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Thread: Web camera home setup

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  1. #1
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    Default Web camera home setup

    There may be folks here who like the web cameras on the MWO site and that a few of us have at home. Lets use this thread to discuss what it takes to set up and install a home web camera. I will use my setup as an example to be able to give specifics. 6288 may have other suggestions as we go through this too as he is far more technical than I am.

    The process will come out over a series of posts.
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
    http://bradstreet.zenfolio.com Personal Photo sales site
    http://public.fotki.com/bradbradstreet Personal photo web site
    http://public.fotki.com/MWO/saved/2012/ MWO image & video archive site 2006-2012

  2. #2
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    First post - The first thing to discuss is the Internet connection. The speed that is needed is dependent on where the viewers will be and how many are expected. If the viewers will only be INSIDE the house, then an Internet connection is not even needed.

    If the viewers will be limited (by not giving out the URL or by having a password required), then a broadband connection (DSL or cable) is fine.

    If you open the camera to the public and advertise where it is (like here on the MWO forum) you will get lots of viewers. If the camera will be at a cabin you only visit on weekends, then it does not matter too much. But, if it is your house and you need good speed for other things, the camera(s) could use up a lot of bandwidth (speed) in your Internet connection. So, faster Internet connection is better and the key part is the upload speed.

    If I go one notch lower than the largest image possible (1280x768) and have all the other settings for the best quality possible, I am using 320Kbps of upload when inside the house. Coming in from the Internet it will naturally be a bit slower, but it does take a lot.

    A few changes in the image quality (but still pretty good) and the upload requirements can change to less than 100Kbps. And that is still with a larger image than "6288" is showing as a default. The requirements would go down by reducing the image size to what "6288" has - which is still very good. So, you do have a lot of control right at the camera.

    If this discussion raises questions - or I have not been clear, let me know in this thread.
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
    http://bradstreet.zenfolio.com Personal Photo sales site
    http://public.fotki.com/bradbradstreet Personal photo web site
    http://public.fotki.com/MWO/saved/2012/ MWO image & video archive site 2006-2012

  3. #3
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    Default Camera

    What type of camera did you go with and where did you find the best price?
    What should we reasonably expect to pay for a set up like this?
    KDT

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by KD Talbot
    What type of camera did you go with and where did you find the best price?
    What should we reasonably expect to pay for a set up like this?
    KDT
    Kevin,

    You are jumping ahead to the last chapter. But, that is fine. The new camera is a Toshiba IK-WB15A network camera. When we get to the last chapter the concept of a network camera will make some sense to folks. For something like this I typically go to www.amazon.com and see what prices they have and from whom. Major suppliers like Buy.com are there. plus, some lesser known brands. If it is something new for me i will stay with a bigger supplier like Buy.com or Circuit City. For something I know will do what I want and i am comfortable, I will go with a lesser known supplier and get a bit better price. I paid about $580 for this camera this spring.

    Other costs will depend on if you have to upgrade your Internet connection - do you have a network in the house - do you need to make network changes. In my case I needed 200 feet of network cable. each time I tried to make it or my son (we do this all the time and they always work but they have never worked going down to the lake for some reason ). For this outdoor cable I paid less than $50 and I will be putting it in conduit to protect it. What is nice with this camera is I do not need to string power 200 feet down to the lake as I did with the prior camera. I also bought a Buffalo Technologies Power over Ethernet transmitter ($65) to send the house to the camera down through the network wire. These added costs depend on your individual setup. The camera came with everything needed to have power and a short network cable. How to mount it will vary. I had an "L" bracket on the tree for the prior camera and re-used that. You will need to figure out how to mount it for your situation and buy what is needed for a bracket or a mast or ...
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
    http://bradstreet.zenfolio.com Personal Photo sales site
    http://public.fotki.com/bradbradstreet Personal photo web site
    http://public.fotki.com/MWO/saved/2012/ MWO image & video archive site 2006-2012

  5. #5
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    Default

    Getting back to the Internet connection. The different providers like Time Warner, Comcast or Bell South have different offerings. From what I have seen they all have a residential package and a business one. Some provide higher speeds at a higher cost. If you are to open up cameras to others to view, you might want to consider paying for an increase in upload speed.

    Another difference between residential and business is "port 80". When you use a browser to go to a web page, your browser knows the default port the web server is listening for request is port 80. So, you can type in www.amazon.com and get to their site. www.amazon.com:80 will also get you there. You normally do not worry about it. The business packages from internet service providers allow port 80 to be served from within the network. Residential packages do not normally allow port 80.

    What this means for us web camera folks is that if you put in a web camera at home on a residential internet connection you can not get to it at http://myhome.whatever.com from outside the house - since the service provider will block port 80. If you have the higher cost business package it will probably work.

    The easy way around this is the camera can be changed to work on a different port. Mine are running on ports 8001, 8002, 8003 and 8004. "6288" selected a different set of ports for his cameras. So, a residential package works fine. You will have to deal with it a bit differently at the camera.
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
    http://bradstreet.zenfolio.com Personal Photo sales site
    http://public.fotki.com/bradbradstreet Personal photo web site
    http://public.fotki.com/MWO/saved/2012/ MWO image & video archive site 2006-2012

  6. #6
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    Default

    Just a follow up on the port 80 thing, we run into a lot of confusion at work regarding this. Http (hypertext protocol) is a standard which uses port 80 as a default. So if you do nothing to change this on a web server, this is the port that it will "listen" on. Besides the facts that Brad touched upon in his post, port 80 is also a dangerous port to open to the public. This is where the hackers will try and do damage and robots will try and attack. On my weather website I use port 80, since it is hosted on my providers space, and I just ftp my content. I let them worry about the hackers. But when you open up a port directly from your location (as in a camera), you have to provide the security. So changing the port number can be the first line of defense.

    If you ever want to run an "experiment" at home, start a simple web server on your PC (you must have the appropriate software). Start this up with just a simple page that says "hi". Open up the port with your firewall software with logging enabled, and look at the log in a few hours. There are automated systems out there just waiting to jump on a new port 80 socket they see on the internet.

    Nice thread Brad, I'll contribute more as time allows.

    Steve

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