Makovoda Notes: Overview Of Ajax Security System CCTV Capabilities

Makovoda Notes – This review is almost entirely devoted to the new functionality that appeared in the iOS application to manage the Ajax Systems security system. We will talk about camera support for CCTV. But before I get to that, I’d like to say a few words about those things that I haven’t shared in previous reviews.

Therefore, we will first talk about the experience of using SpaceControl and the changes that have taken place in the iOS app during the year and the reasons why I did not buy myself bacons than I had planned to connect to the control panel.

 

SpaceControl operating experience

It is perhaps for me the second most important tool to manage Ajax hub after the iOS app. In addition, my wife uses the keychain every day. Our impressions are pretty much the same. If you don’t go into detail, the SpaceControl is a reliable device that can survive even, say, after washing in a washing machine.

During nearly ten months of daily operation, the batteries of the key chains (of course, according to the readings of the hub) were discharged by 25%, which is fully in line with the autonomy declared by the manufacturer. The only moment that bothered us was the periodic triggering of the panic button. It not only worked with light pressure when pressing adjacent buttons while arming or disarming,

The problem of false positives has been fixed in the new hardware version of SpaceControl, which we have been using for over a month and a half. During this entire period, we have not recorded any false alarms.

The new version of the keychain is no different from the old one, except for the light indication. A red LED appeared in the center and the hub interaction indication changed to as follows. When the button is pressed, two LEDs adjacent to the pressed button light up once – the command sent by the button is delivered to the hub / integration module.

Half a second later, the green LED in the center lights up – the command has been executed by the hub (indication when SpaceControl is working with the hub on Hub OS 2.0 and above). If after half a second the red LED in the center lights up, it means that the command has not been executed by the hub.The red LED in the center is briefly lit when the button is pressed – the command sent by the button has not been delivered to the integration hub / module (the addressing device does not work or the key fob is outside the radio communication zone).

When you press any button six times, four lights flash – the key fob is not registered in any security system. Once the main indication is displayed, the central red LED will turn on and off once (only if the key fob is in communication with the concentrator) – the key fob battery needs to be replaced. main indication displayed.

 

Apple Watch app experience

Since purchasing my Apple Watch last December, I’ve been using the app all the time to arm my alarm when I leave home and turn it off when I return. The app on Apple Watch determines your location using GPS and reminds you to arm the control panel when you leave your home area and to disarm it when you return.

Of course, the precision of the actuation is not a jewel (the GPS signal is not available inside), but sufficient so that, after having moved away from the house of a few tens of meters, n ‘remember that you have to keep your home safe. In addition, the watch receives notifications from the app with information about alarms and events. 

 

Changes and new features in the iOS app

Since my last review, where I talked about the functionality of the iOS app, enough time has passed for the information to be somewhat out of date. This fact made me devote some time to the new functionality that the program managed to “develop” during this time. On the other hand, I want to note that Ajax Systems has taken the right path and is developing features according to users’ wishes.

 

New partial arming logic

DoorProtect settings with a switch for partial arming

This is what the sensor looks like, which will be partially armed

To be honest, I have been waiting for this feature for a long time. In my case, arming a whole group of sensors, for example a corridor, is redundant. But it would be very useful to separately include the door closing sensor in the security mode.

This is useful, as I said in the review of the new sensors for Ajax, because sometimes in the evening you can forget to close the front door with the key, anything can happen. Some thieves use it to take a wallet out of a bag left in the hallway overnight. In conjunction with signaling using HomeSiren, you can scare off such an impudent person and instantly wake up in the event of an alarm. Those who live on the ground floor can add GlassProtect to DoorProtect, which would protect.

 

Automation of actions for WallSwitch

Ajax Systems is gradually starting to develop the concept of smart home. In the current program update for WallSwitch, it has become possible to configure the behavior of the relay for remote control of the power supply of electrical devices. Now the set of actions is very simple – WallSwitch can perform three types of actions when arming and disarming the system.

They are the following actions: turn on, turn off the power, do nothing. But with these simple triggers, you can already automate some actions that had to be done manually before.

Three types of actions WallSwitch can perform when arming and disarming

For example, you can turn on a lamp connected to a socket when setting up an apartment’s alarm. This is useful if you are going away for a long time, for example on vacation. Or, you can also connect WallSwitch to electric taps and when arming the water in the apartment will be shut off, and when disarmed it will turn back on.

I chose another scenario for myself. My WallSwitch will control the outlet of the tub to which the boiler is connected. When arming, the boiler turns off, when disarmed, it turns on. You can find more ideas on how to use the new feature in an iOS app in conjunction with WallSwitch in the article on the Ajax Systems blog.

 

Support for IP cameras for video surveillance

Based on the list of features offered by Ajax security system users, camera support was most desirable. I admit that I wanted to look at what was going on in the apartment myself, so I looked for a solution that would help achieve the desired result. But in the end, I couldn’t find anything suitable. Not satisfied with either the price or the functionality.

Image received from camera. There is also the possibility of a landscape orientation

The camera image replaces the device thumbnail in the app and the added photo for the room where it is installed

Now Ajax Hub users have the option to add any IP camera that supports RTSP protocol to the app. Basically, RTSP support allows you to receive a video feed from a camera and display it on your smartphone screen.

While the settings are frankly meager. In the app, you can give the camera a name, add a link to capture an RTSP stream, and assign the device to a certain room. Below I will talk about how it works and give a few words about how my camera is connected to the Ajax system at home.

 

Minor improvements

SIM card malfunction indicator

No indication on the SIM card

Among others, the new version may please with the list of improvements below.

The possibility of adjusting the brightness of the indicator light on the body of the Ajax hub.

  • Adjusting the backlight intensity and the volume of the sound signals on the Ajax KeyPad.
  • Indication of the status of the SIM card in the hub.
  • Two new localization languages: Spanish and Portuguese.

Overview of video surveillance features

Finally, we arrived at the most important: connect and configure an IP camera. All of the above can be taken as a little instruction on how to connect an IP camera to the Ajax Systems security system.

So, I’ll start with the goals I set for myself when I decided to install a CCTV camera:

In fact, put an IP camera;

  • Power it on with PoE. This will halve the number of wires supplied to the camera and greatly simplify the installation;
  • Compensate for the inability to back up camera material to the cloud and store it on a device located on the local network;
  • Allows viewing of camera images outside of the local network.

On paper everything looks crisp and beautiful, but in reality I had to face a number of issues, the solution of which I will share with you. So of course I started by choosing an IP camera. I had the following camera requirements:

1080p support;

  • Night shooting mode;
  • Lightweight to mount the camera on a suspended ceiling.

To be honest, this is my first experience with IP cameras in principle. Therefore, I consulted friends who were clearly more experienced than I in this area and, armed with new knowledge, began to search for a suitable device for me. Finally, I opted for the Tecsar Lead IPD-L-2M30F-poe IP dome camera.

It is worth saying a few words about the device itself. The camera is well made. No squeaks, the parts of the body are perfectly adapted to each other. The device supports Tecsar’s proprietary WDR technology. This greatly improves the quality of the image.

In addition, the camera is equipped with an infrared sensor that illuminates objects at night at a distance of up to 30 meters. The camera can be connected to a local network using a regular Ethernet cable. Powered by a 12 volt or PoE power supply. The only downside to me is the need for ActiveX to work with the camera’s web interface from the browser. Without Parallels Desktop, this would not have been possible on macOS.

Here is a little digression. If, like me, you want to power the camera via PoE, know that there are two types of PoE: passive PoE and industrial PoE standard (IEEE 802.3af / at), which are not compatible with each other. It is a pity that neither the manufacturer of the Tecsar camera in the documentation nor on the secur.ua online store website specified which PoE standard is supported by the camera, resulting in unforeseen costs.

Considering the cost of the camera (at the time of writing this was 2285 ₴), I didn’t assume that it supports IEEE 802.3af / at, which is more geared towards the fact that the camera does is powered by passive PoE. Therefore, at first I bought a MikroTik RB260GSP controlled switch for switching and power supply.

But the camera was not “leaving” him. The results of my experiments with the Switch confirmed that everything is in order with the device, and the problem is the incompatibility of the power supply standards of the camera. A telephone consultation with the staff of the secur.ua store was interspersed with the “i’s”. I asked them to edit the information on the site and add information that Tecsar cameras comply with IEEE 802.3af / at standard and not passive PoE standard.

After that I bought a MikroTik RB960PGS which supports IEEE 802.3af / at. There were no particular problems to connect the camera to it, after that I bought a MikroTik RB960PGS which supports IEEE 802.3af / at. It does There were no particular problems connecting the camera to it, after that I bought a MikroTik RB960PGS which supports IEEE 802.3af / at. There were no particular problems connecting the camera to it.

 

Formation

In order to carry out my plan, I needed the following equipment list. Please note that this is due to my goals and you may not need certain things. So, to connect the camera to the Ajax security system, I needed to purchase:

IP camera;

  • Switch with PoE support (as we discovered earlier with IEEE 802.3af / at support);
  • A 48 volt power supply, because it is necessary that a switch with IEEE 802.3af / at support can power the devices connected to it.

Everything is simple with the camera, you can search for Tecsar camera in secur.ua store yourself or any other camera that supports RTSP protocol. To power the IP camera via PoE, I chose the MikroTik hEX PoE router (RB960PGS), which, among other things, can work in switching mode. The standard power supply could not supply a voltage (it supplies 24 V / 2.5 A), sufficient to power the devices connected to the hEX PoE according to IEEE 802.3af / at, so we had to look for an alternative. I found a 48V / 2A power supply on OLX.

 

Setting up network equipment

I connected hEX PoE to one of the ports on the router (also MikroTik) and configured the device as a bridge. The router, hEX PoE and the camera are interconnected by standard Ethernet cables (I use TIA / EIA-568A), which I crimped myself. In auto power-on mode, the link on the hEX PoE port to which the camera was stubbornly connected would not go up and constantly reported a short circuit error. Once the PoE Out mode was activated, the camera started to work.

I firmly decided that the camera would not be available outside of the local network. To access it outside the apartment, I use a VPN. I have configured it for a long time, but it will not be difficult for you to configure it, because even the cheapest router now has such a feature. The bottom line is that you have the ability to handle it, or someone who can customize it is there and can help.

 

Installing the Camcorder

This article can be endless. It all depends on the individual camera settings and the goals you set for yourself. I limited myself to the following things:

Changing the default password for the admin user;

  • I have created users for me and for my wife with whom we will connect to the camera from the Ajax Systems application;
  • I made sure telnet is disabled in my camera by default;
  • Permutation of the authorization to access the feed in digest mode;
  • ARP link configured;
  • WDR included;
  • Video capture included;
  • Configure the upload of screenshots taken by the camera via FTP to a server located on the local network;
  • Custom image and feeds;

Now a few words on why I changed passwords and set other settings in the list above. Password must be changed. The default password is well known to cybercriminals and if you don’t change it there is a good chance that someone else is looking at your camera image with you. Here and here you can read how IP cameras are hacked and what they are used for afterwards. I also checked if telnet was disabled, created separate users to connect to the camera, and configured the ARP link for security reasons.

It turns out that my camera is able to take screenshots out of the box and upload them to an FTP server. I took advantage of this feature because uploading screenshots to a server physically located outside your apartment, in the event of theft, will become a good source of information on intruders. WDR improves the quality of the recorded image.

 

Add a camera to the app

The procedure for adding an IP camera to the app is extremely simple. You need to name the camera somehow, add a link to the RTSP stream, and indicate which room it is in. All. If the camera is correctly configured and you entered all the data without error, the device will be added and you will see the image.

The hardest thing in this final step will probably be compiling the very camera link you need to enter to receive the RTSP stream. In order to make this task as easy as possible, I recommend using the RTSP link generator. You can read more about this on the Ajax Systems blog.

Since I am a Tecsar LEAD camera user, I will tell you how to generate RTSP links for cameras from this manufacturer. The link looks like this:


rtsp://admin:[email protected]:554/unicast/c2/s3/live

Or:


rtsp

– the type of protocol used;


  • admin

    – Username;

  • 12345

    – user password;

  • 192.168.1.13

    – IP address of the camera;

  • 554

    – RTSP port of the camera (by default 554, can be changed in the settings);

  • с0

    – channel selection from 1 to 32. Works only with recorders;

  • s0

    – stream selection. 0 – primary, 1 – secondary, 2 in total.

You can write the link in a simpler and shorter way:


rtsp://admin:[email protected]:554/0

Or:


rtsp

– the type of protocol used;


  • admin

    – Username;

  • 12345

    – user password;

  • 192.168.1.13

    – IP address of the camera;

  • 554

    – RTSP port of the camera;

  • 0

    – flux. 0 – primary, 1 – secondary, 2 in total.

An interesting fact is that you can allow or prohibit the users you share the Ajax hub with from viewing the video from the camera. By default, access to the camera is denied to everyone except the administrator. You can activate it in the “Users” item in the hub settings.

 

What will happen next?

This question ended my first review of Ajax Systems’ security system. It’s time to ask again. In the context of video surveillance, the further development of functionality can be divided into two stages.

First step:

Addition of a list of cameras (now we know that they will only be Tecsar cameras from the LEAD line) to the application by scanning a QR code with a smartphone camera;

  • Backup of the video stream from the camera to Ajax Systems cloud storage.

Step two: release your own camera.

By adding simple actions for WallSwitch, Ajax Systems indicated their move towards a “smart home”. The next step, most likely, should be the emergence of a full-fledged script editor for WallSwitch, which will gradually acquire new features.

 

In the dry residue

Even in the current form of the Ajax security system, WallSwitch’s support for video cameras and simple actions makes it self-sufficient. Now, from the app on your smartphone, you can monitor the state of the sensors in the apartment, control the state of the outlets using simple scripts and observe what happens when you are not at home . Undoubtedly, you should pay attention to this product if you are planning to buy a security system with smart elements for your apartment or house.

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