In this step-by-step guide, we will show how to add a Reolink UP camera to Axis Camera Station using the RTSP protocol. The Axis station will pull the live video feed from the camera and it will show just fine.
Keep in mind, that some of the Reolink cameras are not ONVIF S compliant which means you can’t add the camera using the ONVIF protocol, you have to use the RTSP instead.
Let’s talk a little bit about ONVIF and RTSP. ONVIF is a third-party protocol that is supported by most manufacturers and allows the cameras, recorders, and stations from different manufacturers to communicate and work with each other.
You can have the cameras and recorders from different brands which may come in handy if you’re forced to mix and match the devices (to save money, or when upgrading an existing system).
So, most Reolink cameras are not ONVIF S compliant, but only ONVIF profile T compliant which is a different (and outdated) version of ONVIF that is not supported by most of the stations, camera management apps, or recorders.
When adding a third-party camera to Axis Camera Station, you should first run the camera through the compatibility tool. You can use Axis Camera Station Device Compatibility Tool to find out if the camera is compatible with the software. An example is shown below. As you can see, the camera is not ONVIF Profile S compliant and will not work with Axis station.
You need to understand that ONVIF profile S and T are different and not all camera management software support the T version. All you have to do is verify that the camera and the software are compatible with each other.
Add Reolink camera to Axis Camera Station via RTSP
Let’s say you have a Reolink IP camera that is not ONVIF Profile S compliant. How can you add such a camera to Axis Station?
You can actually add it using the RTSP protocol, which is the protocol for real-time live streaming. Basically, you can transmit the video feed from the camera to the Axis station using the RTSP command.
Find the camera’s RTSP URL command
Let’s start by finding the RTSP URL of your Reolink camera. This is a string that contains the username, password, and the path to get the camera’s video stream.
You can either get the RTSP UL command by checking the user manual of the camera or by using a software called ONVIF Device Manager (which is a free tool). Install the tool and scan the network. The camera will get listed and it will show as on the screenshot below.
Notice the address at the bottom, the software will show the camera’s live stream accompanied by the RTSP URL.
The ONVIF Manager tool will work as long as the computer/laptop and the camera are on the same network.
Also, you need to know the username and password for the camera. For more information regarding the tool, check this article: ONVIF Device Manager explained.
Add the camera to Axis station using the RTSP URL command
Now that you know the RTSP URL command, you can add the camera to the Axis station. Follow the instructions listed below:
- Install and run the Axis Camera Station Client on your computer.
- Go to the Configuration tab.
- Click on Add devices.
- Then click on the “Enter stream URLs” button.
- Type the RTSP URL as noted on the ONVIF tool
- Click the “Add” button.
Once you add the camera to the station, you should see the Reolink camera listed under the Cameras section. The Name is the RTSP URL and the model shows as “Stream”.
Check the live view
Now it’s time to test it out and check the live video. Click the View tab on your Axis camera and select the Reolink camera. You should see the live video stream and other information.
Basically, that’s all. Just add the Reolink camera using the RTSP URL and it’s done.
The Reolink video stream shows problems
Axis Camera Station is designed by Axis to work with other Axis cameras and things go smoothly without any issue. While the software should work with a third-party camera via ONVIF or RTSP, there’s no guarantee that the picture and the camera will function correctly.
As you can see, the picture shows fine, but you may run into issues such as the image being pixelated or laggy, and in some cases, it blacks out for a few seconds and it comes back again. You may even get a “camera disconnected” message that indicates a connection drop between the devices.
In other words, the integration of non-Axis cameras on Axis Camera Station depends on multiple factors and doesn’t always work smoothly without any issue. If you have a choice, we’d suggest working with Axis cameras since the software is designed to work with those devices.
If you are forced to mix and match, try to lower the camera settings such as the resolution, bit rate, frame rate, refresh rate, etc. Play with the camera settings until you get a stable result.
In this guide, we showed how to add a Reolink camera to the Axis Camera Station using the RTSP URL. It works and you can see the image, but you may experience communication issues.
If using the Axis station, we’d recommend using Axis cameras. If using the Reolink camera, then you can use the Reolink Client Software. If you need a whole new system, check our recommendations.