A stream or camera is switching between online/offline

Flapping cameras happen to be one of the most common issues we see in our customer base. Numerous reasons can contribute to this hard to diagnose phenomenon. 

You may have:

This article takes you through all these scenarios to eliminate them one by one. Hopefully you will find the problem and we can recommend a fix. 


  • Ethernet Cable Problem: Ethernet cables fail, it is a fact of life. Bending, twisting, pinching, pulling, heat, cold, moisture and crimp connectors all contribute to loss of proper service on a cable.    
    • SOLUTION: Replace the cable
  • Fiber Optic Cable Problem: Fiber optic cable is a great thing. Extremely long runs are possible, unlike copper twisted pair. Cracks in the fiber, improper termination, and dirt on the cable tip or switch port cause signal loss (failure).
    • SOLUTION: 1. Clean the cable and reconnect it. 2. Try moving the cable to another port on the switch. 3. Replace the cable.



  • Switched Network Congestion: Network congestion is usually caused by an unexpected or unplanned bottle neck in the transport path. Check that Gigabit or faster service is running on all switch interconnect ports and the recording server port.
    • SOLUTION: 1. Replace 10/100 switches and network cards with gigabit. 2. Make a dedicated switched video camera network if possible. 3. If camera streams must ride on a generic data network, turn on 802.1q VLAN and use class of service tagging on switches to assure video streams get the highest priority of transport.
  • Camera Stream Passes Through A Router: It is not recommended that a cameras stream be routed to a recording server.



  • Camera Firmware: Cameras are small computers with a photo imager, microprocessor and network card. Just like any computer they need updates. Some cameras may not be fully compatible with every device or software in your environment. New camera models and new VMS releases will be most susceptible to these issues. 
    • SOLUTION: Always check and update camera firmware Always install the latest camera driver pack from the VMS manufacturer.
    • Check the VMS and Camera manufacturer community forums for comments about your specific camera firmware or model. If you are having a compatibility problem, you are most likely not alone.



  • Switch Port Failure: Switches have problems just like any other electronic device. If you look carefully at the switch you will see that the ports in a switch are in groups. Each of these groups is controlled by a single chip. So you may have issues with more than one port on the switch.
    • SOLUTION: move the cable to a different port on the switch that is not in the same group.
  • Switch Failures: Switches just like any computer fail for any number of hardware or software reasons.
    • SOLUTION Reboot the switch. If you are rebooting a switch more than once per year, update the firmware if available. If that is not the answer then replace the switch.



  • Long Ethernet Cable: The 330 foot maximum run for an Ethernet cable is a limit for data signaling.  Power over Ethernet (PoE) was never considered and did not exist when this specification was created. Long cables cause a decrease in voltage to the camera at the end of the cable.
    • SOLUTION: Insert a Ethernet power injector on the cable as close to the camera as possible. 



  • Camera Overheating: Some cameras get very hot during normal operation indoors in open air. Outdoor enclosures that are not designed specifically for a particular camera can trap heat. Sunlight greatly increases the temperature in an enclosure. 
    • SOLUTION: Invest in the camera manufacturers approved outdoor housing for the specific camera model you are using. Do not mount cameras in or near heating ducts.



  • Signal Interference: Viakoo has seen that copper cables and wireless link cameras running near devices with high EMI/RF emissions will have problems with reliable transport of signals. Fluorescent lights, high powered area lights, radio transmitters, transmitter antennas, and DC motors all emit EMI/RF.
    • SOLUTION: 1. Relocate the Ethernet cable away from the EMI/RF sources 2. Move the wireless camera to a new location away from interference sources. 3. Use high-gain directional antennas on wireless cameras and transceivers.



  • VMS Configuration: The VMS controls the cameras in more than one way. Some video management software is extremely complicated. They have many software adjustments. Some parameters are buried in undocumented configuration files. Viakoo has actual experience with one VMS losing all camera connections about once every minute. The TCP connection to all the cameras was reset by the VMS and the cameras would take about four seconds to reconnect.
    • SOLUTION: If you have checked everything else, Open a ticket with your VMS manufacturer.
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