How Can a Wireless Video Camera Have Its Own IP Address?

With millions of people around the world now using wireless home security systems, there are literally tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of wireless devices connected via the internet at any given time. Wireless home security is growing at such a fast pace that it is difficult to pinpoint exactly how many devices are actually in use. For example, no one really knows for sure how many wireless video cameras are connected to the Internet at this very moment.

So, how is it possible for you to connect to your own DIY wireless camera system using a mobile device and an internet connection? It’s all made possible by something known as the IP address. Think of an IP address is the same kind of thing as your mailing address. Your house has a unique identification number on the street where you live, as well as zip code based on your city and town. Your mailing address is unique to your house.

Likewise, every device connected to the internet receives a unique IP address. Traffic destined for individual devices is directed across various networks by their IP addresses.

Two Kinds of IP Addresses

IP addresses are divided into two categories: static and dynamic. A static IP address is one that is fixed; it never changes as long as it is assigned to the device in question. You might think that the majority of devices connected to the internet have static addresses. But guess what? They don’t.

Static addresses are rare. In order for you to get a single static address for your home network, you would have to arrange it through your ISP – and likely pay extra for it. Then you would have to configure your router to assign a static address to each device on your system.

Dynamic addresses are generally not the norm. They are often compared to the telephone numbers assigned to pay-as-you-go cell phones. Once a cell phone’s service runs out, the number is dropped and ready to be reassigned to a new phone.

Dynamic addresses are controlled by what are known as ‘leases’. A typical lease for a home wi-fi network is a couple of days. As long as a device (like a wireless video camera) remains connected the lease never expires. But once a device is disconnected, the clock starts ticking on that lease. The IP address is dropped if the device is not reconnected within a certain amount of time.

Wireless Home Security and IP Addresses

Older IP address technology based on the IPv4 standard has about 4.3 billion unique IP addresses to work with. The newer IPv6 standard has not only increased that number to trillions, but it has also introduced 128-bit encryption to make Internet connections more secure.

In theory, it should be generations before wireless home security gets close to running out of available IP addresses – if that ever happens at all. But rest assured network engineers are already working on contingency plans should that prove to be the case.

In the meantime, something as simple as a unique IP address is what makes it possible for you to access every DIY wireless camera in your home using a mobile device. Night or day, you can log on to your system to see real-time video feeds, reposition your cameras, or arm/disarm your security system. The IP addresses assigned to each device in your system tie everything together in a nice, neat little package that makes accessing your wireless home security as easy as mailing a letter to your grandmother.