How To Record Surveillance Camera To Computer

You can plug in the network cable of your security camera to the computer and start recording footage. However, you must configure the IP addresses under the same network to access the camera. 

You can connect a single camera to your computer directly or set up multiple cameras using a Wi-Fi router. Regardless of the setup, ensure all devices are powered on and connected through the proper adapters and equipment. 

Things to Know

  • Connecting the network cable of the security camera to your computer can help you stream and download footage directly.
  • That said, the camera and computer must fall under the same network. Therefore, you might have to configure the IP addresses of either device accordingly.
  • You can plug in a security camera directly to your computer or go through a Wi-Fi router and PoE switch
  • You can configure the IP address of your computer manually. This is by using the network settings or system preferences
  • Alternatively, you can reconfigure the IP address of the security camera. However, you must use an IP config tool compatible with your camera
  • Hooking up your security system to your computer can help you set up the computer as an impromptu NVR. However, it’s not recommended for long-term usage

Setting Up A Surveillance Camera for Computer Recording

Before setting up your security camera directly with your computer, you must prepare the necessary components. These are:

  • An IP-based security camera
  • A computer or laptop
  • Cat6 network cables
  • Wi-Fi router (with or without internet access)
  • PoE Injector or Switch (if your cameras support PoE)
  • PoE Splitter (In case you need to split the signal)
  • Camera power supply

After gathering these, you can connect your security camera to your computer. However, there are two methods to achieve this:

  1. By directly connecting your security camera to your computer (No Wi-Fi router or PoE Switch Required)
  2. Connecting via a Wi-Fi router (with or without a PoE Switch)

As you can see, the steps can change slightly based on whether you want to connect via a PoE injector/switch. However, these are easy to follow through as long as you understand the differences between PoE and non-PoE switches. 

  1. Connecting Security Camera Directly to a Computer (Without a Router)
  1. First, install the security camera in the location you want to monitor.
  2. Then, plug in the power supply for your security camera. Alternatively, you can use a PoE splitter on the computer’s end to separate the data and power cables. 
  3. After that, connect the network cable from the security camera (or the PoE splitter) to your computer. 
  4. Then, you must find the IP address of the camera. Typically, this is printed in the camera’s enclosure or in the documentation or packaging. 
  5. Alternatively, you can try downloading an IP config tool to scan your network and retrieve the IP address of the security camera.  
  6. After you note down the security camera, open a web browser and type in this IP address. You can also open your VMS software and see if the new camera is detected. 
  7. However, if the browser or VMS doesn’t detect your security camera, you must change your computer’s IP address to one compatible with your camera. Don’t worry, you can change it back later after you gain access to the security camera.
  8. After you change the IP address of your computer, open up the browser and type in the IP address of your security camera again. If you have a VMS, you can instead open it up and check if the new camera is added to the network.
  9. After you type in the IP address, a login window will show up. Here type in the camera’s username and password. You can find the default login information on the camera or any documentation or packaging it came with. 
  10. If your login details are correct, the client app will show some options or a direct live feed from your security camera. 
  11. Then, check for any settings that allow you to record footage locally on your computer

How to Change the IP Address of Your Windows or Mac

  1. Open the control panel on your PC or laptop.
  2. Head over to the “Network and Sharing.” You can type this in the search bar for quick access.
  3. Then navigate to “Change Adapter Settings” at the top left.
  4. If you’re already connected to a Wi-Fi network: Right click on “Wi-Fi” and click on “Disable.” This will make it easier to connect to your security camera that’s linked in via the ethernet port. 
  5. After that, right-click on “Ethernet” and navigate to “Properties.”
  6. Double-click on the IP protocol version of your security camera. Usually, it’s “Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4).
  7. Then enable “Use the following IP Address” to set one up manually.
  8. Type in a new IP address. However, make sure it follows the same octets except for the last one. For the last octet, assign any value between 2 and 254 that’s also not the same as your security cameras. 
  9. Then, press “Tab” to fill out the subnet mask automatically. 
  10. Press “Okay” on both menus to save and exit your changes. 

To change your IP Address on a Mac, check out this video instead:

2. Connecting a Security Camera to a Computer (Via a Wi-Fi Router)

You can use a Wi-Fi router to bridge the gap between your security camera and computer. This method is preferred since you can retain internet access and also connect multiple cameras at once. 

However, it requires a network switch ( PoE or non-PoE), a Wi-Fi router, and access to an IP Config tool such as Dahua Config.

So here’s how to set this up:

  1. First, install your security camera and provide power to it. 
  2. If you have a PoE camera, connect the CAT6 cable from the security cameras to your PoE switch/injector. Then, power on the PoE switch. 
  3. After that, connect the “Uplink” port on your PoE switch to an ethernet port in your Wi-Fi router. Ensure the router is powered on.
  4. Then, connect your Wi-Fi router and computer via another CAT6 network cable. This step isn’t necessary if you can wirelessly connect to the same Wi-Fi network on your computer.
  5. After that, use the IP Config tool to detect your new security cameras and change their IP addresses. You will need to provide the login credentials assigned to these particular cameras. Ensure the “mode” is set to “Static.”
  6. Save your changes and refresh.
  7. Finally, head over to the web portal for those cameras. You can now record footage or make any changes via the computer. 


It is possible to use your computer as an NVR. However, you must connect the cameras to the same network as the computer and configure the IP addresses accordingly. 

In this way, you can connect a single camera directly or use a Wi-Fi router and PoE switch to connect an entire security camera system. 

Streaming and downloading footage to a computer does have its advantages. However, it’s not the best long-term solution compared to a dedicated NVR. 

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