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The latest fad in the surveillance market is being able to keep an eye on your home and property from a mobile phone or PDA. We’ve seen some proprietary solutions garnering a fair amount of interest and D-Link now steps in with its Securicam DCS-2120 IP camera. Taking over from the DCS-2100G it offers support for wired and wireless network connections and the RTSP (real time streaming protocol). For mobiles and PDAs to access and view the camera’s video stream they’ll need to have a 3G video playback utility such as RealPlayer or PacketVideo installed.
On paper the DCS-2120 looks to offer a good specification that rivals products such as Axis’ 207W. You get a 1/4in. RGB CMOS sensor, support for 802.11b/g wireless networks and the camera can manage up to 30fps at a top resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. Motion detection is on the cards and it also has an internal microphone allowing users to listen to the action in the area under surveillance. You don’t get options to connect a speaker for two-way audio communications but the 207W does have an extra I/O connector block for attaching external devices and alarms. Neither supports PoE but Axis is more generous than D-Link with its power cables as it provides nearly four metres.
Installation is handled nicely as the bundled utility searches the network for D-Link IP cameras and displays them ready for action. You can assign an administrative password, set an IP address and modify the wireless settings and after applying the changes it’s ready to go. The home page opens with a live view and a simple menu of chunky buttons to the left. The first takes a quick snapshot and saves the image to a location of your choosing on your local system. The connection options extend to selecting video and audio and choosing UDP or TCP as the transport. The last provides access to all camera configuration settings where you can select frame rates and resolutions, set up motion detection and activate the mobile viewing functions. There’s also a row of buttons below the viewing window for stopping and starting the video feed, accessing the digital zoom, setting the microphone volume and switching it off. The digital zoom is of limited value as all it does is magnify the pixels up to four times so any distant objects won’t see any significant improvements.
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