Insights

Offline security camera: Security camera troubleshooting tips

June 20, 2023

Are your security cameras offline? When one of your cameras is offline, you cannot view the real-time video feed on location and/or remotely. Your security cameras may not be recording either, which is a major risk. Use these offline security camera troubleshooting tips to fix the issue.

See how Solink enhances the security of your business by helping to keep your cameras online.

There are many signs that your security cameras may be offline. Here are some of the common issues experience by security cameras:

  • The LED lights on the camera are on but there’s no video.
  • You cannot see any recorded videos in your video management system (VMS).
  • The security camera is having trouble connecting to WiFi.
  • The security cameras seem to go off when your business closes.
  • Security cameras are not recording in the dark even though they have infrared/night vision capabilities.
  • You cannot view recorded videos in your VMS even though you can see they are there.
  • Remote video monitoring is not working or you cannot view your feeds on your mobile app.
  • Your digital video recorder (DVR)/network video recorder (NVR) has a flashing light or no light on.
  • The video quality is low, colorless, or the frame rate has decreased significantly.

Here is how you can see locally and in your cloud VMS that your security cameras are offline:

  • Locally: Cameras have an indicator LED that will give you the status of your camera. If the color of the light indicates the camera is offline (or there is no light on), then your security camera is likely offline. Go to your on-site video monitor. Instead of the video feed, you’ll see a black box or some text, such as “NO VIDEO.”
  • Cloud VMS: Most cloud VMS platforms have some way to tell you whether your security cameras are online and recording video. Here’s how to find the information in the Solink platform. From the Video page in Video Discovery, hover over your locations to display camera information and determine whether your cameras are offline.

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What to do when your security camera is offline

The Solink Support Team is on call to help anyone with an offline security camera. However, there are many easy fixes that can be done in minutes with little technical knowhow.

Here are some basic things you should look out for when a security camera is down.

  • Cabling isn’t frayed or broken.
  • Connections are tight.
  • Cameras are powered.
  • Your cloud VMS is working.

While the above issues can arise in all types of security cameras, they are not fixed the same way. That’s why we separate the following into sections on digital and analog cameras. Here’s a quick summary of how to correct all the above issues for IP cameras and analog cameras.

Offline IP security cameras

IP security cameras only require a single connection. Power over Ethernet (PoE) connections mean that electricity is transmitted to the camera on the same cable that is used to send the video data from the camera to the terminal.

IP camera and Ethernet connection
A typical IP camera and Ethernet connection

Here are four easy steps to resolve almost every IP security camera problem.

  1. Locate the PoE switch. Confirm that all connections are securely fastened. Follow these connections to the cameras and terminal (NVR, DVR, or network-attached storage (NAS) device) and confirm they are also securely connected.
  2. Inspect the cable itself to make sure it isn’t damaged or frayed. Be especially careful checking the connectors for damaged plastic.
  3. Note the lights on the PoE switch, cameras, and local storage appliance. Are all the lights on and the correct color? The PoE switch, for example, should have one light on for Link and one for PoE per port.
  4. Now you should restart the PoE switch by unplugging it, waiting thirty seconds, and plugging it back in. Since the security cameras all receive power via the PoE switch, this will also cycle their power. If only one camera is offline, you can unplug just that Ethernet cable before resetting the whole system.

If the problem persists, then it might be time to call a technician or your cloud VMS support staff, consult your camera’s user manual, or consider replacing a faulty security camera.

Offline analog security cameras

Analog cameras receive power using a separate cable from the one used to transmit data. If audio is also being recorded, then that is transmitted along a third cable.

Here are four easy steps to resolve almost every analog security camera problem.

  1. Check the power cables. These can be plugged directly into the wall but are usually connected through either a closed-circuit television (CCTV) power supply box or an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) system. Make sure all the connections are secure and your UPS system/CCTV power supply box is working properly. You can also check the voltage of the outlet powering your system with a multimeter.
  2. Check the video transmission. Unless you are directly viewing live video on a local CCTV monitor and recording the video to old tapes, you likely have an analog encoder. This device changes the analog video stream into digital data for storage and analysis. In the case of Solink, we supply the analog converter box to your location. Again, make sure that all the connections are tight.
  3. Confirm the BNC (coaxial) wiring is transmitting properly. If you have an RJ45/BNC cable tester, then you can use that to see whether data is being transmitted correctly.
  4. Unplug and plug your security cameras. If all of your cabling is working correctly and securely connected, then try cycling the power.

If these steps do not resolve your offline security camera problem, it might be time to request an on-site technician.

This is a Hikvision Analog Security Camera Encoder to allow using cloud video surveillance systems with analog camera feeds.
Standard analog encoder
CCTV power supply box
Example of a CCTV power supply box

Cloud VMS issues

If your security cameras seem to be working but you cannot view the video on your cloud VMS, then we recommend you reach out to customer support. In the case of Solink, we offer multiple ways to get into contact with our Customer Support Team.

  • Live Chat is available in the bottom corner of the Help Center, Mobile App, Video Discovery, and our website.
  • Email: support@solink.com
  • Phone: 1-888-335-9844

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13 offline security camera troubleshooting tips

Here are thirteen offline security camera troubleshooting tips:

  • Confirm all connections are secure
  • Inspect all cables
  • Reboot your security camera system
  • See if the issue is on-site as well as remote
  • Make sure you’ve enabled the features you want in the settings
  • Discover and ping camera
  • Double check that your login details are correct
  • Check the address resolution protocol (ARP) tables
  • Confirm there are no IP conflicts
  • Update your security camera firmware and software
  • Factory reset your security camera
  • Call your cloud VMS provider
  • Call the manufacturer’s technical support

1. Confirm all connections are secure

Check to make sure that all connections are secure. For an IP camera, there is only the PoE cable, whereas analog cameras have separate power and video transmission cables and an optional third cable for audio transmission. Note that both connections, the one at the camera and the one at the other end (outlet, UPS, PoE switch, etc.), should be checked.

If the security camera is powered up and transmitting correctly, then there should be an LED light indicating that the power supply is working. However, these LEDs are sometimes concealed inside the camera’s housing, so you might not be able to see them.

If you have IP cameras, then it is also important to make sure that they are getting sufficient wattage. Standard PoE switches transmit 15 W of power. However, some security cameras, such as pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras, may require 30 W of power. Note that the camera may still power up with 15 W, but it won’t transmit video.

Furthermore, some PoE switches have more ports than they can properly power at 15 W each. For larger business security camera systems, you may need to invest in more PoE switches to resolve this issue.

2. Inspect all cables

If all of the cables are securely plugged in but the security cameras are still offline, there might be an issue with the cables. Especially the plastic cable connectors of Ethernet cables can become cracked and damaged.

Check for frayed, tangled, or kinked wires, loose connections, and damaged connectors. In addition, make sure that everything is plugged into the right port.

Cable testers and multimeters can be used to confirm that the cables are properly transmitting and that your system is receiving power from the outlet, respectively.

Analog cameras cables

3. Reboot your security camera system

If the cables are in good condition and securely connected but you are still experiencing offline security cameras, then turn the system off, wait thirty seconds, and then turn it back on again.

Note that while this is the third offline security camera troubleshooting tip, it is worth repeating this step again after many of the following steps as well. The steps below include reconfiguring your network. If they don’t resolve the situation immediately, then they might still have effect after the system is rebooted.

4. See if the issue is on-site as well as remote

Have you changed your Internet service provider (ISP), networking hardware, or settings recently? If so, then it might be worth checking to see whether you still have access to your security camera feeds on-site. Even if your mobile app is no longer working, your security cameras may still be recording. In this case, you should still be able to view recorded and real-time video feeds on your on-site monitor.

A new router may require you to reconfigure your firewall settings. A new ISP may require you to update your IP information.

There may also be issues with your cloud VMS preventing you from viewing your security footage remotely. If this is the case, you may want to skip to the twelfth offline security camera troubleshooting tip.

5. Make sure you’ve enabled the features you want in the settings

Just because certain security cameras advertise video analytics features such as people counting or motion search doesn’t mean that they are enabled out of the box. If you aren’t seeing the features advertised, then look in the camera’s companion app and see if they are enabled by default. If not, enable the features. You may then need to configure the system.

6. Discover and ping camera

Do you know your security cameras’ IP addresses? If not, then read the eighth offline security camera troubleshooting tip below to find them. Once you know your security cameras’ IP addresses, you can ping them to confirm they are reachable on the network.

On Windows, you’ll need to open the Command Prompt by searching for “cmd” in the Windows Search Engine. On Mac, you’ll need to open Terminal, which is usually found on the Dock or in your Launchpad.

Once the window is opened, you can type “ping” and then the IP address. If there are issues, then the response will be something like “Request Time Out” or “Destination Host Unreachable.”

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7. Double check that sure your login details are correct

If you can ping your cameras but they still won’t connect, then there could be an issue with your login details. Make sure that your username and password are correct. The defaults can usually be found in the user manual that came with your security cameras.

8. Check the address resolution protocol (ARP) tables

There is usually an ARP table located on the outside of a security camera. This provides the MAC (media access control) address, which is a unique, 12-character alphanumeric attribute used to identify individual electronic devices on a network, and the IP address.

You can use these ARP tables to double check that the information you are using in your network configuration is accurate. If the IP and MAC addresses do not match, then update them in the control settings.

Since security cameras are often placed in hard-to-reach locations, such as ceilings, it is recommended that you record the ARP tables of all your cameras in a notebook so that you can access them when needed.

Access control systems are an important part of bank security systems. However, there is always the risk that a fob is stolen or employees share codes. Integrating access control with video surveillance improves the security of your financial institution.

brivo-pass-entrance

9. Confirm there are no IP conflicts

If you own a lot of security cameras, then it is possible that two or more of them use the same default IP address. You can discover whether there are IP conflicts following similar steps as under the sixth offline security camera troubleshooting tip.

When you are in Command Prompt, use “arp-a” to check for IP conflicts. If there is a conflict, you can then assign the camera a new IP address.

10. Update your security camera firmware and software

If your security cameras have an automatic update option, you should enable this. Many firmware and software updates improve the security of your systems. If you fail to update, then you leave your system vulnerable to hacking.

In addition to cybersecurity, outdated firmware may cause incompatibility issues with your cloud VMS. other software, or newer hardware.

Be sure to confirm the model numbers of your security cameras before downloading firmware and software updates. If you use the wrong firmware, then you’ll likely need to move on to the next security camera troubleshooting tip.

11. Factory reset your security camera

Nobody wants to start over from scratch. If you’ve enabled a lot of custom features and had your system working properly previously, then a factory reset can feel like giving up. However, when all else fails, this can be a great way to get your system back up and working properly.

The reset key is usually found in a hole on the security camera. You can hit the reset button using a paperclip. Once you’ve reset your security cameras, you can update your firmware and software and start the process of getting your system working.

12. Call your cloud VMS provider

Solink provides industry-leading customer support to all of our customers. If you have an issue with the Solink platform, your integrated systems, or your hardware, then reach out to us in the way of your choosing:

  • Live Chat is available in the bottom corner of the Help Center, Mobile App, Video Discovery, and our website.
  • Email: support@solink.com
  • Phone: 1-888-335-9844

13. Call the manufacturer’s technical support

If your cloud VMS provider doesn’t offer hardware support, then it might be time to reach out to the manufacturer’s technical support. They will know the common errors faced by different models and how to resolve them.

If they can’t help you, then they’ll be able to recommend someone locally who can visit the site to repair or replace the faulty security cameras.

Solink uses automated camera health checks so you know when one of your cameras is not working. We then alert you to the issue and provide multiple ways to get in touch with our Customer Support Team to get your cameras operational again.

Are your cameras offline? Switch to Solink to experience peace of mind. Book a demo now.

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Tim Ware headshot

Timothy Ware |

Timothy Ware is Solink’s Content Manager. He brings over ten years of writing and editing experience to the job. When he isn’t writing about security, loss prevention, and asset protection, he’s enjoying his newest board game. His work has appeared on many B2B SaaS websites including Baremetrics, Security Today, TeamPassword, Cova, and SignTime.