For two weeks, I got the opportunity to try this out D-link DCS-932L. I initially thought that I was to review a webcam but it dawned on me that it was a network surveillance camera upon receiving the box. I don’t really have any experiences with other brands to compare it with but I used to write marketing and SEO articles for a company that sells surveillance cameras, so I basically had set my expectations on this one, hence my insights on the gadget.
When you open the package, you’ll find the network camera, power adapter, the Ethernet cable and the CD installer with the manual. The camera, which is just about the size of a regular-sized mobile phone, is noticeably lighter than it looked.
You’ll find four IR LED lights surrounding the camera lens that should support low-light environments or at night. On the rear portion, you will find the Ethernet and power ports plus the joint that screws the camera to the stand. By its look and feel, it would pass as a toy. I like how easy the camera can be pivoted to the direction of the area you wish to monitor.
The cord of the power adapter was too short for me, hence the limited positioning of the camera. Using extension cords will increase the flexibility and may allow you to mount the camera on higher areas.
Setting up is probably one of the down sides of this network camera. The packaging highlights one of its best features such as “œEasy do-it-yourself Installation” following only 3 simple steps which wrote:
- Unpack Contents
- Insert CD
- Run Wizard
To install successfully, you will need a PC running Windows XP or Vista, an internet connection and a router connected to your modem. Before you can actually use the network camera for live viewing, you will need to run the CD included in the package and it should automatically run the Wizard.
Sounds easy right? But no it wasn’t. First of all, the install guide, which is what most people will typically look for when setting up a new gadget lacked substance for me. The step by step information didn’t really help and the Troubleshooting page only has the FAQs when in should also contain information down to the smallest details. Installation CD was supposed to make things easier for the user, but outright the wizard didn’t run automatically.
As I went through the Installation Wizard, it will help you set up the hardware. Plugging the camera should turn the LED light below the camera lens red. If you intend to connect your camera through Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), then pressing the WPS button at the back of the camera and of your router should turn the LED light green. (BTW, the Wizard will not move to the next step until the light is green). Also note that every time you will open and connect the camera to your network, you will always have to plug the Ethernet cable to your PC or laptop until the LED light turns green before the camera would work properly.
Since the router I was using didn’t have a WPS, I had to connect the Ethernet cable to it but then it interferes with the Internet connection, a prerequisite to successfully make this thing work. Setting it up was sort of a trial and error process. I unplugged the Ethernet cable and it was only that time the device had detected my Internet cable and finally complete the Installation. Phew!!
After the long-dreaded process of setting up the DCS-932L, your efforts will bear fruit. D-Link cameras allow you to view camera feed through the Internet but you first need to create and activate a MyDLink account. The best part here is that you can access it in almost all of your devices: laptop or desktop from their website www.mydlink.com, iPad, iPhone and even your Android device.
A MyDlink Lite application is available for download and you can easily get the live feed from your camera. This means that you can practically get live feeds from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection but if accessed outside of your network, you only have 60 seconds to view and will have to refresh the page. This is what a usual live feed looks like during the day:
The camera is highly sensitive to light. For the most part of the time I was reviewing this unit, the camera is automatically set to its night vision.
Viewing live feeds online allows you to zoom the camera in up to 4x and you can also get a screenshot. Below are some screenshots using My DLink Lite from my Android phone.
Simba, our bunso.
That’s I while viewing live feeds from my cam
I also tried viewing live feeds from the D-Link home network, which would require you to enter the admin password you had initially set during installation. Once you’re in, the page would look like this:
Hey that’s my mom over there! 😛
Overall, I would give this a rating of 6 out of 10. Performance wise, it does its job pretty well. I like how this device enables you to get live feeds instantly on a number of devices. Nowadays, mobility is key. I loved how I was able to easily install the My D-Link app from Android Market and use it to get live feeds from my phone.
However, I was really disappointed with having to undergo the tedious setup procedure – not so very user-friendly. Maybe D-Link routers with a WPS button will fare well. Also, DCS 932-L is limited for indoor use. Outdoor monitoring cameras are specially protected to be able to withstand all types of weathers under different lighting conditions. This will be useful though if you want to monitor the baby’s room, or see what the maid is up to when nobody’s home.
The D-Link DCS-932L WiFi home network camera will set you back Php6,500.
D-Link offers other specialized cameras depending on your needs, you may check their website if you wish: www.dlink.com.
Editor’s note: This post is contributed by Kristel Serra with some slight revisions by the editor. Kristel is a technical writer by profession, used to be a lead vocalist for a band, and is now just happy to be trying out new gadgets. She’s also multilingual and can out-burp any guy.