Which device to use...?

Hi, I have a questions regarding which type of networking device to use for a particular situation.

I have a security camera system that works over IP. Each of the 16 cameras plug into ports on an NVR switch. The NVR streams to the  Internet via a Netgear ProSAFE 8 Port unmanaged switch.  So in recap,  we have each camera, plugging into a port on the NVR and then streaming via Ethernet cable to a single port on the Netgear unmanaged switch. The switch has another cable that provides the IP address from the ISP's router.

Via a software application provided by the camera vendor, each camera is assigned a channel via IP address. Each camera also has a MAC address, but I cannot assign channels via MAC addresses - only via IP.  Once manually set up, each camera will takes its place in the assigned channel lineup for viewing. In other words, camera 1 may be on channel 7 and camera 2 may be on channel 10, etc.

The problem is that when I have some sort of power outage, all the IP addresses get resigned by the switch and the cameras fall offline.

Hence, my cameras which may have been on x.x.x.1 to x.x.x.16, may now end up on new IP addresses such as x.x.x.17 to x.x.x.32 and so on. However, the channel is looking for the old IP addresses to make the connection for viewing.

From what I understand, there is no way to restrict IP addresses within the switch. So, I think my problem is that the switch is issuing IP addresses sequentially each time it power cycles and it never starts from x.x.x.1 again. The result is that the cameras can't find their hardcoded IP addresses again per channel.

What I would need is a device that issues IP addresses from x.x.x.1 to x.x.x.16 ONLY each time it power cycles. So, there would be no chance of getting an IP address beyond x.x.x.16. That way, the camera on channel 7 knows that it uses x.x.x.1 and it falls back into place.

My question is (and sorry for the long explanation) - what type of networking device should I use instead of an unmanaged switch to ensure I get the exact same IP addresses each and every time the device power cycles?

Thank you for your help,
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
What's your definition of an NVR switch?

Ignoring that since in 23 years as an IT professional I cannot recall someone talking about an "NVR" switch, Network switches (unless they are high-end managed switches) do not issue DHCP address/IP Addresses.

The question is, what on your network does?  Any DECENT DHCP server will allow you to create reservations based on the MAC address ensuring the cameras always get the same IP.  Alternatively, set the camera IPs statically.

Full disclosure, I don't deal with IP camera systems often.
Mr_FulanoAuthor Commented:
Lee, an NVR switch is a "Network Video Recorders", which are very common devices in the security camera world. I did misspeak however, its not an NVR that my cameras plug into, its a PoE (Power over Ethernet) switch, which are needed for cameras that extend over 100 feed from the switch.
Mr_FulanoAuthor Commented:
CORRECTION...my cameras plug into a PoE switch (Power over Ethernet). NOT a NVR switch, which is a "Network Video Recorders."
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Your problem lies with the DHCP server in use. What are you using for DHCP and what is the least length? Based on your situation, you probably should create reservations on your DHCP server for each of the cameras. That way, you're assured that no other device with get assigned those iP addresses.

Another thing, you are using some sufficiently sized UPS units, right?
Samuel K.Commented:
Actually you can assign static ips to cameras.

On your DHCP server, ensure to reserve the range of all those cameras. In your case, i think you should reserve range x.x.x.1 to x.x.x.16.
Mr_FulanoAuthor Commented:
I'm not sure what you mean by "DHCP Server." There is no actual server. I get the main IP address from the router, which goes into the Netgear switch. That gets translated to 16 other addresses by the switch itself.

Where would this server be?
Samuel K.Commented:
Since you are using unmanaged switch, so i am assuming the DHCP server in your case is on the router.

Please check any config setting on your router having a dhcp range. On the same settings there must be a possible config option to reserve IP addresses, either individually or a range of ip addresses.

Which Kind of router are you using?

Note that also some NVR  can also be configured to provide DHCP range. So please check which among the NVR and router is having the dhcp server enable.

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DHCP server can be lots of devices, whether you have a server specifically doing it or a router. Since the answer is your router, that's where your reservations might need to be made.

That gets translated to 16 other addresses by the switch itself.
This is totally incorrect. Switches don't do NAT, but routers can. Now maybe your NVR doubles as a router and has a DHCP server built into it, which would make sense. If this is the case, then it becomes a question of whether the NVR allows DHCP reservations. If not, setting static addresses on the camera might be the only solution.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like your layout is this: Cameras are connected to a POE switch, which is connected to the NVR. The NVR is then connected to an unmanaged 8 port switch that's connected to your ISP's router.

To get a better idea of what's going on... is address range of your cameras different than addresss of your NVR? I'm betting the answer to this is yes.
Mr_FulanoAuthor Commented:
Gentlemen, you ask really good question that made me re-evaluet how my camera system gets its IP addresses. Originally I though the NetGear switch issued the IP addresses based on what it saw in terms of MAC addresses, but that seems not to be the case.

Coincidentally, while all my testing was going one the PoE Switch failed to work. That was the cause of my cameras falling offline. So, at least we now know the cause of my root problem. The cameras are all on again and the PoE has been removed from the system.

Thats said, I believe that the DHCP server is the NVR. It has to be, because there is nothing else that can issued IP addresses in this system. So, if I do reconnect the PoE (which is doubtful) I would look into setting up Static IPs for all the cameras and avoid the DHCP ordeal.

The two posts that made me think this issue through the most were from Samuel and from Masnrock, so I'm going to close out the question and split the points evenly.
Mr_FulanoAuthor Commented:
Thank you both for the help! Good points from both of you.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
You realize there is a very easy way to determine which device is the DHCP server?

Plug in a laptop.  Then run IPCONFIG /all and see what DHCP server is listed.
Mr_FulanoAuthor Commented:
Thank you Lee. Much apprecaited.
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