Out of the box, Sighthound Video only works with cameras that are on the same local network. You can't use Sighthound Video with cameras on another network, e.g., if you are traveling in a different location than your cameras. With network (IP) cameras, you can access live views of your camera using web browsers. Sighthound Video does not prevent you from using this method of viewing your cameras when it is running.
That said, it is possible to configure your network so that you can use Sighthound Video on a computer at a remote location. (Note: the following instructions are for advanced customers who are comfortable with configuring network software, and familiar with concepts of IP addresses and router software.)
Sighthound Video accesses your camera (which means being able to see the camera's video feed, turn it on and off, etc.) using the camera's IP address. Networks are designed to allow devices on the network to access each other, but to be protected from someone outside the network hacking in and accessing them. You can create exceptions, however, and allow outside computers to directly access individual devices on your network. This process is called "port forwarding" or "port mapping," referring to the fact that you open up one "port" or hole in your network that someone outside the network can access.
This is somewhat analogous to an extension in a big company--as long as you are inside the company, you can just dial the extension. But if you dial the extension from an outside line, you will not be connected because you have to get into the corporate phone system first. If you want to have a camera monitoring a place that is distant from your computer (e.g., monitoring a store from your home, or a second home in another city), you need to set up port forwarding on your router. This consists of the following general steps:
- Bring a computer to the same location as your camera and get the camera set up.
- Find out the IP address of the router (not your computer) at your camera's location. See your router's documentation for specific instructions, but in general:
- In Windows, you can type "ipconfig" in the command prompt. It is usually listed as the "Default Gateway."
- On Mac OS, the router address is usually found in the Network Preferences, or in the Airport Utility application if you are using an Airport.
- Most routers can be configured using a web browser. If you type the IP address of your router into your web browser, you should be taken to a page to configure your router. A password may be required. If you did not set the password, you can try to Google the router model to find the default password. (Airport routers come with software called the "Airport Utility.") Using your router's website, assign a "public port" number (e.g., 8080), a "private port" number (e.g., 80) and enter the camera's IP address in the "private IP address." Note that you will either need a static IP address, or a DNS host name, since mapping to a dynamic IP address will stop working if the IP address changes. Steps will vary depending on your router; for more detailed instructions, you can search for web sites such as www.portforward.com.
Tip: Remote monitoring requires that you stream the entire video feed across the Internet. If you have the Basic or Pro Editions of Sighthound Video, it takes much less network bandwidth to stream using QVGA (320 x 240) instead of VGA (640 x 480). Also for advanced users, H264 streams generally take less bandwidth than MJPEG streams. Where possible, Sighthound Video defaults to H264 streams.