Use Synology NAS as a Video Surveillance System

Every video surveillance system I've ever used has been horrible. Surprisingly, the cameras, no matter how cheap they are, are actually pretty high quality these days, but the software used to actually record and retrieve the footage is almost unusable. 

I recently learned that Synology produces software called Surveillance Station, which can turn any of their NAS (network attached storage) devices into a surveillance station. 

As you probably know, we work daily off of a couple different Synology NAS devices. We recently did a whole post on our switch over to a new 10Gbps system. I didn't want to potentially slow down one of our main units, so I grabbed an old DS214 that we don't use anymore. If you want to buy one, you can get a new one for around $150

For cameras, I bought two Foscam R2 cameras that can work with Ethernet or Wi-Fi for $70. 

If you're looking to set this up yourself, watch the video above to see the step-by-step process. Once everything was connected, the system worked pretty seamlessly. Synology software is very well thought out, but it's also made for customization, which means that it isn't a super-simple solution.

Synology will allow you to use two cameras for free, but you'll have to pay for additional cameras. Instead of a simple digital solution, you'll have to go buy a physical surveillance station license code that will have to be mailed to you. This code cost $200 for four cameras and $370 for eight cameras. These extra costs are certainly a bummer, but if you ever want to review the footage from your security cameras, the is the simplest solution I have found that doesn't have a monthly subscription fee. 

If you already own a Synology NAS, this might be the easiest solution for your home or office. If you don't, I'm not sure I can recommend going out and buying one just for this purpose. It does work infinitely better than the security systems that we have at our office and my home, but it's still too complicated for the average person to want to deal with. I'm still waiting for a plug and play security system that has a simple user interface and no monthly fee. 

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My Hikvision system with a NVR is totally monthly fee free and depending on the size of HDD you put in the thing has more than a month of playback on my 4 outdoor cameras and about 3 weeks on the 6 indoor ones. Much easier and less annoying than synology imo. The license fee for that is just stupid.

Wes Jones's picture

I have been using the Synology Surveillance system on my NAS for several years and love it. I too have Foscam cameras and the biggest drawback so far is that the power supplies for the Foscam cameras just simply stop working after a year or so. I have replaced three of them so far.

Adam Collins's picture

I've been using Wyze Cam for about 6 months and have no complaints.

When you did your research, I'm not sure if you came across the Ubiquiti video line-up. As long as you're not looking for a PTZ solution, that's been the hands-down cheapest option all the way around. You install the software (either the older Unifi Video or the newer Unifi Protect) on the Synology and go to town - no fees needed. Quality is pretty good, though of course, IR range is a problem unless you use the IR range extender on the G3.