Remote Monitoring Considerations
With remote monitoring there are a number of crucial factors that can greatly affect the site's ability to send alarms and your ability to connect in to see video.
The factors in question are:
- Site's Internet Connection: the connection from the site's network out to the internet
- Site's Network: the network inside the site
- Site's Security Systems: the security systems that are sending you alarms and/or you are connecting to in order to interact with (viewing video from cameras etc)
The following issues can often occur with those items:
Changes: any change to the site's internet connection, site's network, or site's security systems can stop that site from being able to send alarms to you and/or stop you from being able to connect in to see video. This is the most common cause of problems and is also the hardest to stop from happening as you often don't have control over what the site are changing on their side. Where possible try to minimize the risk and also give yourself as much room to troubleshoot by doing things such as:
- Requiring your own username and passwords so you have your own accounts with less risk of them being changed by others.
- Asking for remote access to as many as the parts of the site as possible to help you diagnose issues when things are changed (i.e. remote access to the security systems, router etc)
- Where possible, removing access to site users to stop the risk of changes entirely (so you solely manage the cameras and router etc)
- Outages: any outage of the site's internet connection, site's network, or site's security systems will completely stop the site from being able to send alarms to you and stop you from being able to connect in to see video for as long as it is down. Where possible try to work with the site to ensure their infrastructure is as reliable and redundant as possible (backup power, redundant internet connections etc).
Bandwidth/Throttling: any bandwidth/throttling issues with the site's internet connection and network may stop the site from sending alarms to you reliably and stop you from being able to connect in to see video reliably
- You can try reducing the video quality you are asking for to account for slow connections - see Video Requirements
- Some Internet Service Providers may throttle/block traffic (often causing sporadic effects where the site is fine for a while but begins to slow down as the ISP starts to throttle the data) - be sure to check that there are no limits imposed by the site's ISP.
- Some networks may be set with Quality of Service (QoS) to prioritize certain types of traffic (for example VoIP telephones above all other data) - be sure that the site's network is prioritizing the security system data accordingly.
Some key questions to ask when troubleshooting issues are:
- How many sites are being affected? If it is just one site then it is very likely that there's been a change made by someone at the site or there is an outage happening at that site.
- Are all the affected sites in the same geographic region? If they are then it might be that the power or internet has gone out in the area.
Do other parts of the site work? This helps narrow down the cause of the issue for example:
- Is it just one camera on the site having an issue, or all of them?
- Is it just one side of alarms/video that doesn't work? (i.e. you can connect to see video but aren't receiving alarms, or visa-versa)
- Have the site's settings been changed? Are the site's settings still as they are supposed to be? What was changed by people on the site around the time that the issue started occurring?
- Do the site's settings still work? As well as checking if the site settings have been changed, do they still work? (for example test that the SMTP settings still work to send SMTP alarms)