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Wireless Video Camera Feedback Needed

PostPosted: Thu Apr 13, 2006 10:05 pm
by Ian
My wife and I are thinking of putting a few video cameras in our new home. In particular, the front door area since we can't see out there from the kitchen. Since I already have tons of wireless equipment, I was thinking about getting some wireless cameras. Here's one I found: ... e&n=172282

Does anyone have any experience with these? Can you secure them to prevent anyone from viewing the images? How do they stand up to cold weather?

PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 7:03 pm
by Alektron
I don't have experience with these, but I have looked a little bit. There aren't a lot of price-friendly choices for the wireless cameras on the consumer market. Panasonic is one of the few. They have a set of components for the surveillance system, as you probably know. All of them use Atheros' 802.11 chipsets.

However, this camera is supposed to be used INDOOR. If you want to place it outdoors, you may be advised to house it in an environmental enclosure. Basically, this would amount to a plastic box (either clear or opaque). What you could do is make one using pieces of Plexiglas: glue them together and put some clear caulking around the inside edges. (Do this outside for the fumes, of course). However, you should have a lid for it so you can replace the batteries. The enclosure serves two key purposes: keeps the rain out, and it can be attached to a metal mounting bracket which then attaches to your house. There's still a possibility that the camera may have an earlier failure if the humidity level is persistently high in your area. Also, you may be voiding the warranty by placing it outside. It may be worth the risk, though. The alternative is to install a CCTV camera, which itself may be cheaper, but you'd need to do some invasive drilling through the house wall, and then either attach a SDTV video to 802.11 converter, OR route the video cable somewhere in your house. One key thing is to make it VERY difficult for someone to steal. I think there's a risk of that when you have a camera at a low height.

You mentioned the cold temperature. I think it's possible that it would prevent operation at some point, but I doubt it would cause permanent damage.

For the image security. They key is whether the camera uses the WEP or other types of encryption. This seems a standard feature with routers and pc cards, so I assume the camera would follow it too. Just make sure you check out the manufacturer's details to be sure. ... eBasic.asp (search consumer electronics and Panasonic to see the components)

PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 7:59 pm
by Alektron

Thinking more about it, and I came back to add that I suggest you also read some user reviews on Amazon. I read a couple. One person said one of the drawbacks of the Panasonic camera is that the resolution is not good enough to distinguish facial features.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:26 pm
by Ian
Yeah, I saw some of those. I think D-Link's cameras might be a better option.

They also have weather proof enclosures so I could put one outside if I wanted.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2006 8:48 am
by LoneWolf
I remember reading reviews on the wired versions of those Panasonics when looking into a solution for a computer lab. A lot of the reviews were good, but the fault they found with Panasonic was in low-light situations. So you'd either need security lights (possibly motion activated) or some sort of infrared illuminator (assuming they pick up iR spectrum; it's been awhile since I've read the reviews). A built-in pan/tilt head may not be necessary if you mount the camera in the right place and position it properly; this would save you some bucks.

Toshiba had some cameras I looked at about the same time that seemed really good; Axis also had some options. The project ended up getting quashed due to lack of funds, so I dropped the research.