How Do I Stream My Security Camera on a Smart Device

I recently acquired 4K security cameras for my home and wanted to have something on hand to review the footage immediately upon capturing it. My setup was a bit different than most because I did not want to have a device permanently plugged into the wall so I could charge it up at any time, but instead used a wireless network connection to stream the footage directly to my mobile devices.

Here is a guide that will help you set up wireless 4K streaming for your security cameras so you can monitor your home wherever you go.

The Necessity Of A Wireless Network

If you have more than one camera in multiple locations, it is a must that you set up a wireless network. In my case, I have a 4K security camera that is mounted on the wall in my kitchen and another one that is motion-activated and alerts me via smartphone when it detects movement. Connecting these two cameras to a wireless network allowed me to monitor both locations from my mobile device.

Wireless networking is much more convenient than having devices plugged into the wall. You can move them around as required and set them up in various locations throughout your house. Besides, you can also adjust the range of the wireless signal so you do not experience any dropouts while streaming.

The Challenges Of Wireless Streaming

The biggest challenge with wireless streaming is ensuring that every device that is part of the network can connect to the internet reliably. If any of your devices is experiencing difficulties, the whole network can become unstable.

Even more problematic is when one of your wireless network devices stops responding to the internet or to other devices on the network. This makes troubleshooting quite difficult because you are not sure whether or not the device is even connected to the internet. To fix this, you either have to replace the device or give it a fresh charge. In either case, the process is rather time-consuming.

How To Setup Wireless Streaming For Your Security Cameras

Below, I will walk you through the steps to set up wireless streaming for your security cameras so you can easily monitor them from your mobile device. I will assume that you are using a router that is supplied by your internet service provider and has the capability of handling wireless connections. If you are using an Ethernet cable to connect your devices, you will need an Ethernet switch to connect the router to the internet in a networked fashion.

To start with, connect your laptop to the internet through a wired connection and begin installing the wireless adapter. Remember, you will only need one wireless adapter to support up to 5 devices for the initial setup (4 wired controllers plus the wireless adapter). Check the manufacturer’s website for details on which wireless adapter to use. Then, connect the laptop to the router using the wired connection and open a browser on the computer. Enter the wireless network’s IP address in the browser’s address bar and press enter.

Your laptop should now be connected to the router, and you should be able to see the wireless networks available. If you can access the router’s website or settings from the computer, this is a sign that the adapter has been properly connected and is working properly (Figure A).

Figure A: Laptop Connected To The Router

Installing The Culprit

The first step is to identify the device that is causing the issue. In my case, it was an old laptop that I was using to connect to the internet (Figure B).

Figure B: Old Laptop Confirming Wireless Connection

After several attempts, I was able to get the laptop to connect to the wireless network successfully. However, when I checked the wireless settings on the computer, it discovered that it could not associate with the router (Figure C). After some research, I learned that this issue could be caused by a device known as a repeater. Wireless adapters sometimes interfere with other wireless devices in the area and create a cluttered wireless environment. A wireless repeater solves this problem by extending the range of wireless signal so that more devices can connect to the network.

Figure C: Old Laptop With Issues Connecting To The Wireless Network

To determine whether or not this is the issue, unplug one of the laptop’s other ports and use a different wireless adapter to access the router’s settings. If the connection drops after only a couple of seconds, then this is the cause of the issue (Figure D). 

Figure D: Testing A Different Wireless Adapter On The Laptop

Conversely, if the connection stays stable for a couple of minutes, then this suggests that the issue might be caused by one of the other devices on the network. If this is the case, then you will need to use an Ethernet cord to connect the computer to the router (Figure E). 

Figure E: Laptop With Repeater Removed

Once the laptop is connected to the router using an Ethernet cable, you can access the settings from the computer. At this point, you will want to identify the wireless network and ensure that you select the correct network option when asked to connect to a new network (Figure F).

Figure F: Selecting The Correct Network

After selecting the correct network, you will need to fill in the relevant details including the network’s security key. Make sure that you write down the security key for the network for reference in the future. Then, press enter to save the changes and exit the settings. 

This should connect your laptop to the internet successfully (Figure G).

Figure G: Successful Connection Using Ethernet Cables

Setting Up The Cams

With the laptop connected to the internet, it’s time to set up the security cameras. First, connect the cable that comes with the cameras to the laptop’s USB port. Then, remove the security stickers from the cameras and set them up in such a way that you can easily view them from your laptop (Figure H and I).

Figure H: Laptop With WIRED CAMERA CONNECTED

Figure I: USB CAMERA SETUP FOR WIRELESS VIEWING

Once the cameras are connected to the laptop and the settings are saved, it’s time to test the connectivity of each camera individually by connecting each one to the internet via the usb cable (Figure J).

Figure J: INDIVIDUAL TESTS OF CAMERAS

If the camera is working properly, you should be able to connect to the internet via the USB cable and access your router’s settings page. If you are unable to access the router’s settings page or if the connection drops every time you attempt to access it, then this suggests that there is a problem with the specific camera.

Installing And Configuring Almond

Almond is a wireless network security software that I use to protect my network from unauthorized access. It is completely free and open-source so there are no subscription fees to speak of. I highly recommend this software to any business owner or home network user who is looking for an easy and affordable way to secure their wireless network. 

To use the software, you will need to download and install it on a computer. When finished, you will need to move the mouse cursor over the network icon in the system tray (Figure K).

Figure K: Mouse Over The System Tray

A balloon will pop up over the network icon and you will need to click on it to reveal the settings (Figure L).

Figure L: Network Settings Window Opens

From here, you can configure the wireless network to your liking. You can create multiple networks or select the option to connect to a single network. To create a new network, simply click on the option and fill in the necessary details. A guide will then appear on the right showing you what each field should be populated with (Figure M).

Figure M: New Network Wizard Guide

Once you have filled in the requested information, click on the option to create the network (Figure N).

Figure N: New Network Created

A little while later, you will receive a confirmation email from Almond notifying you that the network has been created successfully (Figure O).

Figure O: Email Confirming Network Creation

You can now start configuring the cameras by clicking on the option in the email notification. This will open up a new browser tab with a list of recent photos in the gallery (Figure P).

Figure P: Camera Gallery Tab

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