When talking about the Smart Home, ie the intelligent home, security is a major concern. Monitoring is precisely the specialty of these small IP cameras: they are watchdogs that monitor your home in your absence. A suspicious movement is detected? Your camera alerts you immediately to your smartphone. You have access to your camera wherever you are, even without a computer handy.
The installation of this personal and economic CCTV system does not require the intervention of a professional: all these cameras were selected and tested by Tom’s Guide, because you can do yourself to install them in your home. Normally, this operation only takes a few minutes. But as you will read below, this promise expressed by manufacturers is not always fulfilled.
Moreover, some cameras have a very broad sense of the security dimension. Illustration with Home of Withings : it is no longer only to spot a burglar, but to measure the quality of air or keep an eye on baby. Another popular use is to monitor your dog or cat and scold, if necessary, through the speaker. Finally, the aesthetic develops, some models do not really like a conventional camera. If you want to preserve your home, this may be a criterion not to be overlooked.
An IP surveillance camera: it’s easy to install?
A camera pose or attaches himself near an electrical outlet, except Arlo Netgear, equipped with batteries. Then comes the connection to your local network and the Internet are essential . Two solutions: the Ethernet cable, so wired or WiFi, wireless. Some cameras, equipped with two, you let the freedom to choose. Ethernet has the advantage of providing more stable rates than WiFi and does not require a password, but it is an additional cable. Moreover, the camera must be plugged directly into your Internet box , unless you opt for a PLC module (purchased separately). WiFi offers more flexibility, although its scope does not exceed 10-20 meters indoors, depending on the thickness of the walls. But it is not immune to disturbances or even stall, let alone when it is shared by multiple wireless devices. As such, the extra WiFi relay imposed by Netgear is interesting because it gives an exclusive network for Arlo camera.
The software installation is the final step, the smartphone is often a must: Download the mobile application iOS and Android , account creation, camera ID, Wi-Fi Key input as appropriate .. . the operation will take a few minutes, according to most manufacturers, but it is sometimes dangerous. Scan barcode, temporary Bluetooth to exchange information with the camera, sometimes both or none of it: how to identify the camera are many but rarely ideals. For example, the application of Nest does not signal the Bluetooth activation and if the smartphone is too far from the camera, it does not work. The Netatmo Welcome camera is already connected via Ethernet? Nothing to do, it still requires the WiFi password … Not to mention the explanations incomplete or poorly translated. A camera was even ejected from this comparison because we’ve never managed to install it! In short, there is still work to do. Special mentions to Kiwatch, including the installation via the computer is very simple, Netgear (which also allows the installation via the computer) to MyFox and Withings. Note that cameras Kiwatch and D-Link have a WPS button (WiFi Protected Setup), accelerating wireless installation. Must still have a compatible router or Internet box.
How many cameras can be installed at all?
Some manufacturers provide a clear answer – Nest, for example, sets the limit at 10 Nest Cams – others make no mention. But the main stress will come from the ability of your home network and your Internet connection to “absorb” all these video streams. Example: maximum image quality, a Nest Cam, working with the cloud (see below) requires an average rate of 450 kbit / s. However, the average rate and amount of a standard ADSL connection rarely exceeds 1 Mbit / s.
How many people can control the camera?
The owner of the camera is the one that creates the account. But cameras and MyFox Netatmo, for example, can create other users – the spouse (s), guardian or other responsible person – who will have access to all camera functions. The temporary sharing of the camera is another possibility, found at MyFox, Arlo, Kiwatch … The goal is to “lend” to access the camera to a close when going on holiday. It also receives alerts and can move to remove doubt or confirm visually sake, like a burglary. Remind her not to play the hero and call the police.
Which records the data stored?
Two methods: recording on the “cloud”, a real trend, or memory card recording. In the first case, the cloud acts as a remote recorder which continuously records the video stream from the camera . History depends on the chosen formula: 1 day, 1 week or more. Manufacturers deprive themselves to point out that this method preserves the records if a burglar steals the camera.It’s not false. Unfortunately, this service is often paid. But the competition begins to do its work: Withings offers two days of free storage, Netgear full week (recording made in case of motion detection) …
Another school: the recording on memory card inserted in the camera. It is the choice of Netatmo Welcome to, for example, which provides an 8GB card. This capability is enough to save a hundred sequences, depending on the manufacturer, knowing that the recording is subject to a motion detection. Considering the price of memory cards, it’s an economic solution. Conversely, as has been said above, if the camera is stolen, records fly! Another useful detail: despite this local recording, Welcome as these cameras, still requires an Internet connection. If your second home is deprived of Internet access, it will not work.
Finally, the D-Link camera allows no registration, if not capture a picture when looking at live video. Always a useful function. This camera, however, is compatible with the network drives or NAS and recording can then be performed locally at no extra cost. But everyone does not have a SIN.
The image quality of an IP camera: a real test?
Although the best performing cameras produce high-definition video, ie 1920×1080 pixels at 30 frames per second, not discounted image quality worthy of a HD camcorder. As these videos pass on your local network or the Internet, they are indeed very compressed and sometimes lose sharpness and fluidity. At night, the infrared diodes, generalized, pierce the dark from several meters away. Images are then returned to black and white. Last point: Do not point the lens toward a glass door or window. Daylight, if it is too violent, gum all the details in this image area. A face filmed against the light, for example, is not at all recognizable.
How does the detection of IP cameras?
All these cameras detect movements or loud noises (eg a broken glass) as long as they have a microphone. In both cases, there is a comparison: if the camera is a difference between two successions of images or sounds, it is deduced that something moved or that an event occurred. This analysis is not foolproof, because a sudden change of brightness in a room or the movement of a curtain can cause false alarms. To avoid such false alarms, cameras Kiwatch, D-Link and Netgear offer to reduce the sensitivity of detection. Nest, for its part, communicate to the superior efficacy of its algorithms, discerning the useful from the useless … provided you subscribe to cloud service!
The Security Camera MyFox is distinguished by its infrared detector (not to be confused with infrared LEDs essential for night vision), in addition to image analysis. This detector looks hot body movements and has the advantage of eliminating false alarms mentioned above.
However, regardless of the technology used, the passage of a pet may be interpreted as a movement. Indeed, these cameras are not “immune against dogs and cats,” unlike detectors alarm systems calibrated by a professional. There are two ways to avoid this: let the soil outside the scope of the camera or delineate areas in the image with the application, excluding the particular soil. This adjustment, however significant, is only available on cameras Kiwatch, Netgear and D-Link.This is also the case Nest Cam … subscription-again!
How was warned in case of intrusion?
This is the mobile application that notify you of a problem, such as a motion detected in your absence. Whether with iOS or Android, make sure it is active each time the smartphone and in the background. Of course, your smartphone must be connected by WiFi or mobile network for the alert to be immediate. Some cameras add sending an email alert, two precautions being better than one. Kiwatch also offers SMS alert service, paying though.
The surveillance cameras work in case of power failure?
Nothing works! But there is one exception: Security Camera MyFox is equipped with a battery, which ensures an hour autonomy. Its internal memory takes over and stores records until power is restored. The Netgear Arlo camera using batteries, certainly, but it is devoid of storage memory. And radio relay that receives the wireless image will no longer be operational anyway, battery fault. Moreover, these cameras, for the most part, sending a notification if it is disconnected from the network or victim of a power failure.
Connect the camera and the Internet box on an inverter, a device equipped with a battery, is there a way to maintain some autonomy? It is not safe at all, because if the power outage affects the whole neighborhood, it is likely that the Internet infrastructure that serves your home may not work as well. Let me be clear, these small cameras are not as strong as a full alarm system and much more expensive, battery backed and able to transmit alerts mobile network through a SIM card.