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Connect a Security IP Camera to PC or Mac – Top 5 Solutions

Yolanda6/24/2022
Connect a Security IP Camera to PC or Mac – Top 5 Solutions

In this article, there are 5 ways you can connect your Security IP Camera to your computer. And we will cover the steps on how you should do it without a router, without internet, without a DVR/NVR or without its receiver. The following table summarizes the important information about connecting IP camera to your computer for your reference.

Camera types: POE camera or WiFi camera
OS(operation system): Windows or Mac
Cable: 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 cable attached from the camera
Remotely access by: Camera's UID

Note: First you should install the security camera in the right place. You can refer to How to Install Home Security Cameras Successfully.

5 Methods to Connect Your Security IP Camera to PC/Mac:

To make it easier for you to find the right solution, you can click and jump directly to the section you want.

For example, if your camera is a PoE camera, then you can choose option 3 or 4.

Important Note: The methods recommended below may NOT apply for the battery-powered security cameras, which require initial setup on your phones.


Connect a WiFi or PoE Camera Directly to PC/Mac (without Internet)

Here's how to connect your security IP camera directly to a PC/Mac without an NVR or DVR, without a router network, without WiFi, and without any costs or complicated configurations.

you need to prepare the camera's power adapter and a network cable.

1. Get your security camera charged.

Use the power adapter to get the camera plugged-in and charged. Normally, when you buy a WiFi IP camera, it comes with a power adapter. For a PoE camera, ask the supplier and buy one that's workable for the camera.

2. Use the network cable to connect to the camera and the computer.

Normally there would be a 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 cable attached from the camera. Find the network connector from that cable and use the network cable to connect to it. Then connect the other end of the network cable to the computer. If your computer has a network already, disable it - make sure your computer is offline. Connect IP Camera Directly to PC

3. Scan and find out the security camera's IP address on the computer.

Now the security camera is connecting to your computer basically and physically. But you still can't view the camera on the computer. What you need to do now is to scan and find out the camera's IP address. There should be surveillance software from the same supplier with the camera. Take our test as an example. We have Reolink Client on the computer. Launch it and it will automatically scan all the cameras in the same local LAN and show the default IP address (every camera has a default and unique IP address when it leaves the factory). Easy peasy! Camera IP Address

4. Change the computer's IP address to the same network prefix of the IP camera.

So in Step 3, you get your security camera's default IP address. In our test, the default IP address of the camera we use is 192.168.177.100, and now you need to change your computer's IP address to 192.168.177.x, where x identifies the node/host and is the number between 2 and 254. So let's say the computer's IP address is 192.168.177.12.

IP address 101: An IP address consists of two parts - one belongs to the network address and one belongs to the node address. All nodes on a given network share the same network prefix but have a unique host number.

Now to change the computer's IP address (we take Windows 10 as an example):

  1. Press the Windows + R keyboard shortcut to bring out the Run box.

  2. Enter "ncpa.cpl" and open the "Network Connections" window.

Computer Run Box

  1. Right-click your computer' network adapter and select "Properties".

Network Adapter Properties

  1. Select your computer's Internet Protocol Version and click "Properties".

Internet Protocol Properties

  1. Select "Use the following IP address" and change the IP address into 192.168.177.12.

Change Computer IP Address

And done. Now your IP camera is connecting directly and communicating with your PC, because they are now in the same little LAN. You can watch your IP camera with Reolink Client on your computer.

Important: Since there is no router network, the IP camera would not transmit data or send alarms to your phone. Still, you can record and save all the footage onto your computer.

If you're gonna use your IP camera with the computer all the time like this (without router network), you'd better change the default status of your IP camera's IP address to the static to keep it the same all the time, because each time you reboot the IP camera, its IP address will be changed and you will need to do all the steps above again. To keep the IP camera's IP address the same all the time, head to "Device Settings" and "Network General" on the Client (Reolink Client in our test), and choose "Static" for "Network Access". And done. Static IP Address for Camera


Connect a Wireless/WiFi Camera to Computer via Router (with Internet)

If you do have WiFi network and need to remotely see the IP camera when you're not there, you can connect your wireless or WiFi camera to computer wirelessly via your router. Please note that you need to have, at least, a power adapter for the camera, a network cable, and a router.

1. Get your WiFi security camera charged.

Use the power adapter to get the camera plugged-in and charged.

2. Use the network cable to connect to the camera and the router.

A WiF camera needs to connect to the router with a network cable for initial setup, because the new camera itself wouldn't recognize and auto-pick up a network that it never uses. Only after the correct WiFi settings can you disconnect the cable from the camera and the router. And yeah again, normally there would be a 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 cable attached from the WiFi camera. Find the network connector from that cable and use the network cable to connect to it. Then connect the other end of the network cable to the router. Connect WiFi Camera to PC

3. Watch the IP camera on PC/Mac

On the computer, launch the surveillance software to add the camera and watch live view directly. In our test, we open Reolink Client. Since the computer and the camera are in the same network (using the same router network), Reolink Client automatically searches and displays the camera directly. Click "Start" and you can view the camera on PC. And you can set up the configurations for all the functions you want the camera to have.

4. Set up WiFi settings and remove the network cable.

Do remember to make the WiFi settings for the camera. On the software, navigate to "Device Settings" and "Network". Choose the WiFi network and enter the password, and done. Cameras from the different brands would have different WiFi settings. Please refer to the guides you get from your supplier. After that, remove the network cable, and then the security IP CCTV camera connects to the computer wirelessly.

Important: If you need to see the IP camera from another computer that is not in the same network, you need to input the camera's UID into the software to remotely access the camera.


Connect a PoE (Wired) IP Camera to Computer without PoE Injector/Switch

Connecting a PoE wired IP camera to a computer via the router is similar to that of a WiFi camera, and even much easier - you don't need to use a power adapter, set up the WiFi and remove the network cable. And you need at least one network cable, and a router with PoE capability to complete the setup.

1. Use the network cable to connect to the camera and the router.

PoE (Power over Ethernet) means you can just use a single network cable for both video and power transmission. So just connect the camera to the router via the network cable, and the camera will get power supply and network access. Cloud Storage Please make sure your router has the PoE feature. If not, try the next method.

2. Watch the IP camera on the computer.

On the computer, launch the surveillance software to add the camera and watch live view directly. In our test, we open Reolink Client. Since the computer and the camera are in the same network, Reolink Client automatically searches and displays the camera directly. Click "Start" and you can view the camera on PC. And you can set up the configurations for all the functions you want the camera to have.

Important: If you need to see the IP camera from another computer that is not in the same network, you need to input the camera's UID into the software to remotely access the camera.


Connect a PoE (Wired) IP Camera to Computer with PoE Injector/Switch

If your router does not support PoE, you need a PoE injector or PoE switch to help connect your IP camera to PC.In order to complete the setup you need at least a network cable, a router, and a  PoE injector or PoE switch. Since the steps on how to connect a PoE IP camera to PC via PoE Injector/switch are quite the same to that of connecting without a PoE Injector/switch, we'd like to make it more simpler to understand here.

1.connect the security camera, router and PoE injector

Connect all the devices as the picture showed below, make sure your wireless IP camera is connected to a power supply. PoE Camera Connecting to PC

You can now open Reolink Client on your computer, add the camera and watch live view directly. If you need to see the IP camera from another computer that is not in the same network, you need to input the camera's UID into the software to remotely access the camera.

Important: Once you connect the PoE IP camera to the PoE injector or switch which is connected to a router via Ethernet cables, you've successfully connected the camera to the network. For a wireless IP camera, you need to use a network cable to connect it to the router if you haven't set up the WiFi network configuration. And then the wireless IP camera is in the network. You can set up the WiFi configuration later to make the wireless IP camera connect wirelessly.


Connect a CCTV Camera System to PC/Mac (with or without Network)

If you are using a CCTV camera system, like the Reolink PoE kit RLK8-410B4, instead of single security camera, you may need the following tutorial. A CCTV camera system often have their own proprietary networks, and can work with and without your router network.

1. How to connect a CCTV security camera system to a computer without router network

  • Connect all the cameras to the NVR: When you receive the new IP camera system you bought, connect all the devices you got - connect the NVR to your computer's monitor and the mouse, use the power adapters to charge the NVR and cameras, etc. For a WiFi system, once the WiFi NVR and the WiFi cameras are charged, they connected to each other automatically and would start to communicate. For a PoE system, connect the PoE cameras to the NVR via the network cables provided.
  • Start watching the IP cameras: The startup and setup wizard will pop up to guide you to watch your cameras and do other configurations.

Now you can see all the IP cameras on your monitor and start recording.

2. How to connect a CCTV security camera system to a computer with router network

  • Do the step 1 shown above again.
  • Connect the NVR to your router via the network cable provided.
  • Start watching the IP cameras.

The startup and setup wizard will pop up to guide you to watch your cameras and do other configurations. If you need to see the IP cameras from another computer that is not in the same network, you need to input the NVR's UID into the software to remotely access the cameras.


Inforgraphic:

The infographic below also covers our 5 methods to connect IP security camera to PC/Mac. Hope this can be helpful to you.

How to Connect Security Camera to PC


Third-Party Software to Connect IP Camera to PC/Mac

You can also opt for third-party software to connect and set up a security camera on the computer. Make sure the software can handle all the cameras on the network and support all the features for the cameras. Normally, the third-party software has several versions. And if you want to use full features of the camera, you need to pay for a premium version. If your security IP camera is not working properly as expected or if you get any issues, you can try the top 10 solutions to fix IP cameras not working.

For any questions, please don't hesitate to leave it in your comment. I will reply as soon as possible.


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Yolanda is an editor of Reolink, and also an independent writer showing great interest in technology and art. She has studied home and business security issues for years, and always shares useful tips and tricks with her fans.