How Far Do You Have To Go To Reboot Network Devices

We´re all too familiar with having to reboot our computers and smartphones when they are frozen. Not only is it annoying but it´s possible to lose valuable information and time. It´s the same with cameras and other network devices.

If you have ever had to drive out to a site, simply to reboot a network device or needed a bucket truck to restart a camera on a pole you fully understand the complications involved with dealing with a locked-up device.

Because lock ups are not preventable, the only solution is to turn the device off, then wait for a controlled amount of time and then turn it back on. But while this sounds easy, manually doing so can prove to be extremely costly and time consuming, especially when it involves long distances and hard to reach places.

Luckily, there are some solutions in the market. Let’s take a look at them and see what works best. 

The Software Watchdog
Many manufacturers include a software or internal hardware watchdog in their digital network devices. If a lock up occurs, the watchdog will supposedly restart the network device. However, here´s the problem: An internal watchdog can’t reset itself once the network device is locked up because in most instances the watchdog is part of the digital electronics itself, which is frozen.

Key Fobs
Key fobs, like garage door openers, offer another solution. A receiver must be installed in the camera and the user has a key fob remote. While they are inexpensive and easy to use, there are also several disadvantages. To reboot a network device, someone must drive to the site and press a button from not more than 45 feet away.

Even so, there is no way of knowing that the network device is back online without additional monitoring equipment on-site. Also, like garage door openers, the signal may be stolen and then used to turn off the camera or other network device. 

An Independent External Watchdog
A better solution is to have an independent and isolated control device that automatically cuts power to the camera or network device, waits a pre-set time, and then restores power. The device should be physically isolated from the original’s internal electronics, so that it is not susceptible to the same fate as internal watchdogs in the event of an internal lockup.

That was the inspiration for the uSwitch family of products. Because uSwitch is separate from the microprocessor, it can reset devices that cannot be restarted by an internal device, which may itself be frozen. And it does this automatically and without human intervention, even while you are sleeping!

Learn more about uSwitch at