Having a wireless IP camera is great. It allows you to place it practically anywhere in your home where there is a spare power supply. This is ideal for home security when you want to keep the camera as discreet, and unseen as possible.
But, if you’re having trouble setting up your camera to work wirelessly then it can sometimes be a thorn in your side. Not to worry though, we are at hand to make the whole process much easier and you’ll find that using the following guide means you can have your camera set up in a matter of minutes.
This guide will be suitable for the following cameras:
For the purposes of this guide we will assume that you have already configured your camera and that it is accessible locally on your network using a wired connection (Ethernet cable).
First let’s talk briefly about the extra settings we need to consider when moving from a wired ethernet connection to a wireless connection.
SSID: Short for Sevice Set IDentifier, the SSID is a unique name which identifies your wireless network (WLAN) from another. Devices which attach to your wireless network must use the SSID otherwise they won’t be able to communicate over the network at all. Important note: SSIDs are case sensitive. The SSID can be found in your wireless router. Your wireless router / access point will have an SSID set by default but this can be changed to anything you wish.
Encryption: Most commonly used is WEP, short for Wireless Equivalency Protocol, this is used to secure your WLAN by encrypting the data over radio waves while it’s being sent from one device to another. In order to achieve successful communication, a password, known as the ‘Key’, has to set up in the wireless router and the camera. Note that this feature is not enabled as standard in your wireless router but it should be one of the first things you do to keep your network secure, otherwise you may find everyone in your street using your internet connection and your home network may no longer be secure (we will discuss this in another article). If encryption is not set in your router as standard, we advise you set this up first, to keep your wireless network secure.
MAC Address Filtering: One final thing to note is that on some wireless networks there may be additional security in place which restricts which network devices can connect to the network. This is achieved by restricting devices based on their MAC Address. This feature is not enabled as standard on any routers so you only need to worry about this if you know you have set this up previously. However, if you can use this extra layer of security, we advise you to do so.
Let’s look at an example configuration to see how it’s done. We’ll base our settings on the following:
- We are using a Panasonic BL-C20
- Our SSID will be ‘mynetwork’
- We have set up WEP encryption, our Key is set to open authentication, 64bit strength with KEY1:AF67B9283C
If you are using an existing wireless router then all of this information can be gathered from the relevant wireless settings page. If you are using a new router then you will have to set these settings up in your router first to ensure your wireless network is secure.
Step 1 – Configuring your wireless IP address
The Panasonic BL-C20 has only one page to input the IP address and uses the same address for both wired and wireless connectivity.
Step 2 – Enter your wireless settings
Log in to your camera and enter the ‘Setup’ pages.
From the menu on the left choose ‘Wireless’. You will be presented with the following page:
This page initially shows the camera’s factory default wireless settings as above.
We need to enter our details into the camera:
SSID: We change the SSID to match the SSID which is configured in our router. In this example this would be ‘mynetwork’.
Communication Mode: Here you can choose to have the camera respond on 802.11b or g exclusively. It’s better to leave on the default setting 802.11b/g so that it can communicate on either.
Cipher: Using the drop-down box select your method of wireless encryption. Once you select your encryption protocol some further options will become available.
Remember to select an encryption strength in the drop-down box under the input box where you enter the key. It is important that the strength of the key matches exactly what is in your router or you won’t be able to connect to your camera wirelessly.
In this example we are using WEP encryption, 64bit strength, with a key: AF67B9283C in the Key 1 position.
So with all our data input into the form as below, we are now ready to save the settings.
Click the ‘save’ button to save your wireless settings.
Step 3 – Connecting Wirelessly
You are almost ready to connect to unplug the cable from your camera and connect to it using your wireless network but there is just one final thing to remember with Panasonic IP cameras.
There is a small selector switch all Panasonic wireless cameras which tells the camera it is connected using either an ethernet cable or using its wireless antenna. On a BL-C20 this is on the side of the camera as shown on the right.
On a BL-C30/131 you can find the switch on the bottom of the camera, close to where you plug in the power and ethernet cable.
So, to connect to your camera wirelessly first disconnect the power and the Ethernet cable. While the camera is still off flick the switch to wireless mode and power up the camera. After the camera boots up you should be able to access it wirelessly.
If you have any questions please leave a comment.
Note: If you follow all the above instructions and find you are still having no luck you should take a look at your SSID. If there are any special characters, spaces or puctuation in it then we would suggest removing them and just having a plain, one-word SSID. Even though your computers or laptops can cope fine a lot of IP cameras don’t like special characters in the SSID and will simply refuse to connect.
Remember though that by changing the SSID of your wireless network you will affect the connection of every other wireless device on the network. e.g. if you have a wireless laptop it will disconnect from the wireless network when you change the SSID. However it should just be a simple case of reconnecting using your wireless password.