How to Use IP as a Webcam

Nathan Rizzuti Profile image

Written by:

Updated February 10, 2023

As more embark on the journey of remote work, the demand to find the best webcams also expands. Webcams are now a modern staple of communication technology, but finding the right one can be a pain. Consumers often feel they need to buy something traditionally marketed as a webcam, but, in reality, many devices can double as webcams. Below, we’ll show you how this is possible as we explain how to use an IP as a webcam.


  • Streaming compatible IP cameras can be made into functioning webcams by downloading firmware online.
  • Firmware is copied to an SD card and plugged into the camera’s card slot.
  • Connect the IP webcam to a computer via a USB cable to switch the video stream from the built-in camera to the new device.

And IP cameras aren’t the only webcam alternative. We also have a guide on how to use a GoPro as a webcam.

How to Setup an IP Webcam

IP stands for “internet protocol,” meaning the camera has a separate IP address, allowing it to receive and send data over a network feed. IP cameras are usually considered security devices but aren’t limited to this role and can be used as a webcam in just a few simple steps because of their network connectivity. Another great thing about IP cameras is that users can take additional steps to figure out how to access the webcam remotely once they are set up.

Insider Tip

Users can also convert traditional webcams into security cameras.

For a guide on more commonly used devices, we have a similar article that explains how to use an iPhone as a webcam.

STEP 1 Confirm Webcam Compatibility

Research your IP camera to see if it can be used as a webcam. You can find this through your IP camera manufacturer’s internet support page.

STEP 2 Download Firmware

If your device can convert to an IP webcam, download the firmware to your computer.

STEP 3 Copy Firmware File to Camera

Download the firmware data onto an SD card. Then remove the SD card from the computer and stick it into the SD card slot on your IP webcam. Then consult your user manual on how to download programs from the SD card. Downloading the webcam application file may take a few minutes.

STEP 4 Connect the IP Webcam to Computer

Open your preferred webcam app, whether Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Skype, or Zoom. Then, plug the cable into your computer’s USB port. This should transition the video feed from your built-in webcam to the new IP virtual webcam.

STEP 5 Adjust Your Webcams Video Settings

Many apps allow you to enhance video quality by changing the resolution, mirroring, contrast, and brightness.

STEP 6 Set Default Camera

Once you know the device works, enter your computer’s device manager settings menu to set the new IP webcam as default and disable your built-in camera.


Many IP cameras have built-in microphones that are poor quality, so it’s recommended you purchase an external microphone.

STAT: One study showed that Americans are captured on security footage 238 times weekly. (source)

How to Use IP as a Webcam FAQs

Do all IP cameras work as webcams?

Many IP cameras cannot function as webcams, so you must check the manufacturer’s website.

Are IP cameras better quality than traditional webcams?

To know this, you’ll have to look at the differences in resolution. However, many built-in webcams have low image quality that is often outperformed by other devices.

Do IP cameras have built-in microphones?

You should always double-check this, but an IP camera will usually come with built-in audio.
Nathan Rizzuti Profile image