Accessing home network and security cameras from anywhere in the world is not a new concept, but if we want to go for a completely free solution, without a monthly or yearly payments, just put to use an old android phone/tablet. We present you a fully working simple solution for remotely accessing home network & security cameras using an old Android phone.
Steps for remotely accessing home network & cameras.
Before you start
1) An old android phone/tablet/stick with OS version Kit Kat (4.4)or above. Custom OS such as CyanogenMod might not work as Team Viewer app does not support it. – NO ROOT REQUIRED. A few phone models such as HTC 626G+ does not support the remote view of team viewer.
2) Wifi router with active internet connection. (PPPoE enabled so that no login from a web page is required every day)
3) Team Viewer Host app with Addon if required & Team Viewer app for accessing the android phone at home, remotely.
- Register a Team Viewer account if already not registered from here.
2. In the phone/tablet which will be stationed at home, (in this case, it’s a tablet Dell Venue 8 running KitKat 4.4.2 version of Android) install Team Viewer Host. After installation, once you open the app, if required the app will prompt to install an Add On. If prompted please go ahead and install the add-on app as well.
3. From the Host app login to your Team Viewer account which was created earlier. The app will send a verification email to allow the new device to be registered into your account. Please click on the link “Add to Trusted Devices” and in the page which opens up click on “Add Device” as shown below.
4. Login again into the HOST app which will give you a screen like what is shown below. Don’t get confused, this app will not do any visual functions.
6. In the Windows app, on the right side panel under My Computers, you can see the name of the Android device which is stationed at home. Double click to open it and click on the Remote Control tab above which shows the screen of your device on your PC screen. Control it as you do with your touch using the mouse cursor. This app also gives us options for managing the apps, shows running processes, Wifi settings and a Dashboard with gives the overall status of the device. Another feature you have is File Transfer which allows you to transfer the files to and from the device. The below screenshots would give you an idea.
7. If you are accessing from another Android device, in this case, a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 with Cyanogen OS KitKat, sign in to your Team Viewer account from the app, go to My Computers and click on the connect button which launches the screen of the remote device. You can use it just like your phone with touch. The phone version of the team viewer app does not support other options such as File transfer, System Status, apps, running processes, dashboard and Wifi settings. But all these can be viewed by accessing the screen remotely. If you see the screen below, you can see the app for CCTV, the Guarding Expert and I am not showing you the view of those as it would be a breach of privacy.
Advantages of this setup
The uses may differ from person to person, but in my case, the main purpose is to access CCTV and download movies remotely.
1) ACT Fibernet which is one of the fastest broad bands in India do a double NAT’ing so that the users will not get a public IP address at all, hence no CCTV solutions will work as the home router has a private IP address starting with 10. Else we have to subscribe for static IP for which we have to shell out ₹ 2000 one time activation. Most of the Indian’s including me would go to any extent and try any complex methods to save some money :-). So I came up with this solution to monitor the camera’s at home from anywhere in the world. Connect to the tablet at home, get to its screen, open the CCTV app and view it as you do it from your phone/PC. The video clarity and speed would depend upon your broadband speed.
2) Access files from home network from any part of the world. Connect your hard disk to the router or if there is any PC with shared folders in the home network, you can access it from the phone, remotely. Access the remote screen, open the shared hard disk or folder from home network and copy the file to the phone first. Using the file transfer option in the Windows PC app, you can receive it to your device from anywhere in the world.
3) To Schedule downloads. Suppose you are in Office and you need to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones which is released on torrent, the Monday morning. Access our home device, download the torrent and keep it ready, so that once you reach home, the episode would be ready and all you need to do is to pick up the pop corn and watch it on your TV. If your office Wifi is unrestricted, you can even try copying the episode from the home device to your PC and watch it during the boring meetings. Please note that I am not responsible if you are fired from your job.
4) Serves as an extra camera: You can setup the device with the back camera facing to a part of the house which is not covered by the CCTV camera’s so that if you need to watch the live feed of that part of the house, fire up the camera on the device and it’s on your screen. You can even take a photo or video which will get saved in the device.
5) Access router and manage: You can access the router using the app (if supported) or by opening 192.168.1.1 and monitor the devices connected to your router and disconnect it if required.
Things to keep in mind
1) Make sure the device stationed at home is a place which is having a good Wifi reception as the signal quality and strength are factors which affect the video streaming.
2) Do not ever disconnect from the Wifi remotely, as you won’t be able to connect it back again since you do not have access to the device anymore.
3) Try not to reboot the device, as sometimes once rebooted the device may not get connected to Wifi automatically.
4) Remove screen locks such as passwords, patterns or fingerprint authentication.
5) Once the CCTV view or File sharing are completed, make sure that you exit the apps properly before disconnecting from the remote device. As the app will remain open which gives extra load on the device causing it to over heat over a long period.
6) In the HOST app, click on the 3 dots icon and go to Advanced option > Eco Mode. Make sure that Eco Mode is disabled as this will keep the HOST app running in the background all the time which helps us to connect to the device without much delay. Also in the same options make sure that UDP is enabled, for better performance.
7) No need to keep the HOST open on the screen all the time.
8) Keep the device in charging all the time. Don’t worry this won’t eat up much electricity.
Get in touch with me if you have any comments, queries or suggestions to improve the setup. I would like to thank @teamviewer for coming up with such a brilliant app.