D-Link DCS-2100G Wireless Internet Camera
- Relatively cheap, easy to use once set up
- Difficult to set up
A good buy for anyone who can’t afford a professional security camera
Price$ 379.00 (AUD)
At the bargain basement end of D-Link's internet security camera range sits the DCS-2100G. At first glance it would appear to only be a regular web cam with a wireless receiver tacked on the side. But the DCS-2100G does much more than this. Inside its plastic shell sits a dedicated web server, allowing the camera to be accessed from anywhere in the world simply by using Internet Explorer.
Setting up the DCS-2100G is a bit of a hassle. D-Link could certainly use a few lessons in how to create an effective instruction manual. Both the quick install guide and the full user manual fail to adequately explain how to go about setting up the camera. There are two stages to go through when configuring the camera: wireless network settings and internet connectivity. Both are a little tricky and if you aren't a networking guru be sure to have someone on hand who knows their way around routers, IP addresses and virtual servers.
After you have ploughed through what seems an eternity of typing in random numbers you can finally use the camera. Thankfully D-Link is better at implementing user interfaces than it is at creating user manuals. Navigating through the various options is fairly intuitive. On first connecting to the camera the user is presented with a small video window and a menu containing the various options. Picture quality isn't bad and the native resolution of 320x240 provides enough detail to clearly make out what is in the immediate surroundings of the camera. At this resolution the video display is smooth, though bear in mind that when viewing video over the internet the frame rate is highly dependent on the speed of the connection you attach your camera to. If you only have a dial-up connection then you aren't going to be getting the maximum 30fps. You can also up the resolution to 640x480 if you wish, but at this setting the camera doesn't perform so well, managing less than 10fps.
One of the most important configuration features is the security functionality. This encompasses motion detection, email forwarding and time scheduling. Motion detection allows the user to select certain areas of the screen by drawing small boxes. When movement is detected within these areas the camera can be set to automatically email warnings or photographic evidence to the email address of your choice. The time scheduling function allows the user to specify at what times of the day and week the camera should be active. All these functions are easy to use and work fairly well.
Overall this camera is an ideal security solution for the budget conscious consumer. Weighing in at a fraction of the cost of other internet security cameras, the DCS-2100G is ideally suited for use around the home. While it isn't going to win any awards for image quality, it does the job adequately enough.
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