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FI8918W drops WiFi connection

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FI8918W drops WiFi connection

Postby rjstuart » Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:39 am

I am using 4 FI8918w cams in my house and they sometimes drop the WiFi connection. Once they drop the connection, they do not auomatically reconnect. They need to be booted, or have the power cycled. Now I am sure that this is due to the inexpensive AP that I am using and not all of the cams drop at the same time. It would be helpful if there was a health setting on the cam where you could set an automatic reboot on a schedule.

I would think that once it drops the WiFi connection, it would try and rescan, but apparently it does not. Since I am out of town for weeks at a time, I use the cams to monitor my home when I am gone. When a cam drops it's connection, there is no way to remotely reset it. If I get lucky, we get a power drop and that will reset the cams.

Any comments?
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Re: FI8918W drops WiFi connection

Postby TheUberOverLord » Thu Nov 01, 2012 11:54 am

rjstuart wrote:I am using 4 FI8918w cams in my house and they sometimes drop the WiFi connection. Once they drop the connection, they do not auomatically reconnect. They need to be booted, or have the power cycled. Now I am sure that this is due to the inexpensive AP that I am using and not all of the cams drop at the same time. It would be helpful if there was a health setting on the cam where you could set an automatic reboot on a schedule.

I would think that once it drops the WiFi connection, it would try and rescan, but apparently it does not. Since I am out of town for weeks at a time, I use the cams to monitor my home when I am gone. When a cam drops it's connection, there is no way to remotely reset it. If I get lucky, we get a power drop and that will reset the cams.

Any comments?


Generally, there are 5 things that can cause these issues:

1. It's extremely critical, if you intend to access these cameras remotely, that the cameras have static IP addresses that have been assigned and created correctly. Please don't think your current method of doing this, is the correct one. More here about that:

http://foscam.us/forum/a-how-to-assign-static-ip-addresses-to-your-cameras-t3317.html#p15283

2. When your camera is in wired or wireless mode, please ALWAYS disable UPnP in your cameras configuration, if you did the port forwarding setup in your Router/AP manually for remote access or your camera is only using local access manually. Once you have assigned your camera a static IP Address, in your cameras configuration.

3. That there is no wireless contention ("Checked from each camera location as well as the Router/AP location") with other nearby wireless networks as well as having strong signals from/to the cameras and the Router/AP that is hosting them. More here about that:

http://foscam.us/forum/reboot-problems-a-solution-t2440.html#p10558

The cameras normally come with a short stock antenna that is 3dBi. If needed, for more distance, it is possible to use custom 9dBi antennas, for a camera when needed. Doing so can help, but it also depends on how strong your Router/AP signal is from that location as well. Since the Router/AP may now be able to get data better from the camera, but the camera may not be able to receive data better from the Router/AP if the Router/AP has lower dBi antennas.

Every 3dBi of antenna gain, can provide a 100 percent increase ("Theoretically"). This in the real-world, generally, is more like 50-80 percent, depending on the situation. But 9dBi antennas, for sure would be much stronger antenna gain, than the stock 3dBi antennas. Again, this also depends on Router/AP antenna dBi gain as well. More details about dBi gain here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antenna_gain

Some Router/AP's allow you to also customize their antennas. If this is possible, it might be a good idea to also increase the dBi gain of the antennas of the Router/AP as well, especially, if you are going to be using multiple cameras, in the same location, hosted by the same Router/AP.

Also, because the camera antennas are dipole antennas, it's better that your Router/AP as well as the cameras, if possible, are at least 4 feet off the floor and also more than 1 foot away from a ceiling.

This is because dipole antennas. have a sphere shaped efficiency pattern, that can get squashed by being too close to a floor or ceiling. Which can cause the normal radiated energy produced by the antenna, to be reflected. Much like a mirror can re-direct a beam of light to someplace it was not intended to go.

Image Image

Additionally, the radiated energy from typical dipole antennas, is not always the same, at any 360 degree point. So rotating the camera position, or bending the antenna instead of using a straight up position, in some cases, can also help as well.

More about dipole antennas:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dipole_antenna

Sadly, people think because they can access their cameras, that all is well. If these issues are present, it can cause both the camera and the Router/AP to re-transmit data packets, which will slow down the effective communications between the camera and the Router/AP and impact as one example the maximum FPS ("Frame Per Second") rate that you can get from that camera. When this happens, it can also chew up some of the available wireless bandwidth, for other wireless devices, on that same network and impact that entire network for all wireless devices as well.

Simply being able to connect to the camera, does not mean you have an optimal connection.

I have created a free Interface for these cameras, that among other things it can do, it can give you real-time feedback on what a cameras current FPS ("Frames Per Second") rate is. This allows you to make the changes mentioned here and easily see the results, in real-time. More here:

http://foscam.us/forum/free-generic-browser-interface-for-foscam-ip-mjpeg-cameras-t2522.html

Please see the "About Me" link in my signature below, if you happen to wonder how I seem to know so much about antennas and communications.

4. If you have FTP uploads enabled, for camera alarms, please make sure that the Interval you have chosen to upload images via FTP, can be supported by your setup. This includes the FTP server, bandwidth, ISP equipment and your equipment.

5. These cameras have a watchdog in them that makes them reboot, when they become in a situation that they would not be able to do their primary job, which is to inform you the camera owner, about alarms using notifications.

Recently, I have found that some 3rd party applications are causing these cameras to fire the watchdog reboot, because these applications are NOT using correct methods to interface to the cameras, at times, or changed methods which now require adding/changing parameters and/or settings in those interfaces, to not cause these types of issues.

When this reboot takes place, if your camera is not using a static IP address, this means that it needs to negotiate with the Router/AP to get a IP address assigned. Worse, even if you have assigned a static IP address, if that process was not done correctly. Then it is possible, that the same IP address could be in use or being assigned to more than 1 device in that local network at times.

When something like the above happens, the camera, will NEVER come back online, until the camera has a working connection to the Router/AP.

If a 3rd party application is the cause of this issue, it may very well have recovery logic, that it waits for the camera to recover from a reboot and it starts the entire mess again.

For example. If you know that this seems to happen more often while using a 3rd party application to access your camera, most likely this is the cause of the reboot.

I am personally aware of situations, where people thought that their 3rd party application was not causing any issues, because it seemed like while that 3rd party application was running. They were not viewing any cameras with it, when they had problems. Turns out, the 3rd party application was still maintaining a connection to the camera, due to a bug, and once the 3rd party application was stopped. The problem could never be created, without running and starting the 3rd party application.

It might be best to completly stop any running 3rd party applications you are using for the cameras, and see if a reboot ever happens in that case.

If in fact you are using 3rd party applications, it's a good idea to check if they have a support forum and look around there, to see if others are also having these kinds of reboot issues.

If you are not using 3rd party applications and this is always happening, then it could be any of the other points made here.

Don
Last edited by TheUberOverLord on Sun Dec 30, 2012 11:29 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: FI8918W drops WiFi connection

Postby rjstuart » Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:39 am

What seems to happen is that the cameras independently will drop connection to the AP, and after this drop, will not try to automatically reconnect. I would need to power cycle the camera to get it to reconnect, and on a power cycle, it will reconnect after the reboot. But until the power cycle, I can not connect to the camera at all. Now the cameras do not disconnect at the same time. I might drop one or two of them, and of the 4 of them, they all will eventually drop out. Now if I get a power spike in the house, which we get a lot of here in Florida, that will cycle the power enough to trigger a reboot.

The only thing that I can think of is that if I have a couple of lap tops connected to this same AP, and I sometimes have my Sirius XM internet radio connected as well and are streaming music, that the AP may overload and this drops a camera or two. And I understand that limited band width can cause a connection to drop. But then the connection for that camera should try and reconnect, but does not. Could I have a setting not correct in the camera that is causing this failure to reconnect on a drop?
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Re: FI8918W drops WiFi connection

Postby TheUberOverLord » Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:53 pm

rjstuart wrote:What seems to happen is that the cameras independently will drop connection to the AP, and after this drop, will not try to automatically reconnect. I would need to power cycle the camera to get it to reconnect, and on a power cycle, it will reconnect after the reboot. But until the power cycle, I can not connect to the camera at all. Now the cameras do not disconnect at the same time. I might drop one or two of them, and of the 4 of them, they all will eventually drop out. Now if I get a power spike in the house, which we get a lot of here in Florida, that will cycle the power enough to trigger a reboot.

The only thing that I can think of is that if I have a couple of lap tops connected to this same AP, and I sometimes have my Sirius XM internet radio connected as well and are streaming music, that the AP may overload and this drops a camera or two. And I understand that limited band width can cause a connection to drop. But then the connection for that camera should try and reconnect, but does not. Could I have a setting not correct in the camera that is causing this failure to reconnect on a drop?


Sorry, somehow I missed this post. Does this camera have a static IP address assigned to it and was that IP address not allowed to be used by any DHCP services your Router/AP provides, if it was?

Don
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Re: FI8918W drops WiFi connection

Postby seabee » Sat Jan 12, 2013 1:31 pm

Hi there. I'm new to the forum and have been experiencing this same problem with one of the two cameras I got for Christmas.

Both have static IP addresses. One, located inside, works flawlessly. The other, located outside, loses its connection all the time. Sometimes I can power cycle it and it comes back, sometimes it has to be cycled several times before it comes back online.

I wonder if the weather has something to do with it? It's pretty cold here and worse with the wind chill. I know the cameras are advertised as "outdoor", but how much outdoor can they take?
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Re: FI8918W drops WiFi connection

Postby TheUberOverLord » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:04 pm

seabee wrote:Hi there. I'm new to the forum and have been experiencing this same problem with one of the two cameras I got for Christmas.

Both have static IP addresses. One, located inside, works flawlessly. The other, located outside, loses its connection all the time. Sometimes I can power cycle it and it comes back, sometimes it has to be cycled several times before it comes back online.

I wonder if the weather has something to do with it? It's pretty cold here and worse with the wind chill. I know the cameras are advertised as "outdoor", but how much outdoor can they take?


Do you have a mobile device. Like a laptop that you can use the utility mentioned here to bring to where the camera is located to see what the strength of your Router/AP signal is at the cameras location as well as see if there are any nearby wireless networks on or near the same wireless channel you are on?

Don
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Re: FI8918W drops WiFi connection

Postby cheesegrits » Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:07 am

HI there.

I helped Seabee set up his cameras. He does not have a laptop to carry around to check the signal strength.

One camera is outside at the corner of the house, maybe 20' from the router with the signal going through one wall. This is the camera with the problem. The other camera is maybe 100' further away inside another building.

When we set them up a couple of weeks ago signal strength was fine at the cameras. There are no wireless networks nearby that could cause interference.

The inside camera works flawlessly. The outside camera has started having connection problems to the point where power cycling it does not bring it back online. Immediate thoughts are either a defective camera, or it does not like the harsh outdoor conditions.

Any thoughts?

On a related topic: Is your free utility the one you suggest using to check signal strength? I downloaded it and tried it on my own indoor camera. It works well, nice job! However, I cannot determine where to go in it to see signal strength.

Thanks for all your help.

Alan

Edit: These are Foscam FI8905W cameras purchased new last month.
Last edited by cheesegrits on Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: FI8918W drops WiFi connection

Postby Gattusop » Sun Jan 13, 2013 2:54 pm

I have the same issue. My cam reside outside my front door. All my other cams are working like a champ. In order to access that can I need to reboot it and it will work for a day or so, then stops responding... I tried reapplying the firmware and no changes. This cam has a static ip and the FPS when working matches all my other cams. I am thinking it will need to be replaced... What are my options for support? I purchased extended warranty...
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Re: FI8918W drops WiFi connection

Postby TheUberOverLord » Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:00 pm

cheesegrits wrote:HI there.

I helped Seabee set up his cameras. He does not have a laptop to carry around to check the signal strength.

One camera is outside at the corner of the house, maybe 20' from the router with the signal going through one wall. This is the camera with the problem. The other camera is maybe 100' further away inside another building.

When we set them up a couple of weeks ago signal strength was fine at the cameras. There are no wireless networks nearby that could cause interference.

The inside camera works flawlessly. The outside camera has started having connection problems to the point where power cycling it does not bring it back online. Immediate thoughts are either a defective camera, or it does not like the harsh outdoor conditions.

Any thoughts?

On a related topic: Is your free utility the one you suggest using to check signal strength? I downloaded it and tried it on my own indoor camera. It works well, nice job! However, I cannot determine where to go in it to see signal strength.

Thanks for all your help.

Alan

Edit: These are Foscam FI8905W cameras purchased new last month.


The Free Interface simply shows FPS ("Frames Per Second") which can show how healthy the communications are between the IP Camera and the Router.

How complicated would it be to bring the outside camera inside and reset it, using the reset button held down for 20 seconds, while the camera is powered on. Once this is done. The camera will need to be directly connected to the Router/AP via Ethernet cable to re-configure the camera as if it just came out of the box.

Then, check the wireless close to the Router/AP to see if the wireless is working when close to the Router/AP.

Don
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Re: FI8918W drops WiFi connection

Postby TheUberOverLord » Sun Jan 13, 2013 11:01 pm

Gattusop wrote:I have the same issue. My cam reside outside my front door. All my other cams are working like a champ. In order to access that can I need to reboot it and it will work for a day or so, then stops responding... I tried reapplying the firmware and no changes. This cam has a static ip and the FPS when working matches all my other cams. I am thinking it will need to be replaced... What are my options for support? I purchased extended warranty...


Are you using any 3rd party applications for the camera?

Don
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