There are many ways you can wire an IP camera depending on the type of equipment. For example, you can wire an IP camera to an external PoE switch and then add this camera via the network to the NVR.
In this wiring guide, we will show how to connect an IP camera to an external PoE switch. The NVR will be connected to the same switch and the camera(s) can be added via the network. If you are wiring your camera to a PoE NVR (recorder with built-in PoE switch), click here. If you are wiring your camera to a non-PoE switch or directly to a router, click here.
The diagrams we will discuss here are valid to any IP camera and NVR regardless of the brand name or manufacturer. Simply connect the devices as shown on the diagram.
How to connect an IP camera to a PoE NVR?
Let’s start by setting up the switch. This type of switch is called the PoE switch which means that it is able to power up the camera via the Ethernet cable. So, using the one run (single network cable) the camera can transmit the data and the power. This reduces the cost and makes the installation easy.
The switches come in different sizes, you need to have enough ports to plug all the cameras that you need to use. For example, if you plan to use 8 IP cameras, ensure the switch is 8 ports.
Usually, they have 8 regular PoE ports and 2 extra ports (called “uplink ports”) that can be used to hook up the switch to the router (or to cascade it to another switch). Another tip is to make sure to select a gigabit switch since it allows more bandwidth and can handle the cameras easily. Here are some reliable PoE switches.
Let’s get back to the diagram. Power up the PoE switches using the power supply that it came with. Then connect the switch to your router using an Ethernet cable. If you got a laptop/computer, connect it to the same router/switch or WiFi (that way all of them will be on the same network).
After that, it’s time to connect the IP cameras to the switch. This one is pretty simple, just connect an IP camera to one of the PoE ports of the switch (one camera, one network cable).
If you are installing more than one camera, please only plug in and configure one camera at a time. Do not plug in all cameras at once. Once you get one camera configured, then you can plug in the next one for configuration.
The next step is adding these cameras to the NVR. If the NVR and the cameras are from the same brand or manufacturer, the NVR will auto-configure them and display them accordingly.
In some types of NVRs, you may need to add the cameras manually. You need to find the IP address of the camera using a configuration tool via the laptop, modify the address to match that of the network. Then you need to add it to the NVR on the camera settings.
So, find the camera settings and add the camera by entering the IP address of the camera, the username, and the password, click the password and it shows up. This part depends on the brand that you’re using, you may check the user manual that comes with the device.
Common questions when connecting an IP camera to a non-PoE switch
How to find the IP address of the IP camera wired to the PoE switch?
You should connect a laptop or a computer to the same network as the IP camera or NVR and then run an IP scanner tool to locate and modify the IP address. Each camera brand uses native software to locate the IP address.
You can download this software from the official website of the camera manufacturer. For example, Hikvision devices use a tool called SADP tool, Dahua devices use a software called Config tool. For more information, you may consult this detailed guide: How to Find the IP Address of Your Security Camera.
Using the respective tool you need to modify the IP address of the camera to match that of the local network and the NVR. Let’s say the IP address of the NVR is 192.168.1.100, then the camera’s IP address should be in the same format 192.168.1.XXX (xxx is a random number 2-254).
Go with higher numbers to avoid any IP conflict, for example, set the camera’s IP address to 192.168.1.200. And so on. Each device on the network should have a unique IP address. If two devices share the same address, then you’ll have an IP conflict and the devices will not work properly.
Do I need a PoE NVR if I’m using an external PoE switch?
There’s no need to use an NVR with a built-in PoE switch if you’re using an external PoE switch. That’s the whole point basically, the cameras go to the external switch, and then you can add them on the NVR via the network.
Using an external PoE switch may be more convenient since you can place them on strategic points, connect them on cascade and make the installation much easier and cost-effective.
In PoE NVRs, you need to bring all the cameras to the back of the NVR (and sometimes that takes a lot of resources, especially if you’re installing a lot of cameras).
However, even if you have a PoE NVR, you can still add cameras that are not plugged directly into this NVR. A camera may go to another external switch and you’ll be able to add it to the PoE NVR. But keep in mind that PoE NVRs are usually more expensive than regular ones.
How to update the firmware of the cameras wired to an external switch?
It’s pretty easy, just find the IP address of the camera using the respective scanning tools then type the IP address in the URL bar of your web browser (in the laptop). Log in with the username and password, find the Update section and simply follow the on-screen steps.
Make sure to flash the right firmware. Contact the seller/manufacturer or download it yourself online. In some camera models, flashing the wrong firmware may cause the camera to get broken beyond repair. So, ensure you got the right files.