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Monday, 06 February 2012 10:03

Review - DLink DCS-930L Wireless N Home Network Camera


With improving broadband, ubiquitous home networks and consistent improvements in camera technology, the time is ripe for easy to install home security cameras. The DLink DCS-930L Wireless N Home Network Camera is cheap and easy to install.

The DLink DCS-930L Wireless N Home Network Camera is really part of a multi-part package of hardware and software. The camera connects to your network by either Ethernet or WiFi. It stands about 12cm tall on a stand that allows it to pivot so you can set the viewing angle. It's powered by connection to the mains.

We set the camera on a shelf about 1.5m off the ground, in the centre of the back wall of a room that's about 3.5m by 6.5m. We we're able to view most of the room easily owing to the 45 degree horizontal and 35 degree vertical viewing angles.

As well as video in MJPEG at 640x480, the DCS-930L has a microphone for sound. It was able to pick up the rustle of paper and a finger click at over 5m easily.

The second part of the DCS-930L package is the software. Firstly, there's the setup software. The CD that comes with the DCS-930L is Windows only although there is a beta version of Mac friendly software that worked well.

Part of the set up process guides you through creating an account with Dlink's cloud service, mydlink. mydlink lets you access and control the camera from anywhere with a web browser. There are ActiveX and Java playback applications to ensure that video viewing is supported on a wide variety of browsers and platforms.

In addition to the online playback, DLink has released iPad and smartphone apps (for both Android phones and the iPhone). The smartphone versions support viewing one camera at a time with the iPad version allowing up to four cameras to be viewed simultaneously. Our only beef with this was that the smartphone version was free but we needed to pay for the iPad version. We'd have expected the apps to be free.

What you don't get with the DCS-930L is the ability to remotely control pan and tilt. However there is motion activation so that the camera isn't transmitting constantly. If you want to be able to see in the dark, you'll need to look at the slightly dearer DCS-932L which has infrared LEDs and a low-lux image sensor.

It was easy to configure the DCS-930L to send an email whenever the motion sensor is activated. This can either send the frame at the time of activation or three frames before and after the activation. Combined with the mobile apps this makes it easy to be alerted to any potential security issues and to check on the situation remotely.

Captured images can also be sent to an FTP server. We tested this with our NAS and it worked well. Within moments of setting the options we were receiving images on the server.   

The combination of all these components makes it possible to build your own home surveillance system, A few placed cameras connected to your wireless LAN can cover your most valuable items.

The DCS-930L Wireless N Home Network Camera retails for AUD$119 and is available throughout D-Link's network of Australian and New Zealand e-tail and retail outlets.



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