Linksys WVC54GC Wireless Webcam

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Linksys  WVC54GC Wireless Webcam

Pros

  • Motion detection, wireless

Cons

  • Image quality

Bottom Line

The WVC54GC doesn't work well in poor lighting and the video image is only slightly better than most YouTube material. However, it's relatively cheap and has a reasonable array of security features.

Would you buy this?

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By adding a network interface to a webcam, you get what can only be described as a surveillance camera. That's the ultimate purpose of this Wi-Fi gadget - an indoors security device that will keep tabs on your home or office.

The Linksys WVC54GC replaces last year's rather ungainly WVC54G - the extra 'C' stands for compact, which it is. As befits a surveillance camera, this model comes with a good range of security features.

It has motion detection and can record images to a PC when triggered. It can send an email notification, plus a short video clip of what woke it up - these turn up in your mailbox as half-a-meg ASF clips. Alternatively, you can view live video from any internet-connected PC, providing you use Internet Explorer. If you want the video to be visible from outside your home network, you can open an appropriate port on the Router, and then create password protected accounts to manage access to the camera.

The Linksys bundles some slightly odd-looking software tools. One lets you keep an eye on up to eight WVC54GCs at a time. The WVC54GC comes with a small stand which screws into either the back or the underside of the camera. Setting it up is straightforward enough, but as with all things wireless it's best to configure via a wired connection first.

We had no trouble hooking the Linksys up to a Netgear DG834G router. Pop the install CD in and a setup wizard lets you configure it. The camera itself lacks any manual focus, relies on a large depth of field to maintain clarity and didn't work very well in gloomy conditions. The web interface allows you to tweak the video image, but most of the changes you make are hard to notice.

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