Is it better to have security cameras on a separate network?

Cameras come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. A common one is the IP camera. This article will discuss whether you should set up a separate network for IP security cameras.

In short, yes. Absolutely you should! Grouping your IP cameras together under one individual network. Not only will it enhance the system’s performance, but it will also increase the quality of the security it provides.

Furthermore, you will also reduce the risk of someone accessing or hacking your cameras. Especially with IP cameras, apart from generating high-quality footage, they further reduce the hacking risk by safely encrypting all data.

If your camera(s) was hacked, it could expose all sorts of things, whether it is a home monitoring camera or a huge business. Because cameras can be hacked, controlled, and accessed remotely, it is vital to protect them to the full extent.

By grouping the cameras, the information will all be compressed and sent to the recorder through the same network. And the NVR will then save the footage on hard drives for user viewing. Overall, a separate network for IP security cameras is a great idea.

Reasons to have a separate network for IP security cameras. 

Below we broke down why having all your IP cameras under the same network will benefit you and your safety.

Reason #1: Performance

Having cameras is an excellent step in the right direction. But the importance lies behind how well they work together and how fast and efficient their performance truly is.

With the proper configurations, you can remove the IP cameras from the internet altogether, which will significantly remove the risk of them being hacked or leaking any of your sensitive information into the web.

Furthermore, having a separate network for IP security cameras could increase bandwidth issues if not divided into the correct sub-networks. This happens because IP cameras record in high-quality; thus, there is more data that must be transmitted to the recorder.

Lastly, grouping the cameras together has less impact on the LAN as the traffic from the cameras will be redirected. Across the board, it will highly benefit you!

Reason #2: Unusual activity

Monitoring each individual camera can be extremely time-consuming. Once you group them together, it is easier to spot anything weird or unusual that might be happening.

If you get hacked, there are key signs that you should pick up on. Including things such as bandwidth changing, files being moved, copied, or transferred, and any other unusual issues or patterns you pick up on.

Tracking and checking up for any signs of hacking on the cameras becomes easier once you make a separate network for your IP security cameras. 

Keep in mind that you should limit the number of users that have access to the cameras. For instance, you might think that another user is making copies of the footage, but instead, it’s a hacker gaining access to information.

Keeping yourself from giving access to too many people is crucial. The more users are granted access, the harder it becomes to keep track of unusual and suspicious behavior.

A separate network for IP security cameras makes these issues easy to track; the signs show up easily to users. As opposed to having your cameras set up in a busy and loud network that can mask these indicative signs of unusual activities.

Reason #3: Easy management

As previously mentioned, having all your cameras in one single network makes it easier for you as a user to access and play with them as needed. It becomes something you can do more often as well.

In addition, your regular network usually houses various smart devices; anywhere from 10-20 is an average number for a household. Overly relying on one single network can make it clog, and performance will suffer.

However, by isolating the IP cameras into their own individual network, the systems will operate better without congestion or backup due to overusing the network.

This also means that you will limit access to the cameras because you disconnected them from the central network. Now, anyone with access to your main network cannot gain access to the separate network for IP security cameras.

How to separate network for IP security cameras 

Now that you know all the advantages of linking your cameras together under a single network, let’s go over how to do so. But first, we should cover important information to note.

What layers are there?

Devices communicate in different layers, whether that be physical, through a link, or via a network. IP cameras use the link layer, also referred to as layer two, to communicate using nodes to transfer data. 

Layer one

The physical layer is where a device connects to a transmitter of some kind through wires such as a coaxial cable. This connection requires physical mediums in order to work.

Layer two

Known as the Link layer, more specifically, it is how the data moves across layer one through the physical connections. The connection links your devices together and allows your devices to communicate and talk to one another.

Layer three

Commonly referred to as the network layer, it is where routing happens. This layer opens the door to communications across networks. It also works towards traffic control on a multi-node network.

VLAN vs. Subnet

Configuring your VLAN is incredibly crucial to keep all of your IP cameras safe against anyone trying to access it. It is also beneficial as it differentiates your cameras from other devices that are linked to the same network.

So what is the difference between VLAN and Subnet? Though they are comparable in certain aspects, they both focus on filtering and separating a part of the network specifically for the cameras in this scenario.

The setup process is not for beginners; it takes some knowledge and work. It might be possible if you follow step-by-step instructions and watch tutorials closely. But instead of going through this process, we can simply just rely on subnets.

VLAN Security

Setting up a subnet

Each LAN operates on a different individual subnet, and this is important when running more than one network inside your home or business. And these subnets are much like addresses.

You are probably familiar with IP addresses; if you are not, they are like the address to your router. Routers that are in DHCP mode, which are the majority, will create IP addresses for devices that join the network and place them in the main subnet.

However, the point is to create a subnet only for cameras, so the IP address for the cameras should be similar but slightly different than the ones assigned to the other devices.

In this case, to separate the network for IP security cameras, you will need to manually set the IP addresses for the cameras instead of allowing the router to assign them.

Remember that you must place them all at the same address in order for them to work together. To perform this correctly, you will need to use a PoE switch to connect the cameras to a laptop that is in the same network.

The configuration process

To put things in motion, you will have to configure the cameras to connect with the separate network you created. Follow the steps below to do so. Do bear in mind that the type, brand, and model of the camera you own will create differences, but the logic still applies.

  1. Connect all of your IP cameras to one network, as stated above. To do so, use a PoE switch and a laptop that is connected to the network.
  2. You will need to find your camera’s current IP address using an IP scanner. There are tons of IP scanners in the market; try to stick to your brand’s IP finder for better results. Once you run it, you should have a list of all cameras found in the network.
  3. Choose the camera and alter its IP address to the subnet address. Keep in mind that this will remove the camera from the main LAN and will no longer be accessible under that IP address.
  4. And you are done. Your camera should now be on a separate network along with your other IP cameras. It is not safer and more protected than before. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, this process might be a little long but beneficial. Not only will you be more protected, but the performance of your cameras will only increase. 

Nevertheless, regardless of whether you make a separate network for IP security cameras, always limit the number of users that have access to it. Fewer people mean more safety; remember that!