Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How UPnP failed me and Bonjour for Windows saved me.

Today I am working in an entirely Windows XP environment. Not a Mac to be found. However, it was Apple software that saved me.

It might seem strange to be extolling the virtues of Apple software on Windows, and believe me, if the Windows UPnP software worked as it is supposed to, I probably wouldn't be doing this, but if you find yourself in the same situation this article might help you.

We just got a new Axis Q1755 network camera. It supports Universal Plug and Play or UPnP. It also supports Bonjour which it turns out is very lucky for me. I connected the camera to our network. At that point, as a UPnP device it is supposed to show up on my Windows XP computer inside My Network Places. I opened My Network Places, and it wasn't there.

I found an article that said Windows Firewall can interfere with UPnP devices. However, since I'm on an internal network, I have my Firewall turned off.

I found another article that mentioned that by default Windows XP might not have all the needed UPnP software installed. I went into Control Panels->Add or Remove Programs. I clicked the Add/Remove Windows Components button. I clicked Networking Services. Then I clicked Details… I saw that UPnP User Interface was not checked, so I checked it to install it. Clicked OK, then Next, then Finish which installed the UPnP components. Opened My Network Places again, but still nothing.

I found yet another article that said I might need to enable the UPnP discovery service. So I went into Control Panels->Administration Tools->Services and looked for the SSDP Discovery Service. Sure enough, it was disabled. I enabled it and started it. I verified its status changed to Started. Closed the Services control panel. Opened My Network Places again, and still nothing.

Now I've already wasted 10 minutes on something that was supposed to be Plug and Play. Then I noticed in the setup manual of the camera it also supports Bonjour for Mac OS X. Hmmm I know Apple released Bonjour for Windows too. It can't work any worse then this, and if it takes less then 10 minutes it's a more efficient use of my time. So I go to the Apple website and download Bonjour for Windows. It installs a new button on the Explorer Bar in Internet Explorer. I click that button and it immediately finds three devices on my network. Two printers, and my new Axis camera. I click on the camera and have full access to it.

So I gotta' say, I'm liking Bonjour for Windows.