV, squirrels, pirates, lego, and TIME TRAVEL.