Camstreams Home Live Webcams Support About Camstreams User Area

"My stream won't connect - I'm seeing a failed test in the user area and I haven't had viewers yet."

Camstreams Encoder and uPnP
The easiest fix to this problem is to enable 'uPnP' (Universal Plug 'n' Play) in your router, wait a few moments then make the encoder attempt to configure the router again with the 'Configure' button in 'Options' (you must have stopped broadcasting.)

The best way to find out how to turn the uPnP feature of your router on is to use a search engine and type in 'enable uPnP for brand model' where brand model is the make and model of your router. There are so many hundreds of brands and thousands of models that listing them here is unfortunately impossible!

If you're unable to find a uPnP feature in your router, or are not using the Camstreams encoder, you will have to set up a 'Port Forward', the more tricky way. It helps if you understand a little more about how our streaming works, below.

How Camstreams Streaming Works
In order for you to diagnose the problem, it is important you understand why the problem exists!
When you run the Encoder and press the 'Live' or 'Archived' button (Microsoft Encoders use 'Start Encoding'), it appears as if you are broadcasting. Technically that is not actually the case, in the way you might perceive it. Your computer is actually listening for an incoming connection in order to send the stream out. This is the same principle as you requesting a page from (like you just did, to read this page!) - the computer is a server, listening and waiting to send out pages on demand. Your Encoder is doing exactly that: waiting for our server to come along and pull the stream from you.

The Camstreams server will go looking for your Encoder whenever you get your first viewer, and will continue to stay connected to your Encoder as long as you have at least one viewer. The problem, and why you receive the 'offline' message instead of seeing your broadcast, is that for one reason or another, the Camstreams server simply cannot make that connection to your Encoder in the first place.

This is where it can get annoying, because there can be just one reason or many reasons why Camstreams cannot reach your Encoder, and until every reason is fixed, it never will!

IP Addresses and Ports
Every device which is directly connected to the Internet has a publically accessible IP Address. When you sign in to the Camstreams service, we store what we believe to be your public IP Address and tell the streaming server that is where it will find your Encoder.

When you have started the Encoder and appear to be broadcasting, your Encoder will listen on any IP addresses it thinks belong to your computer, and on the port number entered - the Camstreams Encoder arrives preconfigured to use port 5700. (If you used a Microsoft Encoder and a settings file, that will tell the Encoder to also listen on port 5700).

Broadband Connections, IP Address Discovery & Configuration
If your computer plugs into a DSL router or a cable modem, it is very likely that your computer has a 'private' IP address that can only be reached from your side of the router/modem. This means we won't be able to connect directly to your PC to get the stream. The nearest point we'll be able to get to will be your public IP address (which we stored when you logged into the encoder), and that belongs to your router/modem. We need to find a way to route the Camstreams server traffic arriving at your router/modem on port 5700 through to your private IP address (and therefore your Encoder) so we can pick up your stream and the most common way of doing this is by setting up a 'Port Forward' within your router.

IP Address Discovery
The method below allows you to see if your PC indeed has a private IP address which will help you determine if you need to configure a port forward in your router.

If you use Windows 2000, XP, Vista or 7, do the following: Performing IP address discovery in Windows XP
  • Click the 'start' button, go to Programs > Accessories and click 'Command Prompt'
  • A black box should appear with a flashing cursor
  • Type 'ipconfig' (without the quotes) and press Enter.
If you use Windows 98 or ME, do the following:
  • Click the Windows 'start' button, then 'Run....' , type 'winipcfg' (without the quotes), press Enter
The results of the above should show you what your IP address is, and what your 'Default Gateway' IP address is. (If using Vista or 7, your 'IP Address' will be marked as 'IPv4 Address'.) If these start with '192.168' or '10.' then you have a private IP address and you definitely will have to do some configuration on your router/modem.

If the address does NOT look like '192.168.x.x.' or '10.x.x.x.' (where x is other numbers), and only if NOT then double check with the camstreams user area that we have your correct IP address on file, as it may have changed - go to the user area, log in and see the 'Path to Encoder:' line, near the top. If the IP address there doesn't match, click Change. The server will pre-fill your IP address from the one you are using at the moment and the last port you used. Click 'Update IP/Port Information' - then try and watch your stream again!

Under no circumstances should you ever enter a private IP address into the Camstreams user area.

Router Configuration
So, we now know your private IP address and the private IP address of your router (The 'Default Gateway'). This is where the scenario is different for everyone, because what happens next is dependant on the make/model of your router.

There is a great free program called Simple Port Fowarding which contains an entry for Camstreams, which will help you configure your router and firewall. When you install it, read the steps on the right (and the info below so you don't have to pay!) and you hopefully won't go wrong... you can download it here!

Recently, the producers of Simple Port Forwarding have made certain features 'Pro Only' which has made things less 'Simple!'. However, we can still use it without having to pay to upgrade. When it comes to step 4 ("choose which ports you need to forward"), click 'Add Custom', and enter the details as you see them here on the right (click the picture to enlarge it). Don't worry that your IP address is different - the program will auto detect yours, and it is probably different to ours. When it comes to step 6 ("add ports to the windows firewall") - hopefully the Camstreams Encoder should have prompted your windows firewall to open up the right ports when you first ran it. If not, the instructions for that are further down this page.

Router/Modem Manufacturer Websites
If you don't own any of the routers listed within the Simple Port Forwarding program, try and find the user manual for your router - it should give instructions on how to set up a port forward (also known as a 'virtual server' or 'service'). Some common manufacturer's websites are:
D-Link | Linksys | Netgear | Cisco | Buffalo | Belkin | 3Com | Siemens

The key things you need to remember are your private IP address, the 'default gateway' address and the port number 5700.

Windows XP/Vista Firewall
On top of any router/modem configuration, you must also consider this if you are running Windows XP or Vista. If you are not running Windows XP or Vista, the theory is relevant because you may be running Internet Security software on your computer which does the same thing. You will have to find a way to administer proprietary software - this section is just about the Windows XP/Vista built-in Firewall.

This final hurdle is a common one - because users of Windows XP or Vista will likely have the Windows Firewall switched on by default and this will stop an incoming connection to the Encoder.

Configuring Windows FirewallTo keep your computer firewalled, but allow traffic for the stream through, do the following:
  • Click the Windows 'start' button, Control Panel, then Security Center
  • (If using Windows XP:) Click at the bottom where it says "Manage security settings for: Windows Firewall". If this is set to 'On', then click the 'Exceptions' tab at the top.
    (If using Windows Vista:) Click 'Windows Firewall' on the left, then 'Allow a program through Windows Firewall' also on the left.
  • Now click the 'Add Port' button in the resulting screen. You can give it any name, like 'stream' and port 5700.
  • Keep 'TCP' selected then click 'OK', then 'OK' again.

In Conclusion...
Apologies for the length of this document. We have encountered so many scenarios with so many people over the months Camstreams has been public that it seems appropriate we share as much knowledge as we can. We hope it has gone some way to getting your stream to work.

If you have attempted to resolve the issue, got lost, and/or are completely flummoxed by the whole thing, you can of course still email us for a hand. Please state everything you have managed to ascertain from your computer and local network (if applicable).

Unfortunately there are some scenarios whereby you will not be able to broadcast on Camstreams - for example, behind a firewall you cannot administer, like at a place of work, a public terminal or connected through a mobile data service. In the future, we plan to release a version of Camstreams which overcomes every single issue on this page, please bear with us however, it will be quite some time!

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