Setting up a Multiple-Station Surveillance System
If you want to make a security professional cringe, just use the phrase “single point of failure.” Entire security systems should not be brought down by a single hard disk failure or a bad RAM chip. For traditional Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) systems, having multiple monitoring stations is both costly and complex. With Security Monitor Pro and IP cameras, adding additional monitoring stations is both simple and inexpensive.
IP cameras send video feeds over a standard computer network (either cabled or wireless). Because the data is sent using standard computer network methods, it can be routed over a company’s internal network, or the Internet, to anywhere in the world. This means that you can monitor with a camera using Security Monitor Pro even if it’s in another city, or another country. Because video streams from most cameras can be viewed by more than one computer, you can also setup Security Monitor Pro on multiple PCs to monitor and record from the same camera, eliminating that single point of failure. Even if one of the computers fails, the other station will still be on guard.
Setting up a multi-station surveillance system involves these steps:
Camera and Network Setup
Details of network setup will depend on exactly how your system is defined. For this example, this article will assume you have a small business in one building. You want a station on-site, and also one at your home, both monitoring the cameras there. This lets you “keep an eye on” the store when you’re at home, and also means that even if one PC breaks down (or is stolen!) you can continue to monitor.
Setting up the cameras and configuring Security Monitor Pro are described in Monitor Multiple Locations Simultaneously.
If your cameras are on a local network and have private IP addresses, you’ll need to set up port forwarding. PortForward.com has instructions for using port forwarding with many types of camera and router. Be sure that you assign each camera on the network its own port number.
One issue to be aware of: each station monitoring a camera’s video feed increases the amount of network bandwidth used. You may want to configure the cameras to use low frame rates (5fps or less) when multiple cameras are each being monitored by multiple stations.
Configure Security Monitor Pro
Configuration of Security Monitor Pro for multiple stations is only slightly more complicated than doing it for one station. Camera settings can be exactly the same on both computers, except that the cameras will have a different IP address and port when seen from outside the local network. You can set up the same alerts in both cases, but keep in mind that if you use e-mail notification at both stations, you’ll be notified twice whenever an alert is triggered.
You could also use different stations for different purposes. For instance, one station (at a remote location) could be set to manually record all video it receives, 24 hours per day. Meanwhile, the on-location system would be scheduled to monitor only when the business is closed, and trigger based on motion detection, sending e-mail alerts and ringing an audio alarm. The remote station would be gathering evidence of crimes like shoplifting, while the on-site station guards against burglary.
You can think of many other ways to use the flexibility and power multi-station monitoring gives you.
Multi-station monitoring with Security Monitor Pro makes your surveillance system reliable, powerful, flexible, and failure resistant.