Setting up SAMi for access over the internet

Enabling internet access allows you to monitor and control the camera using the SAMi app from remote locations. Normally access is restricted to the local network in your home. Turning on internet access allows the SAMi app to find and connect to the camera from anywhere with an internet connection including using mobile data. If you want you can also enable Guest Access to the camera for live viewing with a web browser. Unlike with the SAMi app, using a web browser is restricted to live video and audio only. There is no alarm function or access to the recordings.

As a security measure, whenever the camera is being viewed over the internet via the SAMi app or a browser via Guest Access the power light on the front of the camera will flash.

NOTE: The internet access feature can use encryption, but it is slightly less secure when enabled than leaving the internet access disabled. Be sure to use a good camera password (recommended is at least 10 characters and including a mix of numbers, symbols, and upper and lower case letters).

NOTE: If you are using a SAMi router (for example if you purchased a SAMi Kit) or if you have a more complicated network with multiple routers, these instructions will not work. Send an email to support@samialert.com and we'll step you through the process.

WARNING: Be careful if you use this feature with mobile data. Additional charges from your mobile provider may apply. The live video uses about 2MB every minute. You will use 1GB in about eight hours. This is only an estimate, and your actual data use may be greater.

Setup Instructions:

  • Start the SAMi app and select Settings -> Camera Settings -> Internet
  • Turn on the switch for Enable Internet Access

The camera will now attempt to configure your router to allow access using uPnP. If this is successful the Status will report "Online".

Once the status is Online you can use the SAMi app from anywhere with an internet connection. Note that the video delay will be somewhat longer when connected over the internet, typically 5 to 10 seconds. Also, if you are connected using mobile data recordings will not automatically transfer. You can still download these manually.

Internet Setup Troubleshooting:

If connecting to the internet fails, follow the instructions below based on what the Status line reports. Any time you make a change you can touch the Status line to try again.

No Internet Connection:
This indicates that the camera cannot access the internet. Check that the camera is connected to a router that is connected to the internet and that the internet connection is active. If you using a SAMi router contact us for assistance.

Router uPnP Disabled:
This indicates that the camera was unable to configure the router using uPnP. Use the instructions for your particular router to enable uPnP. For example, here are the instructions for Comcast's Xfinity router:

https://www.xfinity.com/support/articles/configure-device-discovery-for-wifi

Note that uPnP needs to be enabled, but zero config can be off. After enabling uPnP on your router try to Enable Internet Access in the SAMi app again. If you cannot enable uPnP you will need to manually configure the router.

Camera Not Reachable:
This indicates the camera can't be reached from the internet. This should not happen when Automatic Configuration is used, and it usually means that there is a problem with how the router was manually configured or that the manual port number you've entered doesn't match the one assigned to the camera.

Manual Internet Configuration:

"Abandon all hope ye who enter here..."
...just kidding, but these instructions  assume a basic working knowledge of networking.

If you cannot get uPnP to work, or you don't want to use uPnP, or if you have a more complicated network, you can manually set up the internet access. Every router is different, so these instructions are just to get you started.

Complete the three steps below:

1. Assign an IP address to SAMi

Port forwarding requires that the SAMi camera be assigned an IP address on your network that never changes. You have two choices here:

You can configure the router to use a "reserved ip". This is the preferred method. Associate the IP address you want to use with the camera's MAC address. (The MAC address is on the back of the camera.)

As an alternative you can set SAMi to use a static IP address:

  • Start the SAMi app and select Settings -> Camera Settings -> IP Address
  • Change Configure IP to Manual
  • Enter the camera IP address, subnet mask, and router IP address. Choose an IP address that is not in the router's DHCP range, is within the subnet range, and is not in use by any other device. Usually you can leave Configure DNS set to Automatic.
  • Touch "Done" to apply the change.

The camera will restart. The power light should turn green and then the SAMi app should reconnect to the camera. Note that if you make a mistake the camera will likely no longer be reachable and you will need to reset it and reconnect it to the router to try again. Once the camera is working with the SAMi app proceed to step 2 below.

2. Configure port forwarding on the router

There are two ways to configure port forwarding on most routers. You can enable "DMZ" or you can set up a specific port forwarding rule. DMZ works by forwarding all ports to a single IP address. Use the camera IP address you chose above. Using a port forwarding rule is generally preferred as it is a bit more secure. If your router supports it, choose a random port number between 10000 and 65535 and set it up to forward to the camera's IP address and port 80. Some routers don't allow this port remapping. In this case forward just port 80 to the camera's IP address.

Once the router port forwarding is configured proceed to step 3 below.

3. Configure SAMi:

  • Start the SAMi app and select Settings -> Camera Settings -> Internet
  • Turn on the switch for Enable Internet Access if it isn't already on
  • Set Configure Router to Manual
  • Enter the port number. If you set the router up for DMZ, enter 80 for the port. If you set up a port forwarding rule, enter the random port number you chose (or 80 again if the router doesn't support remapping).

The app will now test the connection. If it fails review that steps 1 through 3 were completed correctly.

Guest Access:

Once you have connected SAMi to the internet you can also optionally enable Guest Access.

  • Start the SAMi app and select Settings -> Camera Settings -> Guest
  • Turn on the switch for Enable Guest Access
  • Enter the Internet Name for the camera. This is used to create the URL (web address) your guests will type in to their browser to view the live video from your SAMi camera. For example, if you choose the Internet Name "anderson-cam", the URL will be "https://samialert.net/anderson-cam". Choose a name at least 8 characters long. If the name you choose is already in use by someone else you will be prompted to change it.
  • Enter in a Guest Username and Guest Password. Anyone trying to connect to the camera will be prompted to enter these before access is granted.

IMPORTANT: Be aware that, along with the video, audio is also always available. Only share the URL, Username, and Password with people you are comfortable with having this access. You can disable Guest Access or change the Username and Password anytime you like.

Guest Access Troubleshooting:

You should be able to access the camera by typing in the URL into a browser address bar. For example, enter "samialert.net/anderson-cam" if you've set "anderson-cam" as your Internet Name. You will then be prompted to enter the Guest Username and Guest password. Note that this is different from the camera password.

Most modern browsers work fine, but older browsers may not be supported. Here are some browser-specific issues you may run into:

Chrome (Non-mobile):

Using the Chrome browser requires Adobe Flash be installed. If you get the message:

Error loading player:
It appears Flash is blocked or not installed. Flash is required for the SAMi live view. 
Please enable it and refresh the page.

Enable flash by clicking on the "i" at the left of the address bar and selecting "Always Allow on this Site".

Screen Shot 2018-05-01 at 4.27.39 PM.png

 

Safari (Non-Mobile):

When you connect with Safari you will see a still image. You will need to press the play button to the left of "Live Broadcast" to start the live video.

You can make Safari auto-play by choosing Safari -> Settings for This Website, Disable the content blocker, and set Auto-Play to "Allow all auto-play".