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Customer Review

117 of 139 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wifi Doesn't Work, Manufacturer Provides No Support, December 7, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Foscam FI8918W Wireless Pan and Tilt IP Camera with 8 Meter Night Vision and 3.6mm Lens, 67 Degree Viewing Angle (White) (Electronics)
I haven't had this bad of an experience with a manufacturer in ages!

Foscam outright refuses to provide any support whatsoever for any of their products purchased on Amazon or anywhere else other than directly from them. They do not provide any telephone support. I sent them a detailed email message to their technical support address three days ago, and did not get a response. I just called the only number for themselves that they publish, and the guy who answered said that this was a phone number for sales, and that I should email tech support. When I told him that I did that three days ago, and they did not respond, he HUNG UP ON ME!

Their website talks about how there are several counterfeit versions of their products being sold--that's sad, but not an excuse for not supporting what they sell.

As far as the product itself, it works nicely hooked up via ethernet, as long as you don't need to configure anything differently than the defaults. And the night vision/IR lights work nicely for a normal-sized room. The wifi on the unit I received is completely non-functional. I can't tell whether it's a hardware fault, software issue, or firmware issue, but it simply does not work (I'm a computer professional, and I tried every reasonable method to diagnose and fix this, to no avail). It is unable to detect any wifi network, public, WPA, or WPA2, over 802.11g or 802.11b, even when it is just a few feet in a direct site line from a working wifi router. And manually configuring it doesn't work either. I couldn't try updating their firmware, as they don't offer than on their website, but say you have to email them to get a firmware update (which I did request by email, which they never responded to).

The documentation is sparse and VERY BADLY written. The software to configure it using their web interface is likewise very badly written, to the point where it's really hard to figure out what the non-english-speaking authors intended for various labels to mean. Whenever I updated any parameters using the Web interface and saved them, it would reboot the router and always lose every change I had ever made, except for the "device name", which was retained. That is to say, changing any of the wifi settings not only doesn't work, but it is never really saved.

Do yourself a favor and avoid Foscam. Their stuff has good specs for a good price, but it's entirely worthless when the software behind it doesn't work, and the company doesn't stand behind it.

Needless to say, I'll be returning this tomorrow.
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Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 26 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 27, 2010 1:47:38 AM PST
Dubon says:
This review should be considered as a public service to potential customers. Also Amazon, in my opinion,should not accept this kind of merchandise if the manufacturer doesn't or can't provide technical support.

Posted on Dec 27, 2010 4:43:20 AM PST
Hello,

When I set up a F18918W it took me a little while to figure out the quirks. I would try emailing the support@foscam.us again. They sent me the FI8918W-11.22.2.30 new.rar file the same day I emailed them. I did not buy my camera directly from their site. I do not see the current system or UI firmware on their website which is odd for a new product. My FI8918W never had trouble staying connected wirelessly, but I did have problems with the infrared turning off when using motion detection. After I updated my system firmware followed by the UI firmware update my camera that problem was solved. By the way, the Foscam staff I emailed told me to use the UI update 2.4.18.15.004.bin even though the same version was listed under my camera's web service device info.

Posted on Jan 4, 2011 8:39:53 AM PST
M. Leonard says:
You can easily download the firmware from the Foscam website, no need to email them.
Just navigate to their Download Center from top menu on the main page, or follow the link below:
http://www.foscam.com/dow.asp?anid=6
Google (or any search engine really) is your friend, use it! Took me longer to copy and paste the model number of the camera then to find the firmware... and find it on the Foscam website to boot!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2011 8:50:33 AM PST
Well, if you actually read more of their site, such as it is, you'll see that they say, "Regarding Firmware upgrade, Please never try to upgrade the firmware by yourself using firmwares from forums. Please upgrade with the guidance from Foscam's reseller or Foscam's technical engineer."

http://foscam.com/ContactUs.asp

And in various other places they also state not to use their firmware updates without checking with them first, as it evidently has a good chance of bricking your device.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2011 7:20:25 PM PST
M. Leonard says:
You complained that you couldn't get the firmware, I just showed you were to get it... Whether you use it or not...

You do have to keep in mind that playing around with firmwares should be last resorts even for IT professionals since one false move and you're made yourself a nice paperweight...

It's understandable why Foscam warns against upgrading firmwares, they don't want to be responsible for people who don't know what they are doing and end up bricking the camera... They clearly say that in the documentation to upgrade the firmware only if you're experiencing issues and you've tried everything else...

Regarding the provenance of the firmware, I agree, never use firmware from FORUMS... never know where it comes from! That's why you go to the manufacturer's Download Center on their own website.

I just got mine, I agree about the manual, they could of splurge and got a decent translator, but installation was a breeze, including wifi (with WPA2 AES).

My advise regarding the wifi: start from scratch then implement one setting change at a time, testing each one.
That means starting wide open on your router: unencrypted, SSID broadcasting, disabled MAC filtering and make sure your router is broadcasting in B or G (or both, but not N, it's not supported).

It's a tried and true method, but it's long & annoying, especially since they want users to wait 1~2 minutes between wi-fi scans and the camera reboots every time you change a setting which is another 30 sec downtime.

Anyway, good luck!

Posted on Jan 14, 2011 3:10:06 AM PST
Corey Perez says:
I had a "like" situation when I finished my hard wire setup. Although mine could find wireless settings. Re-run the supplied software and it will find the ip address (after you have disconnected the cat5 cable). My ip address was (for instance) 192.168.100 (cat5) the wireless was 192.168.101... Weird I know, but I got two and they both worked this way. It took me an hour to figure it out..

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 29, 2011 1:38:26 PM PST
Not weird at all. The wired and wireless connection use different MAC addresses, and thus get different IP adress.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 29, 2011 9:21:53 PM PST
Corey Perez says:
David, I don't completely agree with that. Both the two different Linksys units and the trendnet all use the same IP Address both wired and wireless.

Corey

Posted on Feb 3, 2011 12:19:59 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 3, 2011 12:22:29 PM PST
RuNuts says:
I no issues upgrading both firmwares (system/UI). I had a similar experience with the WI-FI. I was able to get it to work after many hours of frustration. I had the MAC address filter turned on and I entered the MAC address that is given in the WEB UI. The WEB UI gives you the WIRED MAC address, not the wireless MAC address. This will prevent the unit from connecting. There is nothing in the literature or interface to provide the wireless MAC address.

I had to turn off the MAC filtering on the router and rebooted the router to clear it. Once the router rebooted, I rebooted the camera as well and it connected right up. I was able to go into the ATTACHED DEVICES option on the router and get the wireless MAC address, enter that into the table and it connected right away.

Posted on Feb 11, 2011 11:00:09 PM PST
This has been my experience as well -- not happy, and thinking I'm going to return both cameras again and never buy their brand again. Too bad, this had so much potential, but the wifi not working is an absolute deal-breaker. Shame, Foscam.
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