So the one thing you thought would work 24/7 with absolutely zero down-time has just decided it can’t be bothered. Before you throw your seemingly malfunctioning IP camera out of the window, here are a few things you may want to check first. Because you know the VueVille family is frugal and nothing goes into the trash unless its well and truly beyond recovery!
Why does my IP camera keep going offline/disconnecting?
So the most obvious reason may be that the poor thing’s time is up. A lot of electronic devices don’t just die, they die a slow painful death, dragging it out and adding to your frustration. A great example is wireless routers. Some IP cameras are just like that. But before jumping to this conclusion, here are a few things to check.
- Check the strength of your camera’s wireless connection
If your IP camera is wireless, it is probably too far away from your Wi-Fi router. There are a few things you can do to improve the Wi-Fi connectivity of your camera. If at all possible, move the camera closer to the router or move the router closer to the camera. If this is not an option, make sure your camera is using the 2.4 GHz network, which has better range.
If this fixes the connection problems, you need to improve the strength of the Wi-Fi at your camera’s loaciton. You can achieve this by using a Wi-Fi extender like this TP-Link model or investigate mesh Wi-Fi options such as Google Wi-Fi.
Still no joy? If the camera has an Ethernet port (RJ-45), temporarily plug it directly into your router using a LAN cable. If this fixes the connection problems, your camera’s Wi-Fi is dying. Yes this can happen! It’s happened to one of my older wireless IP cameras, but the wired LAN connection still works.
- How fast is your home broadband’s upload speed?
If you are viewing your IP cameras remotely, two things are key – the upload speed of your home broadband and the download speed of your viewing device. Most home broadband connections are not symmetric – they have good download speeds but low upload speeds. When your camera is streaming you live-view video, its mostly using the upload your home broadband connection’s upload bandwidth.
So ensure you are viewing the low quality stream (you can select this in the IP camera viewing software), and upgrade your home broadband speed if it is too low. You can check your upload speed here, and if it’s less than 1 Mbps you need to upgrade!
Here’s my home broadband speed – that’s fast enough I’d say!
- Is your camera on the latest firmware?
Most of us are lazy when it comes to keeping our devices updated with the latest firmware. This is especially true for devices like IP cameras that are pretty much set and forget. After installing my first Hikvision IP camera, I didn’t touch it for over 2 years. And even then, I had to access it because I wanted to re-orient it.
So make sure you upgrade the firmware to the latest available version, and see if the performance issues abate.
- Are your Ethernet cables damaged?
If you are using Power over Ethernet to power your IP camera, try replacing your Ethernet cable. This is especially relevant if you use buried Ethernet cable. Bends or kinks in the cable can damage the copper wiring inside.
If this is the issue, make sure you replace the cable with burial grade Ethernet cables.
- Check your networking equipment
How good is your router and other networking gear that you use in your home network? The most obvious culprits are your Wi-Fi router, network switches, and PoE switches. Remove each such equipment from the path between your IP camera and the Wi-Fi router to identify any faulty products.
- Is the IP camera’s power source working properly?
If you are not using PoE, this is an often overlooked factor. Most IP cameras work at 12V and so the power supply used is a step down transformer. Cheaper power supply transformers probably won’t last more than a few years and may need replacement.
Did any of the above tips work for you? Or how did you confirm your IP camera has well and truly kicked the bucket? Let us know in the comments below!
So what if none of the above tips worked? Well, I am sorry to say that’s probably the end of the line for your IP camera. An IP camera that works intermittently is like a door lock that works only half the time. Useless. Time to hit up our recommended indoor or outdoor IP cameras list then!