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Recommended Basic Setup of a VMAX IP Plus

Recommended Basic Setup of a VMAX® IP Plus™


Affected Roles:  Administrator

Complexity:  Medium

Last Edit:  January 4, 2021


Basic Recorder Installation

When installing a VMAX® IP Plus™ for the first time, it is recommended to configure the recorder’s local settings for user profiles, camera connections, and network communication. These are among the most important things to complete for a basic setup.

This article will outline the recommended a basic setup process for a VMAX® IP Plus™ standalone recorder. For alternative versions of this guide, you may refer to the Quick Setup Guide (QSG) or User Manual of your recorder.

Supported/Affected Devices:

  • VMAX® IP Plus™ Series
    • DW-VP9xT4P
    • DW-VP12xT8P
    • DW-VP16xT8P
    • DW-VP16xT16P


Before beginning the setup process, it is recommended to consider the following:

  • Know the router’s local IP address (Gateway Address); a router with Internet access is required for the VMAX IP Plus Network configuration if the setup is intended to be able to remotely communicate with devices (mobile phones, tablets, computers, etc.) that are outside of the local network (LAN)
  • Ensure that all IP cameras are up-to-date with their firmware. Outdated firmware can often lead to communication issues between otherwise compatible devices, which can interrupt the effectiveness of the surveillance setup
  • Use of a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) battery backup can offer protection against system damage that may occur due to power surges, power loss, and other common electrical events; a UPS battery backup of 750VA or higher is recommended to power the NVR and its connected components
  • List any additional users that will need to be added to the NVR’s User Profile Registry during the setup process

New VMAX® IP Plus™ Installation Setup

Part 1 – Physical Connections

When setting up a VMAX IP Plus:

  1. Connect a local display monitor (HDMI or VGA only) and a USB mouse to the NVR. This will allow you to use and control the user interface (UI) of the recording unit.

Attach a network cable to the NVR’s “LAN” port to connect the VMAX IP Plus to the local network (LAN) router. This is required for all remote viewing sessions with the recorder both onsite and offsite.

Connect ONVIF-compatible IP cameras directly to the integrated Power-over-ethernet (PoE) switch of the VMAX IP Plus. The VMAX IP Plus will support most ONVIF Profile-S compatible IP cameras (up to 5MP).

**WARNING:  It is not recommended to connect an external PoE switch directly to the NVR’s integrated PoE switch. This may damage the electrical components. Please connect external switches to the NVR through the router/LAN network connection.

  1. Connect the included power adapter to the VMAX IP Plus and to an appropriate power source. Please consult your User Manual for specifications as needed.

Once proper power has been provided the unit will begin to automatically begin its startup/bootup process. All compatible IP cameras that are connected to the integrated PoE switch will automatically begin to power-on.

**NOTE:  It is recommended to use a UPS battery backup of 750VA or higher to protect the VMAX IP Plus against unforeseen electrical issues (power surges, sudden blackouts, etc.) that may potentially damage the NVR.

  1. Before continuing, check that all physical connections to your VMAX IP Plus recorder are securely connected to the correct ports.

For example, the rear panel of the DW-VP9xT4P:

  1. Power Supply connection – connect the provided (DC48V) power adapter.
  2. Video display-out connection (HDMI or VGA)
  3. USB port (additional port in front panel)
  4. Local Area Network (LAN) connection – for connection to the local router
  5. Integrated Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) switch – for direct connect and power supply to compatible DW MEGApix IP cameras.

Part 2 – Startup Wizard Initial Setup

Once the VMAX IP Plus has completed its boot process, the Startup Wizard program will begin. To view this, a display monitor must be connected to either the “HD Out” (HDMI) or “VGA Out” display-out port (see diagram above).

  1. Once the NVR has completed its boot process, the Startup Wizard will display onscreen. Complete the following to set up the primary Administrator user profile:
  • User – by default, the primary Administrator will be set to use the username “admin
  • Password – it is recommended to create a password to protect the VMAX IP Plus against cyber threats through unintended access. A strong password:
    • Uses between 8~12 characters
    • Does not use spaces
    • Uses a combination of at least four capitalized letters (A-Z), lowercase letters (a-z), numbers (123), and/or special characters (!$?)
  • Confirm Password – reenter the new admin password to confirm that the case sensitivity and spelling are correctly entered
  • Password Hint – [optional] enter a short hint to remember the password

After creating the login, enter your admin password to the system.

Click the “OK” button to proceed with the Startup Wizard.

  1. Next, select the preferred Language for the system.

Use the dropdown menu to select the preferred language.

Click the “Apply” button to save the selection, then click the “Next” button to proceed.

  1. For the “Date/Time” settings, adjust the setting to the correct time. Set the “Timezone” setting to the local time zone of the recording site.

  1. In the HDD Format list, click in the checkbox beside the internal hard drive (HDD) of the unit and select it. Leave the HDD Full and Auto Delete settings in their default positions (overwrite/none).

With the hard drive(s) selected, click the “Format” button to clear the disk and prepare the drive for archive storage. You may monitor the process in the Progress bar.

Once the hard drive has been formatted by the NVR, click the “Next” button.

**NOTE:  If the internal hard drive (HDD) of the VMAX IP Plus cannot be detected by the unit, confirm that the HDD has not been subjected to shipping damage. In exceedingly rare cases, the SATA connector may have become detached from the hard drive(s) during shipping.

  1. The next portion of the Startup Wizard focuses on the Network settings of the VMAX IP Plus.

Some customer networks may display the Warning message, “The network IP overlaps IP range of the dual LAN. Please modify IP range of the dual LAN.” If this message displays, click the “OK” button to close the pop-up and proceed.

  1. For the PoE Setup, click and enable the “Auto IP” setting.

The system will require a reboot to continue setting up the NVR.  Click the “Apply” button and allow the VMAX IP Plus to reboot.

  1. After the unit has finished rebooting, you will need to rerun the startup process. Proceed through the Startup Wizard again until you reach the “Network” settings.

With the Network Type set to “DHCP”, click the “IP Detect” button to prompt the VMAX IP Plus to request an available IP address from the router (Gateway). The network address will be updated in the “IP Address” field.

Once the unit has received its local IP address, change the Network Type to “Static”. This will configure the NVR to maintain and keep its assigned IP address as a semi-permanent identifier. Settings like the IP Address, Gateway, etc. can only be manually altered while set to “Static”.

**NOTE:  The VMAX IP Plus must be connected to the local router via Ethernet cable in order to be assigned an available IP address. Without an appropriate IP address, the NVR will be unable to communicate with other devices (computers, cell phones, etc.) through the local area network (LAN).

  1. The next screen that will display in the Support Wizard is for Camera Management. The VMAX IP Plus features a built-in PoE switch through which compatible IP cameras may receive power and communicate with the NVR. Users may either connect cameras directly to the built-in PoE switch or through a network connection using the NVR’s LAN port.

You may use the following options to search for and add cameras to the VMAX IP Plus:

    • Auto Configuration – select the desired recording type (Motion, Continuous, etc.) from the drop-down menu, then click the “Start” button. The NVR will quickly scan its local network and search for ONVIF Profile-S IP cameras. If detected, the NVR will attempt to automatically add the detected cameras and apply the selected recording type.
    • Drag & Drop Configuration – click the “Start” button to enter the Drag & Drop Configuration menu. The NVR will quickly scan its local network and search for ONVIF Profile-S IP cameras. If detected, the NVR will display its discoveries in its device list. You may drag-and-drop the detected cameras into the desired positions of the grid to assign them to the display layout.
    • Advanced Configuration – click the “Advanced” button to enter the Advanced Search configuration menu. You may use the “Search” function to have the NVR scan its local network to search for compatible cameras. The discovered devices will be listed in the resulting IP Camera Search window. From the list, select a desired camera, select a specific display Channel for assignment, then click the “Get Stream” button. Once the recording stream and secondary stream have been retrieved, click the “Apply” button to add the camera.
    • PoE Connection – after connecting a compatible camera directly to the built-in PoE switch of the NVR, the system will automatically power the camera (if power requirements are met) and attempt to add the camera.  If the camera fails to register, use the manual reset button that is physically located within the camera, then try to add the camera again.

The camera video streams will display on the main screen/viewing mode after cameras have been successfully added to the system.

  1. When attempting to add a camera to the VMAX IP Plus, the NVR will prompt you to enter the administrator login (ID/Password) of the camera.

Enter the ID and Password login information of the camera itself. This is typically the login that is used to log into the camera’s web interface.

  • Default MEGApix ID:  admin
  • Default MEGApix PW:  admin

The streaming and quality settings of each added camera can be adjusted. This will be covered in the section, Part 3 – Camera Setup. Click the “Apply” button to continue.

**NOTE:  When adding a 3rd party camera to the VMAX IP Plus, the ONVIF configuration of the camera may be deactivated by default. In this situation, the VMAX IP Plus will have more difficulty with discovering and adding the camera.  To resolve this, you will need to access the camera’s web interface and enable the ONVIF feature. You may refer to the articles that are listed below for more information.

  1. The final step in the Startup Wizard is for Product Registration. While not required, registering the VMAX IP Plus with Digital Watchdog will add your NVR to make it easier behind-the-scenes for DW Support to provide assistance.

Click the “OK” button to continue. The Startup Wizard will close once you have finished and video channels will display.

**NOTE:  The Startup Wizard will display each time that the VMAX IP Plus boots up. To disable this feature, uncheck the “Display on System Startup” setting that can be found on the Language screen (Step 2 above) of the Startup Wizard.

Part 3 – Camera Settings

After completing the initial Setup Wizard process, you may need to adjust the camera settings to better suit your surveillance setup. For example, adding cameras that use over 1Gbps/LAN can create communication issues between devices on the local network.

To adjust the camera stream settings:

  1. From the main screen, right-click on the target camera and select “Camera Setup” from the resulting context menu.

  1. The IP Camera Setup menu will display the selected camera’s information.

Click the “Setup” button to adjust the streaming settings.

  1. The IP Camera Stream Setup window will display. If you change the Rec. Stream settings, it is recommended to change the 2nd Stream FPS and Quality settings to match.

Adjust the following settings based on the customer’s desired storage limit duration:

  • Resolution – determines the display resolution of the camera channel
  • Frames per Second (FPS) – determines how frequently the stream will refresh the
  • Quality – additional video resolution settings (5 is average)

When finished, click the “Apply” button to return to the previous screen.

**NOTE:  To calculate the estimated storage limits of the setup, you may visit the DW Tools and Calculators web page. Use the “VMAX IP Plus Calculator”.

**NOTE:  If your cameras experience considerable latency when streaming video, you can set the bitrate of the Rec. Stream to be between 4000 ~ 5000 kbps and the 2nd Stream to be 1000 kbps or lower.

  1. Confirm that the FPS settings show that the changes have been made. If so, click the “Get Stream” button.

Click the “Apply” button to save the settings for the camera.

  1. Next, adjust the motion detection settings of the NVR for the camera. To do so, from the main screen, right-click anywhere onscreen and select “Menu”.

The Setup Menu will display. Click on the “Event” option, then select the “Camera Alarm” tab.

In the Motion Area column, click the “Set” button beside the camera that you are adjusting.

  1. The VMAX IP Plus will then display video from the camera, overlaid by a grid. Highlight the motion areas of the camera’s view that the camera should watch for motion. To avoid false alarms, it is recommended to deselect/un-highlight motion areas that will continuously experience movement as applicable (ex. trees/foliage, street traffic, moving water, etc.)

You may also adjust the “Sensitivity” setting of the selected areas. The higher the Sensitivity is set, the less motion is required for the detection to trigger.

Click the “Save” button to apply the settings and return to the Camera Alarm menu. Click the “Save” button to apply the settings and close the menu.

**NOTE:  If the motion area is set for the NVR and the detection sensitivity has been increased, but it does not appear that the system recognizes when motion is occurring, make sure that the motion settings are correctly configured within the camera settings through its web interface. If motion detection is not enabled on the camera itself, it will not communicate motion to the NVR.

Part 4 – User and System Settings

The portion of the setup process is to configure the System settings of the VMAX IP Plus.

  1. From the main screen, right-click anywhere on the screen and select “Menu”.

Click on “System”, then select the “Information” tab.

  1. The Information menu will display.

It is recommended to change the “Site Name” to a more unique label/name, especially if there is more than one NVR onsite. This will make it easier to identify and discern between different units.

If you would like to disable the beeping whenever clicking the mouse, uncheck the “Keypad Beep” setting.

Click the “Save” button to continue with the setup.

  1. To configure the User settings, select the “User” tab.

By default, the system will include the “admin” user profile. This user profile cannot be deleted. If you must adjust the password of the admin profile, select the user profile from the Users List and click the “Edit” button. From here you may make your necessary changes.

To add a NEW user profile, click the “Add” button.

  1. A new user setup window will display.

You may configure the following:

  • User – this value will be used as the User ID when logging-in to the VMAX IP Plus.
  • Description – [optional] information entered here will appear in the “Description” field of the User List.
  • Password/Confirm – create a password for the new user and re-enter it into the confirmation field to prevent typos. The system will alert you if there are any inconsistencies between the entries.
  • Password Hint – [optional] you may create a hint as a contingency for if the user forgets the password. The system will not allow the use of the password as a hint.
  • Function – select which system functions that this user will be allowed to use. Be sure to disable (uncheck) any functions that you do not want to allow this user to have.
  • Menu Access – select which system menus that this user will be allowed to configure. Be sure to disable (uncheck) any setting menus that this user should not be allow to adjust.
  • Live & Playback – select which camera channels this user will be allowed to view. Be sure to disable (uncheck) any camera channels that this user should not be allowed to view.

When finished, click the “OK” button to submit the new user profile to the VMAX IP Plus.

  1. The User menu will return onscreen. To manage a user’s ease of accessibility, select the user profile and click the “Option” button.

From the resulting Option menu, you may configure the following:

  • Auto Logon – [optional] when enabled, this setting will designate the selected user profile to automatically log in to the VMAX IP Plus whenever it starts and boots up.
  • Auto Logoff – [optional] when enabled, this setting will automatically log the currently selected user out of the NVR after the set amount of time
  • After Logoff – [optional] when enabled, this setting will have the NVR show the live video streams of the permitted cameras that the selected user is allowed to view after logging out of the system

Click the “OK” button to apply the settings and close the Option window, then click the “Save” button to close the User menu.

  1. If the customer is using an HDMI connection for the display monitor, you will need to configure the local “Display Resolution output settings of the VMAX IP Plus. Select the “Display” tab.

In the Display menu, you may configure the following:

  • Sequence Time – [optional] set the dwell time for channels to display before cycling when using the Sequence function of the NVR when viewing camera video.
  • Display Resolution – select the native display resolution of the connected display monitor, then click the “Apply” button.  Do not select a resolution that is greater than what the display monitor can support or the user interface (UI) will encounter display issues.
  • OSD – [optional] enable each setting as preferred to select the individual information will display over the camera channel display.
  • Screen Saver – [optional] set a lease time (1~180 min.) that will determine how long the NVR will wait before turning off the display due to inactivity. The NVR will continue to operate normally while the Screen Saver function is active.

Click the “Save” button when finished.

Part 5 – Recording Schedule Settings

By default, the VMAX IP Plus will use a “motion only” recording type for all camera channels 24/7.  To change these settings:

  1. From the main screen, right-click anywhere on the screen and select “Menu” from the resulting context menu.

Select the “Record” settings, then select the “Recording Schedule” tab.

  1. From the Recording Schedule menu, you may assign different recording modes and the operation schedule for each camera channel.

Select the Record Mode that you would like to apply, then highlight in the calendar grid for when it should be used.

You may apply recording mode types to each individual camera, using the channel buttons (top of window) to switch between channels. To simultaneously apply the Recording Schedule changes to all camera channels, enable the “All” setting prior to configuring the schedule.

Basic setup recommends the use of one of the following:

  • Continuous (yellow) – this recording mode type will constantly record camera video to the internal hard drive
  • Motion (green) – [default] this recording mode type will only record camera video when motion is detected by both the camera and the NVR (Part 3; Steps 5-6 above)
  • Continuous + Motion (blue) – this recording mode type will constantly record camera video at using the 2nd Stream quality and a lower FPS setting until the system detects motion. Once motion is detected, the system will record video using the primary stream settings for higher quality. It is recommended to enable the “Record 1FPS Continuous With ‘Cont+’ Mode” setting at the bottom of the window when using this type.

Click the “Save” button when you have finished to retain the assigned Recording Schedule settings.

**NOTE:  Using a ‘Sensor’ recording mode type will require additional sensor setup. Please refer to your User Manual for further instructions.

Part 6 – Network DDNS & Pathfinder Settings

If the customer will be attempting to remotely connect with the VMAX IP Plus from offsite, an Internet connection will be required for the NVR. The user may either utilize the public IP address of the hosting network or one of the alternative connection options that is offered by the system.

  • DDNS – “Dynamic DNS”; this service allows the creation and application of a URL that can be used to remotely connect with the NVR. This essentially the equivalent of using the public IP address of the hosting network. Requires “port forwarding”.
  • Pathfinder – this P2P (peer-to-peer) service allows the user to connect their remote device (mobile phone, tablet, etc.) to communicate with the NVR through a proxy server connection.

**NOTE:  These remote connection service are provided by Digital Watchdog, however the presence of local security Firewall settings or SonicWall settings within the hosting network may block external communication between the NVR and remote devices.  Please contact the customer’s ISP or IT representative to port forward the NVR through the firewall.

Setting Up DDNS

To set up a DDNS address:

  1. From the main screen, right-click and select “Menu” from the resulting context menu.

Select “Network”, then select the “DDNS” tab.

  1. In the DDNS menu, configure the following:
  • Use DDNS – enable this setting to activate the DDNS function. You will still need to configure the Host Name setting and to validate the settings.
  • DDNS Server – use the “MYDWDDNS.NET” option as this is the default DDNS service that is provided by Digital Watchdog.
  • TCP/IP – leave this setting as its default (80). The DDNS server that is provided by Digital Watchdog will use the TCP/IP port found in the Network menu. If you will be using a DDNS service that is not provided by DW, then you may need to change this value.
  • Host Name – enter a unique name (ex. “dw16220”) that will be used to help the DDNS service to identify the NVR. This value will embody the first part of the DDNS URL that can be used to connect with the NVR

After entering a Host Name, you must verify that the proposed entry is available for use. Click the “Check” button and allow the NVR to confirm that it has not already been claimed by another customer.

Upon a successful verification, click the “Save” button to retain the settings and apply the Host Name to the NVR.

**NOTE:  The DDNS will accept alphanumeric characters only. Do not use spaces or special characters (!?$&#@) in the Host Name.

  1. After successfully verifying and saving the DDNS address, the URL can be used to remotely connect with the NVR instead of a public IP address. The URL configuration is structured as follows:
    • URL Structure:  <Host_Name>.<DDNS_Server>
    • Example Host Name:  dw16220
    • Example DDNS URL:

**NOTE:  The NVR will retain its Host Name registration with the DDNS server. However, be aware that if the NVR is left without Internet access for an extended period of time, the Host Name may need to be re-registered.

Setting Up Pathfinder (P2P)

The Pathfinder function offers an option for customers to connect with the VMAX IP Plus system through a proxy server which allows for the P2P (peer-to-peer) connection to be established more securely over wide networks.

To set up Pathfinder:

  1. In the Network menus, select the “Pathfinder” tab.

In the Pathfinder menu, enable the “Use Pathfinder” setting to activate the Pathfinder feature.

The “Status” message at the bottom of the menu will show as “Pathfinder Service Activated” if the P2P service can communicate between the NVR and the proxy server.

  1. Once activated, the VMAX IP Plus will generate a unique 12-character Pathfinder ID that can be used to connect with the unit from either the DW Mobile Plus application, which can be acquired from the Google Play Store (Android) or the App Store (iPhone).

To add the VMAX IP Plus to the DW Mobile Plus application:

  1. Tap the + symbol and create a new site.
  2. Enter a site Name for the VMAX IP Plus unit.
  3. Enter the TCP/IP Port of the NVR, which can be found in the VMAX IP Plus Network menu settings.
  4. Enter the Login and Password that is used to access the VMAX IP Plus.
  5. Next, tap the camera icon next to the Host (Required)” field and scan the Pathfinder Mobile Access QR Code. The DW Mobile Plus application will then automatically enter the Pathfinder ID of the NVR into the Host (required) field.

Tap the “Save” button in DW Mobile Plus to validate the connection with the NVR.

**NOTE:  If you do not want to use a P2P-ID to connect, you may use the DDNS or IP address of the NVR for a direct connection instead.

  1. After successfully creating and validating the new site in the mobile application, viewing the video streams will be available.

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