With increasingly available fast internet access in Australian homes, keeping an eye on your house when you’re not there has never been easier. Once the domain of expensive CCTV systems — that may or may not have been monitored — now home security is basically available to everyone at a low cost and easy setup.
At our place, we’ve had cameras for a couple of years now, and for those we’ve used Swann cameras and a DVR. However, there are some restrictions with a system like that – for one, it’s wired, so there’s cables you have to run from the DVR to where you’d like cameras. This can be unsightly, but it can also be a lot of work – running cables up walls, into eaves, into garages etc. isn’t the most fun you can have. There are benefits – such as never needing to charge a battery – but I wouldn’t call it something that everyone can do quickly or easily.
Installing a wireless camera is probably the next best thing, but they, too have problems. For one, they’re typically powered by battery and thus need recharging every so often. There’s also the issue of wireless range; if your camera is too far away from a base station (or WiFi router) you may not get a reliable connection.
D-Link’s Weather-Resistant Full HD Pro Wi-Fi Camera (which is a mouthful, so we’ll just call it a camera from now on) aims to hit the middle ground here; it’s both wired and wireless, so you can connect it to a standard Ethernet cable or use your WiFi, and it’s powered by a little plugpack, so provided there’s a power point nearby (or provided you have a friendly electrician you can put one nearby), you don’t need to worry about recharging batteries.
In my case, installation was a breeze; we already had a power socket in the carport so plugging this in and mounting it to a pole wasn’t difficult at all, and so now we have D-Link’s camera monitoring our carport.
The camera setup was easy; with your iOS or Android device, install the partner app, scan the code on the camera, connect it to your network (WiFi or wired), and you’re good to go. Physical installation was just as easy with a small mounting stand and a couple of screws all that’s needed to get it going.
Out of the box, though, there are a few quirks. For one, the “person detection” which is supposedly AI based is very very quick to recognise things as people. In fact, it did this so often, and so inaccurately, that we’ve virtually turned the feature off. The AI Person Detection detected shadows, spiders, leaves blowing and even nothing as a person, and so the camera sent a stream of endless notifications which irritated me no end.
Dialing back the sensitivity didn’t really help; there didn’t seem to be a happy place in which it would detect people and not anything else – it seems to detect everything, or virtually nothing.
For the time being, we’ve gone with nothing just so my notifications don’t explode, and that seems to be OK. So far as the actual camera is concerned, the quality is excellent and the streaming both at home and when somewhere else starts quickly and reliably each time (which is more than I can say for the Swann system which always seems to be a little slow).
If someone stands in the driveway in front of the camera for a few seconds, it will usually notify that it’s detected a person and that’s been handy a few times, such as when a plumber showed up unannounced (and we were able to get them started while we got home to open the door).
Compared to a wired CCTV system, the D-Link camera was a cinch to install and set up; within about 10 minutes it was up and running and working normally (except for the AI detection). Compare this to installing the Swann system which took me hours to get right, including running cable, installing conduit and getting everything in place.
For easy home security monitoring, you can’t really go wrong here – a wireless connection (making it easy to install) with plug-in power means you get wireless convenience with reliable power; yes, there are some places that you couldn’t install this camera because you mightn’t be able to get power there, and in those places a true wireless camera (or a wired CCTV camera which supplies power) might work better.
But for simple monitoring at home, this does the job, easily, quickly and in an affordable way. The only real gotcha is the need for a powerpoint, which does limit where it can go, but beyond that, this is a great camera with a high-quality video stream that’s quick to start and you can view it from anywhere quite easily.
D-Link’s Weather Resistant Full HD Pro Wi-Fi Camera is on sale for $199 and you can find it online at D-Link’s website, as well as retailers like JB HiFi or Officeworks.