on July 16, 2012
Let me preface this review by saying:
I) This is one of the best purchases I ever made -- as other reviewers may have already said, the cheap price you pay (I paid $50 for mine) gets you a quality product, a rare commodity these days.
II) This item is solidly built and for its price, it has many good features: full rotation scan, e-mail and ftp capabilities, remote administration and much more.
III) Yes, installation does require you to have a bit of a working network knowledge -- if you know how to set up a home LAN or WLAN and configure a router, you probably wouldn't need the manual it came with as it is pretty much useless.
IV) You can go to Wansview.com, on the "Service and Support" menu, there's a "Download" link that you can click on to get to the full user manuals, documentations and software (firmwares, utilities, etc...).
With that said, the following are instructions on how to setup your IP camera with your LAN/WLAN using a Windows PC. Note that some steps were piggy backed off another reviewer (justChill) and I just did a little bit of refinement based on steps I took to set up my camera.
All the things you need are in the box. The software/driver CD that came with my camera does not work, this is a problem that other users also reported. So, if you're one of the unlucky ones to receive a useless CD, no worries, you can download some of these utilities from the Wansview website as I pointed out on step item IV above. As a matter of fact, you only need 1 utility to do the initial setup and once you connect the camera to your network, the camera itself has a user interface (UI) that includes settings which you can customize, such as e-mail and ftp uploads. The utility can be downloaded from the Wansview site and it's called "NCB Search_en.rar" However, I didn't use this utility because I followed justChill's link and ended up downloading and using a software called "Search IP Camera" from the site easyntech.com. The instructions below refer to the latter software (Search IP Camera).
Again, I can't stress enough that you must have at least a basic understanding of router and network terminology and configuration before proceeding; otherwise, STOP here, educate yourself or ask your geek buddy to help you.
1) Using the provided ethernet cable, connect your IP camera to your LAN or WLAN router via ethernet port at the back of the router, and plug in the power supply of the camera, also included. The camera's LED front light shall light up and the port where the ethernet cable is hooked in should be blinking, indicating your camera has been recognized by your network (LAN/WLAN).
2) Now go to your Windows PC (laptop/desktop) and run the software "Search IP Camera." Alternatively, you can use the one from Wansview but I did not use that so I won't provide instructions on that.
3) Search IP Camera has two options for configuration. The Wizard and Advance modes. The latter takes you directly to the screen where you can change the IP address and port of your camera. The default IP of your camera can be found on a sticker at the bottom of the camera and it should match the IP that this software detects. The admin account username and password are also on the sticker. Regardless which config option you chose, you will need to set the IP of your camera to match the first 3 segments of your subnet and the 4th segment is the number that will make your camera identifiable within your LAN/WLAN. For example, my WLAN's subnet is 192.168.1.1 up to 192.168.1.255. My camera's default IP is 192.168.0.1 SO I changed this to 192.168.1.3 because 192.168.1.2 is used by my laptop and the 3 is used by my TV.
4) After you set up your IP, set your port number. This is the port that will listen for signals and which relay those signals to the camera's IP. You can chose a number between 1 - 65535. Here's some more information on ports:
The Well Known Ports are those from 0 through 1023.
The Registered Ports are those from 1024 through 49151.
The Dynamic and/or Private Ports are those from 49152 through 65535.
Whatever port you chose, this is where your camera will listen for request.
5) Now, once you established your IP and port for the camera, click Apply and give the camera a few seconds to acknowledge the new settings.
You are done with configuring your camera's IP. Even if you disconnect your camera from the ethernet or turn the power off, it will retain this address and port. But if you have a Wireless network (WLAN), also known as Wi-Fi, do not disconnect it or unplug it just yet. You will need to set up the Wireless settings and you can do this using the camera's built-in UI.
6) Now for the good stuff: open your internet browser, using the address bar, go to your camera's IP and port. For example, if the IP address you assigned to your cam is 192.168.1.100 and port is 49500, you would type into the address bar the follwoing: 192.168.1.100:49500 and hit Enter or click GO.
7) The camera will now ask you for user credentials. Use the user account you found on the sticker at the bottom of the camera. I think the user name is admin and password is 123456
Click OK or Enter after you provided the required credentials.
8) You should now be in a web page that has a title "Device(xxxx)" and presents 3 modes you can use to view the camera and its settings. I used Mode 2 because it is compatible with any browser (IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari, even on my iPhone). For the sake of this instruction, you can't go wrong with Mode 2 so click on it.
9) Your camera should now be active and the next page shall display your camera's viewing as well as 5 navigation options at the top: View, Network, Alarm, Advanced, Maintain.
a) VIEW- this option allows you to view your camera, rotate it and take snapshots.
b) NETWORK- allows you to configure network settings such as changing IP, wireless settings, DDNS and other network-related configuration
c) ALARM - this is where you will go to set alarm triggers and specify what you want the camera to do when an alarm occurs (email or ftp pictures, etc...). This section also allows you to set up a link between your camera and your alarm system, if you have one.
d) ADVANCE - this is where you will go to change the camera's default user and also add additional users. If you plan to access your camera via internet, I suggest you do change your default username and password to something more secured. In the advance section, you can also configure other cameras if you have additional and also other camera settings, like turning off the LED lights on the unit itself.
e)MAINTAIN - this option allows you to reset the camera to factory settings, upgrade firmware and change camera's date/time.
You can play around with all these features at your leisure. For now, keep reading IF you want to set up your camera wirelessly (Wi-Fi) and remotely accessible.
10) To configure the camera for Wi-Fi or wireless networks, click on the NETWORK link.
11) Then on options on the right side, click on Wireless Settings.
12) Click on Scan to scan for available wireless networks or if you know your SSID (wireless network name), manually type it in the SSID box.
13) Select the encryption method that your WLAN uses (mines is WEP).
14) For Authentication, if your encryption method is WEP, you can leave it at Open or chose Shared Key if your router's wireless settings is configured for this.
15) Enter your passphrase (network key) on the Key or Shared Key box.
16) Click Submit. The device shall reboot.
17) After reboot, you could now set your camera anywhere and you should be able to access it anywhere around your house so long as you're within range of your Wireless Network.
The following are steps I took to open my camera for internet access so that I can view it anywhere I go (mobile phone, work, friend's house, etc...). You will need either a static IP address given to you by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) or you can sign up for a DynDNS service (try noip.com --it's free). I periodically renew my dynamic IP address assigned by my ISP and I don't want to pay for DNS, I chose a 3rd option and may not work for everyone. The only reason why I chose to do the following is because I have been renewing my IP manually for security reasons and it has worked for me for other remote services I ran at home. So far it's been working and I'm able to access my cam anywhere.
Here's what I did (note that steps and screens will differ for other routers; therefore, since, I don't know what router you have, I will generalized these instructions):
A) I went into my router's administration page. You can do this by typing the IP address of your gateway on your browser's URL/address box. For example, my gateway IP is 192.168.1.1 which is the router's IP address.
B) The router asked for a username and password (this is from step 9d above), I provided them and hit ENTER. I'm IN.
C) Went to Port Forwarding (usually in Advance section) and created a Port Forwarding rule for the camera's IP address (192.168.1.4). I told the rule to forward all signals from and to port that I assigned to my camera earlier. Saved the rule.
D) Now, I went into the DMZ section where I can tell my router which IP in my LAN I can expose to the internet. I told it to expose the IP of my camera which is 192.168.1.4. If you're not familiar with DMZ, please research. But for a quick analogy, think of DMZ as the front yard of your house. Anything you put in the front yard is visible to everyone. Well if you configure your router for DMZ zone and told it to expose the IP of your camera, your camera will be visible via internet; but, though visible, will require you to enter the camera's user credentials when accessing via internet. That's why it is important that on step 9d, you create complex passwords for your camera users to prevent/minimized unauthorized access.
E) Now, to test this, get the IP address assigned to you by your ISP, usually found in router basic settings. This is an internet or public IP address.
F) Go to a computer that is not part of your network. Perhaps a mobile phone with internet access that does not connect to your wifi.
G) Launch an internet browser from that non-networked device. On the address bar of your mobile brower, type in the public IP address of your cam (found on step E) and a colon (:) plus the port number of the camera. For example: 255.255.255.255:49500 and hit ENTER
H) The camera shall now ask you to enter user credentials. Enter one of the users you configured in step 9d. VOILA!
Again these steps may not work for everyone.
Sleepy yet? We're almost done. To set up your camera to take pictures and e-mail them to you (there's also an FTP option but I didn't use it because I don't have an FTP server), follow these instructions:
Go to ALARM
a) Enable "Motion Detect Armed"
b) Click on "eMail Settings" to the right
c) Provide your smtp server address and if authentication is required, provide the username and password.
I have an old sbc yahoo e-mail account so I was able to use that to send from and to images that my camera takes when it detects motion. I just checked my e-mail and got about 50 e-mails just from it. My DOG triggered all of them. So make sure you adjust the motion sensitivity so that it doesn't react to everything (including light). The higher the sensitivity the more sensitive.
Finally, if you want to access your camera via your mobile devices, there's several apps out there that you can use to do this. Just search for IP Camera. The one I use is called LiveCams Pro and I bought it for $1.99.
Sorry if this was long, I was hoping to give some clear instructions to those that may need it, especially the ones that bashed the item because of poor setup instructions. It is really a BANG FOR YOUR BUCK and worth every penny.
Hope this helps somehow...
on June 22, 2012
I am so glad I ignored all the negative reviews slating the camera for being too hard to get working. People really shouldn't be buying wireless devices such as this if they have no idea how to administrate their home networks. While the instructions included aren't great, they aren't nearly as horrible as people make them out to be. I just received my Wansview camera, and I was able to follow each and every step in the included manual and everything worked just perfectly. Granted, I am savvy with administrating my local network, port forwarding, etc, but even without all that work, I was able to get the camera working while wired to my router in no time. Heck, my Brother Wireless printer was a lot harder to get working on my local network...and Brother is a big name, reputable brand!
Sometimes I really am amazed at how entitled people can be. This is a $50 product! Good Logitech webcams alone cost more. This does not cost $200+. If it did, you could whine and bitch about the instructions being a little difficult to understand or installation being too complicated. Let's look at what you get for $50:
For $50 you get:
- A wireless camera
- IR (night) imaging capabilities
- Pan and tilt (that can be controlled remotely)
- Audio capture (remotely)
- Ability to have two way communication remotely (need to attach a speaker to the camera)
- Access via Web browsers, Android and IOS
- Complex functions like Motion detection and corresponding Alarm functions and automated emailing of pictures, or uploading to an FTP server of choice
- Free Dynamic DNS forwarding provided by Wansview. This is really useful and makes things a lot easier than having to manually muck around with using a separate dynamic DNS provider.
Now, to contrast this, "Blue Iris", which is a premium software for administrating Wireless/Network surveillance cameras costs $50 alone. That's just for the software, no cameras included. And Blue Iris doesn't even include any IOS or Android application!
I received this product yesterday and it was a breeze to get running. I haven't messed around with advanced features like Motion Detection + Automatic emails yet, but port forwarding and accessing the camera via the internet from my laptop and phone wasn't too difficult. I really like the free Dynamic DNS provided as it makes life easier and additionally, is not blocked by my workplace firewall (most dynamic DNS providers are blocked).
A word of advice - Don't bother with the Android/IOS apps. They are very bare bones and not necessary. Once you have the camera set up for remote access, you can use a number of free or $3 apps to access your camera with far better interfaces. I'd highly recommend IP Cam Viewer Pro on both Android and IOS.
Get this product if you're interested in the feature set advertised in the product description. It does everything it says it does and is probably the most feature packed product I've ever purchased for 50 bucks. I still can't get over how cheap it is considering all that you can do with it.
I've seen a lot of reviews of this product that suggest it is difficult to set up or fails do work as advertised. I got mine and had none of the problems listed. The camera itself had a different brand name than the one shown in the product listing, but the features and location of connections were exactly as shown.
The enclosed (printed) directions are barely understandable. Fear not! Very well written directions are on the enclosed cd. The full user manual has all you may need to know to use the camera in a wide range of applications. If you don't feel like reading them, let me give the you way I set mine up. You do need to do these steps in the exact order I give them if you want the painless install.
1. Unpack everything. Find the antenna and screw onto the camera. Be sure you have the network cable and power supply.
2. Plug the network cable into the camera and then into your router (wireless router I assume).
3. Plug the power cord into the camera and a wall socket. The reason you do this in order is that the camera will sense your network and get an IP address from your router instead of the default that is hard-coded into the camera.
4. Load the CD into your PC and install the setup software.
5. When you see the menu, select "Detect the camera"
6. Pick the "Advanced" button when the detect screen appears. Do NOT pick the "Wizard".
7. When the detect window opens, on the top left you see a dropdown with network adapters. You will also see various IP addresses. If you don't see a value for "Gateway", go to the dropdown and chances are you will see a 2nd network adapter. The first one is frequently the Microsoft default (on PC's). Select the 2nd adapter. If you see the gateway IP appear, you are in business.
8. There is a window on the bottom left that should show your camera. If it isn't there, click the "Find" button. If your network connection is correct, it will appear as a line in that window (with the IP address your router assigned it).
9. When you click on the camera line, the addresses to the right should appear the same (at least for the camera) as the one on the camera line you selected. Be sure that the gateway address is populated. Write down the camera's IP address. Don't worry you are almost done.
10. You will see that there are to web addresses (URL's) on the bottom of the right column. The bottom one is a service to let you see your camera on the web. Set that up at your own peril. The upper one is the address you need to use to access your camera from inside your house. Note it. Also click the button to go to it. A browser will open.
11. The browser opens with a bunch of choices. Make the one appropriate for your setup. If you are using Internet Explorer, use the one for IE. Click "Sign In".
12. You will get a user name and password box. The user name is "admin" (no quote marks). Leave password blank. and click "Ok"
13. You now will see the camera working. Cool! But wait! Just a bit more to do. If you want to password protect the camera, go to the "Users" link on the left. You can add new users, or just add a password for the admin user. Remember the password you selected! Click "Apply".
14. Almost done! The camera will reboot. Now on the same menu (on the left) select "wireless" (or something to that effect). When that page is loaded, it will find any wireless networks you have. If it doesn't, click the "Find" button. Give it a minute or two. This isn't a very fast function.
15. Select your network (click on it in the window). Now if you have a password protected network (you better!), you can select your network type. See your router instructions if you aren't sure. Then, in the case of most typical home networks, type your password in the correct box.
16. Click Apply. The camera will reboot.
17. After reboot, disconnect your network cable and unplug the camera. Wait ten seconds and plug it in again (power not network).
18. Try to go the URL you copied down...[...] numbers and periods you copied...i.e.: 18.104.22.168) and click the "Go" arrow (or hit "enter"). YOu should get the password screen. Type in your user name and password and click OK. You should see your camera.
Now unplug and put it wherever you want it and plug in the power. It will work!
The quality of the picture isn't great, but it is certainly within expectations for a security camera. At the price, this ia an amazing deal. I love mine.
on May 26, 2012
Totally worth the money spent. Will purchase another and different version.
LONG-WINDED RANT & SARCASM
Listen, if you are expecting to buy a P/T/Z, WiFi security camera that will hold your hand, give you a warm hug and tell you everything is OK for around $50, please give us a break.
This camera is for people who have experience setting up devices from Ethernet interfaces, those who are familiar with UNC protocol and those comfortable using IP navigation methods. If you have to look up those two acronyms, then you might be disappointed when you buy it, BUT.....Call your nerd friend (you know, the one who is really geeky or talks about Linux or setting up a domain at his/her house) and they can can come over and get it running for you in about 30 minutes.
It has a self-explanatory GUI once you are able to address it, and all is configurable over WiFi once configured by wired connection to your particular WiFi setup.
I am truly impressed with the quality of the image and the update rate of the images, both daylight and night. I am actually planning on purchasing and trying the exterior non-PTZ version of this camera to try out their multi-camera interface.
All I can say is that I have had this camera for a couple of months now and I couldn't be happier. BTW, did I mention that it has motion detection alarm features that will FTP or email or both? Yeah, I know. It also has a rudimentary scheduler that allows you to only detect alarm conditions during certain periods. It also has an alarm input, which I haven't had occasion to test yet.
If you are someone who complains about things being 'cheap' when you spend significantly less for something than the average price of competition products, then you will probably complain. If you are someone who is impressed when you spend significantly less for something than the average price of competition products and get some great features and the item just plain works, then you and I would probably enjoy setting up a home network or flying R/C planes!
on January 20, 2012
This thing is a stellar deal! I will be buying several more! (since the bundled software supports multiple camera recording and monitoring.)
I was a manager in the security trade for years and that software has the same features as the high end corporate security suites, the only difference is the resolution and frame rate, but for a home or small business this is great! Since they are wireless, very flexible in where they go. I also use this in conjunction with SplashTop (found in Amazon Appstore for Android) to monitor my system from any mobile device.
It came with some crazy banzai bandanna thing? I'm flattered, but I don't get it. Its not tech, it's a "freebie" i guess. Thanks China!
The IR is really good I think, it lights up the whole room I have it installed in, even in total darkness.
The ceiling/wall mount isn't as clean as I like, but it DID have one.
At 640x480 the capture rate is 2FPS, lol, but its still very useable.
The LED is ANNOYING AS HELL. And since the interface is strongly "Engrish" its a little odd to find where to turn it off. Which you can! So, stealth operation. But to do it, you have to use the browser interface for the specific camera. Pretty much everything else is available via the monitoring software.
If your looking for a good PTZ camera, night vision, indoor camera system that records on schedule, motion, or scheduled motion to a PC via wired or wireless network and works well under many different lighting conditions from very bright to total darkness.... you ought to buy this thing. Especially if you're on a budget.