Hooking your cameras up using a network cable and POE gives both a power supply and the best possible data connection. In theory this is as reliable as a camera connection can get, but in rare cases you might have trouble with the camera not working properly, or periodically dropping offline.
If you are having issues with a POE connected camera, the problem could lie with:
loose network cable connections
bandwidth limitations on your router
the POE switch or router
the network cable
the step-down POE accessory or;
the camera itself.
The following troubleshooting should allow you to pin down the culprit. In each step of the process, you have to leave the camera running for long enough that the problem would reappear if it was going to.
Loose network cable connections
Check all the connections in the POE chain i.e. switch/router → network cable → step-down POE accessory → camera.
Sometimes network cable connectors don’t quite click in place fully (see image below). If this is the issue, try carefully bending the small flexible locking arm out away from the body of the connector a bit, so it locks into the socket properly.
Router bandwidth issues
If your the issue started when you added a POE camera to your system (usually adding camera number three or four) then this could be a sign of a bandwidth bottleneck in your router. Your router may have enough bandwidth to run two to three cameras, but maybe not three or four.
Try disconnecting a camera that has been working fine and see if this means the camera that was giving trouble now works reliably. If it does, then it suggests that a bandwidth bottleneck is causing the problem.
If your router is an older model, it will be easiest to replace it with a newer model. See this solution for information on suggested minimum requirements for routers running a CleverLoop system.
The POE switch or router
If you have got other POE connected cameras on your network that are working properly, you can check your POE router/switch by connecting a working camera to the port that the problem camera was connected to. If the camera that was working continues to work properly on the new port, the POE switch/router probably isn’t the cause of the problem.
You can double check by connecting the network cable from the problematic camera to the port that the working camera was on, and see if the problem persists.
Camera, Step-down accessory or Network cable
The easiest way to check these three items is by taking your camera down from where it is attached or located, and to test it next to your router.
After taking down the camera, connect it directly to your router with a different network cable (the short one the cameras come with are ideal) and power it with the wall plug that came with it.
If the camera now works reliably, then the camera isn’t the cause of the problem.
Next connect the camera to the POE switch/router using the short network cable and the POE step-down accessory. If the problem reappears, then the issue is with the POE step-down accessory.
If the camera continues to work correctly, this means that the problem is with the network cable that you were using. If the cable was made to length, check that the individual wires in the connectors are the correct order (called T-568A and T-568B- see below). If they aren’t in one of these two sequences (and they should be the same at both ends) they may need new connectors putting on to them with the wires in the correct order.
If the cable was bought pre-made, then there is a chance that the cable is faulty and needs replacing.