How to connect an IP camera to your PC or to the computer monitor? If you've got your security video IP cameras home, and you don't plan for an NVR, you may get problems on how to directly connect an IP camera to PC (without routers, without internet, without DVR or without its receiver). This doesn't mean you are an idiot, but you are just not a technical guy or you just don't have experience in this kind of stuff.

It's wise to hook up your security IP cameras to a computer (or computer monitor) for 24/7 monitoring and recording. You can, with or without the Internet, connect your indoor or outdoor surveillance cameras to PC or to Mac with the top 5 solutions.

Pleased be noted: Install your security cameras in the right positions firstly. You can refer to How to Install Home Security Cameras Successfully.
5 Solutions to Connect Your Security IP CCTV Camera to PC/Mac:

And I've covered third party software to connect your IP Camera to a computer in the last part.

Those methods will guide you to connect a wireless or PoE IP camera to PC (on Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows XP and Windows Vista), and to a Mac (on Mac OS X 10.13, 10.12, 10.11, 10.10, 10.9, etc.).

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

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Here is a simple infographic illustrating the basic steps to connect a security camera (system) to your PC/Mac. You may continue reading for more important notes to help you smoothly set all the things up.

How to Connect Security Camera to PC

Method 1. Connect a WiFi or PoE Camera Directly to PC/Mac (without Internet)

The steps below detail how to connect your security IP camera directly to PC/Mac, without an NVR or DVR, without a router network, without WiFi, and without any fees or complicated configuration.

Alternatively, you can try the top 2 solutions for cameras without WiFi I have mentioned.

Requirements:

  • Your WiFi or PoE camera
  • The camera's power adapter
  • Your computer (desktop or laptop)
  • A network cable

And that's all.

Here is how:

Step 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.

Step 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

Step 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

Step 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

3) Right-click your computer’ network adapter and select ”Properties”.

Network Adapter Properties

4) Select your computer's Internet Protocol Version and click ”Properties”.

Internet Protocol Properties

5) 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.

Here's the video footage shared by one of our customers (captured by Reolink RLC-410).

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

Method 2. 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.

Requirements:

  • Your WiFi camera
  • The camera's power adapter
  • Your computer (desktop or laptop)
  • A network cable
  • A router

Here is how:

Step 1. Get your WiFi security camera charged.

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

Step 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

Step 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.

Here's the video footage shared by one of our customers.

Reolink E1 Pro

Wireless Pan-Tilt Smart Home Camera

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Step 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.

Method 3. 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.

Requirements:

  • Your PoE camera
  • Your computer (desktop or laptop)
  • A network cable
  • A router with PoE feature

Here is how:

Step 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.

Step 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.

Here's the video footage shared by one of our customers.


Reolink RLC-410

PoE Bullet IP Security Camera with Audio

5MP/4MP Super HD; Outdoor/Indoor Protection; 100ft Infrared Night Vision; Audio Recording; Mobile Remote Access & Control.

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.

Method 4. 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.

Requirements:

  • Your PoE camera
  • The camera's power adapter
  • Your computer (desktop or laptop)
  • A network cable
  • A router
  • A PoE injector or PoE switch

Here is how:

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.

Connect all the devices as the picture showed below:

PoE Camera Connecting to PC

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.

Make sure your wireless IP camera is connected to a power supply.

Then on Reolink Client, 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.

Method 5. Connect a CCTV Camera System to PC/Mac (with or without Network)

Reolink security camera systems, like the PoE kit RLK8-410B4, have their own proprietary networks, and can work with and without your router network.

Here's how:

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

Step 1. 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.

Step 2. 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.

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

Step 1. Do the step 1 shown above again.

Step 2. Connect the NVR to your router via the network cable provided.

Step 3. 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.

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.

  • Sureddin Qurbanov

    hi, how can i connect camera without any software?

  • Angie Gatso

    Do i have have to switch up the computer every time I wanted to register(my PC just so I need to know) or will the camera do it anyway?

  • Reolink

    Hi Angie, after you have connected your PC to the camera and completed the configuration, you don’t need to switch up the computer all the time when you want to register. You can also access the camera via your smartphones and web browsers.

  • Славче Тасиќ

    Can I connect my IP camera to computer without a router?
    "No" is wrong answer!
    IP camera can be connected directly to PC via an LAN cable.
    1. Connect IP camera directly to PC via LAN cable
    2. Go to LAN network adapter of PC on which you just connected IP camera
    and change the IP address to be on the same subnet mask like your camera
    3. Go to IP address of your IP camera via Internet Explorer and you can view your camera.
    P.S. Some IP cameras will send you little software via network, so you must first install them.

  • bob palmer

    so has anyone got the funlux ip wifi camera to connect to there computer via wifi? funlux said it is impossible to do. i want the port numbers so i can get it to work on my tinycam app. and my pc app. but funlux will not give out the port. funlux has to be able to connect thru my home inside my network being i see my modem . i have the ip address for this camera but can't find the port it uses.
    is there a program for finding the port? or can my pc find the port and if so how do i do it? any youtubers showing this? thanks

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