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D-Link DCS-1000W

  • Editors' rating
    7.4 Very good

Pros

  • 802.11b wireless capability allows flexible placement;
  • built-in Web server;
  • remote management via browser or dedicated software;
  • records AVI direct to hard disk.

Cons

  • Expensive;
  • add-on hardware is required for maximum utility.

Ever fancied a Webcam you could install anywhere, with no need for wired network access or lengthy USB cables? D-Link's DSC-1000W could be the answer. This 802.11b-enabled camera includes a Web server that allows you to use either ActiveX or Java to view streaming video from pretty much anywhere.

The device is easy to set up, and the PDF-format manual is both detailed and clear. At the back of the unit is a 10/100Mbps Ethernet socket that provides initial access to the embedded Web server. After connecting via the fixed link and configuring the camera's IP address and Wi-Fi settings to suit your local network, you can manage it through a browser. Using DHCP for IP address assignment is an option, but it's not recommended. Physical installation is via a stand that sits on any flat horizontal surface, or can be screwed to a wall.

Image configuration includes the selection of frames per second (we got the best results using the Auto setting), resolution and compression settings. You're offered three resolutions – 640 by 480, 320 by 240 and 160 by 120 -- and compression settings range from very low to high, all using standard JPEG. Image control also extends to brightness and contrast settings, although gain and white balance are automatic. We found that bright sunlight overwhelmed the camera even with brightness and contrast controls at their lowest settings and, in such situations, D-Link recommends installing an iris lens. Images quality is generally good, with focus adjustments easy to make, although it's a manual operation only.

You can add up to 64 users to allow others access to the streaming video. However, a better solution here is for administrators to release an all-user name and password for such access.

Included in the package is IPView, a management application that allows you to perform all the functions that the browser interface can, although image control is more convenient since the image alters dynamically as you change settings. IPView comes into its own when you need to manage more than one camera, as you can administer and view up to 16 images on-screen simultaneously.

Putting the video onto the Internet is achieved via a second IP port (the default is 8481 but it's configurable), which you need explicitly to enable. You also need to configure your firewall to allow that traffic through.

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Uses for the DSC-1000W are legion, especially in the field of intruder detection. However, you'll need additional hardware to get the best use out of it. At the back of the camera is a digital interface, also browser or IPView-controllable, through which you can add third-party devices. These can include motion detectors and alarm relays, for which the camera provides a 5V trigger. It can also email you with a picture when triggered.

It's hardly inconspicuous, but the solidly-built DCS-1000W is a useful device for home and business use, although you’ll get more out of it when it's hooked up to an alarm system. If the high UK price doesn't put you off, you won’t find a better-quality device of its kind elsewhere.

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