How is live video normally viewed?

One of Verkada's most distinctive features is its ability to provide users with remote access to their cameras from anywhere in the world, without the need to forward ports or set up a VPN.  We accomplish this by relaying video through the Verkada Cloud; the camera sends live, encrypted video to our servers, and our servers deliver that live, encrypted video to your device.  This process is necessary when you are not connected to the same local area network (LAN) as the camera, but what happens when you are?  Relaying video through the cloud simplifies viewing live streams, but can add latency and uses up some Internet bandwidth.

Local Streaming

Local Streaming allows users to view live feeds of cameras that are connected to the same LAN as their device (computer, phone, Apple TV), without needing to relay video through the Verkada Cloud.  If Command determines that your device can reach a camera directly, your device will request a local SD or HD stream from the camera's private IP address.  Eliminating the intermediary (our servers) will free up some Internet bandwidth and may help reduce latency.  Both SD and HD live streams can be local.

You can determine if you are streaming live video directly from a camera if you see the following: the words "SD - LOCAL" or "HD - LOCAL" at the bottom left of the camera feed or a green dot with a white border around it next to the timestamp.  If you only see "SD" or "HD" on the stream, then the video is being relayed through the Verkada Cloud. In addition to live video, historical video will also be streamed directly to your device if your device is on the same LAN as the camera. Otherwise, historical video will be relayed through the cloud.

Please note that whether a live stream is relayed through our servers or comes directly off a camera, security is equally maintained by using an encrypted TLS connection.

Local Streaming will not work if your device does not have Layer 2 or Layer 3 connectivity to the camera.  This means that your device must either be on the same subnet as the camera, or on a different subnet that can reach the camera's subnet.

Offline Mode

Offline Mode takes advantage of Local Streaming, but serves a slightly different purpose.  Although Local Streaming sets up a direct connection between your device and a camera, a working Internet uplink is required to broker this connection.  Offline Mode allows live Local Streaming to continue, even during brief periods of Internet connectivity loss.  This is accomplished by downloading and trusting an Offline Mode certificate, which allows your device to broker its own secure connection to the camera.

Offline Mode will only activate when your device determines that it can no longer reach the Internet.  This feature is available for the browser and Apple TV versions of Command.  You will see a banner at the top of your browser window indicating that you are in Offline Mode.

The following requirements must be met for Offline Mode to work:

  • The security certificate must be installed (Mac OS/Windows, Apple TV)
  • Your device must be on the same LAN as the cameras
  • You device's browser must be logged in and have an active session with Command

Offline Mode is only meant for preventing interruptions to live feeds during brief periods of Internet connectivity loss; we do not recommend relying on Offline Mode for extended periods of time.  For example, over time, a camera's IP address may change.  Without a working Internet connection, Command would have no way of learning the new IP address.

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