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Pathfinder Troubleshooting

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Pathfinder™ Troubleshooting

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Affected Roles:  Administrator, Owner

Related Digital Watchdog VMS Apps:  VMAX® Plus™

Complexity:  Medium to High

Last Edit:  April 2, 2021

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Pathfinder Streaming Issues

The Pathfinder™ peer-to-peer (P2P) function allows users to easily register and remotely monitor the VMAX® IP Plus™ and VMAX® A1 Plus™ from a mobile device.  However, in the event that you are able to connect to the recording unit, but video does not display on the mobile application while using Pathfinder, there may be a variety of reasons that this is happening.

This article will outline some settings to check when troubleshooting issues with remotely viewing video through a Pathfinder™ connection.

Supported/Affected Devices:

  • VMAX® IP Plus™ Series
  • VMAX® A1 Plus™ Series

Checking Pathfinder™ Issues

Streaming and connectivity issues may occur when using the Pathfinder™ peer-to-peer option to connect with a VMAX® IP Plus™ or VMAX® A1 Plus™.  However, in most cases there are a few things that can be checked prior to assuming the worst and seeking the repair or replacement of the recording unit.

If turning the NVR or DVR off, then back on again does not resolve the issue, please try the following troubleshooting:

Check the Mobile Application Settings

When using Pathfinder™ to remotely connect with a recording unit, make sure that the settings are configured correctly within the mobile application.  Connection will not work if the network address information or login information has a typo.

To learn about setting up connections with Pathfinder™:

Check the Camera Connections at the VMAX Unit

If the mobile application is able to connect with the recording unit, but does not display video:

  1. Directly connect a display monitor to the VMAX® IP Plus™ or VMAX® A1 Plus™.  Check the local video to see if any video displays for the camera that is experiencing video loss through the Pathfinder™ connection. 

If video does not display at the recording unit, there may be a connection issue between the camera and the recording unit.

**NOTE:  Be sure to log in to the recording unit as the Administrator.  Non-administrative user profiles can be configured to prevent specific users from viewing camera channels.

  1. If video does display at the recording unit, but not on the mobile application, check any of the other remote viewing options that you may be using with the VMAX® IP Plus™ or VMAX® A1 Plus™.

If video displays when remotely viewing the recording unit WITHOUT using Pathfinder™, proceed to the next troubleshooting item.

Check the Recording Unit Firmware

Outdated firmware can be a common cause of operational issues for video management and recording systems.  It is important to make sure that firmware and software versions are up-to-date to avoid such problems.

To check the firmware of the recording unit:

  1. Log in directly at the VMAX® IP Plus™ or VMAX® A1 Plus™ as the Administrator.
    • Default ID – admin
    • Default Password – <no password>
  1. Right-click with a connected mouse and select Menu.

The Setup Menu will display.  From the Setup Menu, select System > Information.

  1. The current firmware version of the recording unit will display under Version.

  1. Update the firmware if the version is outdated.

Check Recorder Settings

When troubleshooting issues, it is recommended to log in as the Administrator because non-administrative user profiles can be configured to exclude the ability to view specific channels. 

The Administrator can check these settings in the User menu.

Additionally, if the Administrator decides to Covert a camera channel, other users will not be able to view the camera video.

You can check for the Covert setting in the Camera menu.

Check the Network Settings of the Recorder

Because Pathfinder™ requires an Internet connection to function, it is important that the network settings of the VMAX® IP Plus™ or VMAX® A1 Plus™ are configured correctly.

Make sure that the IP Address, Gateway, and Ports are correctly configured within the recording unit.

**NOTE:  Make sure that the NVR or DVR is able to communicate over the LAN with other local devices.  If the recording unit is unable to be reached over the local network, the Pathfinder™ connectivity issue may be due to a local networking issue.

Check Network Security

If the recording unit’s network settings are correctly configured and you have confirmed that the configurations within the recording device are also correct, consider what the local network setup is like.  Some network security devices can interfere with P2P connections.

While Pathfinder™ was designed to allow users to connect with and remotely view the VMAX® IP Plus™ or VMAX® A1 Plus™ without having to perform port forwarding on consumer-grade routers, connectivity may experience issues when encountering network security appliances.  For example, a SonicWall device can be configured to block all peer-to-peer traffic for security reasons.

If this situation is the case, please check with your Network Administrator to see if the SonicWall or Firewall application control can be used to adjust the security control policies to allow peer-to-peer (P2P) connections between the recording unit and the Pathfinder™ service.

**NOTE:  An alternate solution is being considered, but the current recommendation to Pathfinder™ P2P is to port forward the recording unit or to modify the security policy to allow the recording unit and the Pathfinder™ server communicate.