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How we set up our camera Network

We thought that people might be interested in how we set up the wired network for our IP cameras.

The network wiring was put in by Jonathan using Cat6 cabling and Cat6 wall sockets. The switches are all gigabyte switches, although the IP cameras only run at 100mbs the gigabyte system gives us the speed for the Mac mini in the workshop and the Synology NAS and Reolink NVR in the garage.

Below is a diagram of our network with explanatory notes below.

Network Diagram

As you can see our router which is in our study/office upstairs has a feed that was put up through the ceiling to a 8 port POE switch in the loft. The external wiring to the garage and the workshop was taken in conduit down through the soffit from the loft and then down the right hand outside wall of the house. There is a 4 port POE switch in the workshop which feeds the two Hedgehog feeders and Hedgehog Nest Box 3. This also gives network access to a Mac Mini PC that I have in the workshop. There is another feed from the 8 port switch in the loft that goes to a 16 port POE switch in the garage. This serves the Hedgehog nest box 4, Starling Boxes 1 & 2, Bird Feeders 1& 2, the Pond and the wood pigeon nest cameras.

Camera connectorThere is a feed and a 12v 60w supply going to a 4 port switch in the Nest Box 2. This gives a link to Nest boxes 1 & 2 cameras. As this is not a POE switch there is a splitter in the 12v supply that powers the cameras.

I also have running off the switch in the garage a Synology Diskstation NAS which is my system backup and a Reolink NVR which is a backup recording device for the Reolink cameras.

As we wanted to add another Hedgehog feeder and a camera monitoring the gate. We decided the easiest option was to put a 4 port POE switch in one of the feeders using the original feed from the workshop. The POE switch is fed from the 12v supply that I put in to run the microphones. The original power supply wasn't of sufficient power so I uprated it to a 5A 60w power supply. Although this switch is running outside so to speak the Hedgehog feeders are quite dry inside and it has been out running all winter in rain and snow without any ill effects.

Most of the Ethernet cabling and 12v supply cabling is in conduit. However I have been using some exterior grade Ethernet cable for the Bird Feeder cameras which isn't in conduit which is mostly attached to the fences around the garden.

When connecting the Ethernet cables to the cameras, it is not usually a problem with the cameras in the nest boxes as they usually quite water tight. However for the cameras such as the bird feeder and the pond cameras I initially tried using waterproof boxes and sealing them with waterproof sealant. Unfortunately these waterproof boxes are not that waterproof and the sealant breaks down after time and water gets into the Ethernet connects. Then due to the current running through the wires the contacts start to corrode and you loose connection to the cameras. This can be a real pain as on a couple of cameras that had been out in the garden for a couple of years I had to cut off the old Ethernet female connector on the camera and re-solder a new connector and cover each wire with heatshrink. it was a bit of a chew!

To get around this problem I now use the Ethernet connectors that were supplied with the cameras but then put a large piece of heatshrink around the connector heating it up with a hot air gun and closing it at both ends with a cable tie while the heatshrink was still warm. For added waterproofing I put some Araldite epoxy resin glue at the open ends of the heatshrink. As you can see from the picture on the right each of the cameras has an additional 12v and a reset button lead. These are wrapped in waterproof tape to stop them from corroding.