A great selling point when it comes to Sony IP cameras is that they offer wireless connectivity in their high-end PTZ and dome models, something which is lacking from all other ranges.
This feature is not built-in to the camera but is offered as an optional extra with the purchase of a wireless compact flash card. The card has an internal antenna and will slot into the camera directly (or indirectly using an adaptor) and this will provide wireless connectivity. The range can also be extended by using an optional external antenna which connects to the wireless card.
Confusingly Sony has two wireless cards which appear identical apart from the wireless speeds but they aren’t. We will discuss compatibility in a future article.
This guide is suitable for the following:
We will assume that your camera is configured and you can access the live images using a web browser.
Step 1 – Inserting the wireless card
Before you insert your wireless card ensure the power to the camera has been turned off.
Insert your wireless card. (The method of insertion will differ per camera model. Consult the instructions that come with the card)
Make sure your camera is still connected with an Ethernet cable (we need to configure the camera before the wireless card will work), then turn on your camera.
Step 2 – Confirm card is inserted and operational
Log in to your camera using your administrator login and password.
When the camera loads choose the ‘Setting’ button to enter the camera’s configuration pages. You will be presented with a menu similar to this which will open in a pop-up window:
Sony SNC-P5 Default settings Page (Firmware version 1.22)
To check if the wireless card is active first select the ‘Network’ option from the menu on the left. This will take you to a page similar to this:
Sony SNC-P5 Network settings page (Firmware version 1.22)
Next select the ‘Wireless’ tab at the top of the page. This will take you to the wireless settings page:
Sony SNC-P5 Wireless settings page (Firmware version 1.22)
To confirm if your card is inserted correctly and working note the MAC address at the top of the page.
If the MAC address shows ‘00:00:00:00:00:00’ that indicates that no card is inserted or there is something wrong with the card. Ensure that the card is compatible with the camera and is inserted correctly as per the instructions that came with the card.
Once your camera shows a valid MAC address then you can proceed with the configuration.
Step 3 – Enter the IP address
You can either set the camera to receive its IP address automatically (using DHCP) or set the address manually.
If you plan to use DHCP then you can skip this step and move to Step 4. For those who wish to learn how to set the address manually, read on…
To take the camera off DHCP you need to check the button ‘Use the following IP address’. This will open further options as shown below:
Sony SNC-P5 Wireless settings page (Firmware version 1.22)
Enter the following details:
IP address: Enter an address suitable to your local network which isn’t being used by another device. We suggest that you stick with the same address as the camera uses for its wired (Ethernet) connection.
Subnet mask: Enter the subnet mask of your network. This would normally be 255.255.255.0 for a standard class C address (one which starts 192.168…). Again copy the subnet mask from your wired (Ethernet) connection if you are unsure.
Default gateway: This is the address of your router. If you are unsure check the settings for the wired connection of the camera.
Primary/Secondary DNS: You will normally get your DNS addresses from your service provider. If you don’t have a note of them you can use your default gateway address as the Primary DNS server and the router will handle the rest.
Step 4 – Setting the SSID
The SSID is very important. It’s the name given to your wireless network and if the SSID in the camera does not match the SSID in the router then the camera will never connect to the wireless network.
The SSID can be found in the wireless settings of your router or wireless access point. You will need to log in to that device and take a note of it. Then go back to the wireless settings of the camera and enter the SSID in the box provided (just delete the default SSID that is already entered into the camera and replace with the one from your router or access point).
Note that the SSID is case-sensitive so upper-case and lower-case letters should be entered into the camera exactly as they appear in the router (max. 32 alphanumeric characters). We would advise that this is copied and pasted if possible to avoid error.
Step 5 – Setting Infrastructure mode
Just under the SSID is the network type. For everyday purposes we would use ‘infrastructure’ mode so make sure that option is checked.
Ad-hoc mode allows the camera to connect to another wireless device without going through a wireless access point. For example the camera can be configured to connect directly to a laptop without being accessible to the rest of the network. It’s a pretty niche function so for now keep the camera on normal ‘Infrastructure’ mode.
Step 6 – Wireless Encryption
The final step is to consider wireless encryption.
Wireless encryption is the technology which puts a lock on your wireless network so other users in the surrounding area can’t jump on and use your connection.
Unfortunately the wireless connectivity is rather limited by offering WEP encryption only. The length of the WEP key is 40 or 104bit and can be HEX or ASCII.
Ensure that your router or access point has the same WEP encryption settings and enter the WEP Key shown into the camera, again using copy and paste if you can to avoid error.
That should be all you need to set for the average user. Simply unplug the camera from the network and restart it by cutting the power for 60 seconds. It should come back onto your network but this time connected wirelessly…
MAC address filtering
On all wireless networks you can further increase the security by only allowing certain wireless devices to connect. This is done by using the MAC address of each item as the method of filtering. You specify which MAC addresses are allowed to connect and doing so are blocking every other device. This is an important step as unless the MAC address of the wireless card is added to the router as a permitted device it simply won’t connect. It’s not mentioned in the main guide because this feature is not activated in a router/access point by default so it is assumed that if a user is using this feature then they will already take this into account.
Frequently Asked Questions
I have done everything but my camera still refuses to connect, what now?
We get this a lot and we find with the majority of people it’s down to not entering the correct information into the camera. We would advise people check their settings thoroughly remembering that the SSID is case-sensitive. If still no luck consider the possibility that the wireless network has restricted access by MAC address using MAC Address Filtering. If you haven’t configured this in the router yourself contact the person in charge of setting up the router. If no-one else has touched the router then chances are there is no filtering in place. If you still have no luck contact a member of technical support from the company you purchased the camera from for futher assisstance.
I think I may be experiencing interference on my wireless network, what can I do?
We’ve done a full guide on how to combat wireless interference. Check it out here: HOWTO: Prevent Wireless Interference