Your Alibi recorder includes several features that can be used to ensure the system is secure and is functioning at the highest level. Important features common to all Alibi recorders include log information search, HDD performance monitoring, and network (LAN) traffic monitoring. We’ll look at these three in this video.
After you install your Alibi recorder, perform the initial setup using the configuration Wizard, and then customize the configuration using the menus in the firmware, the recorder will run indefinitely, capturing the video information you want to capture, when you want to capture it. Also, you may have configured your recorder to send email messages when specific alert conditions occur, such as video tampering, loss of video, or a hard disk drive failure.
Although there is no defined maintenance strategy for taking care of your surveillance system, there are some things that should be done on a regular basis. For instance, cameras should be checked periodically to make sure they are providing good quality and the lenses are clean. And the recorder includes several features that can be used to ensure the system is secure and is functioning at the highest level.
Important features common to all Alibi recorders include log information search, HDD performance monitoring, and network (LAN) traffic monitoring. We’ll look at these three in this video. The Alibi recorder also includes many other special tools for analyzing your system. These are shown in the User Manual for your recorder.
Log Information Search
Let’s look at log information search. To open the Log Information search menu from the Live view desktop, right-click anywhere on the desktop, then click Menu in the pop-up window. We bypassed the admin login for this video. In the Menu options window, click Maintenance, and then click Log Information. In the window, you can specify a log search start and end time, and identify specific types of log entries you are looking for.
To set the start time, click the Start Date field, then pick a day from the calendar window. You can also set the start time in the field to the right. Do the same thing for End time. For this example, we’ll look for log entries across the span of a month – June 2 to July 2. You can click the Search button to display the results of the search. The log entries that meet the search criteria are listed below. Notice that for each entry, a date and time, and type field are displayed.
Also, on the right, there may be an icon in the Play column, and always an icon in the Details column. For the first entry, Notice that the Minor Type is HDD SMART. Let’s click the Details icon. Here, the Log Information window shows SMART data read from the HDD. Click OK to close the window. On the 7th line, there is an entry on June 2 at 6:03 am for a Start Motion Detection log entry. Let’s click the Play icon for this entry.
Notice here the video shows the camera view for motion detection – probably occurred because the camera switched from Night mode to Day mode when someone turned on the lights. At the bottom of this screen you can see that more than 2000 entries were found. These entries are displayed across 20 pages of reports. You can navigate between pages using the buttons in the lower right corner of the screen. To advance to a different page, click the Go icon on the right, or click the entry field, then enter the page number from the pop-up keyboard.
Let’s go to page 2. -- If you are looking for specific log information, doing a general search as we did produces a result that may be difficult to sort through. However, you can narrow your search options to specific types of data. For example, let’s open the Major Type drop down list and choose the category of entries you might be looking for. Here, I’ll choose Operation.
Then open the Minor type drop down list where you can pick a single Minor type, or All for all minor types. I’ll select All. Lastly, you can adjust the timeframe as we did earlier, and then click the Search button. At the bottom of the list, you can see that the recorder found 170 entries. For the first entry in the list, click the icon in the Details column. This entry shows that a NAS (network attached storage) HDD, numbered 17, was added to the recorder on June 2. Click OK to close the window.
After performing a search, you can easily export your search data. Simply insert a USB device, such as a flash drive, into one of the USB ports on the recorder, then click the Export button. In the display that opens, ensure that you select the flash drive from the drop down list at the top, and then click Export. Other export features are also available on this screen.
Hard Disk Drive (Storage) Performance Monitoring
To look at HDD features from the Live View display, right click anywhere to open the pop-up menu, click Menu, and then click the HDD icon. In this display, notice the Status of each HDD listed. The Normal status indicated here is optimal. Also check the free space value compared to the Capacity. If you configured your HDD to overwrite the oldest data when it becomes full, the free space value will become and continue to be close to the capacity of the HDD.
Here, too, you can erase all video data from the HDD by re-initializing it. Just check the box for the HDD you want to initialize, and then click the Init button. It can take several minutes to initialize an HDD. Click HDD Detect on the left side of the screen. This screen has two tabs: SMART settings, and Bad Sector detection. If your HDD support SMART, the screen shown here enables you to execute SMART self tests.
Some Alibi recorders also display here the current SMART data. To execute a SMART self test, open the drop down list on the HDD line and select the HDD you want to test (here there is only 1 HDD), open the Self-test type drop down list and select the test you want to run, and then click the icon on the SMART line to begin. The test progress and status and is shown on the Self Test Status line.
When the test completes, a report that includes SMART data attributes for the HDD is shown below. Each drive manufacturer defines a set of attributes and sets threshold values. For more information about these attributes and SMART tests, refer to the HDD manufacturer’s website. Also, the Wikipedia for SMART is a good source for information. Next, click the Bad Sector Detection tab at the top of the screen.
You can use this feature to perform a thorough surface analysis of your HDD. To start the test, open the HDD drop down list and select the HDD number, then click Detect. For each sector tested, the grid will show a red box if it is damaged, and a list of errors will be displayed. Depending on the performance and size of the HDD, this test can take hours to complete. Note that some Alibi recorders have different surface analysis test you can run.
Network (LAN) Traffic Monitoring and Special Feature
Next, let’s go back to the Maintenance submenu and click Net Detect. This screen will display a graph of the send and receive data traffic rate from and to the recorder. Notice here that the Linking Status is successful. Next, click the Network Detection tab. Here, you can perform a Network Delay, Packet Loss Test on the LAN. This test verifies that you can efficiently export data to another network device, such as a computer.
To do that, first click the destination address field and enter the IP address of the destination computer. When entering the IP address using the virtual keyboard, you can enter a period by clicking the symbols icon on the keyboard, then clicking the “2”. After entering the address of the destination computer, click the Test button on the right to run the test. Here, the test result is satisfactory.
You can also test the ability of the recorder to export a packet to a device attached to the recorder, such as a USB drive. This test verifies that you can efficiently export data to a USB backup device. To do that, plug a flash drive into a USB port, I’ll click Refresh here for the recorder to recognize the drive, select the drive in the drop down menu, and then click Export. A pop-up window will appear showing the result of the test.
On this tab you can also check the status of your connection to the LAN. To do that, click the Status button at the bottom of the screen. This usually takes a few seconds. Notice here, a Gateway problem was detected, even though the recorder seems to be operating normally. You can click the Network button at the bottom of the screen to open a network settings display, and make whatever changes are necessary.
Lastly, click the Network Stat tab. This display reports Remote Live View and Remote Playback data rates form the recorder across the LAN. I’ll setup a remote connection to the recorder. It is viewing two cameras. I’ll click Refresh. Next, I’ll switch to playback mode with one camera, and then click Refresh. You can see how the data shown here changes.