on April 14, 2004
I just bought this product and it's all what I expected. I just followed the quick installation guide, plugged in ethernet cable and the power, set the ip as recommended 192.168.0.20 on the camera and my wireless Netgear router and it works. I can view the camera immediately. But when I unplug the ethernet and into wireless mode, it didn't work. I ended up calling tech support and got a live support person in less than 5 minutes, he suggested I reboot(power down and up) my camera and router. The wireless mode now working.
I tried to set the camera up behind the router according to the instruction on the manual from the CD provided, it didn't work. After playing around for 3 hours, I finally figured out that the default port 80 and 8481 don't work, you have to open up the second port 81 and 8482. I IPView software provided in the CD does not have motion sensor, you can download the latest version of IPView with motion sensor for the DLINK website, and it works very well. It can detect a slightest movement.
PROS: price, good picture(can adjust brightness), motion sensor software(download latest IPView).
CONS: no audio, can not pan view(must manually pan camera), no email picture option.
These are a new generation of "webcams". These cameras have a built in web server. They connect to your home net via ethernet. Management programs can display the images from the cameras on your computer screen.
I recently examined a Hawking camera. Superficially, it seemed to have security, but there were only two official ways to get an image from the camera. One was by using a facility where the camera e-mailed you an image. This image was tagged as spam by my provider because it used the big5 character set, even though it contained no text. But the other way was to use a java applet which was automatically downloaded from the camera, the same way any applet would be loaded.
This was the only image data displayed on the camera's web interface.
I wanted to get a still image, so I traced the applet's data stream. The applet simply connected to a port on the camera and then presented four characters and a newline. The camera responded with a four byte header and a jpeg. I was able to use echo, sleep and netcat to pull jpegs out of the camera - but I did not have to present the password to pull jpegs out of the camera.
The instructions that come with the camera tell you to open this port to the Internet via port forwarding from your firewall. You also open the camera's web port.
If you do this, then a hacker can see that you have this camera and then they can look for other open ports, and if they find the camera port, they can easily pull jpegs out of it with no password.
This is OK, though, since the camera is so incredibly bad that all that anyone will see is sort of a flesh shaped amorphous mass. I took this camera back to the store.
There are two other products on the market. One is the D-Link DCS-900W, and the other is the Linksys Wireless G. Both are comparable to the Hawking and way better.
The Linksys presents both sound and video as an MPEG4 stream. I know of no way to get still images from this camera (other than by having the camera e-mail you one). There is an active X control that allows you to view the video on a windows system, or, with the right codecs, you can use Media Player or Mplayer to view the stream. However, only a Windows user using Internet Explorer can access the camera through the web interfacr and see full motion video. Everyone else can go through multiple layers of frames to determe what the url is for the mpeg4 stream - then, that URL can be fed to a regular media player that can play (or record) an mpeg4 stream.
The Linksys can be connected to a 10 or 100 wired ethernet, or to an 802.11b or 802.11g wireless net. It supports WEP. By default it is configured to run at a fixed address - but it can run on WEP. A unique feature is that it has a small LCD panel and the LCD panel displays the IP address that it uses. It can look for motion within the camera and send out alerts by e-mail if motion is detected (that is, no external program is required to deal with automated motion detection from this camera). All data is presented on the web interface, and basic authentication (userid and password) is demanded if the camera is set up to require it before the video stream, or any data other than the base screen is presented. There are two levels of users - those who can display the video stream and one user who can administer the box.
I have not installed the Linksys management software - it seems to be unneeded. If I could find an open source solution that would allow me to convert mpeg4 to a still jpeg, then this would be the winning solution. But the conversion stacks I have found garble the images horribly. I believe that there is conversion available in the support software.
The D-Link has a URL where a jpeg can be accessed. All interaction is via web - and all interaction requires basic security. There are two levels of users - One user who can configure the camera and those who can just display pics.
The D-Link has a Java applet and an active-X control - take your pick - that allows you to view motion pictures - and it also has full motion video - so you can view full motion video from any browser that supports Java applets, or, if you are an IE user who has not installed Java, you can use the Active-X control to look at the video. Thus, the full motion video should work for almost everyone - I know it works in Linux and Windows. The D-Link has the best low light capability. It also has the clearest picture, by far. It does not have 802.11g and it does not have sound. It does support WEP. Internally, (to the applet) the motion data is presented as a series of jpegs, using a standard http stream format. All video or jpeg data is presented only after successful basic authentication.
The management software for the D-Link camera works reasonably well, but there is no reason to use it other than, perhaps, for upgrading the flash - although the "lite" software can present a very high quality full screen full motion video. All motion detection recording on the D-Link is done in an application on a connected windows PC.
These cameras cost a few dollars more than the Hawking, but they actually have a modicum of security.
The Linksys is a winner if you need sound, or if you want to get the extra performance of an 802.11g device - if you do not have any 802.11b devices, you might well not want to introduce the first one.
If you need motion detection in the camera, the Linksys devices also win. Linksys cameras and a wireless router would obivate the need for a computer onsite, and, with a DSL connection, say, would allow for the accumulation, at a central site, of images where motion was detected.
If you do not need sound - say, for a manned security setup, the D-Link cameras would allow you to put 16 cameras on a single screen - no wiring cost, and you could have motion detection and recording. That would be expensive, but probably much cheaper than any other solution. Considering that you could avoid wiring, it would be a winner.
on November 21, 2004
for the price, this is a great tool. if u need night time viewing, add a motion detector.
i found a 4x4x6 waterproof plastic box at Home Depot, begged them for a 3x3 glass scrap, and mounted this outside w/motion detector light (see above). we'll see how it handles Florida sun next summer.
bingo! i now have 5 of these running very nicely.
please note that i use free linux software instead of PC monitoring app (IP-View) that comes with it, but friends seem to have good luck w/that app. the linux app ('motion') allows me to mix USB, video, and network cams in one survelliance app.
newest firmware for cam (2.28) hasn't crashed since i booted it over a week ago fyi.
on August 22, 2005
I purchased several of these cameras and I am very pleased with their performance. They are easy to setup and sturdy. Shhh! Don't tell D-link, but I did test their durability on ceramic tile.
For the price <$100> you can't beat them. I am amazed by their update times over the web. These cameras will act as independent web servers, if you set up your router correctly. Each camera needs to have its IP and port associated correctly, after that it's cake.
As I mentioned, these cameras do update quite fast. A fact I did not appreciate until I experienced the Toshiba IK-WB01. I only use the highest resolution setting (640x400). At this resolution, you will be able to capture moving cars fairly clearly. Meaning, you can recognize make, model, color and driver hair color.
If you want to capture images a night, the DCS-900w is not for you. You should consider purchasing the DCS-950g. The DCS-900w is good to 2 Lux, making it useless at night. <Unless you install 1200w motion lights or something. > The DCS-950g is good to 0.5 Lux to give you an idea of the difference.
1-Relatively low cost
2-Easy to setup
3-Good updates at high resolution
4-Very stable - occasional power blips confuse it like all my other wireless gear. If power blips are a problem for you, use a UPS or a timer like the guy above.
5-Software IPView light is useful
6-NOT for low light
on July 4, 2004
I wanted to use this cam for monitoring an office, house or the street, however was unable to use it at any of these locations, except during the day. This camera seems to require minimum 5-10 lux. For example in the evening, even on a well lit street it is already very difficult to distinguish the shape of my car less than 10 feet away. Also indoors there is a lot of noise under any amount of artificial light, unless you put your face in front of the camera or the area is lit by natural sun light. Basically after 5 PM the quality gets pretty bad and after 6 PM the cam becomes unusable.
It might be OK for video conferencing if you sit next to your computer with a lamp pointed at your face, however this doesn't require a wireless network camera since many USB models under $50 can perform better.
The camera frame rate on my wireless network is less than 5 fps, though not sure if this is a performance problem with my wireless router (Microsoft), so I am not putting the full blame on the camera.
Generally the concept of wireless network camera is great, but it would need to be coupled with a decent camera. As a standard Webcam this camera wouldn't be worth more than $20.
I've had to do some research to discover that CCD cameras are much better than CMOS, especially in low-light, so I will be looking specifically for those now, even if they are USB-only. Learned my lesson.
on February 28, 2005
I had quite a lot of trouble with this camera at the beginning. The range of the camera seemed ridiculously limited and the camera seemed to fritz out on a regular basis for no apparent reason.
After downloading the firmware update for this camera and installing it, the flakiness disappeared, but the limited range remained a problem. Basically it could not be more than a couple of feet from the wireless access point and still work. After much frustration with this, I finally decided to CAREFULLY open up the camera to see if I could find anything that was obviously wrong with the electronics inside.
I'm glad that I did! I found that the wire from the antenna had become disconnected from the circuit board (or never was connected at the factory). The snap-on connector at the end of the antenna lead is extremely small and weak and the cable from the antenna is fairly rigid, so any amount of jarring of the camera could cause the connector to pop-off of the circuit board.
D-Link should have used something to tie-down the cable to the circuit board to prevent the connector from popping off.
Well, I carefully popped the snap-on connector for the antenna lead back on the circuit board and VERY carefully reassembled the camera.
Voila! The camera now has excellent WiFI range!
The IPView Lite software that comes with the camera and that you can get an upgrade for from the D-Link web site is not reliable on Windows 2000. It crashes all of the time. It seems to be more reliable on Windows XP. I suggested to the developers that they release the IPView Lite to Open Source so that people could work on it to improve its reliability. No response.
Now that I've worked out all of the glitches, I can recommend this camera. Be aware that some after purchase tweaking may be required.
on July 14, 2004
These cameras work great in well-lit conditions. However, these are worthless as "Securicams" as the package labels them, since they can't even see my front porch from my front window (3 feet away) with the porch light on at night. I bought two of these and I regret it. Look for at least one of them on eBay soon. Also, they don't support WPA.
on December 29, 2005
I bought this camera so my family overseas can "join us for breakfast" or spy on us when we play a game at the dining table and it works out perfectly!
For around US$100 you can't go wrong with this beauty! Both ActiveX and Java support for viewing means that virtually every browser is supported...
Configuration is a breeze, all you need to do is make sure you hook the camera to some hub or router that has another computer attached in the 192.168.0.x IP range (for the duration of configuring the camera you could also hookup the computer directly to the camera with a crossover cable of course). You do not even have to install the software on your computer: Just make sure you can browse to the camera's default address of 192.168.0.20. Wireless configuration was easy as well: put in the settings, unplug ethernet cable, reboot the camera and you are all done! (my camera is only 25 feet away from the wireless router in the same room, so I did not test the wireless range of the camera)
If you want the camera to be reachable from the internet you of course need to do some port forwarding in your router, good idea to enable the second port on the camera (nice feature you can use a port different than port 80) so you can reach the camera on some high unknown port (providers often block incoming traffic on port 80 as they do not want their customers to be running webservers...).
The support for Java makes it easy to "plug" your camera in any website you might have (that is what I did and it works wonderfully). Support to define an NTP server is also nice: your camera shows the correct time always. Ability to hand out usernames and passwords to your family and friends: nice as well.
Quality of the video is very acceptable for a camera in this price range. I use it indoors in a not so very well lit room and it works out fine, sure the image gets somewhat grainy when the lights go down but again: very good light sensitivity in this price range. If you have US$200 or US$300 to spend you can get better quality and features (e.g. 2-way sound, pan, tilt), but I did not want to spend that money.
Even the hardware that comes with it is of very nice quality, the mounting kit can swivel and turn freely in a position you want and locks down perfectly with the knob. I mounted mine against the wall and it has been snug in that position ever since :-)
This is one of the most impressive gadgets I bought lately (together with the Nikko Samurai RC car I bought for my son ;-) ...) and I would highly recommand it to anyone!
on February 11, 2005
I'm setting up multiple WebCams for a Web site and like the idea of going wireless...no need to have long cables all over the place! This camera is relatively easy to set up and use and it works with the WebCam software I prefer. What's also nice is that although it doesn't come with Mac compatible software (and no Mac version of the software is available), I had very little trouble setting it up from my Mac. I'm pleased with the camera's image and think it's well worth the price.
on June 26, 2005
I purchased the DCS-900W for a few key functions (1) wireless ability (2) motion detection (3) viewing over the web. I bought it to monitor my home.
Key set-up notes:
For a computer novice it will be confusing as much of the terminology is not straightforward. If you have set-up and played around with other computing devices, then you will have no big problems.
The manual is weak! Go to, and bookmark, the Knowledge base on the D-Link website - most of my questions were answered there. In fact, going there before your purchase may give you some valuable insight.
The physical installation was easy. The mounting bracket and swivel-head make orientating the camera simple.
Setting up the camera using a regular network connecting cable was straightforward.
To set-up wireless functionality ensure that you are able to configure your router. That is, use the router's web administration utility to view and change some of its settings. The `Network Name SSID' required in the camera admin utility requires the name of your router (my router's default name was the brand name). This was not obvious to me. The manual was not at all helpful here. I found my answer in my router manual.
Download and install the latest install program, firmware (software that gets installed on the camera itself, not your PC) and IPView Lite application from the D-Link website. I actually had to use a separate FTP utility as a web browser was unable to download the files - I tried several. Also, the Canadian website only seemed to allow downloads during business hours.
The camera seems to run well so far - 2 weeks. The IPView Lite utility is simple and effective to manage the camera.
The IPView Lite software is required to use the Motion Sensing ability, to update the firmware and a few other settings. I have found that even on the lowest setting, the motion detector is too sensitive. I had to place the camera in several places before things like a tree's slightly swaying shadow would not set it off, even on its lowest setting - the wider the view, the more things that will set it off.
If you wish to view your camera outside of your home via the web, you will have to configure your router even more. If you do not have static IP address, you would probably need to get a free dynamic domain address (they are free - I set-up mine at [...] All of this requires a little `detective work' to put it all together.
I found the Amazon feedback section and the D-Link knowledge base very helpful in solving all of my little problems.
The camera was what I expected for the money. I did not anticipate the sensitivity issue with the motion sensing ability, but in all other respects it works as advertised. I would make the purchase again.