DIY: How to Hook Up Wireless Camera Systems to a Computer

by David Weedmark Google

    There are two types of wireless camera systems that can be accessed by your computer. Wi-Fi network cameras, including models made by D-Link, connect to your computer through your Wi-Fi router. Other wireless cameras, like models made by Swann, come with their own proprietary wireless receiver, which can be connected to a computer with a USB cable. Not all wireless cameras can be accessed by your computer -- at least not very easily. Many nanny cams, for example, are designed to be self-contained systems that broadcast only to their own monitors. The manufacturer's documentation will tell you if the cameras can be hooked up to a computer.

    Wi-Fi Network Cameras

    Step 1

    Mount the network camera as desired according to the manufacturer's instructions. Install the camera's software on a computer that is connected to your Wi-Fi network. A setup wizard should guide you through the process. Create a username and password when prompted. You will need this to access the camera in the future.

    Step 2

    Accept the default settings during setup, unless you have customized the setup of your router. For example, when asked to select DHCP or a Static IP address, select "DHCP" unless you have manually programmed your router to use static IP addresses.

    Step 3

    Specify the security mode you use on the router. If you don't need a password to access your Wi-Fi, specify "None" as the security mode. If you do need a password, you need to specify if it is using WEP or WPA2 security. Unless your router is more than a few years old, it probably uses WEP, which is more secure than WPA2.

    Step 4

    Make a note of the camera's IP address during setup if the camera can be accessed using a Web browser. The IP address is a series of digits, such as ""

    Step 5

    Open a new Web browser window and type the camera's IP address in the address bar, unless the camera can only be accessed by the manufacturer's software. Enter your username and password when prompted.

    Cameras With Proprietary Receivers

    Step 1

    Hook up the cameras as directed by the manufacturer's instructions. Ensure the system is compatible with your computer operating system.

    Step 2

    Examine the receiver for a video-out port compatible with your computer. In most cases this should be a USB port. If the receiver has a USB port, it may not be necessary to connect it to a power outlet while the computer is on, as some receivers can draw power from the USB connection.

    Step 3

    Access the wireless camera as you would any webcam. If the camera system did not come with its own software, you will need to install a third-party software to record video from the camera.

    About the Author

    David Weedmark's articles have appeared in dozens of publications since 1989, including "The Windsor Star" and "The Ottawa Citizen." As well as being a technology consultant, he is the author of several books, including "The Tanglewood Murders." Weedmark studied English at the University of Toronto.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/ Images