Who is Q-See?
Q-See is a security brand founded in 2002. They were once a significant direct to consumer camera system reseller in the United States.
Q-See Australia is being sold by a group called "Perisale Australia Pty Ltd" out of New South Wales. The "trading as Q-See Australia" name was registered in 2018.
Is Q-See Going out of Business?
Only Q-See in the United States is going out of business. Q-See USA announced that the business would be shutting down on January 31st 2021 due to market challenges like COVID -19 and increased tariffs between China and the USA. They said that "customers should make appropriate changes to their security needs by January 31st, 2021"
According to the "Q-See Australia" Website, Perisale Australia (trading as Q-See Australia) deals with Q-See International out of Hong Kong, an independent entity to the now-defunct Q-See USA.
Q-See Australia claims they are largely unaffected by the Q-See USA closure except for the QCW indoor bookshelf models which were connected via the now shut down American servers.
What Happened to Q-See Cameras?
Q-See USA made use of a Peer-to-Peer (P2p) network to simplify linking the security cameras with a PC or smartphone.
They had servers that acted as a "middleman" to help your cameras and your smartphone or computer "find each other" to connect. Those servers are now shut down, so the cameras don't know how to connect with one another on their own.
So now the QSee app is not working for many owners.
Q-See Australia says that only the cameras in Australia that are affected by this P2p server shutdown are the "QCW" range of indoor bookshelf cameras. Some known models being sold in Australia are:
Q-See camera owners would see error messages like this on their Q-See Plus App: "Network error, please check the internet!" [sic]
All other Australian models (model numbers often ending with a -AU) are supposedly unaffected.
Solutions to the Q-See Plus Network Error
Now that the Q-See Plus App is not working, there are a few solutions you could try to make them useful again.
Solution #1 - Try the Dahua App
Depending on the age of the camera, many of them are Dahua cameras with the Q-See logo printed on them. This is known as white-labelling.
As the devices may be rebranded Dahua, it means that Dahua's DMSS app may work with your Q-See camera. However, unless you make some changes to your home or business network, you will only be able to use it while on the same network.
Solution #2 - Return It
If you just purchased one of the affected models, I highly recommend returning them and getting something else. While that may not seem overly helpful, security cameras have limited use when you can't use them away from home. Additionally, the cameras will likely not receive further security updates, making them vulnerable to future hacking.
If you need help choosing something else, you can check out our Security Camera Buyers Guide.
Solution #3 - Will Work, but Technical
Set up a VPN server on your home network and VPN into your home network when you are away from home. If you currently work remotely, your workplace may have a similar setup where you VPN into your work network to use work resources (like printers).
A VPN server is different from the VPN service you may already be using, like Private Internet Access, NordVPN etc... With a VPN service that you use to hide browsing habits or use Netflix in another country, you connect to someone else's VPN server.
This solution is to create a VPN server on your own network and use your mobile device to VPN into your home network. Once VPN'd into your home network, you can view your camera as if you were at home.
Solution #3 - Will Work, Not as Technical, But is Dangerous
Most home and business routers are designed not to let someone from the internet connect directly to a device inside your network. However, you can do what is known as Port Forwarding to allow an external device (like your mobile phone) to connect directly to a device inside your network, such as your camera or its NVR.
However, this effectively exposes your camera to the internet, and it may not be just you trying to access your cameras. Hackers constantly probe networks to look for open ports and see what they can connect to and exploit.
This is sometimes an acceptable risk if your devices stay up to date with their security patches. Given that Q-See USA has now gone out of business, you likely will not be receiving any future security updates for your affected devices. It will probably be a case of not IF you are hacked, but WHEN.
To do this method, Q-See has created step-by-step instructions on how to port forward Q-See devices.
Who Makes Q-See Cameras?
While there are thousands of security cameras brands, there are only a handful of actual camera manufacturers. Q-See has used a number of OEM manufacturers:
All of these OEM's are Chinese owned and manufactured in China.
If you need help choosing Security Cameras, check our Security Camera Buyers Guide.