Simplest VPN vs VLAN setup for isolating NVR + IP Cams? Feeling overwhelmed.

I’m almost done wiring and installing my camera system. It’s a hikvision system branded by Nelly’s. “H-Series”

I have a very rudimentary home network that is simple and it works. I have a Motorola modem and a mesh router system. That’s it.

I’d like to figure out a simple way to increase the security of my security camera system while maintaining the ability to access the feeds remotely easily. But I have a few questions about what the best way to go forward is. This isn’t really a hobby of mine, and i’m trying to find a system I can do once, correctly, and have to perform somewhat minimal maintenance on going forward if possible.

Also, am I overthinking this?….

I considered running OpenVPN on a Pi (or getting a Netgear VPN Router, but i like my current mesh system already…) but i’m wondering how complicated / annoying it would be to have to use a VPN every time we wanted to look at the cameras or change the thermostat temperature etc. Would my wife be able to figure it out from her phone? Would we be required to use the VPN to access ALL devices on my network, including for example, my nest thermostat? If anyone already does this and can comment on how much of a pain in the a** it is or isn’t, that would be appreciated.

Alternatively, what are the pros and cons of creating a VLAN on the network to isolate the cameras, as opposed to a whole-network VPN? Is there a general consensus on the best way to go? I understand a remote-access VPN would encrypt the traffic both ways, but i’m unsure if that’s really necessary, or if a VLAN as a way to “hide” the ports of the NVR is a simpler solution. Does the VLAN get password protected? Is it easy to access remotely? Does it actually provide that much security?

If a VLAN is the way to go, do i just need to add a switch between my router and my NVR? Would I have to install any special apps on our phones to be able to remote-view the cameras?

Thanks for reading.

submitted by /u/SampsonRustic
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