FOSCAM – FI8918W Dropping WIFI Connection after periods of connectivity

Why is this important?

·         If you own the popular and inexpensive FOSCAM IP Camera with WIFI capabilities, you may be interested in my findings related to an issue where after a number of hours or sometimes days the WIFI connection is dropped.  The camera still appears to be connected according to the green rapid flashing LED indicator, but pinging the camera receives no reply and the http connection to the camera times out.

 

Description of the issue

·         If you have this FOSCAM IP Camera, you may or may not have experienced this issue.  While connected over WIFI, you may experience after a period of time of successful operation that the camera suddenly becomes inoperable.  This could be characterized by the following symptoms:  you ping the camera’s IP address there is no reply, or when you connect to the camera’s HTTP interface there is no response.  During these symptoms your camera will have a rapid flashing green LED indicator which suggests that the camera considers itself connected to the network.

 

Workaround

·         For several weeks, I applied a workaround to correct the problem by restarting the WIFI router whenever the camera connection was lost.  For some reason, when the router was restarted the IP Camera was picked up again.   I even built in some automation for this workaround by adding javascript into a custom HTML camera monitoring page to restart the router at a click of a button (well actually three buttons). 

 

Resolution

·         I had previously presumed this problem was with the IP Cameras since I didn’t have any such problems with any other wireless components on my network.  That is, until I purchased the DELL V515W All in One WIFI printer.  This printer was also suffering from the same dropping from the network that the IP Cameras were.   So I began to investigate whether this was a router defect. 

·         The problem where cameras became inoperable after a period of time ceased after setting up those IP Cameras on an older Belkin WIFI 801.11G (F5D7230-4 6000)  router as a subnet on the original WIFI 802.11 PRE-N (F6D4230-4 v2) and port forwarding requests to those IP Cameras via NAT.

 

Old Network Layout

 

New Network Layout



·         So my conclusion is that one or many of the following were the root cause of the original issue:

o    The original Belkin WIFI router model number F6D4230-4 v2   itself was not compatible with the IP Cameras (and DELL V515W printer). 

o    The original Belkin WIFI router model number F6D4230-4 v2  is a “PRE-N” router and as such the implementation or the 802.11N functions were early and not to the 802.11N full standard.  This resulted in the problems with both IP Cameras and the WIFI Printer.

o    Making use of NAT/Virtual Server port forwarding to forward requests to the cameras through the subnet circumvented whatever the original issue was when connecting to the IP Cameras on the same subnet.  Once the http access to the cameras was done via WIFI Router #2, the root cause (still unknown) was no longer triggered.

o    Offloading the WIFI traffic of the IP Cameras from WIFI Router #1 to WIFI Router #2 may have allowed each router to become more stable with less load or less radio traffic on that WIFI channel.

 

 

Hopefully this investigation and conclusion helps other owners of these IP Cameras reach stability in their network setup.