Web-View is nice, but still no LAN-View

While Web-View may be great for some, it still requires all traffic to cross the internet and pass through the Wyze servers (with some data being passed to servers in China), before crossing the internet a second time back my device. (The documentation I found leads me to believe that no actual videos are passed on to the China servers, but some data is. WYZE: Please correct me if that is not accurate).

So my question is this: Where is the LOCAL access to my video feeds? Why do I need to go through the Wyze servers even when I am on the same LAN as the cameras? (So far as I am aware, this is true for ALL Wyze camera related services, paid and free). Wouldn’t it be drastically more efficient, stable, reliable, and most importantly Secure, to be able to stream via LAN vs WAN?

I realize that if everything was kept local Wyze wouldn’t be able to charge a monthly subscription fee, and pessimistic-me thinks maybe that’s the whole point, but optimistic-me believes there is more to it than that, and I’d like to hear what they have to say on the topic.

I imagine the word “security” is going to be used in the explanation somewhere, and I can appreciate that. But if it is, I would also appreciate an explanation as to what those security concerns are precisely.

  • How is a round-trip Internet journey more secure vs. it never leaving the LAN?
  • Would the cameras/hubs themselves become vulnerable in some way?
  • Were the cameras or their firmware designed in such a way that only the Wyze servers can
    interact with them, and/or understand/process the data?

Lastly, I do understand that many users really would have “issues” accessing self-hosted feeds remotely, but many us would not, and speaking for myself, I would feel infinitely more secure keeping all of my video feeds off the internet unless and until I choose to expose them.

  • Those users who are not able to self-host would be perfect candidates for a subscription service like Cam Plus Unlimited
  • Those users who can and want to self-host would likely be willing to pay a handsome one-time charge for the hosting-software.

Comments?

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The regular Wyze video feeds and SD card playback do NOT go across the Internet when viewing on the same LAN. They never did. Even when roaming the live video and SD streaming do NOT traverse any servers.

I have read that the web viewer does send the video up, but I have expressed doubts as to whether that is true. The service Wyze is using (Amazon Kinesis WebRTC) does NOT require that video streams leave the LAN.

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Hi Customer -

Thank you for your reply. That makes me feel a little better, and scratches that item off the list. In truth, I had my doubts that the feed would have been able to fit in the internet traffic I associated with the Wyze cameras. You have set my mind at ease.

But I still wish I could access my cameras without the Internet though. It’s a bit of a bummer when you can’t access any of your LAN based hardware just because you can’t reach some remote server to ‘login’. Thankfully I only have two Wyze cameras at the moment, to see how well they function, so the problem is minimal.

Is there no one in the entire wireless camera market-place that sells a LAN only solution, or is everyone just trying to cash in on the “subscription” craze?

X10 had one back in the day - ran 100% in-house on the LAN for years. But then they switched to this senseless “need to to login to our servers to see your steams” thing. Shortly after that they went belly up, taking down every last X10 camera feed in the process (Thanks X10!). They did re-open some years later, but they no longer supported any of the hardware/software they previously sold, and intimated that I should just replace everything (Sure, so I can get screwed by the same company twice! What a deal! Thanks again X10!). X10 is the primary reason I dislike being forced to use some remote server owned by (not-me), who can vanish at any moment.

Wyze is no different in that regard. By forcing their users to access the Wyze servers before accessing any Wyze camera feed, they effectively make every single camera dependent upon their own existence and persistent-presence. If Wyze disappears, or even just drops off the internet for a while, every camera becomes a brick unless and until they come back. (And if they play it like X10, maybe not even then). But perhaps calling them a brick is an overstatement - in theory the SD card should still be working, so all you would have to do is go to each camera, turn it off, pull out the SD card, bring it to your computer, view the video, reverse the whole process, rinse and repeat! Simple AND efficient! Exactly how a wireless camera should work, don’t ya think?

Who thought this was a good idea? I mean besides the bean-counters.

Why would I as a consumer invest in a system that was dependent upon a single external source I had no control over? Hardware that only works with one vendor, and more to the point, hardware that requires real-time “approval” from that solitary vendor’s remote server before allowing it to be accessed. Imagine a car that would only let you drive it if Ford said it was OK, each and every time! It’s absolutely absurd!

And btw - I would love for another person like Customer to pipe in and explain to me just how wrong I am and why. Being wrong doesn’t bother me, but being treated like a tapped keg does.

Cheers!

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I don’t disagree but what we do get for the money is a lot of value, especially without recurring CamPlus.

One reason I had no trouble “gambling” on Wyze originally was the knowledge that alternative firmware existed such that if the company turned bad or disappeared the cameras could be used as regular IP cameras. So we were never locked in.

Hi Customer,

Regarding the value gained vs. it’s cost, I concur. The cost for “Cam Plus” and “Cam Plus Unlimited” is very reasonable compared to most of their competitors. I was more upset about the fact that I was “locked-in” and had no choice but to pay Wyze to access my cameras (in any meaningful way), regardless of price.

Alternative firmware you say? I think I recall encountering a reference to that at one point but never did track it down. This is a great time to do that, because almost like I was a prophet, here is an email Wyze sent out just yesterday…

“We noticed that Cam Plus service has been impacted by the Amazon
Web Services (AWS) outage. You may not be able to load license(s)
or view videos using the Wyze app. We are currently working on
the issue.”

So in light of this most recent service outage, and in the interest of being able to continue using my bought-and-paid-for hardware when Wyze/AWS goes down, I went on a firmware hunt. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. (I had been seeking a software solution - it never occurred to me I would need to reprogram the camera itself, but in retrospect - DOH!).

Most of the posts I have found so far involve using a dedicated Android device, but I would strongly prefer a PC based solution I can run from a VM, and I may have found it here…

While I had heard of HA, I wasn’t really looking for a Linux-based PC solution (which is only slightly better than using a dedicated Android device). However, using HA would probably be a lot faster than rolling my own, and beggars shouldn’t be too choosey.

The one question I am asking myself right now is this: If I need to reprogram the Wyze Cameras to make them use RTSP, wouldn’t it just be easier to purchase RTSP cameras to start with? I’ll probably keep the two Wyze cameras I bought for testing, but I doubt I’ll be buying any more. While the Wyze cams are pretty decent cameras, comparable cameras that support RTSC natively can be found for about the same price, and I don’t have to reprogram them to make use of a “BETA” feature.

I will try to remember to circle back to this thread to give an update on how it goes with the Wyze cameras on HA.

Thanks for all the help, and for pointing me in the right direction.

Cheers!

No problem. FYI the Wyze beta RTSP firmware will NOT really allow sustained offline (Internet down) usage, as far as I understand.

The alternative firmware that has been available from 3rd parties includes “Dafang Hacks”, which can allow the camera to be a truly standalone IPcam with RTSP. I haven’t had great luck trying it - very slow - but I hope that’s because the device I was using was already crippled (and couldn’t take the regular firmware).

If you want true cloud independence you need cameras attached to an NVR/DVR either wired or wireless. Video is stored locally on a disk in the recorder and doesn’t need to leave your network. For that matter, you can use a fully isolated switch/AP to run your cameras keeping them off your wifi entirely.

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You are correct. The law is on our side. The cameras are ours for certain. The pictures and videos are ours. Even the copyright of those pictures and videos belongs to us. Check the Copyright law. We do not need to formally send or receive any documents for that effect.
So how come everybody is selling to us something they have no right to make money on without paying us?

This is a kludge. The laws are being broken by Wyze and others using copyright law protection to prevent hacking of their software. But they cannot use Copyright law to intercept our pictures/videos and than sell them to us.
Why?
Because, by Copyright law, these pictures are ours, not theirs and they have been copyrighted automatically to their creators, i.e. us.

Hi Nobody,

If the information provided by Customer is accurate, and everything I have found so far says it is, then Wyze didn’t really lock us in, and our videos are not being transmitted anywhere but to the Wyze App. (Web-view changes that to some extent, but only if you choose to use it).

Believe me, I was operating under the same (inaccurate) information, and had the same complaints, but the bottom line here is that they (Wyze) DID in fact give us an out - a way of using the hardware without them being involved - i.e. the alternate firmware. And after some additional searching and analysis, I am confident that the network traffic generated while viewing a camera via the Wyze app does NOT include any Internet-bound data-streams(*) unless you are away from your LAN, in which case the only way for it to reach your phone is via the Internet.

(*) There may be some relatively small number of packets sent over the WAN while viewing a camera feed, but (a) not nearly enough to contain a stream, and (b) I have not yet even been able to confirm these packets are originating from Wyze hardware/firmware/software).

While the Alternate-Firmware may not be the ultimate solution (for me personally), having the option to use my Wyze cameras “off-line” is very nice to have. (And as WildBill indicated, if you really need that “ultimate” off-line solution, there are other options you can exercise).

If you still have any doubts or concerns, please feel free to say so, and I (and/or others here) will be happy to provide you with additional details.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Cheers!

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Hi WildBill,

You are 100% correct, and that describes my original X10 system perfectly. While it did not contain a webserver itself, it did provide means and methods for accessing the camera feeds via a web-page. (You just need to BYOS, which I already had).

I guess I’ve just been chasing that “dream configuration” where EVERYTHING was kept local, and my PC was the DVR+WebServer. It just tweaks my berries that no-one really offers that type of service anymore. Everyone (I have been able to find) has gone proprietary, though the alternate-firmware for the Wyze cameras is by far the closest I’ve seen in recent years (sans going NVR/DVR as you suggest).

Thanks for your input,

I’m frustrated as well. RTSP for Wyze cams is unusable by me. I have read some have been able to get somewhat steady streams but still get dropouts. Not sure wifi really works for cameras and would prefer a wired IP solution. I have some Amcrest cams which work fairly well but at $49 are a little more expensive than Wyze and quite a bit larger.

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Well said but a minor tweak to this. While Wyze did provide their own RTSP firmware option, the offline firmware from 3rd parties is merely a happy accident due to how Wyze resold existing cameras. That is, people were hacking on the Dafang cameras even before Wyze licensed them (as far as I understand).

Sadly, I am not entirely surprised.

But thank you for that info - I have not yet gotten that far in my investigation and did not realize that the Wyze RTSP firmware was not the same as the “off-line” firmware. That changes things a little, and I may not bother chasing the HA solution any further. (I wasn’t really looking forward to adding a 3rd Linux server to my cluster anyway).

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Hi WildBill,

I too had read that many users were having issues with it, but chalked it up to the fact that most people don’t post when things go according to plan, so of course I would find more posts of how it did NOT work vs. when it did. Only problem with that in this case is that I have yet to find ANY posts about how it went well. (Though to be fair - I have not spent a huge amount of time on this).

As for your Amcrest cameras, I am not familiar with them specifically, but I do know what you mean about the size. The Wyze cameras may not be the smallest, nor the best quality, but they are the best mix of both worlds that I have found to date. Every other camera I have found so far is either of lesser quality, and/or is much bulkier. Wyze has found that happy medium IMO, which is a big reason why I gravitated towards them.

Cheers.

This is more or less the cameras I have from Amcrest…I think mine are older and lower resolution.

My biggest issue with webview is the fact that if im multitasking, and tab back into the web browser, it refreshes and FORCES me to sign back in. And with 2-factor enabled its a giant pain in the rear. Blue Iris works with RTSP, but i still get drop outs. I cant have my phone open all the time so having web view works great. Until these issues occur.

I agree completely about. the request to store on my own network… and the new charge for storage of my events videos could be solved with local storage…or Llpw me to redirect camera srorage to my own cloud service. See below my response incam lite forum thread
Continuing the discussion from What is going on with the "Free" Cam Plus Lite:

If the issue is costs associated with the cloud storage then allow me to redirct my camera to cloud storage that I’m already subscribing to and dont MAKE me use yours. You will no longer have my events storage on your system. A second suggestion is to develop a wyze dvr that customers can purchase and use with Wyze cams to store their videos on their own network…not going to a cloud. This would also address some of the security issues with recordings in the cloud that many of your customers have voiced security concerns over. Id be happy to assit with testing. Im also very unhappy with this new forced subscription model. Please give me the choice to use my own cloud or my oun network dvr. Thanks for your kind consideration

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I do want to clarify something…

The “cloud” is not just for “storage”. A cloud “service” is needed to allow the app to connect to your cameras.

So even if you setup the cameras to save to your own cloud “storage”, someone still needs to pay for the cloud “service” that allows your app to connect to your camera from outside your house.

A cloud “service” is needed to connect the app to your camera because your cameras are behind the firewall in your router who’s main job is to PREVENT incoming connections into your house. So to get around this security, the cameras connect to a cloud service, waiting for your app to request a connection to the camera. The camera’s can’t connect directly to the app on your phone because your phone’s is not always connected to the internet and when it does connect, it’s IP address is always different, so the camera is unable to connect directly to your phone and that is why a cloud “service” is needed to connect the app with the camera.

Hi MrEngineer - That service can just as easily run on my own network. Problem solved. We need to remember that ‘the cloud’ is everywhere, not just in some mystical remote server farm somewhere. In fact it’s right here next to me as I write this post! The only thing required to make that work is a static IP (of which I have several), or even a DDNS.

And if it costs [2.95 * 12 * AllUsers] to operate an authentication server, I feel very safe in telling them…
“WRONG <— You’re doing it.”

As for the rest of the post, I honestly don’t even know where to begin.
NO. There, that’s a good start.

To be fair, some of what you said was accurate in a round-about kind of way, but you got a little wobbly, and then fell off a cliff.

Yes (as it stands) a service is needed to connect to your Wyze cameras remotely, but not because it needs to get around a firewall. The “service” is needed only because the IP of the device (camera in this case) is often unknown and dynamic. The camera maintains a periodic connection with the service so the service always knows what the camera’s IP is. (The service should also provide some level of protection by way of some form of authentication or validation (is this a valid/authorized request?)).

Nothing is getting ‘around’ the firewall. The cameras initiate the connection to the remote service from inside your network, so unless you have specifically blocked that OUTGOING port, your firewall doesn’t even enter the picture. (Internally initiated connections are by default always allowed unless specifically blocked).

The camera’s can’t connect directly to the app on my phone, not because my phone’s IP is unknown, but because that’s not how it works. Why would the camera ever need to establish a connection to my phone or any other device? My phone establishes the connection TO the camera, or more precisely, it connects to the service which in turn provides a connection to the camera.

The service is needed so your phone can find and connect to your camera, not vice-versa.

If it helps, here is an imperfect but passable analogy;

Think of your phone as your web-browser, and your camera as the website you want to visit. You only know the name of the site, so you need some help getting the actual IP address. Enter the DNS (the “service”). Your browser (phone) contacts the DNS (service), which in turn tells your browser the IP address of the site (camera), which then allows your browser to connect with the website and view it.

At what point in that scenario does the website (camera) ever try to establish a connection with your web-browser (phone). Correct! - It doesn’t! And mostly for the same reasons.

I realize there are flaws and omissions in that analogy, but like I said, it’s not perfect, and I think it gets the point across nicely.

Cheers!