The issue shows up when you try to remote playback with the Hik-Connect app and it says the network is unstable. The error message is frustrating and can prevent the user from watching the cameras live. In some cases, you may even get this error even when you’re on the local network.
Why does the Hik-connect app display the “network is unstable” error? The network is unstable error is related to a poor internet connection, either phone’s or camera’s side (sometimes both). Basically, the Hik-Connect app is trying to connect to the cameras remotely but the internet connection is too slow or unresponsive.
If the internet connection is not good enough, you may get a pixelated or choppy image; and if the connection fails completely, you’ll see the “network is unstable” error message displayed on the app.
If you stumble upon this error, there are a few things that you can do to improve the connection and have the cameras showing up on the phone.
Fix: Hik-Connect Shows Network Unstable
Check the internet speed and connection in your phone
As we said, the error shows up if the internet is slow on the camera’s location or on the phone. Sometimes the internet speed in your phone may be very slow, especially if you’re in spots with bad coverage.
The first thing you should do is check the internet connection on your phone. Take a look at the bars on the phone, if it’s just one bar or two it indicates that you have bad coverage.
You can also try to open up some random websites, even better if you try to play a video on Youtube. If it struggles, or the video doesn’t play at all, it means that your phone has a problem with the internet connection.
To inspect it further, you can perform a phone internet speed test.
- Open up your browser and go to www.speedtest.net.
- Hit the Go button and the service will test out the speed test for download and upload.
- Once it is done, check the displayed results (shown in Mbps). The service will even give you a rating (such as good, or poor).
The important part is the download speed because you’re “downloading” (streaming) your camera’s live feed remotely. The higher the download speed, the faster the connection to your security camera system.
Usually, the more cameras you have, the higher the resolution, and the more download speed you need. As a general rule, you need at least 10 to 20 Mbps to have a reliable connection with your camera.
If you see a lower download speed, then that’s the answer. The Hik-Connect shows the “network is unstable” message because the internet service in your phone is unstable.
Another solution is to just try to open one camera only. Go to Hik-Connect and manually select one camera and see if it shows up. By opening all the cameras at once, the phone requires more bandwidth.
Close all the other apps
By doing so, you relieve the internet connection and provide more juice for Hik-Connect. Completely close the apps running in the background such as Facebook, Youtube, browser, etc.
Any apps running in the background will use the phone’s resources and make it difficult for Hik-Connect to show your cameras.
If you use an iPhone, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and you should see all the apps currently running in the background. Close everything, including the Hik-Connect app. Then run it again and check if you can see the cameras.
Connect to a local WiFi
Additionally, you should try to connect to a WiFi signal that is available in your area. This way you can have a strong internet connection and bypass the poor signal coming from your phone service.
Your phone data plan may be exhausted or limited and the app can’t connect to the camera. By connecting to a local WiFi, you’ll completely avoid your data plan.
In some cases, even if you have full bars on the signal strength at the top of the phone screen, that doesn’t mean that you have the necessary bandwidth or capacity to open up all the cameras at once.
It has been reported that closing all the apps and connecting to WiFi will resolve the unstable network error message.
Check the internet in the camera’s location
The security camera system is connected to your local router and using the internet will transmit the cameras remotely to the phone (via Hik-Connect) whenever the feed is requested by the user. But, what happens if the internet on the camera’s location is not stable or working?
While the cameras work fine locally and the system recorders, the phone app can’t pull the feed if the internet on the cameras’ side is not working properly. So, you need to troubleshoot the internet connection in the location and find out what’s wrong.
Here’s how you can check the internet service on the cameras’ installation site:
- Connect a laptop (or phone) to the same WiFi/router as the cameras.
- Go to speedtest.net and hit the Go button. This website will test out the download and upload speed of your internet line.
In this scenario, the upload speed is the most important part that you need to pay attention to. That’s because the video feed will be uploaded through the internet and remotely cast into the phone of the user.
If the upload speed is low and you have many cameras on the network, then the feed will struggle to get transmitted. Hence, you may see “network is unstable” on your Hik-Connect app.
There’s no rule on how fast your upload speed should be, but generally speaking, it should be at least 15-25Mbps to transmit the feed in a reliable way. Anything lower will fail to upload the feed.
If you have many devices on the network, you should upgrade the Internet plan and get faster upload speeds. Additionally, you may try to lower the camera’s resolution, bitrate, and framerate to reduce the outgoing bandwidth for each camera (this can be done on the Sub Stream section of your recorder’s settings).
If you do so, the camera’s picture quality will decrease a little bit, so be careful to find the right balance. Don’t go too low, otherwise, the camera’s image will become useless.
Other things you can do to see the cameras on the phone
If the internet speed is not good enough, you still can pull a few tricks that can enable you to see the cameras remotely. For example, you can switch the image quality on the Hik-Connect from HD (high definition) to SD (standard definition).
The SD is the low resolution of the video feed and needs less bandwidth to show the cameras. The image will be less sharp and a bit blurry, but you nevertheless can see the video feed.
While the HD is clear and sharp, it requires high bandwidth that not always can be handled by your camera’s service. When the strong internet service is back, you can switch back to HD and see them clear again.
So, if you’re having problems seeing the cameras on the Hik-Connect app, you can switch the camera feed on the app from HD to SD and this will make the streaming less prone to network instability issues. Again, you can switch it back if the internet connection is strong again.
Often you’re limited to whatever network connection that’s available to you whether WiFi or mobile data.
Another suggestion is to see one camera at a time. By default, the Hik-Connect will load up all the cameras once you run it.
However, you may get the “network is unstable” message if the internet speed is not at the required level. You can improve the chances to see the camera if you manually require only one channel.
This way the required bandwidth will be lower. Then you can swipe for the second channel and so on. While it’s not very convenient, it works if there’s an emergency and you need to see the cameras quickly.
Reboot the recorder
There are reports that the issue sometimes gets fixed by simply rebooting the recorder on the location. Any reboot may erase unknown network problems.
So, simply reboot the unit via the local interface or use the power switch at the back of the unit. Wait until it comes back online and try again via the app. Additionally, you may try to reboot the router as well.
Add the DNS server
Go to your recorder and navigate to Network settings. Make sure the Preferred DNS Server and Alternate DNS server are filled out.
You may use Google’s DNS to ensure that the server is getting updated, use 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 (as shown in the image below). The DHCP can be on, or you can even use a static IP address (ensure there’s no IP conflict).
If you’re using Hikvision cameras and the Hik-Connect, you may see a “network is unstable” error message on the app which indicates that the internet connection is not good enough to show the cameras.
The internet speed on your phone or on the camera’s side is too slow to cast the cameras. If you’re in such a situation, close all the apps on the phone to reduce the bandwidth and try again. You can also check the internet speed on the phone or location.
Additionally, you may upgrade the internet plan, connect to WiFi, open one camera at a time, or lower the image quality from HD to SD.