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Setup advice, especially useful for Mac

General discussion regarding Foscam IP Cameras

Setup advice, especially useful for Mac

Postby omgoleus » Fri Oct 08, 2010 8:24 pm

First of all, I was an IT professional for ten years, and I just spent about 15 hours getting this working properly. It's hardly easy. There are a lot of extremely quirky and undocumented things in the camera, and there are still some things that I'm not convinced actually work (for example, motion detection never stops triggering on my camera, but I'll ask about that in a separate post; also my red blanket shows up as blue, which is pretty far off I have to say).

That said, here is what I learned in that time; I hope it can be helpful to many of you.

I recently purchased an in-stock FI8918W black PTZ camera. I am setting it up on a Mac. The Mac is very good about supporting established networking protocols, so everything I say here is completely relevant to any other platform, although the specific tools you use will have different names.

The first thing I did was to connect the camera directly to my laptop with an ethernet cable. In order to have any hope of finding the camera, I turned on Internet Sharing in the System Settings, setting "Share your connection from AirPort To computers using Ethernet". This should set up a DHCP server on the Ethernet interface, which should give the camera an IP address which should allow it to communicate with the computer. I used a free port-scanning program called nmap (actually used a GUI front-end called Zenmap, which is cross-platform) to scan the ethernet port's subnet. Nothing was showing up. So I checked the system.log and saw a whole bunch of this:
Oct 8 00:04:42 Trinley bootpd[594]: DHCP DISCOVER [en0]: 1,0:60:6e:8f:55:95
Oct 8 00:04:42 Trinley bootpd[594]: service time 0.001237 seconds
Oct 8 00:04:44 Trinley bootpd[594]: DHCP DISCOVER [en0]: 1,0:60:6e:8f:55:95
Oct 8 00:04:44 Trinley bootpd[594]: service time 0.000546 seconds
Oct 8 00:04:48 Trinley bootpd[594]: DHCP DISCOVER [en0]: 1,0:60:6e:8f:55:95
Oct 8 00:04:48 Trinley bootpd[594]: service time 0.000601 seconds
Oct 8 00:04:56 Trinley bootpd[594]: DHCP DISCOVER [en0]: 1,0:60:6e:8f:55:95
Oct 8 00:04:56 Trinley bootpd[594]: service time 0.000634 seconds

The MAC address matches, so I know the DHCP server is hearing the request from the camera, but it's not responding. Condensing a few hours, I'll just say that I set up my own private dhcp server using bootpd in verbose debug mode and found that the camera was requesting IP address 169.78.32.22, and the dhcp server was ignoring it because that's not on the local subnet. Actually it is really wrong that the camera is asking for that address; that is a real, private address that someone out there is actually using. I would suggest that it is definitely a bad idea to have that address hard-coded in the camera. I know it is hard-coded because it still asked for the same address after a hard reset! It doesn't seem like it would really be that hard to have it choose a link-local address, or even to implement Zeroconf networking, which is a really good solution to this problem that has been around for a long time already. It would completely make the setup a snap, and would take hardly any overhead at all.

So I did some research on why bootpd was completely ignoring the request. It turns out that part of the dhcp protocol says that a non-authoritative dhcp server should silently ignore invalid requests. This is likely how the built-in internet sharing is configured, to avoid potential conflicts with more important dhcp servers. However that doesn't make sense in this case because there's no one else authoritative on that ethernet cable! This document explains the problem:
http://www.isc.org/files/auth.html
So that makes sense, but how to tell bootpd to be authoritative? I couldn't find any info on that, but I did find that there is also another problem going on. Some devices, especially the Xbox 360, have a different arcane conflict with a timeout setting on some dhcp servers. That's documented here, especially in the links to two threads on ars technica in a comment by wm:
http://hints.macworld.com/article.php?s ... 3001432304

So what I ended up doing (after first setting my custom dhcp server to think it's on the invalid network that the camera wanted, which did work as far as getting me access to the camera over ethernet, but is not really a solution) was to follow a version of the solution in that latter link. I edited the bootpd.plist to change the two needed settings, including the authoritative setting, (which I found by guessing). This is weird because that file gets automatically deleted whenever dhcp isn't running, but once you put your own content in, it remembers that much at least.

Once I got that far, then the camera did successfully get an IP address from the dhcp server. In retrospect I realized that this might not have been an issue if I had a way of connecting the camera to my router through ethernet (instead of directly to the laptop) but I have a wireless ISP so there is no chance of that.

Then I spent some time struggling with another poorly documented quirk, which I only figured out thanks to this:
http://www.gadgetvictims.com/2010/01/st ... ss-ip.html

The trick here was that the camera will only pay attention to the wireless *if the ethernet is NOT plugged in!* Not a big deal but quite a pain if you don't know it! In the meanwhile I had reconfigured my whole network to have no security at all, but once I knew what was going on I put the security back and it worked without any trouble.

So now that I know what all is going on, here's what I would do for a robust Mac configuration procedure:

I. Make the Mac's dhcp server work right.
Follow the steps for 10.5 here:
http://hints.macworld.com/article.php?s ... 3001432304
but with one addition: in their steps 5-6, also change this:
<key>detect_other_dhcp_server</key>
<integer>1</integer>
to 0 (instead of 1). This is the secret way to make the built-in dhcp server authoritative.
This step is quick and easy once you know what to do.

II. Connect the camera to the Mac with an ethernet cable and connect to it with your browser.
a) Find the camera's IP address: either
1. look in system.log (use the program Console in /Applications/Utilities) and look at the lines that say "DHCP DISCOVER" and then "OFFER". This will tell you the IP address given out. Or:
2. Use a port scanner like nmap/zenmap to find it.

III. Use a browser to configure the wireless.
I put in a manual IP address so that I'd always know where to find the camera. You need to set Basic Network Settings and then Wireless LAN settings. After you click submit on that one, immediately unplug the ethernet cable. When the camera restarts, it will try to connect to the wireless network. I found that that worked on the first try, once I knew about unplugging the ethernet cable.

IV. Connect to the camera wirelessly.
If you put in a manual address, just use that. Otherwise use the port scanner again, or the wireless router's admin interface, to find the address. And that's it.

Finally I want to register my disapproval of using the stupid private Internet Explorer-only technologies for full functionality. There is certainly nothing stopping them from using non-private-Microsoft-only protocols instead of ActiveX!

Also would it really cost that much to fix the English in the web interface firmware???
omgoleus
 
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Joined: Fri Oct 08, 2010 7:30 pm

Re: Setup advice, especially useful for Mac

Postby stephen » Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:03 pm

Omgoleus, thanks for your post, I too am planning to use a FI8918W with my MacBook Pro.
I was wondering if you had contacted and/or received any feedback from Foscam on your comments.

Also, have you been satisfied or have any thoughts on the audio quality on the FI8918W?
stephen
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:32 am

Re: Setup advice, especially useful for Mac

Postby imyomama » Fri Oct 15, 2010 4:13 pm

hey man , I don't even have my camera yet .. but i've setup ip cameras before and I can tell you that mac or pc , best rule is to static the port on your pc to match the default ip scheme of the camera.. so if cam says default ip is 192.168.1.2 .. setup pc to 192.168.1.3 subnet 255.255.255.0 gateway dont's matter since you're direct connect (note you may need crossover cable if your pc is not auto sense) ....and you should be golden .. As i said .. I don't have a manual , but 99.9% of the cams i've setup (sony ,panasonic , etc.. ) have a default ip .. that's the easiest way I know .. hope that helps.
imyomama
 
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Re: Setup advice, especially useful for Mac

Postby dixonkeller » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:47 am

without mac software, its like working in the dark...

similar issues.
I had to create an account with dyndns to get the cam to come up.

It only seems to work viewing remotely from my iphone or ipad if Im actually on my home wifi network, which is odd. I also found that it seems to have " timed out" ... phone apps would recognize the camera after a long while unless i logged back on via the web.

The Advert says easy to install....

maybe for a pc
dixonkeller
 
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Joined: Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:43 am

Howdy pals

Postby mazensheff » Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:07 pm

Howdy dudes. Im new to foscam.us. Nice to meet you all!
mazensheff
 
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Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:06 pm
Location: Thailand

Re: Setup advice, especially useful for Mac

Postby Razor512 » Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:54 pm

Welcome to the forum and good info for the mac users.
Razor512
 
Posts: 145
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 7:48 pm

Re: Setup advice, especially useful for Mac

Postby murphcam » Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:08 pm

It seems the ActiveX is required to setup the mic and headphones. So, on the Macintosh, you CANNOT use the speaker or mic functions. They advertise this camera works with Mac and PC. Well, only PART of the camera works for the Mac!
murphcam
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 11:06 pm

Re: Setup advice, especially useful for Mac

Postby PcolaSteve » Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:33 am

True on the MAC side as well as with Firefox and Chrome that I have found out.
PcolaSteve
 
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Location: Penascola, Florida USA


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