I have been setting up a home IP camera network for the past few months for remote security, etc. I’m using various models of the D-Link IP cameras. These cameras are fairly inexpensive and the system can be modified to suit different situations and is easily expandable. Be warned I soon found myself justifying buying a new camera or 2!
D-Link DCS 933-L This is a good all round IP camera with good image quality even in low light conditions.
D-Link DCS 932-L is the little brother of the DCS 933-L with many similar features. The main different is the Audio event alarms of the DCS-933L.
D-Link DCS 7710 is an IP66 rated external IP camera with full HD plus can be powered by an Ethernet (PoE) cable. I really like the bullet design and functions of this camera. The only thing that the cable loom that is hardwired into the camera is a bit big. This caused me an issue where I wanted to mount the camera so I had to make a bigger hole than I wanted to pull through the cables so I could mount it flush with the wall.
D-Link DCS-2210 again a full HD IP camera and the picture from the camera is excellent. However this camera is not D-Link cloud enabled so if you intend just to use the D-Link App then you should only buy cloud cameras from D-Link.
Event Emails Setup
There’s no point in having a nice looking security camera setup if some toe-rag breaks in and nicks it! So I’ve enabled the event notification on my cameras so that the system sends me an email with 10 seconds of high quality video when an event is triggered. You can set this up to send video, audio, still pictures or even trigger a remote relay. So if the toe-rag does break in it will be too late as the system has already sent the evidence! I did have motion and sound events activated but there was too much noise from the nearby road and was generating too many emails so that’s now been disabled. I suggest that you set up a separate email account for this and just login once in a while and delete them. I set up a Gmail account with Google and this sends them to my personal Hotmail account.
- SMTP Server port for Gmail is 465 and make sure you check the SSL-TLS box.
Network Video Recorder (NVR)
This bit of Kit costs about $100 and can record up to 4 cameras. When you first install this NVR be sure to update the firmware as there were several bugs in the original firmware.
This is linked by a USB cable to 1 TB external hard drive (Toshiba). Recording at max video and audio resolution with the 4 cameras gives about 5 days of playback. When the hard drive gets full the NVR will automatically record over the oldest files. The DNR-202L has a handy Automatic Camera Discovery feature so adding new cameras to your system is easy.
IP Network Configuration
This is how my home test network was setup up. I kept the IP address last octet the same as the camera name to try and keep things simple. I would recommend using static IP address in your network so that you can easily find them again. The cameras do have a DHCP option if you just to plug them in and setup wizard to help with the config.
It’s always a good idea to change the default username and password especially I you are thinking of port forwarding the IP Camera so that you can access it from the internet.
The cameras average about 2.1Mbs each so the system does generate a fair amount of traffic on your LAN but it’s not really an issue with modern IT equipment.
D-Link does have free Apps available in the iTunes and Google stores for the IP cameras (mydlink Lite) and the NVR (mydlink View). The app offers some degree of remote configuration for the cameras, taking snapshots, turning the audio stream, motion, sound detection on/off. The App has a basic news feed to keep you updated on any firmware releases and a help section which lists common issues and FAQ.
The main thing I want is to be able to remotely see my cameras when I’m away from home and the D-Link apps delivers this with a nice simple user interface.
Issues with IP Cameras
The D-link IP cameras and NVR seems to like Microsoft IE when you are configuring them by the web GUI.
Be sure to check for newer firmware releases as the earlier issues had some bugs especially the D-Link 202L.
The App does crash when you try and connect to the DNR-202L via the mydlink Lit app. Connecting by mydlink View is fine.
The DCS 933L sometimes locks up and can only be recover with a power reset. This is a bit annoying as sods law is that it will be locked up just when you need it the most.
Please leave a comment below if you need any help!