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Hik-Connect HikConnect - In a nutshell how does it work.

Geeman

New Member
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3
Thread starter #1
Hi All,
I hope I am not creating a duplicate thread, I did a search "HikConnect" but did not see a hit relating to an outline of how it functions.

How does the HikConnect vary from the previous remote connection where a static IP or DDNS service was used?
 

Phil

Administrator
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3,461
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#2
Hi,
It's a good question, and probably something we should have explained previously with a brief overview.
Thanks for the prompt.

A simple overview of HikVision's Hik-Connect:
Hik-Connect is essentially a web portal.
They provide a service on the internet.
You go to www.hik-connect.com
You register an account there - enter your email address and password.
You then add your HikVision devices to your account (various methods, details elsewhere - see link below for deeper information, setup videos and documentation).
[If you have multiple cameras connected to an NVR - just add the NVR to your Hik-Connect account - you will be able to see the cameras connected to it.]
You enable your HikVision devices to effectively 'phone home' to this Hik-Connect web portal (known as allowing 'Platform Access').
In doing so they are able to report their current world wide web IP address back to the Hik-Connect portal.
Using UPnP your HikVision device is also able to configure your router to permit access to it from the Hik-Connect portal.

So, you can then access your account at that www.hik-connect.com portal from anywhere in the world, click a link, and access your HikVision NVRs/cameras (without lots of technical setup e.g. DynDNS / port forwarding).

HikVision also provide Apps that work with this service.
You can use either the App of the same name 'Hik-Connect' or the 'IVMS-4500' App.
Both are available for Android or IOS (from the usual places Google Play App Store / iTunes App Store).
People feed back that the 4500 App is the more basic of the two.

Purists would argue that you are reliant upon HikVision's servers, portal, etc. for access and for security, and therefore reliant upon them to do a good secure job.

Hope that helps ...

Click the link for more detailed documents on setting-up HikVision's Hik-Connect service
 

Geeman

New Member
Messages
14
Points
3
Thread starter #3
Thank you for the explanation.

When the connection is made remotely is the video stream data routed through Hik servers or is it just the information required to make the initial connection to the NVR?
 

Phil

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#4
To the best of my knowledge, it just enables the link.
I don't think it is feasible that thousands of customers' video streams could route through HikVision's servers.

Theoretically they could use the data you are sharing with them at the Hik-Connect portal to access your cameras and NVRs.
This is a price you pay / risk you take for the convenience and ease of setup they facilitate for you.
Undoubtedly there is small print that says they will not do this, and will provide best endeavours to prevent hacking, leaks, etc.

There are degrees of risk to permitting any internet access. The most commonly used procedure (prior to having portals & UPnP solutions) was to manually setup port forwarding (and perhaps also a service such as DynDNS or NoIP to find your system on the world wide web if you do not have a static IP address). This involved a degree of manual setup and complexity, and yet is still not regarded as an entirely secure solution (you are opening ports on your router to permit access from the internet).

The most secure method of setting-up remote access is to use a well configured private VPN (Virtual Private Network), but the degree of complexity involved in doing so is such that you will find virtually no guides or instructions available for setting this up in a home user scenario.

Hence, most end-users (knowingly or not) accept the compromise / trade-off of ease versus absolute security, and use the portals and tools provided by the manufacturers.
 

Phil

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#5
To elaborate a little on VPNs and how they work, and the complexity of setup take a look at the below videos from Synology. Synology are a very savvy tech company, they provide an add-on feature for their routers to ease site-to-site VPNs, and also provide an App for your mobile devices (which will enable you to access your home/office sites).

If I tell you that these tools and these guide videos are to simplify the setup you'll get an idea of why it's very rarely done by end-users.

NB - Don't confuse these site-to-site VPN configurations with the services provided by the likes of Tunnel Bear and others that enable yo to surf the internet anonymously or say watch USA Netflix even though you are a UK resident.

It's also worth noting that a business IT Manager can more easily provision a VPN to their users, because they will already likely be running server hardware at the site which can host the VPN connections. Not something that's typically available in a home, that's why you'd need a device such as a VPN capable router or NAS to be configured for the VPN access.


 

Geeman

New Member
Messages
14
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3
Thread starter #6
Your explanation makes sense and I had pondered the security risks that may be associated with the Hik app. I went down the path of setting up a Raspberry Pi as a VPN server for other tasks but I have used it to access the NVR remotely.
 

rompik

Member
Messages
67
Points
8
#11
I used once VPN server on NAS drive - really painful to setup and use.
BUT
Some routers also have this functionality built-in. On ASUS routers it is easier to set it up (2 minutes max) that to make a cup of tea. All you have to do is: switch it on (toggle button), and come up with username/ password for remote users. That's all. Then you access that VPN using your android phone (no app is needed, just wifi settings) / laptop, etc... All the traffic is routed via your router (I have static IP though but otherwise i would use DDNS that is also built-in).
However I don't use it to view the cameras (actually don't use it at all these days). My mobile network and also my office wifi does not let me connect to VPN:(
 

Jamo

New Member
Messages
16
Points
1
#12
Hi there sorry for the thread hijack but I have created an account within the hik connect app using my phone number.

I have added my DVR, and I can successfully view my camera live and also playback.
However it appears that I have to be connected to the Wi-fi network for it to work. Whenever I leave the house and use 4G it says the camera is offline Or connection failed. Any ideas what step I have missed?

Thanks

James
 

macman

Active Member
Messages
215
Points
28
#13
Suppose I only want access from mobile devices on my local LAN, ie no internet, is it still necessary to use the Hik-Connect server?

Also, does Hik-Connect work without an NVR, ie POE switch only?

Finally, is there any limit to the number of mobile devices which can be connected to a single residential system? And if not, what happens if two people try at the same time to hold a conversation with a visitor or open a door? Is it first come, first served?
 

Dan

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#14
Suppose I only want access from mobile devices on my local LAN, ie no internet, is it still necessary to use the Hik-Connect server?

Also, does Hik-Connect work without an NVR, ie POE switch only?

Finally, is there any limit to the number of mobile devices which can be connected to a single residential system? And if not, what happens if two people try at the same time to hold a conversation with a visitor or open a door? Is it first come, first served?
The answers to your questions based on our experiences with the app are below:

1) Hik-connect will still be the easiest way to access on a mobile device even inside your LAN because even though your WiFi connects to your router it actually uses a different range to the wired network that the cameras are using and so you can't just simply enter the IP addresses of the devices and connect, you could always set up port forwarding to access device directly but this is a much more complicated process.

2) Yes, you can add the cameras on their own but this has to be done individually with each camera being added to Hik-connect as its own device, but once you have them added to Hik-connect you can select multiple devices and live stream them all at the same time.

3) As far as we are aware there is no limit, but once you have added a device to one account you have to either login to the same account on multiple phones to access that device or unbind/share the device with other users. When the doorbell rings your hone will ring like it is receiving a phone call and you will have the option to answer or hang up, we have never tested multiple users receiving the doorbell notification but we would assume that the same as picking up a phone call it would be first to respond that could interact with the visitor.
 
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