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Troubleshooting Intermittent Camera Connectivity Issues on a Security Network with Boring Toolbox, Slack, and Axis Network Switch

Solving for intermittent camera connectivity issues can feel a little like a never ending game of I Spy. Follow along as I troubleshoot a flapping camera issue on network with the Boring Toolbox, slack, and an Axis Network Switch.

Last night I did some firewall patching to squash some bugs and vulnerabilities in my VMS.  Today at around 2pm I started getting a flood of Boring Toolbox notifications in slack. (yes, I connected Boring Toolbox to Slack).

70 slack notifications later and I was finally convinced to investigate further.

Troubleshooting

First thing I did was log into Boring Toolbox to make sure I understand the current state of the VMS and if the camera was currently online.

I am running a couple of Intel NUCs which sometimes get overwhelmed so I logged into the server and checked the system resources.  All looked good.

I logged into one of the cameras that was having issues and it looked good too.

Next step was to log into my Axis T8508 POE+ switch and see if there were any errors on the interfaces.  The Axis firmware has an awesome feature called topology where you can see what your network looks like.

Axis T8508 Network Switch topology

The little red circles on each of the cameras are signaling that these devices have notifications that need attention.

I clicked on the camera which was flapping and I found the issue.  Can you see what it is?

Axis T8508 Network Switch topology Detail

That’s right, an IP conflict.  The Axis switch provided an easy to understand visual and easy to understand plain language error report.

I recycled the interface to reboot the camera, the switch topology  map updated and showed me that the camera picked up a new IP address.

Back to the Boring Toolbox client I went and used it to update the IP address in Milestone.  After a couple of seconds I got a notice the camera is back online. 

Coincidently, one of the bugs I was trying to fix in the firewall was the ability to create IP reservations, which would have stopped all this from happening in the first place but it was good practice.

Recap

  • Network maintenance caused instability in the VMS
  • Boring Toolbox live monitoring was proactive and alerted me that there was an issue
  • Logging into the Axis switch and reviewing the topology view clearly illustrated and detailed the issue
  • Using Boring Toolbox I was able to update the configuration in Milestone and verify the problem was fixed