Internet Protocol (IP) cameras, including Wi-Fi security cameras, are designed to receive control data and share images through an IP network. As such, an offline IP camera could only point to a power or connection problem. After the camera has been started, it will remain offline until it connects through the Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection.
If this connection fails, the device will remain to be offline, hence inaccessible. This may be brought about by different things, including high-bandwidth usage on your network, low camera battery, misconfigured router setting, or even corrupted data and files on the camera or router.
This being the case, different solutions may be used to resolve the issue and restore the camera to the proper working condition. Throughout this guide, you will learn what causes an IP camera to go offline and the various methods you can use to fix the issue.
To resolve the IP camera keeps going offline issue, first, check the power source and socket then reboot the device to clear temporary files that may be corrupted. If this does not resolve the problem, scan the system to identify any IP address conflicts that may be preventing the camera from connecting.
In other cases, you may need to reconfigure network settings on your router or even factory reset the camera to bring it back online.
What Causes an IP Camera to Go Offline?
Different things can cause your IP security camera(s) to go offline. Discussed below are some of the common issues that can cause the camera to disconnect or appear to be offline:
Power Supply Issues
As you may be aware, some IP surveillance cameras are powered by a rechargeable battery while others need to be plugged directly into a power source.
A depleted battery on a battery-powered modem will cause the camera to shut down, hence go offline. If this is the problem in your case, you only need to recharge the battery and power the device back on.
In corded models, insufficient power will cause the device to shut down. This will happen if you connect a Power over Ethernet (PoE)-enabled camera to an overloaded circuit.
For the camera to be online, it needs to connect to your private network through Wi-Fi or Ethernet. A problem in the router or connection can prevent the camera from connecting—hence go offline. Numerous connection issues can affect an IP camera, ranging from wireless network interference to misconfigured router settings.
Again, you need to provide the right password for the camera to connect. If the password is changed, the camera will automatically disconnect and go offline. To fix such an issue, just connect using the right password to your network.
The IP camera will not be able to connect through the router if you are using the wrong configuration settings—either because the router has never been configured or the settings were previously changed.
On rare occasions, a router can also reject the Wi-Fi channel used by the camera because it is not supported or the channel is overcrowded.
IP Address Conflicts
It is possible for an IP camera on your security system to be assigned the wrong IP address. If assigned the same address as another device on the same network, either of the devices will block the other from connecting. If the camera is blocked it will automatically go offline.
Outdated/ Corrupted Files
It is common for the temporary files stored by either the router or the camera to become corrupted. This can be resolved by restarting the device to clear the temporary files. Corrupted or outdated firmware on the IP camera can also cause it to go offline every now and then.
If this happens to be the problem on your camera, you need to update the firmware to the latest version, as illustrated later on in this guide.
How to Resolve the “IP Camera Keeps Going Offline” Problem
The right fix for this issue mainly depends on what is causing the camera to go offline in the first place. To begin with, it is advisable to just reboot the problematic camera. This will automatically flush the cache and recalibrate settings and refresh connections that may be causing the issue.
If the camera is still offline, ensure that it is in working order and powered on. You can do this by checking the Status LED lights on the camera or just connect to its local web admin interface. Having confirmed these, you can now use the following methods to troubleshoot and fix the problem:
Method 1: Verify IP Camera Power and Connection
Rather than having multiple connections for power and data sharing, most of the leading IP cameras use PoE cables—a revolutionary technology that uses network cables to carry electrical power to the camera as well. Insufficient power is rather common, yet difficult to identify in the leading PoE-enabled IP camera models today.
Most Ip cameras feature LED lights that are meant to indicate the power status and level as well as connection and data transmission status. Use these lights to ascertain whether the camera is powered up. The following steps will help you troubleshoot power-related problems on your IP camera:
Step 1: Ensure that The Camera is Getting Sufficient Power
If your PoE camera is not powered, check whether it is plugged into a midspan or a PoE switch. If so, ensure that the device is getting the proper PoE power wattage. For instance, PTZ and outdoor IP cameras that have a blower/heater require PoE+ 30W, High-Po, or 60W of PoE power to run properly.
As you can imagine, this is higher than most standard 15W PoE switches are designed to provide. If the power drops below the required wattage, the camera may boot up, but fail to connect, transmit images or become unresponsive to PTZ commands.
In such a case, you may fix the problem by using different-wattage midspans for Ip cameras that require more than 15W.
Step 2: Use the Right PoE Network Switch
A considerable number of PoE network switches available today are not capable of providing a steady supply of 15W to every port. Though designed to deliver 15W on individual ports, such switches can only deliver about 7.5W PoE to all the ports.
It is almost impossible to get the required wattage for the IP camera on such a switch, especially if the switch is already loaded. If the switch is overloaded, you are more likely to encounter the IP camera keeps going offline issue.
To check whether this is the problem, try connecting the camera through the appropriate PoE injector or midspan. If this fixed the problem, then insufficient power is the problem you need to address on your IP camera.
Step 3: Identify Your IP Camera Power Needs
Regardless of the make and model, power consumption in different IP cameras varies from time to time during use. Your camera(s) may work just fine for a certain period until the total power consumption for the circuit is exceeded.
This can happen at different times of the day or night, causing the camera to go offline. You need to anticipate your camera power consumption fluctuations and address them accordingly to avoid this.
Step 4: Use a Managed Switch/ PoE Midspan
As opposed to unmanaged switches, the leading managed switch options allow you to track power consumption across each port using the relevant management interface. This will, in turn, allow you to limit the per-port consumption on some ports.
This allows the switch to provide sufficient wattage for the camera(s) on the remaining ports.
Method 2: Inspect the Cabling
If your IP camera keeps going offline and the Link and or Activity lights on the camera are flushing, you probably have a cable problem. As a matter of fact, most connection issues on IP security cameras have to do with the cabling. As such, it is advisable to inspect the transmission cables as well.
Using the user manual for reference, check whether all the cables are connected properly. Next, you need to inspect the cables for shorts, frays, kink, or even loose connections. Note that the power wire on PoE-enabled cameras may be working, even when the data wires are not.
To test the various cables and connections on your Ip camera, you should use a cable tester. If your camera uses a patch panel, be sure to inspect the patch cable as well.
Method 3: Refresh the Connection
This method can help reestablish the connection between your IP camera and the Network Video Recorder (NVR) security system. If you suspect this to be the problem in your case, use the following steps to fix it:
Step 1: Ensure that both the NVR system and the IP camera are powered up.
Step 2: Using a standard Ethernet cable, connect the camera to the LAN port on the NVR unit.
Step 3: Now navigate to the Shortcut Menu on the NVR live monitoring interface, as directed in the user manual. Select the ‘Video Manager’ option on this menu and then login using your password. This should display the IP camera status.
Since the camera is offline, the status should read something like ‘IPC Disconnected’.
Step 4: Select this status, right-click on it, and then choose delete from the context menu that appears.
Step 5: Having deleted the previous connection, click on the Refresh button. This should display the new IP camera connection data.
Step 6: Select the new data and then click on the ‘Match Code’ button. If successful, it should change the IP camera status to ‘connect success’s. At this point, the IP camera should be online and working.
Method 4: Ping the IP Camera to Discover it
Pinging the IP camera will help you ascertain whether it is possible to connect to the problematic camera through the network. To begin with, press the Windows key on the keyboard to bring up the Start menu. Next, type CMD into the search box at the bottom of the search menu and then press the Enter key to run the search.
Select the DOS command prompt item on the search results to open it. Next, you need to execute a ‘ping’ command for the camera on this command prompt. Assuming that the IP address for the camera is 192.168.2.150, you needed to execute the following command:
Ping 192.168.2.150 -t
If the command returns a ‘Request Times Out’ or ‘Destination Host Unreachable’ reply, it is impossible to connect to the IP camera through the network. Though this may be caused by different things, it often implies that the computer and the IP camera are on different subnets or networks.
If the command returns a proper connection reply, the camera is accessible through the network. In such a case, you can use its manufacturer’s discovery utility to connect to the camera.
Method 5: Scan for IP Address Conflicts
The IP camera can go offline simply because it is using the same IP address as another device on the same network. The Windows 2000 TCP/IP allows applications to communicate with another computer over a network using an IP addresses, NetBIOS name or a host name.
Regardless of the naming convention used, the destination needs to be resolved to a hardware address—the media access control (MAC) address. This is particularly the case for shared access media like Token Ring and Ethernet. As such, a host can use the Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) to identify the MAC address of a node using its IP address.
To prevent repetitive ARP broadcast requests, each computer catches the IP-to-MAC address mappings. The Arp tool may be used to view and modify ARP table entries on your local computer. You may also run the arp command to view the ARP cache and fix address resolution issues that may be causing the camera to go offline.
How to Detect Duplicate IP Addresses Using the ARP Tool
If you would like to scan for duplicate IP addresses using the ARP tool, connect the problematic IP camera to the router using an Ethernet cable. Next, power the camera on and then connect your computer to the same router.
Now launch a command prompt by searching for CMD using the search box on your Start Menu, and clicking on Command prompt on the search results. Once open, type the following command into the command prompt then press the Enter key to run it:
Executing this command will display a table with such details as the MAC addresses, IP addresses and allocation types—whether static or dynamic—for all the available hosts. The IP camera will also be displayed on the arp table and may be identified using its MAC address on the Physical Address column.
You could also inspect for IP conflicts using the Configuration Manager. To do this, you need to launch the Configuration Manager in your PC and then navigate to the Device tab. Next, click on the ‘Network scan’ button and then search for the Camera IP address using its MAC address.
Using either of these methods, you can compare the addresses to see whether there is any other device on the network with a similar up address to the camera. If two IP cameras on your network happen to be sharing the same address, no error will be generated. However, none of the devices sharing an IP will be able to connect.
Such an issue is also known to cause IP security cameras to randomly go offline. To fix the problem, you should set a static IP address for one of the devices and leave the other one as dynamic.
Method 6: Be Sure to Use the Correct Password
To connect a device to a private network, you will be promoted to enter the password. Without the right password, the device cannot connect to the network. If you can ping an IP camera, but are unable to connect it to the VMS, discovery tool or a web browser, you are probably using the wrong login or password.
If the equipment is relatively new, you need to use the default manufacturers password to login. If the default is not working, someone has already changed the password. If this is the case, you just need to use the right network password on the IP camera to bring it back online.
Method 7: Upgrade Camera Firmware
If none of the above-described methods seems to be working and the IP camera keeps going offline, its firmware may be corrupted or outdated. It is advisable to update the device firmware from time to time. If you have not updated yours recently, check whether you are running the latest firmware version.
If not, you need to download the latest IP camera firmware release and install it on the camera. The right procedure for updating the firmware differs from one make and model to another. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions to update your IP camera firmware.
Method 8: Factory Reset the Camera
Even when you are running the latest firmware, it is possible for the camera operating system to become corrupted. This, and errors in the configuration settings can also cause an IP camera to randomly go offline. Resetting the camera to its factory settings can mitigate the problem.
However, this should be the last resolution as it will wipe the camera history and settings clean, requiring you to start afresh. The right procedure for resetting an IP camera varies from one model to another, as illustrated below:
How to Hard Reset an IP Camera Using the Reset Button
Most of the leading IP camera brands feature a reset button—often installed behind a pin hole to prevent accidental operation. Refer to the user manual to check whether your camera has a reset button and where it is located. If it does, the following steps will help you reset it:
Step 1: Power the camera on and leave it running for about 30 minutes. This allows it enough time to complete the normal startup.
Step 2: Insert a pin into the pinhole and push it gently to press the reset button for 5 to 15 seconds depending on the model. For instance, the Visix V series camera requires you to press and hold the reset button for about 2 seconds.
Step 3: After the requires reset period, release the reset button and the device will automatically reboot. This should take about a minute and the camera will have been reset to defaults by the end of it all.
How to Reset the ACTi IP Camera
To restore this camera to its factory settings, disconnect its power cable. Next, press and hold the reset button. While holding the reset button, plug the power cord back in and continue holding the reset button a bit longer—up to 6 seconds.
Now release the button and allow the camera to reboot. The same procedure may also be used to hard reset the Advidia B series IP cameras.
How to Reset an IP Camera Through the Web-based Utility
Other IP camera models do not have a reset button. Such models often require you to reset the device through the web-based utility/ device management page. In such a case, the following procedure will come in handy:
Step 1: Launch your preferred browser, type the Camera’s IP address into the search bar, and then press the Enter button on the keyboard. If you happen to have changed the default port number for the camera, type the Camera IP address: new port number into the search bar instead.
Step 2: This should take you to the login screen, where you need to enter the default username and password. Once you have, click on the OK button to connect to the IP camera.
Step 3: Now you need to navigate to Settings > Basic > Initialize—located on the left side of the window. Finally, you need to click on ‘Factory default’s to start the reset process. Wait until the progress bar shows completion before doing anything else.
Having reset the camera, you can now start the initial setup and configuration to fix the connection issue.
Ip cameras are a great addition to any surveillance or security system. However, the camera is of no use when offline. If yours keeps going offline, it probably has a power or connection problem that needs to be addressed right away.
To diagnose the issue, you first need to verify the power and connection to the camera to ensure that it is getting enough power. You also need to inspect the connection for any flaw and possibly refresh the connection to see whether it fixes the problem.
While there are numerous causes of the IP camera keeps going offline issue, this guide will help you troubleshoot and fix the issue in just a few minutes.