I am setting up a couple of IP cameras and a ftp server on my home network. I want to know if I can access them from outside. I know that I can go outside and use some free wifi connections such as McDonald or Starbucks and try from there. This may mean a few trips from home if I am doing debugging and fixing. Can I do some setup at home to simulate access from outside ? Then I only have to go outside once to do the final confirmation if the simulation works.
You will need to port forward the relevant ports on your router to the correct devices on your internal network. The easiest way to test would be by creating a wifi hotspot on your mobile device and connecting to that. This would allow you to come back into your home network via your LTE connection.
The simplest way to test, while sitting in the comfort of your living room is to use cellular service on your phone. Turn OFF WIFI and try to access. You are guaranteed to be coming from an outside source.
You want a DDNS setup as well as appropriate port forwarding. You want to be able to use a URL and not have to worry if your ISP changed your public IP address.
You may not believe me. I do not have a data plan on my phone. That's why I need to go to McDonald or Starbucks for free wifi service. My work place has wifi which will allow me to watch my home using the ip cam and get files from my hard drive over FTP once I got them set up. I do have another router. I was wondering if I can set up 2 networks at home and use the second network to simulate and external access.
You can if you really want to plug a PC into the wan port and manually assign IP addresses to the pc and the router wan. The pc would simulate a single remote ip on the internet attempting to access. You would have to have software on the pc that could test the connection.
This type of configuration is more used for performance testing to see how much data you can force though a router.
Note on your plan in general. I would be careful about exposing cameras directly to the internet. Most cameras seem to have lots of bugs and are being hacked. You also should not use just simple FTP you want to use one of secure option that runs it over SSH or SSL.
VPN on the router tends to be the simplest security solution that still allows full access.