How to monitor CCTV equipment with PRTG
Originally published on April 08, 2019 by Sascha Neumeier
Last updated on April 15, 2020 • 10 minute read
Is your company equipped with a video surveillance solution? In recent times, CCTV solutions are used in more and more areas.
Today I want to introduce you to some value added use cases of video surveillance solutions, and show you how to integrate your CCTV system into your PRTG Network Monitor environment.
Before we get started, let's take a quick look at the definition of CCTV.
iClosed-circuit television (CCTV), also known as video surveillance, is the use of video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place, on a limited set of monitors. Though almost all video cameras fit this definition, the term is most often applied to those used for surveillance in areas that need observation and where security is needed.
If you want to learn more about CCTV, I recommend Patrick's article 4 Thoughts on CCTV (and the Future of Urban Life) to you.
Use Cases of a CCTV Solution Which Add Value
There are plenty of possible value-added use cases of a CCTV solution:
- Area surveillance
- Entrance monitoring
- Perimeter control
- Exhibition object surveillance in museums and galleries
- Control of production processes
- Security surveillance of public spaces
- Home Security
How Do I Monitor CCTV with PRTG?
Now you are probably reading this article because you already have a CCTV solution in use and would like to monitor it with PRTG. This is why I will show you what options PRTG offers you.
Basically the monitoring of CCTV depends strongly on which data is available and shared by your device. But, as a rule of thumb, if your device can communicate via SNMP or if you can pull data through any kind of REST API or HTTP API, you are able to monitor your device with PRTG.
Generally we recommend that you at least ping the device (as long as it is IP based) to see if it’s up and running (this can be done by our Ping Sensor). Alternatively, if it has a web GUI, you can use our HTTP sensor to ensure the GUI is working properly.
Of course, you are interested in more information than that, so here are some general recommendations on what you can monitor with our predefined sensors:
|Power Supply/ UPS||This helps you to locate reasons for trouble of your CCTV system; is it really the camera that’s broken or is there something wrong with the power supply?||Through Ping, direct SNMP polls, passive SNMP Traps and passive HTTP Push Data|
|Storage||Of course, you would also like to know if the DVR/ NVR/ SAN/ NAS that stores the recordings of your cameras still has enough space available, and be alerted well in advance of not being able to store more recordings.||Through Storage Sensors, EXE/Script (PowerShell), EXE/Script Advanced, MIBs via SNMP Library and receive HTTP/Push Data|
|Other data collected by your devices (temperature, movement, light, sounds, vibration…)||As mentioned before, different cameras will give you different additional information – and they can be integrated into PRTG as well!||Through EXE/Script (PowerShell), EXE/Script Advanced, MIBs via SNMP Library and receive HTTP/Push Data|
If your camera solution has an API interface, then the respective manufacturer or supplier of your camera solution also offers the API definitions necessary for communication. If you need further API information, please have a look directly at the manufacturers website.
Our excellent support team is happy to assist you with PRTG-related questions but does not know the API definitions of the countless device manufacturers on this planet.
Step-by-Step Guide Using an Axis Camera
To give you an example on how to monitor an AXIS Q6115, there are a few steps to follow to add such a device and its related sensors to your PRTG installation.
- Download the MIB file which contains the AXIS ROOT and the AXIS VIDEO MIB file from the download area of the Axis website.
- Use the Paessler MIB Importer to import those MIB files and to create an OIDlib file
- Copy this file into the /snmplibs subfolder of your PRTG installation
- Create a new device in your PRTG installation and add an SNMP Library sensor
- Select the just-created OID file in the drop-down menu and add it to the sensor
- Now you can choose from a list which provided sensors you desire and there you go!
Visualize the Data on a Dashboard
Once you collected all this data, you could create a map that serves as a dashboard for your CCTV system. Here is an example:
If you need help integrating your live video into your map, follow this link.
Don’t Observe Your Staff!
Sadly, there are some companies out there that want to control their workforce with video surveillance. Apart from the fact that such practices are against common decency, this is illegal in many countries!
That’s why I would like to address a personal appeal to all the managers and bosses who think employee surveillance is a great idea:
Trust your employees and use tools like video surveillance only for the purposes they were designed for! Filming employees knowingly or unknowingly to control them is not one of them!
Sascha Neumeier, Against human supervision
Well, that’s pretty much it. Of course, what I have described in this article also works for almost all other IP-enabled devices that offer any kind of data communication (SNMP, API).
Have fun integrating your devices! 😊