I’d like to welcome everybody here to the Supercircuits Networking 101 Webinar. We’ll let everybody join and then we’ll get started momentarily. Before we get started I wanted to cover a few things.

D-Link DCS-7010L Mini Bullet

Training Goal: Helping You Have an Understanding of IP

The goal of the training is to help you have an understanding of IP. What we’ve realized and what we think is happening is a lot of our dealers are analog experts, but they don’t really know that much about IP. Hopefully, when I’m finished with this webinar, you’ll be educated enough to talk to your customers and hopefully allow you to sell more IP products.

What’s a Network?

What we’re going to cover now is basic IP 101. We’re going to start out with: What’s a network? Everybody hears the word network thrown around pretty loosely, but a lot of people don’t really know what one is. A network is two or more devices, that are connected together that share hardware and software.

They usually share the same topology and protocols. Below is a good representation of an IP camera network. You’ll see that ourDIGIOP IP cameras are cabled into a switch, it also shows the video network recorder. From there you’ll see the client work station and router, everything pulled together.

Local Area Network

On this network, you’ll see that it goes into the internet and it shows smart phones connecting to it, as well as a remote work station. Next we’re going to talk about Local Area Networks. A Local Area Network is called a LAN. Everybody says, “Well what do you have on your LAN? Are you going to create your own LAN?” And a lot of people, especially dealers that are experts in analog but haven’t really put in IP systems, they don’t really know what one is.

So I want to educate you on what a LAN is. A LAN is a Local Area Network. It is called a LAN because of the way it’s set up. LANtopologies include bus, star and ring. Most everybody is going to be set up on a star topology. If you look below, I’ve got a star topology set up on a LAN. It’s several computers set up that way. What I would like to really emphasize is that 95% of every topology on a LAN is a star topology. You’ll want to use a star topology because if one computer or device drops off, you will not lose your network.

Wide Area Networks

Next, I’m going to cover Wide Area Networks, also called WANs . What’s cool about a Wide Area Network, is it allows you connect two remote locations via a leased line, and treat it like one big LAN or a WAN.

I’m going to give you a good example. Imagine if you had your business in Dallas, and then it’s set up with its own LAN, and you have your business in Houston and it’s set up with its own LAN. Well you want to keep the two connected continually. Well, what you’re going to do, you’d lease a line form Cox, or you’d lease a fiber line from Time-Warner, and you’d have direct connectivity continuously between the two buildings, and that’s how you create a WAN.

Your Backbone in Your Network

Your backbone in your network is really the connecting cables between floors, or between areas in a building. Most of the time, when people talk about the backbone, they’re going to say, “Well, did you have a gigabit backbone?”

They’re really wanting to know about how robust your infrastructure is. On my diagram below, to help you have a visual representation of what a backbone is, I’ve got a 3-floor building. Between each floor is your backbone. That could be fiber, or it could be gigabit CAT-5E or a gigabit CAT-6, connecting into each router. Backbones are very important.

You usually don’t want to run a weak or a narrow bandwidth backbone. And I’ll get into more into that in a minute. Next, I’m going to talk about network technologies. I just wanted to bring this up for an education or backdrop information.

IEEE – the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers – was established in 1980. This institute developed the set of standards called the 802 project. It’s pretty crucial when you start thinking about protocols and how things work together. The 802 projects, you have the 802.3, which was for IBM, and then it rolls onto 802.11 which is what you’re going to hear the most of.

802.11 refers to the wireless standards that your laptops or cameras can communicate on. Within the 802.11, there are 3 commonly used wireless standards or networks: 802.11b, g, and n. B came out in the 1990s. It was 11 megabits on the 2.4 GHz frequency. Shortly after, g came out, which allowed you to move up to 54 megabits on the same 2.4 GHz frequencies.

And then, most here recently, n came out. What’s nice about n is it runs on the 5.8 GHz, so there’s not nearly as much interference, and you have a 300 megabit bandwidth. I recently hooked up a 802.11n router in my house, giving me up to 300 megabits in connectivity. Now my choke point is literally where it hooks into my modem. In my neighborhood you can only get 26 megabits down.

So I’ve covered topologies and LANs and WANs and backbones. Now I want to get into some of the harder aspects of what networks and how all the items work together.


We’re going to start with cable categories. You really have category 3, category 5, category 5e, category 6 cable. They’re all very similar. They all represent data transmission, but the speeds vary between them. Really, when you start talking about a twisted pair cable, the tighter the twist, the faster the cables can talk to each other.

Below, you’ll see the category 3 cable, and you can see how the pairs are not really twisted together very tightly, and then, right above it, you’ll see the category 5 cable and you’ll see that the twists are a lot tighter. Category 5 can move faster speeds than category 3.

To help you understand this, under the category cables and the cable standards is speed, length, and cable type. So, a 10 megabit or a 10 T cable, which is CAT-3, can do 10 megabits per second and can run for 100 meters. 100 T cable, which is category 5 cable can do 100 megabits and it’s still limited to 100 meters of distance it can run.

And then, finally, you have your category 5e, or CAT-6 cable, and it is a gigabit cable, and it can also still go 100 meters. Wondering why I keep saying the 100 meters part? I want to emphasize, when you’re running IP, the maximum distance that you can run it before you have to do an extender or a power injector is 328 feet or 100 meters. Unlike analog cameras, where you can do from 100 feet, and if you do an injector you can do 1,000 feet. Cable standards, within the IP world, is 328 feet.

There are actually several type of category or UTP cable grades. You have CAT-3, which is our 10 megabit that I just spoke about. You have CAT-4, it was really only used during token-ring topologies, and it was a 16 megabit. It’s fallen out of favor, along with CAT-3.

Then you have CAT-5, which is 100 megabit, and then you have CAT-5e and CAT-6, which is gigabit. I often get asked, “What’s the difference between CAT-5e and CAT-6? They’re both gigabit.” Well, CAT-6 is a thicker copper and has a middle riser that separates the cables as it twists down the main shielded cable.

Whereas CAT-5e is wound tighter and then it winds upon itself. Both of them are gigabit. It’s up to you on what you want to install.CAT-5e is a little bit cheaper, so most people tend to gravitate toward it. I personally like putting in CAT-5e over CAT-6. Not because of cost, but because I can put the CAT-5e RJ-45 connector on three times as fast as I can a CAT-6. That little riser, for whatever reason, for better or worse, gives me fits when I’m trying to cut it out and move quickly.

What is Bandwidth?

Originally, we were talking about backbones and how you wanted to have a robust backbone. Well that had to do with bandwidth. Bandwidth is defined as either channel capacity or maximum throughput on your network.

When I think of bandwidth, I often give an analogy of, imagine going to work from your house, and between your house and your work, you go down this main interstate or thoroughfare. When school’s in session and early in the morning, there’s a lot traffic.

So you have what I always consider low bandwidth, because you’re not able to go your maximum speed that you would want to go, because there are all the other cars around you. Same thing applies if you had CAT-3 cable and you only had 10 megabits of bandwidth, but yet you wanted to send 16 megabits worth of data. It takes longer to get that transmitted.

However, imagine going to work on a Saturday to pick up your laptop or your wallet that you left at your desk. You leave early Saturday or Sunday morning, there’s no traffic, you’re able to go the maximum speed you want to go and get there twice as fast. Well that’s what happens when you use a gigabit cable or fiber. You open up the bandwidth, and then it’s how fast can you transmit that data – how fast can you move it.

When I was talking about cable standards and cable in general, I mentioned RJ-45. I want to show you a visual representation of an RJ-11 standard phone jack connector, and an RJ-45, a common Ethernet cable connector. If you look below, they both look like phone jacks. The RJ-11 is your standard phone jack, that’s been around for 100 years. Then the RJ-45 is your network connector. It is just an over-sized looking phone jack.

Along with cable standards, I want to address the difference between a patch cable and a crossover cable. A patch cable is just a shorter cable version of what you’re going to run in your network when you’re connecting cameras to the switch. Patch cables, if you want to test a camera, require you to plug the patch cable from your laptop into a switch and then get another patch cable and plug it into the device you want to test. It’s important to know how they are set up. The ends are plugged in; wired in just as if you’re doing big runs.

Crossover cables, however, allow you to test stuff on the fly. Basically the pins are reversed on each end from each other, and it allows you to plug from a laptop directly into an IP device and get connectivity. I suggest you keep a crossover cable in your bag, or on your truck so that when you’re in the field, in case you’re having problems installing something.

The crossover cable helps you quickly identify what’s going on. It allows you to log directly into your IP device. It doesn’t require you to have a switch or anything like that. It’s pretty important that you have these with you for testing purposes and it’ll allow to then make your install quicker.

So we covered what LAN, WANs were, we talked about networks, network standards, along with different types of cable. I want to get into some more hardware components and really start talking about network components. Hubs, switches, and routers; and I want to identify the differences between them.


A hub is a device with multiple ports which has several cameras hooked to it, or several computers. People often get hubs and switches confused. Hubs are the original switch, so to speak. There are some limitations with hubs. They have no real intelligence on moving data between two devices quicker. Hubs also share total network bandwidth, so if you have a 100 megabit hub, and you have 8 items plugged into that hub, they have a maximum bandwidth of 100 megabits that they can share between them.


Switches generally have some intelligence built into them. We call them smart switches. It really increases efficiency of data transmissions. What’s nice about a switch, and what separates it from a hub is you have a maximum bandwidth per channel, so if you have a gigabit switch, you have a gigabit per channel that you can push data through. This makes it a lot better than a hub. The price between hubs and switches are really close, so everybody usually uses a switch or smart switch.


Routers allow you to speak to different networks in the building or in the world. For example, if you have a network set up in your house – a LAN – everything on that LAN can talk to each other. But when your LAN or a computer on your LAN wants to talk to the Internet, to a computer in a different state or a different country, you have to use your router to transmit that data up and out, and it manages that.

Along with talking about network components, I want to talk about MAC addresses and what is a MAC address. You’ll hear that term thrown around loosely. A MAC address, which is a Media Access Control, is referred the physical address that is set up onto the NICcard or on each device.

Think of them like social security numbers. Nobody has the same social security number in America. The same thing goes for MACaddresses. No one has the same MAC address on any of their devices. This allows you to locate devices on a network quickly and easily.

Differences in Protocols

There are two basic protocols used in the world today, TCP/IP and UDP. Most, if not all, IP cameras use UDP protocols. For better or worse, they allow you to transmit live data quicker, and I’m going to explain that.

UDP protocols allow you to transmit data packets. What’s nice about UDP protocols is they do not require a packet to check and make sure that your other device has received the data. So they can spool out a lot of data really fast and then they move on to the next task.

In the case of an IP camera, it’s just going to start spooling out data. It doesn’t need to check and make sure that you got the data, it’s just going to keep feeding it in a live fashion. If you get it, great. If you don’t, that’s unfortunate.

TCP/IP was developed in the US in the 1970s for ARPNET. It was really set up to make stuff scalable and more reliable. TCP sends out large amounts of data, and then every so often it’ll send out a message asking if you got all the data packets.

It then waits for a response from the computer it’s sending the information to, and if the computer that’s receiving it says, “Yes, I’ve got everything,” then it’s going to continue sending the data until it’s done with its task. If the computer on the other end sends back a message saying, “I’m missing data packet 3 of 100,” then it knows, “Hey let me resend data packet 3.” It keeps all your programs complete and whole.

A lot of people don’t always grasp the difference between TCP versus UDP. Imagine a post office; you have several different ways of mailing items in the post office, but imagine you can send a letter registered. That’s just like TCP. You send it registered. The postman delivers it, he requires a signature. He sends that signed piece of paper back to me that lets me know that my mail made it to the recipient.

UDP, on the other hand, is like sending postcards out for Christmas. I’m going to send 100 postcards out to 100 people, and if they get them, they get them and if they don’t, they don’t. I don’t really want to spend too much time thinking about it, it’s just about ease of use, and getting it out there.

IP Addresses

IP addresses are required for TCP/IP communication. IP addresses must be unique on each network on a LAN or WAN. You do not want to choose your IP addresses randomly, you will want to follow a method. If is your base IP address on your LAN, then you will want to go up in a systematic order as you add devices. Other parameters around TCP/IP are sub-net mask, default gateway, and DNS servers. As we talk about these, I want to show you where you would set them up on a computer.

On cameras, it’s going to be similar. On a computer, if you were to hit your start button, go into the control panel, and then click “Networking”, about the 4th or 5th option down on your Windows Networking Connection Properties is something called Internet Protocol version 4, TCP/IP V4.

Click the properties on that and to the right of it a box will appear. You can see how you have your IP address, your sub-net mask, and your default gateway. That’s where you set everything up and each computer and each camera needs to be independent and different from each other.

I often get that question: “What is a sub-net mask and how does it apply to me?” Basically a sub-net mask is a 32-bit binary number system. Really what people need to take away from “What is a sub-net mask?” is it allows you to know how many routers you need to talk between networks.

I’m going to give you some examples. You have 3 classes of sub-net masks. Class A, class B, and class C. Class C is what 95% of us are going to use, When you set up that sub-net mask, that means that on my network of computers that can talk to each other, I’m going to have 255 possible combinations including my base 1. So that means I can put 255 cameras on a network or I can put 255 devices on a network.

Class B allows you to scale up into a larger infrastructure system. It allows you to put 65,000 different IP addresses on one network and they can talk between each other before you need a router. Class A actually takes it up from there and allows you to do up to 17 million possible combinations before you need a router.

Most everybody is going to use Class C. When we start talking about IP addresses, and the range of addresses that people are going to use. I wanted to kind of talk to that as well. You have Class A, Class B, and Class C. About 95% of y’all are going to use 192.168.something for setting up your networks. If you see a 172, that’s if there’s a secondary network in your LAN, so you have a couple of LANs in an area or in a building. The 10 networks are generally going to be your commercial grade networks, set up by aCISCO IT director. So, most everybody, you’re going to do 192.168. In the next couple of trainings, we’re going to dig into that even more, to help you understand how to set up stuff on a network, and hopefully that will answer a lot of your questions moving forward.

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)

Everybody doesn’t say it in full, what they say is DHCP. What’s nice about a DHCP protocol is that you don’t have to set anything up. It’ll just reach out and ask the router or smart switch, “Who am I, and what IP address can I use?” It automatically identifies that based off the information given from the router or smart switch, and then it gets its own IP address.

Then it’s automatically on the LAN and you’re talking to it. I want to talk about ping characteristics, which ties into TCP/IP. To ping something is to test the connectivity between two devices on your LAN. This is really important to know. If you go to your start menu and go into the command prompt and type ping plus an IP address, you would see if it is live and working. If you were to type in ping, space, and then an IP address, like, the following information would roll out.

What you want to see is that you have 0 data packets lost, and that you know everything was received, so that means you’re having connectivity between 2 devices. If you do not get that, if you get a “timed out, timed out, timed out,” several times in a row, listed right one after the other, that means that, if you’re trying to ping a camera to see why the camera’s not coming up, either the camera is not plugged in, the camera doesn’t have the right IP address, it may not have the right sub-net, it may not have the right gateway.

Or you may have the connectors wrong, I mean, you could have the pin out in your cable wrong. Also, please note, if you’re going to be installing gear, I always suggest having a cable tester, that allows you plug into each cable as you terminate it and make sure that the pin out is correct and you’re getting connectivity down the cable.

DNS Characteristics

DNS defines things in a hierarchical name space for computer networks. When you think of DNS characteristics, what does that mean to you? Well, in layman’s terms, you will hear me talking about an IP address, 192.168.whatever.whatever. If you were to call me and say, “Hey, I want to go to your website.” And I said, “Great.” And so, instead of directing you to Supercircuits.com, what if I told you needed to go to 72.374.whatever.whatever. Numbers are really hard to memorize. For that reason, they really came out with theDNS characteristics and it allows you to attach names versus numbers, to get to an address.

Below, you can see my photo representation, like Microsoft.com. When you type in a name, it points to a numeric IP address and directs the person to that site. Next, I’d like to cover the differences between dynamic IP address versus static IP address. Your Internet Service Provider, or ISP, can either give you a dynamic IP address or a static IP address. Dynamic IP addresses change, they’re dynamic, they do not stay the same. They change based off of the ISP and their protocols. You could have a dynamic IP address that changes every 5 minutes or it could change every 5 days. We really don’t know.

Static IP addresses are different. They never change and they’re something that you have to get assigned to you from your ISP, and they generally make you pay for it. If you’re lucky, they will not, but 9 out 10 ISPs charge you $10-50 a month, usually towards the higher side.

They usually tell you they have to get a commercial cable connection to get a static IP address. How to manage dynamic IP addresses without paying for a static, it’s pretty simple to explain here. One of the hardest things that you’re going to explain to your customer, however, is, after you sell them the gear, after you charge them for the labor for the install, you’re now going to make them pay their ISP for a static IP address.

Again, this varies from really $10 to $50 a month. It generally ranges between $30 and $50. One of the benefits we can help you here, is a DNS server. It’s something we provide to our dealers at no additional charge. A DNS server, for your understanding, allows you to set a name IP address, and then it keeps up with the numeric IP address as it changes.

So, imagine, you set up BobsHomeDVR.com, well our DNS server or any DNS server says, “Okay, BobsHomeDVR.com has this numeric IP address,” and then it’s going to check, and then any time that changes, it’s going to update it. So when you come in and you type in www.BobsHomeDVR.com, it goes to the DNS server and says, “Hey, what’s my current numeric IP address.” The DNSserver responds with, “Here’s your proper address,” and it directs you to the site. We provide this server, this cost for free.

There are several online sites that do this and they generally charge around $39 a year. It’s still cheaper than doing the monthly deal from your ISP provider. What I know most of my dealers are doing now is, since they are managing or charging to watch their burglar system, you know $14.99 – $24.99 a month. What they’ll do is they’ll also add, for RMR, they’ll add a $5 up-charge to do their DNSserver. They explain what they’re going to do for them.

We actually do not charge anything to our dealers for this service, and then they get to charge RMR. They manage it on their end. We actually teach the dealer how to log on, how to set everything up, how to manage it. It’s pretty simple. Next training, we’ll actually cover that in detail.

I want to close on terms applied to our industry, just to help wrap things up. We’ve covered infrastructure, setups, LANs, WANs and then we covered components such as CAT-5 cable and hardware such as switches and hubs, and then we rolled into IP addresses and MAC addresses.

Terms and Gear-based Information in our Industry

Pixels versus megapixels. Pixels are used as a unit of measure. In our industry, it is a measure of resolution, such as 2400 pixels per square inch. Mega refers to 1 million. Therefore, if you have a 2 megapixel camera, you really have a 2 million pixel camera, or right at a 1080p camera.

DVR versus NVR. In the analog world, DVRs have been around for almost a decade. DVRs are Digital Video Recorders. A DVRtakes analog cameras, converts the analog signal over to a digital signal, and records it to a hard drive. Most DVRs are networkable, and people then get that confused with an NVR. NVRs do not take in analog signals. They are going to take in IP signals from the beginning. So, you can take an IP signal in, it records it to the hard drive. It is also networkable and can be viewed anywhere in the world.

What separates most DVRs to NVRs are IP cameras. The lowest resolution of an IP camera is the highest resolution of a DVR. So your NVR is going to be able to record standard analog, D1, which is a low resolution for IP cameras, all the way up to 5 megapixels or 10 megapixels. NVRs are where everybody is moving towards. It allows you to have the CSI moments, where you can zoom in after the fact, from recorded video and get that facial shot, of the guy breaking into the house and stuff like that.

That concludes everything that I wanted to talk about today. Please let me know any questions, and we will go from there.

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