Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I live in an apartment in Washington, DC. My only option for cable (TV and Internet) is Comcast. I am extremely dissatisfied with my service and want to cancel. There's WiFi in the lobby of the apartment complex plus I have a data plan on my phone and iPad, so I'm not worried about being able to download movies/TV shows or read email. My problem is that I run a webcam so I can check on my dogs when I'm not home and I need to find a reliable alternate source to run the webcam. Can I run a webcam using a hotspot? I've no preference on which company's product I use - and cost isn't an issue - I'm really just looking for a solution to get away from Comcast and still be able to run the webcam with some degree of reliability. Any suggestions?

share|improve this question

In theory you could use the hotspot - the webcam would then be accessible through the IP address of that internet connection rather than your own.

Problems you may face:

  • Will the owner of the hotspot be happy with you using their connection as a server?
  • Will the hotspot be configured to redirect web requests to your machine? Chances are you'll be behind a router and won't have a proper IP address - in which case you'll need special firewall rules configured just for you.
  • Does the hotspot always have a fixed IP address, or does it change? There are ways to work round this, but it does add complexity.

An alternative might be to use your cellular connection. You could either set up some sort of tethering arrangement (here in the UK, that's normally ruinously expensive) or get yourself a dongle and cellular router to give yourself an internet connection through 3G - I have a 0.5Gb package for £5 a month, so you could look into getting something similar. Chances are it'll be a lot slower than your current cable connection, but it'll be all yours to control and will probably be sufficient for basic webcam use.

share|improve this answer

I don't believe you can directly use a hotspot's connection for this purpose unless you make special arrangements with the provider of the hotspot.

What you possibly could do would be to get a router (which runs DD-WRT or similar) and find a VPN which gives you a static IP across the VPN. You would then have a "real world" IP address on the router - where the router first initiates a connection to the VPN - thus it will be possible to find the camera on its IP address without special configuration of the hotspot).

This is quite doable, but probably not a trivial undertaking, ie you will probably want someone with networking skills to set it up for you.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .