NVR/IPCam Package That Supports Remote Viewing over LAN (With no Internet access)

DohDehDuhm

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Hi everyone! First post here. I've been browsing the forums for a year or so now as I planned my transition away from an Arlo camera setup to a PoE IP Cam setup. I've read through many of the starter guides, talked to support at a few IP cam companies, and still haven't been able to find the exact solution I'm looking for so I'm hoping you fine folks can either point me in the right direction or put the nail in the coffin on my ideal setup.

To get to the point though I am looking for a 16 channel PoE / NVR setup (preferably a package deal somewhere) that supports remote viewing from/notifications to other devices on the LAN. I do not want to give the setup internet access but I still would like to be able to view the cameras/footage and receive notifications ideally on other iOS devices (iPhone/iPad) while those devices are on the same network at home. Can it be done, and if so, how?

Additional background/details:
  • I'm a software (iOS/Android app) developer so am decently tech savvy. I haven't spent too much time messing around with networking but can figure out what I need to.
  • I'm a tweaker and in a perfect world would absolutely want to design and setup my own BI system since there is such good info here on the forum and it seems to support everything I want to do. However, I have a toddler, we just moved, and we have another baby on the way so I have to be realistic about my time. I have pretty limited time to devote to setting up a more custom solution like that. Hence the current plan to just try to find an NVR/IPCam package that I can just ensure is secure from WAN bad actors.
  • Reason for the no internet access is simply that it seems to be the simplest way to ensure folks with bad intentions cannot exploit any part of the setup. I'm willing to give up true remote/off site viewability for a simpler/faster setup and management. I work from home so am home most of the time anyway.
  • My main desires are security and being able to get eyes on activity around/in the house that is of interest to me or my wife. We would like to get notified when someone is at the door, at night when those armadillos are tearing up my yard again, etc. I would like to get notified on my iPhone/iPad and be able to connect to the NVR from my iPhone or iPad to view historical and realtime footage.
Thanks in advance, and thanks for all of the excellent guides, how-tos, references, and other content you have created/curated!
 

looney2ns

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Yes, that's all doable. You don't "need" internet connection to the NVR.
BI is no more trouble to setup than an NVR. Actually, in some case's easier.
The problem with kit systems, is they in general have cameras that are re-branded, but they have had features removed. You will get much better results purchasing cameras for each situation, location.
A one size fits all kit, is not the best option.
First things first, get a monitored alarm system. Video surveillance is for after the fact.
Purchase one camera, then get used to it. Use it to test locations you think you would like a camera, by using a 8ft 2x4, 5gal bucket, rocks for ballast to make a portable test rig.
I suggest to start, this camera.
Review-OEM Loryta IPC-T5442T-ZE Varifocal 4mp camera (Dahua) | IP Cam Talk
 

tigerwillow1

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I mostly agree with looney's comments, and hope it's ok to disagree a little bit :). The disagreement is about NVR vs. BI setup. If you're starting from scratch on both, I think it's easier and faster to get spun up to a critical mass of usability with the NVR. Once you're familiar with either of them, I suspect it's pretty much a toss-up as to which is easier to operate. Based on a few years of running a Dahua NVR my overall comment is that it's admirably reliable, frustratingly buggy in some places, and the UI is non-intuitive in some places which is not a problem once you figure it out. I'm not able to compare its bug level to BI's, I can just say that most can be worked around after expending some effort. If the best night sensitivity isn't important, you can start out with a less expensive camera than what looney suggested. But if night sensitivity is important, the 5442 series is the "cat's meow" in its general price range. If you do go for an NVR you need to decide between built in or external ethernet switch. The NVRs with built-in switches have loud fans. I went external for this and other reasons. With BI you of course have an external switch. Both BI and the Dahua NVRs have external viewing apps. Dahua's runs best on windows, or you can log into the NVR or camera with a web browser. How well it actually works varies with different browsers. I can't address the notifications issue with either platform. I use a couple of magnetic driveway sensors with an audible warning inside the house and have no need for the notifications. The NVR has built-in relays that can trigger external warnings (# of relays varies by model). BI can do this too but needs a somewhat spendy external relay device.

If I were starting out today, based on forum reading I'd be swayed to BI. After the experience of using the NVR for a few years I'm pretty satisfied with it in spite of all the bad things I said, so in the end I might not have helped much. Perhaps finding out how well you can integrate with the IOS devices will point to the obvious choice.
 

looney2ns

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Of course you can disagree. ;)
I'm basing my opinion on me starting out with BI, then 6 months later getting a Dahua nvr for a review. The NVR was painful to setup compared to BI IMHO. YMMV.
If BI has bugs, they are fixed in a few days after being reported. With an NVR with bugs It may or may not have bug fix's for months if ever.
But of course experience makes setup easier for either.
 

tigerwillow1

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I'm basing my opinion on me starting out with BI, then 6 months later getting a Dahua nvr for a review. The NVR was painful to setup compared to BI IMHO.
Just the opposite of me, running the NVR for a few years then trying out BI. It's pretty hard to get an unbiased comparison because once a person knows one of the systems, he's kind of poisoned for a comparison to the other one, unless it's a real dud, which I don't think either one of them are. I can say that if BI could display the IVS rules the way the NVR and smartPss do, I'd likely be switching to it.

With an NVR with bugs It may or may not have bug fix's for months if ever.
Sad but true.
 

DohDehDuhm

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Thanks @tigerwillow1 and @looney2ns.

To clarify you are saying that I can have an NVR on my LAN that is not connected to the internet and still access it remotely (iOS app or a browser) while I'm on the same network? What about notifications? Could I also still get mobile app or SMS notifications from the NVR?

Just wanting to be double sure b/c Reolink, Amcrest, and Lorex support have all said their NVRs only support remote viewing if the NVR is connected to the internet. Of course, I understand their remote viewing connections are passing through their own cloud servers so that makes sense. Using a non-rebranded NVR like a Dahua or something should support more flexible setup than an NVR that is attached to a reseller. But I want to be certain.
 

tigerwillow1

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I hate making a post that doesn't help, but here it is. I don't see any reason why the local lan remote viewing wouldn't work with the Dahua NVR. What I'd like to do is just pull the plug on my internet connection to test it, but I can't. My wireless internet setup has the receiver and router integrated into a single device, so I can't disconnect the internet without killing the router. Once I do that, my PC that I do the remote viewing on won't talk to the network. I'm assuming that if the PC used a static IP address it would work (I use static on the NVR). Too many hopeful assumptions there to trust what I think would happen without testing it.

For notifications I've been using emails sent by the NVR. They work fairly well but have the annoyance that it sends a "begin event" and an "end event" message. The end messages are useless nuisances. On second thought, that's not going to work unless you have your own local email server. There are SMS and SNMP configuration fields on the NVR's UI. I've never looked into them.
 

Shockwave199

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I have my dahua POE-NVR connected on my local LAN (router). No ports open or forwarded. I can only view my system at home- no problem for me. The NVR has a static address. I plug that address into the remote DMSS app and smart PSS. Phone or ipad, I can quickly look at what's going on outside. So yeah you can view your system 'remotely' this way at home but you can't view it remotely once you're away off your LAN. I'm not certain about push notifications and emails with this setup. Frankly I tired of that years ago and haven't bothered to work through it since.
 

aristobrat

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Just wanting to be double sure b/c Reolink, Amcrest, and Lorex support have all said their NVRs only support remote viewing if the NVR is connected to the internet.
Part of it might be the wording. IMO, "remote viewing" usually refers to the process you use when you're not at home and want to connect back in (across the Internet) to view your cameras/recordings. If you're home and want to connect to your NVR across your LAN, ... that process is called a few different things on the forum here, but the word "remote" is not usually part of what it's called. Once you add "remote" to it, most folks are going to think you're talking about connecting via the Internet.

What I'd like to do is just pull the plug on my internet connection to test it, but I can't.
If the NVR will allow it, you can try temporarily removing the default gateway entry or replacing it with a local LAN IP address that isn't the router. Either way should result in the NVR not being able to talk to the Internet until you put the proper default gateway entry back.

I have my dahua POE-NVR connected on my local LAN (router). No ports open or forwarded. I can only view my system at home- no problem for me. The NVR has a static address. I plug that address into the remote DMSS app and smart PSS. Phone or ipad, I can quickly look at what's going on outside.
@DohDehDuhm , my experience with a Dahua NVR was like @Shockwave199's above. Unless you specifically open/forward ports on your firewall (not recommended) or enable the P2P feature of the NVR, your NVR isn't directly accessible from the Internet even if you wanted it to be.

The recommended way of remotely accessing things on your home network when you're away from the house is by setting up an incoming VPN. This allows you create a secure tunnel from your phone directly to your home router. The traffic still rides across the Intenet, but it's encrypted so anyone trying to sniff it won't get anything from it. You also have direct control over who can connect to your VPN. A lot of routers have this built-in, which makes setting it up super easy. Once you get your camera system up and running and have the new kiddo all situated, this may be a fairly easy "future project" for you to tackle.
 

DohDehDuhm

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Fantastic, thanks everyone.

That's what I was hoping to hear--someone has done this before and can access their NVR with the manufacturer's iOS mobile client while on the LAN, without the NVR having internet access.

Notifications I could do without if I had to, or set up my own email server or some other intermediate messenger type layer (which could be a fun project later when I have time).

@aristobrat Thanks for chiming in. I'm planning on buying one of the commonly recommended routers with a built in VPN and then being able to utilize that for true remote viewing. Using 'remote' never did feel right--let me know if there is a more common/recognized word for it so I can get clearer help in the future!
 

DohDehDuhm

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Thought I’d post what I decided to do here for anyone who has similar needs in the future.

I’ve decided to actually just build a Blue Iris setup, and get a second Network Interface Card for the PC and just run all my cameras into a switch off of that. Keeps the cameras off my network and I get basically everything else from BI. Very easy, little to no network experience required.
 

vandyman

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Thought I’d post what I decided to do here for anyone who has similar needs in the future.

I’ve decided to actually just build a Blue Iris setup, and get a second Network Interface Card for the PC and just run all my cameras into a switch off of that. Keeps the cameras off my network and I get basically everything else from BI. Very easy, little to no network experience required.
That is what most people here do.
Dual NIC on a dedicated BI pc.
 

soyrunner

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Keeping out bad actors but still having access by phone? Even if one uses a wireless router without an uplink so the NVR and cameras can communicate, if you have wireless enabled how to keep bad actors from getting in that way? Especially with the revelation of all those back doors that bad actors can exploit even if China doesn't. Having the cameras on cat5 with wireless plugged and disabled but connected to the internet, bad actors would need get through one's IP provider. I'm a n3wb but that would seem safer than having the cameras on wireless. Early on in the '90's I had wireless up and on 24/7. Arriving home one day there was a deputy's car up on the road, 600' away through trees, and he was on a laptop. Perhaps just checking in with the Sheriff's department but who knows.
 

Shockwave199

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You know I so love my Google wifi mesh system that I just don't want to give it up. I've had the best most trouble free years with it, plus it wasn't cheap for a three puck package. Only problem, there's no vpn. Maybe someday they'll add it, who knows. So it's either p2p which isn't really secure or what I have chosen to do, port forward fast style, lol. One great thing is the Google wifi app. I simply set up an away profile for the nvr with the forwarded port in dmss. When I'm out and need to access remotely, I just open the port in the Google app and when I'm done, delete the port again. It's an extra couple steps but it's quick and at least doable. I really don't need to access remotely anymore so it's not super important.
 
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