Need education on IP, DHCP, port forwarding & similar.

EDUCATIONAL QUESTION: I need to gain some knowledge our of necessity. Here is the situation. I do NOT know my way around things such as: 1. What the function of DHCP is; 2. Why port forwarding is necessary in some instances; 3. How to configure the ip addresses of my surveillance cameras; 4. How to start anew with my NVR and surveillance system.

I did not want to take the time to educate myself on these items since I would seldom have need for this knowledge. However, since I just got a new fiber isp and virtually nothing operates properly on the surveillance system I think that I must gain the knowledge necessary to do this myself. The company I purchased 70% of the system from will assist me somewhat but refuses to assist in any way at all for the cameras that I did not purchase from them. There are many free utility programs available that I have  installed, however I need the knowledge to determine what to do with them. I think you get the picture. What my question is: Can any Expert advise me of an online course that will teach me what I need to know to understand this area of technology that will not take me overboard? I will not be doing this for a living. I just need to know what is needed to enable me to restore my system to default and start anew and KNOW what I am doing. I wish I didn't have to take the time needed to learn this, but I cannot locate a person that can guide me through all that is necessary to get things up and operating again. I would feel comfortable paying up to $100. for someone that could do this and briefly explain to me the highlights of what he/she was doing.   It is like the person wanting an elephant sandwich but not wanting to start a new elephant for just one sandwich. Your comments and suggestions would be most welcome.
Need -a- ClueRESEARCHERAsked:
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I will try for a bit to see if I can help you.

I just got a new fiber ISP and virtually nothing operates properly on the surveillance system  <-- Did this change the normal subnet inside your network?   If the ISP Router changed (because of the change to Fiber), then this likely happened.

On a computer on your network, open cmd.exe and run IPCONFIG.  What is your internal subnet?  e.g 192.168.1.x
Post a screen shot of IPCONFIG if you are not sure.

Get Advanced IP Scanner from Famatech (free) and run it.  Set it at the top for your internal subnet. Let it run. Do you see anything?  Do you see your cameras?

How to configure the IP addresses of my surveillance cameras;  <-- This I don't know.  The instructions will tell you how. If the change in ISP changed the internal subnet, this is probably where you need to look.  

Please get the information I asked about and post back.

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CompProbSolvCommented:
I can't point you to an easy resource, but can give some quick (and somewhat simplified) answers:

DHCP: Computers on a LAN need IP addresses to communicate.  You can either set the IP address (and netmask, default gateway, and DNS) manually on each device or you can use a DHCP server to automatically assign them.  DHCP servers are typically found in the router on small networks and in the server of larger networks.

With DHCP, when your computer boots up, it sends out a "Is there a DHCP server out there who will give me an address?" message.  The server and computer will negotiate the addressing information and it will be set on the computer.

Port Forwarding: the typical way that routers (or firewalls) are configured is to block all communications that are started from the outside.  Communications initiated from inside (your web browser, for example) are allowed.

If you are trying to get to an IP camera from the outside (your phone, for example), then you are initiating the communication from outside and the router will block it.

You can set up port forwarding to allow a specific port through and send it to a specific device (the IP camera).

Some camera systems have the devices (or more likely a DVR) communicate with a web site.  The DVR is then initiating the communication from inside.  Your phone would connect through the web site, which would use the connection that the DVR established.

Camera IP addresses:  It may depend on the model, but you would typically open a web browser to whatever address they are using (there are ways to identify that) and configure it from there.  See the next answer though.

NVR setup: There are a variety of NVR styles out there.  If you are using IP cameras, they typically connect to one set of Ethernet jacks on the NVR and are separated from the LAN.  The other Ethernet jack is used to connect to the LAN.  With this configuration, you don't actually communicate with the cameras, you communicate with the NVR.  You likely don't care what the IP addresses of the cameras are.  The NVR will have a DHCP server and will give out addresses to them.  You likely DO want to know the IP address of the NVR and should set it with a static (non-DHCP) address.
CompProbSolvCommented:
John is likely right on the money with "If the ISP Router changed (because of the change to Fiber), then this likely happened.".  I see this all too often.  You change ISPs or they change (or reset) the router and don't bother to note what subnet you were using.  Similarly, they often don't check your WiFi parameters and just expect you to change the settings on all of your devices instead of just setting the new router correctly.

If you can sort out what your subnet was before (likely a 10.  or 192.168. ) and set your new router accordingly, it may all work.
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nociSoftware EngineerCommented:
If the old router still available? if Yes, Can you still fire it up with no internet connection and a laptop on the LAN port?
If you could, then you can read the settings.....    (Like LAN addresses, DHCP settings  and possibly DHCP reservation, as well as Portforwarding rules) making life a lot easier.
Need -a- ClueRESEARCHERAuthor Commented:
Experts, first of all, thank you for attempting to assist me. However, I do not know enough about the terminology and concept to know how to even answer your questions. I will go over your questions and try to give the answers you are asking for. I can provide any screenshots you may ask for provided that John first answers the following question:

John, how do I know what NOT to post that could possibly identify my personal data/nvr/system information? I do not want to post any personal information. I don't know what is harmless but helpful information and what should not be posted here. I cannot post any additional information at this time due to time constraints. I will say that the cameras that are still operating DID have a 198. IP address prior to the ISP change. Now the only ones working are 10. prefixes. More as soon as I am able to provide it.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
IPCONFIG does not reveal personal information.

Here is mine.  I keep my subnet blacked out in a public forum and you can too. But you need to know what you now have and if your ISP can change your subnet back to what it was.

Windows IP Address
nociSoftware EngineerCommented:
Prevent publishiing domain names, companynames
prevent publishing IP addresses unless they are "local" / "private" ones. (Private address may never be used on the public internet, they need to be NAT'ed (Network Address Translation) before use on the internet.  
those are:
  10.0.0.0-10.255.255.255, or 172.16.0.0 - 172.31.255.255, 192.168.0.0 - 192.168.255.255. (aka RFC1918 addresses)
  169.254.0.0-169.254..0.0 (APIPA addresses, automatic assignment)
All other address point to you site.
Also wipe/filter usernames, passwords etc.

(btw, Wikipedia can be used to get more info & references on network technology).
CompProbSolvCommented:
"I will say that the cameras that are still operating DID have a 198. IP address prior to the ISP change. Now the only ones working are 10. prefixes. More as soon as I am able to provide it."
This makes a very good case for what has been suggested here, that the network subnet changed.  Are you sure it was a 198. network and not a 192. network?  It would be useful to know the rest of the IP address for any of the devices that aren't working now.

Noci gave an excellent suggestion about how to find this information.  Is the old router still available?  That would make your life much easier.
Need -a- ClueRESEARCHERAuthor Commented:
Dear Experts, first of all I truly thank you for your efforts on my behalf. But I am admitting DEFEAT AND GIVING UP. This is too much for me. When a small sledge hammer looks like a solution to these cameras and equipment it tells me that I must give up. When it get to the point that I cannot even reset the camera due to horrible instructions on the mfg website I start to think that  "this is it" for me. I will just trash the entire system, buy another Glock and be done with it. There is too much of a gap between the wonderful Experts on EE and my ability to comprehend instructions given to me without feeling like my brain is going to explode. To keep what sanity I have left, I give up.
Need -a- ClueRESEARCHERAuthor Commented:
EXPERTS - I ADMIT DEFEAT! In spite of your efforts I am afraid that this is too difficult for me and frustrating beyond belief. The instructions from some manufacturers are off the wall crazy and impossible to follow. Please don't hold this against me but I GIVE UP. I seldom give up on anything but when a five pound hammer looks like a reasonable solution to these cameras I feel that it it time to throw in the towel. ONE DAY maybe manufacturers will learn that there is the average person that needs common knowledge information to utilize their product and provide that information without having to learn Martian or whatever language they are attempting to use.
Need -a- ClueRESEARCHERAuthor Commented:
Genuine thanks for your efforts!!!!!
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Thank you and (a) sorry you need new cameras and (b) very happy to help you.

Happy New Year
nociSoftware EngineerCommented:
Try to start the New Year with a smile. Best whishes.
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