This article will list all the equipment you need for an IP home surveillance system running 4 to 8 cameras. For this system I’d recommend using 4 or 8 channel network video recorder (NVR) with built-in PoE switch and 4 to 8 cameras for indoor and outdoor use. This surveillance system can be remotely accessed via phone or tablet for live view or even playback. The most difficult part of this project is running the wire and mounting/angling the cameras properly.

Hikvision IP surveillance system with 4 to 8 cameras.

Hikvision IP surveillance system with 4 to 8 cameras.

The equipment you need:

A 4/8 channel Network Video Recorder with 4/8 built-in PoE  ports switch. For this project we will use a Hikvision NVR which is compatible and works properly with the selected cameras. From my experience, this recorder is very reliable and easy to use. The search function, the playback and generally the configuration sections are very intuitive. Moreover the recorder and the cameras are the same brand, which means the system will be plug-and-play, hence easy to be implemented. The recorder has HDMI and VGA output. If any of the cameras has audio, you need to use the HDMI in order to transmit the audio to the monitor.

For this DIY project we recommend a network video recorder with built-in PoE switch. Models: DS-7604NI-E1/4P, DS-7608NI-E2/8P.

For this DIY project we recommend a network video recorder with built-in PoE switch. Models: DS-7604NI-E1/4P, DS-7608NI-E2/8P.

Hard drive 2TB . The 4 channel NVR supports one piece or hard drive up to 4TB each, the 8 channel NVR takes 2 hard drives up to the 4TB each. The size of the hard drive depends on how long you want to record. You’ll save a los of space if you set the system to record on motion detection and if you exclude parts of the picture (like a tree) that unnecessarily trigger the motion. The max framerate for the 4MP resolution is 20fps (don’t go lower than 15fps otherwise the picture will get choppy) and the bitrate 4096 Kbps. Depending on the motion the cameras will get for the 4 cameras you can have 15 days of recording, for 8 cameras approximately 10 days of footage. We recommend to use WD Purple hard drive (rated for security systems). technically you can use any regular hard drive, however those hard drives haves a shorter lifespan and on the long run they might damage the recorder.

4 or 8 IP camera 4MP, dome (DS-2CD2142FWD-IS) or bullet (DS-2CD2042WD-I ) or turret (DS-2CD2342WD-I). All the cameras listed here have an exceptional daytime picture quality: clear, colorful and sharp. During night-time conditions turret is a little bit better compared to the dome and bullet (which are the same level). However for regular houses with normal street lights all the three cameras are a good choice for the night vision. Depending on your preference you can select from three shapes: small bullet, full dome and turret style. Usually the full dome or turret is less noticeable, but the bullet shape might be a good deterrent. Regarding the lens size: use 2.8mm (wide-angle) or 4mm (narrow angle). Read the reviews for these cameras to get a better idea of their features.

Select between: small bullet, full dome or turret.

Select between: small bullet, full dome or turret.

Ethernet cable (premade or roll of wire). Depending on the run you can use premade cat5e or cat6 cables. Or you can get a box of wire (500ft or 1000ft) and terminate the cables yourself. Make sure to terminate them correctly! If your wires are going be exposed to the elements, make sure to get a cable rated for outdoor use. To prevent anyone from cutting the cable, thus cutting the video feed, you can use pipe (plastic of metal). The cable run should not be more than 300ft.

Extra: Monitor for local live view. You can hook up a monitor to the recorder using HDMI cable. Or you can hook it up to your TV and when necessary switch the input signal to the recorder. Technically it’s not necessary to have a monitor, you can control your security system via your computer or the CMS software that is included in the package. However, if you have a monitor it’s way more convenient and easy to live view/playback.

Table and cost

Recorder Camera (4MP) Hard Drive Price range
4 channel: DS-7604NI-E1/4P Mini Bullet: DS-2CD2042WD-I (Review)
Full Dome: DS-2CD2142FWD-IS (Review)
Turret: DS-2CD2342WD-I (Review)
WD Purple 2TB $600-$700
8 channel: DS-7608NI-E2/8P Mini Bullet: DS-2CD2042WD-I (Review)
Full Dome: DS-2CD2142FWD-IS (Review)
Turret: DS-2CD2342WD-I (Review)
WD Purple 2TB $1100-$1200

Setting up the surveillance system

Step 1: Install the hard drive

On the accessories box that comes with the recorder you will find the power cable for the hard drive, data cable (sata cable) and the screws. Open up the cover of the recorder and install the hard drive.

In the box you can find the power cable, sata cable and the screws.

In the box you can find the power cable, sata cable and the screws.

Carefully install the hard drive as shown on this picture.

Carefully install the hard drive as shown on this picture.

Step 2: Preparing the recorder

At the back of the NVR connect: the power cord, the internet Ethernet cable, mouse and the monitor.

The back of the recorder.

The back of the recorder.

Turn on the recorder and follow through the wizard). By default the recorder is inactive, so you need to set a password to activate. Make sure not to forget the password. You can export the GUID file for future password reset. The software allows your to create a unlocking pattern for easy access.

Create a strong password for your recorder.

Create a strong password for your recorder.

Follow the basic configuration through the wizard. Uncheck the start-up wizard so it doesn’t show up next time the recorder reboots.

Uncheck the wizard, so it won't show up the next time you reboot the recorder.

Uncheck the wizard, so it won’t show up the next time you reboot the recorder.

Set the correct time and date. This is very important step, otherwise your footage will have incorrect time/date info. Set your timezone. For New York: -05:00.

Here you can set the correct time/date.

Here you can set the correct time/date.

On this window you can set the IP of the recorder. Make sure it matches your network and it’s not used by other devices in your network. Our recommendation is to set the IP static. Here’s a quick trick you can use, check DHCP (meaning the NVR will get it’s own IP in accordance with the network). Than disable the DHCP, this way the IP will be static and at the same time all the info will be filled automatically and correctly.

Here you can set the IP of the recorder.

Here you can set the IP of the recorder.

This is the port section of the wizard. The server port (8000) is the port used when the system is accessed remotely via phone or the CMS software (IVMS-4200). The HTTP port is the port used when the system is accessed via web browser. Please modify port 80 to another port, for example 82. Port 80 is generally the default http port of many other devices on your network.

We recommend to modify the http port from 82 to something else, for example 82.

We recommend to modify the http port from 82 to something else, for example 82.

Initialize your hard drive, basically formatting it. You need to do this in order to record on the machine.

Initialize (format) your hard drive.

Initialize (format) your hard drive.

Skip (next) this step.

Skip this step. Click next.

Skip this step. Click next.

Set your register mode. Continuous means it will record 24 hours a day, all the time. Motion means will record only when there’s motion under the camera. My suggestion is to use the motion detection feature, this way you will save more hard drive space and you’ll know exactly when something happened. This is the last window of the wizard.

Here you set the recording mode: continuous (24 hours) or on motion.

Here you set the recording mode: continuous (24 hours) or on motion.

Step 3: Connecting the cameras.
Plug the first camera to port 1 at the back of the recorder. Wait till the picture shows up on the screen. Plug the rest of the cameras on by one, till you have all of the showing up on the recorder. Check out the scheme of the setup shown below.

This diagram shows how the devices are connected on the network.

This diagram shows how the devices are connected on the network.

Accessing your security system via your computer or remotely thru the phone

To access the system locally via web browser, go to IE or Mozilla Firefox ESR and type the IP of the NVR followed by the http port, example http://192.168.1.200:82. Install and allow the plugins. To access remotely you need to open the ports on your router: port 82 (80) and server port (8000). The app you need for your smartphone (Android, iOS): IVMS-4500 Lite. For more info check the Technical section of our website.