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Thread: Web camera home setup

  1. #11
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    Steve,

    Good feedback on the security issue if you are using the wireless router. If you live in the city or have close neighbors then having the security turned on is very important. It does slow things down a little bit. If you are at a cabin in the woods and have lots of house guests, then giving them the security key is a real pain.

    What we have done is turned on the MAC filtering on the wireless router - and have a set of guest PC cards for house guests already registered on the network. When a guest arrives we give them a guest card and they are all set. For folks who come on a regular basis we register their internal wireless address. This does not have the higher level of security - but in many cases it is fine - and it does not have the speed impact of the encryption overhead. With this we do not have encryption turned on. If you get close enough outside to get the signal I can see you in the web cameras.

    Plus, we have a guest desktop upstairs on the loft they can use. And at another desk area there is a network cable and spare LCD display for house guests. then they are wire connected to the router and the Internet. So security keys are required there.
    Last edited by Brad; 05-25-2007 at 09:34 AM.
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
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  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by WSR88D
    Brad, great thread with a lot of valuable information. The "details" are the key for me since I know the basics and most of my dealings have been with gaming.
    My setup consists of a DSL based internet service in which I do pay a little more for a faster upload speed. I also have purchased for a nominal fee a static IP address. DSL, particularly personal DSL, normally uses a Dynamic IP which means that your IP expires on a regular basis and is continuously replaced by a new one. I'm not sure how that would affect a web cam but I know for gaming it works fine.
    There is no need to pay for a static IP address from your ISP. Most routers, especially wireless Linksys, Buffalo, D-Link have a feature built in called "Dynamic DNS" - DDNS for short. Go to www.dyndns.com - create an ID - then create a DDNS account for your house. Mine is longlake.homeip.net. Then in the Linksys router tell it to keep the www.dyndns.com site up to date on what the house's IP address is. The router will keep the web site up to date and the Internet DNS servers will then get updated too. This is how you can always go to http://longlake.homeip.net:8004 and get to my driveway web camera. If the IP address of the house changes, within 5 minutes the internet DNS servers have been updated.

    Most web cameras have the same capability built in also. Do not do this at the router AND the camera. The hosting site will shut you down for doing updates too often. Another option is to download the free client software from www.dyndns.com and use that to do the updating. I have this running on my wife's laptop. When she connects at a new location I get an e-mail with her new IP address. When I know she is supposed to get to a different place I look for the e-mails. If they do not come in, I can call her and help her through getting connected.

    All this functionality is free. We have each house in our family all listed off one DynDNS.com ID. That just makes it easy.
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRAD
    If the IP address of the house changes, within 5 minutes the internet DNS servers have been updated.
    Does this temporarily affect your connection because my Teamspeak server is kind of like a web based telephone and if I were to lose connection it would cause everyone to be lost off the server.
    Steve
    Is there really any BAD weather???

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    Brad, you beat me to the punch regarding DDNS. I use it at the camp and at home. Hey, if it's free, it's for me. One thing you may want to do is run a command called "nslookup" in a dos window. This will resolve the name to an IP (it also will work to resolve an IP to a DNS name). I usually write mine down in case the DNS service goes down. You will probably find that if you keep your network up, the IP rarely changes anyway. Panasonic cameras come with a ddns service as part of your purchase. I don't use it (but have tried it, it works fine).

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6288
    Brad, you beat me to the punch regarding DDNS. I use it at the camp and at home. Hey, if it's free, it's for me. One thing you may want to do is run a command called "nslookup" in a dos window. This will resolve the name to an IP (it also will work to resolve an IP to a DNS name). I usually write mine down in case the DNS service goes down. You will probably find that if you keep your network up, the IP rarely changes anyway.
    An easier way of finding out what your house's IP address is is to go to www.whatismyip.com they will return a web page with the information. Then write dwn that answer.

    I actually have a entry in my cell phone for the IP address of the house so it is always handy.
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
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  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by WSR88D
    Does this temporarily affect your connection because my Teamspeak server is kind of like a web based telephone and if I were to lose connection it would cause everyone to be lost off the server.
    If the ISP changes the IP address, your service will be off line till users can reconnect. If your ISP says the current address will never change, then in your case it may be worth it. having seen the major range changes over the past 2 years for our house, i can not imagine they could say that.

    It would be easy to test in your case by setting up the DDNS stuff, and then switch to it for one user.
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
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  7. #17
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    When the camera is connected on your network (wired or wireless) you will want to set it up with a static IP address. Using Linksys address conventions, the router is the first point inside the house and it hands out the IP addresses to all the devices (computers and cameras) inside the house. But, you need to know what the camera's address is to make all this work, so do not select "DHCP" for the camera. Define a specific address.

    The Linksys router will be 192.168.1.1. It will be able to hand out addresses in a range. Normally they start at 100 and can handle 50 addresses. So, things getting addresses from DHCP will be in the range of 192.168.1.100 through 192.168.1.149. Do not give the camera an address in this range. Our cameras in the house are 192.168.1.41 through 192.168.1.44 (for the 4 cameras).

    At each camera you define a port. I set our 4 cameras to be port 8001 through 8004. So, you can see a pattern here in the way I set things up. Camera 41 has port 8001. Camera 42 is port 8002.

    At the router (or wireless router) there is a function used a lot for gaming but it applies to what we are doing with the cameras too. When someone sends a request to http://longlake.homeip.net:8001 it will go to my house (because of DDNS knowing the address of the house based on the name "longlake.homeip.net"). It gets to the wireless router and the router sees the port 8001 qualifier. It needs to map the port to a specific address in the house (192.168.1.41 in this example). Linksys calls this "port forwarding". Buffalo calls it "port mapping". It is a table where you say this specific port should be sent to this specific IP address. Once this is set up you are ready to roll.

    With a Linksys router you can get at the camera from inside the house at http://192.168.1.41:8001 or http://longlake.homeip.net:8001. From outside the house the 192.168.1.41 version will not work.

    With the Buffalo router when inside the house you MUST use the 192.168.1.41 version. The longlake.homeip.net version can only be used outside the house. A slight difference between the products but not a big deal.

    With all this you are really set. "6288", what have I missed?
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
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  8. #18
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    Hi Folks,

    New guy here. I've been enjoying the MWO webcams for years and finally got around to joining the club. Great thread here on setting up webcams.

    I've found the Panasonic BL-C10A ethernet camera has great bang for the buck as far as options, clarity, low light viewing, and ease of use. It's a tad more expensive than the Linksys wireless webcam (which I also have), but the extra cost is worth it. I have mine wired to a Linksys wireless bridge, so it's easy to move around when the need arises. We bought this camera to keep an eye on our cat food bowls when we're away and we have a cat sitter coming in. The question arose, what if something happens to the sitter the day after we leave? How would we know? So I set up a camera pointed at the food bowls and now we can monitor them. If we see the bowls empty for long, we can call the sitter or have a friend stop by. When we're not away, I usually have the camera pointed out a back window at the bird feeding area. It gets pretty busy after the morning feeding time.

    You are welcome to take a peak and pan the camera around. As with most webcams, this requires an ActiveX download, although folks using Linux have told me there's another option available if you can't use ActiveX.

    Kittyfoodbowl.com

    U: camguest
    P: visitor

  9. #19
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    M_Six,

    You are doing a cool thing - using a wire based camera - wireless. You wire connect the camera to a wireless bridge. This is probably a lower cost way of doing a wireless camera setup. Nice of you to bring this forward as an option.

    I see your camera is indoors looking outside. As the sun gets bright outside is the camera overpowered? Or can it handle it well?

    I have 2 of the old indoor Linksys wireless cameras. They get overpowered by the sun if it gets real bright outside. Running indoors as they were intended they work just fine. So, I went to an auto supply store and bought a sheet of car window tinting. Cut a round patch - peeled the cover off - then stuck the patch over the camera lens. A tinted lens! It actually has worked well.
    Brad (a 6288 club member)
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  10. #20
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    Hey Brad,

    Good idea on the Linksys camera. That's why I don't point mine outside. I may try your trick, though. The Panasonic camera automatically adjusts for increased light. You can also manually adjust it through the web interface. I've found that the auto-adjust works fine for most lighting situations.

    For those looking for higher quality images, there's a company called Mobotix which makes some really nice day/night cameras. Of course these are pretty pricey for home use, but for business or research use, they're not bad. Two of my favorite sites using Mobotix are here and here. Both are in Germany, so there's not much to see right now. But the N├╝rnberg cameras pick up stunning sunrises behind the castle around 10:30PM EDT.

    Can I ask which type of camera you use at MWO?

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