Sharx Security VIPcella-IR SCNC2607 Wifi Wireless 802.11 Security Network Camera – Product Description:
This Wifi b/g wireless IP camera has its own built in web server. You can view the video from your own home network or you can configure your router to view and control the camera from computers or cellphones on the internet, without dependence on any third party web sites or subscriptions. With the built-in microphone you can listen in. Excellent MPEG4 or MJPEG video quality at a full 640 x 480 resolution with up to 30 frames per second for fluid, natural motion color. For viewing or recording a single camera no software is required besides just your browser. For viewing or recording multiple Sharx IP cameras the included MultiView software for PCs supports up to 4 Sharx IP cameras simultaneously. Truly amazing to see the streaming video on your web enabled cell phone. For frequent use we recommend to upgrade your cellphone service to unlimited data, which costs just $15/mo extra on the ATT network. You can see motion even on non-3G phones like SonyEricsson w580i. If your phone does not support video you can see automatically refreshing JPEG images. At home, you can use this camera with your laptop or iPhone as a baby or pet monitor, and the very high light sensitivity in “moonlight mode” allows you to view out from a window to see what’s happening in the street as long as there is some background light available. This camera has infrared night vision which can see in total, absolute darkness. Like any infrared sensitive camera, the daytime colors are subdued and can appear unnatural especially on plants and vegetation. For eye-popping, gorgeous daytime colors please select the less expensive Sharx SCNC2606 camera if you do not need night vision in total darkness. Wireless operation supports WEP, WPA, WPA2 encryption. On routers with UPnP feature the camera can set itself up automatically, and on routers without UPnP (such as Apple’s Airport series) the camera can be set up with our step by step instructions.
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Sharx Security VIPcella-IR SCNC2607 Wifi Wireless 802.11 Security Network Camera – Review:
I recently purchased the SCNC2607 IP-Cam to use as a video server that I could access from within my home on my PC’s and iPhones, as well as to access the video from anywhere outside my home LAN if I want.
Not requiring any special software to access this camera is the single most important item for me. If you want to be able to log into a camera from anywhere in the world, on any machine that has a connection to the internet and a web browser of some type, this is the one. There is also an included application called “Multi Live” which allows you to view up to 4 cams in one window.
The camera itself was pretty easy to set up, and the image quality is superb! No tricky setup decisions are necessary by the user to decide what type of streams are available to whoever logs into it from whatever platform. If you log into it on an iPhone through Safari, the iPhone negotiates with the camera server software and automatically appends the URL with the “/en/mjpgmain.asp” extension. If logged in from Internet Explorer, the basic URL automatically appends the “en/avmain.asp” extension. All you need to do is type the URL of the camera into your browser and the rest is taken care of automatically.
Safari on the iPhone will not process the audio stream, but this is not a problem with the camera, it is a limitation with Safari. I have read that Safari on a Mac computer will also not process the audio stream. I have tried various iPhone applications to process the audio stream, without success. But the designer of IP Vision by TTrix software has written me that an upcoming version will process audio. I have also tried this camera on a Sony PSP-3000 with the current firmware version (installed on 02-10-09) and current Flash update, but the device chokes up on memory limitations and can only process the jpeg still image. Some tablet PC’s and/or WiFi portable media players like the Nokia N810 or Archos 605 might work, but I haven’t tried them.
The default image quality settings don’t need to be tweaked to lower quality settings unless your upload bandwidth gets maxed out. For one login to the camera (over the internet from work) I was able to use the maximum quality settings and didn’t see or hear any problems. My connection at home is cable internet with about 128 Kilobyte upload and 5 Megabit download, so I was worried about upload speed. With 8 users logged on, there could be issues requiring some settings tweaks, but that’s more than most people are probably going to be worried about. If you connect within your LAN then you don’t need to be concerned with upload bandwidth, because the data isn’t passing through your modem.
There is a color setting, moonlight setting, and night vision setting, but I choose to let the camera do what it thinks it needs to do and have left these controls in automatic. The night vision works even in absolute darkness, and the image is crisp and clean. There is a setting for motion detection, with variable parameters to offset alarms or recording from occurrences like ceiling fans or a bird flying past a window.
When viewing the camera on your browser, you have some easy control buttons available to take snapshots in either .bmp or .jpg formats. You can also record to your hard drive, in the .asf format. Recording can be stopped and started with the “Record” button, or started with the button and stopped by a maximum file size input that anyone logged in can specify. These picture and video controls can be run by anyone you authorize in either the admin account or any user accounts you set up.
The user accounts (an account created that is not the admin account) has no access to your settings for the camera, so it’s a good one to send to Mom and Dad or your crazy aunt. When they get to the logon screen, if they choose “Enter” they can see what’s on your camera and record what they see and/or hear. If they try to enter “Settings” then they are presented with the login username/ password box again. As long as they don’t have your admin password, then you are safe from unauthorized changes to the camera settings.
For up to 8 concurrent logons, you don’t need to create 8 separate guest user accounts. One will suffice. I have logged onto one guest account through a browser on my PC over the internet, through my iPhone on WiFi over the internet, and also through another browser on the same PC but using the LAN IP address. That’s pretty cool to be able to log on over LAN or WAN while connected through the same router the camera is connecting to. Like if somebody chops up your internet cable connection with a ditch digger, you can still see the cam by using the LAN address.
The instruction manual supplied with the camera is very good. I only found one typo and it wasn’t important. It was not translated three times from an original language using obscure clucking noises and hieroglyphic symbols. An email to tech support was answered promptly and with great attention to detail. The techies are REAL ENGINEERS, not some morons in monkey suits with a license to confuse and aggravate.
I mentioned before that the camera “itself” was easy to set up. That is true. What might be a bit challenging for some is the router configuration. I suggest while waiting for the camera to be delivered, brush up on your router’s help files. Find the range of IP addresses your router is assigning to devices automatically, such as 192.168.1.25 through 192.168.1.125, because the IP address you choose to assign to the cam to make it a permanent host will be somewhere outside of that range. Also check to see if your router has the latest firmware. My Trendnet TEW-452BRP had a glitch with running DDNS updates, even if all the fields were input properly. This would have caused me great frustration had I not checked the website first.
If you want to access the cam from outside your LAN, then read up a little bit on DDNS. I’m using a free account from “no-ip.com” and there is a brief primer on using this service in the camera instruction manual. Check your router to see if it has an automatic function to update your current IP Address to a DDNS server. It doesn’t have to, as your PC can do it for you automatically every time it boots with a free program you get after registering, but why not be redundant if you can? If you decide to set up DDNS so as to access the cam through WAN, then find out how to give the cam TCP and UDP privileges on a specified port number, typically using a function called “Virtual Server.” Otherwise you would open “DMZ” or perhaps “Special AP” to give the cam connectivity rights.
Be warned that DMZ opens all ports, which might be dangerous. Special AP is for programs which require multiple connections that are blocked by NAT, so again that might be dangerous as well. Using Virtual Server only opens the ports necessary for functionality of this specific device, so it is the best way to punch that hole through the wall into the WWW. And remember, if you are restricting access to the router by use of MAC numbers, shut that off when first installing the cam or else you won’t get it to connect. Later you can turn it back on.
None of this is rocket science, but if problems do occur, the Engineers at Sharx are competent and they are committed to not letting you fail. It even says so in the instruction manual!