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MPEG-4 mode offers a number of controls over network usage as you can control the bit rate by restricting it to a value in kbits/sec if there is limited bandwidth available. The variable bit rate setting could be useful when watching areas where there is minimal activity as the camera will drop the rate when nothing is happening. Motion detection is a cut above the rest as up to ten custom areas can be specified within the image where motion is to be detected or ignored. You can decide on camera sensitivity and the length of the trigger once it has been activated. Actions extend to downloading images at specific frame rates to an HTTP or FTP server and these can be emailed to multiple clients as well.
To test bandwidth utilization we hooked the 207 up to a shared Fast Ethernet segment and used Sniffer Professional to measure consumption. With Motion-JPEG selected a single client took up nine per cent of available bandwidth which rose to fifteen per cent with a second client added. The benefits of MPEG-4 are immediately apparent as in this mode a single client drew two per cent which only rose to four per cent with two clients. As always there is a drawback as all PCs using MPEG-4 will need a valid license. The camera comes with one decoder and encoder license and you can purchase further packs of ten licenses from Axis.
Axis also bundles its ACE (Axis Camera Explorer) software which is a simple add-on component that snaps into Windows Explorer allowing you to swiftly access multiple cameras. It’s easy enough to add a new camera and you can also include the feeds of up to four cameras in one screen, create objects that can switch from one unit to another after a set dwell time and include feeds from FTP servers that are being supplied by images from other cameras. The camera feed can be recorded as a sequence of JPEG images or stored in an album object as a single file that can be replayed and used to create an AVI movie file.
If a high image quality is more important than pan and tilt functions, the 207 Network Camera is a top choice. You simply won’t get any better at this price.