A useful but complicated network camera
The D-Link DCS-910 webcam is designed for remote monitoring of homes or offices.
The camera includes a mains adapter, network cable (for a home router, not your PC) and a mounting bracket, plus a CD containing the camera's software. Once the system has been set up, it can record video or pictures to a PC's hard disk and show them on the internet.
It can also send updated pictures at regular intervals by email and upload footage to an FTP server. All of this can be controlled from computer on your home network or over the internet.
In theory this means you can control everything but the physical position of your camera from any computer in the world.
Using the wizard on the CD, the initial setup process was trouble free using a website on which we were able to create and alter settings for the camera.
Many of the camera's features can be customised, including the camera name, video and still-picture quality settings, time and date, and email and FTP transfer options.
The latter two must be defined in order to enable automated email alerts or FTP transfer and, while the configuration process was straightforward, it wouldn't work with our combination of Gmail and Internet Explorer 7: we had to create an alternative account with another provider and switch to Firefox.
You will also need to know your web-based mail provider's server details, which are usually provided by the mail company.
FTP is an option if you have access to a suitable server – your ISP may have one or you could even rent one, but it's expensive in that case.
The network cable was too short to mount the camera far from the router but, at greater cost, you could purchase the DCS-910's wireless brother, the DCS-2121. Image quality produced by the DCS-910 was good, though, even in dimly lit areas and it creates files in easily-readable formats.
The trouble we had configuring the network settings was time-consuming but, when it is working, the DCS-910 is a cost-effective way to watch your property.
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A great product if you can make it all work smoothly Good points A sturdy, good-quality camera; highly controllable from remote locations Bad points Non-technical users will be put off; incompatible with some browsers and email accounts; cables too short
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