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IP-enabled cameras are neat little gadgets which let us keep an eye on what's important to us, no matter where we are.  From watching babysitters, our driveway, front door, pets, or even favorite plant, IP cameras provide us security with the click of a mouse.  Today, we will look at three cameras - one from Trendnet, and two units from D-Link.

First, let us look at the Trendnet TV-IP422W:

Camera Specifications
Image Sensor
Sensor 1/4” color CMOS sensor
Resolution 640 x 480 pixel
Fixed Lens f: 4.0mm, F: 1.8 (IR lens)
Viewing Angle 64 degree
Minimum Illumination 0 lux
Microphone Input Internal omni-directional 
Sensitivity: -48dB + 3dB
Response frequency: 
50 ~ 16000Hz
Audio Output 3.5mm speaker output jack
Format PCM/AMR (mono)
Video/Image Setting
Video Format MPEG-4 and MJPEG
Image Frame Rate 30fps @VGA, QVGA, QQVGA
Frame Rate Setting 1 ~ 30fps (frames per second)
Compression Ratio Setting 5 levels
Resolution 640 x 480, 320 x 240, 160 x 120
Digital Zoom 3x
Exposure Control, White Balance, Gain Control Automatic
Image Setting Adjustable Brightness, Contrast, Saturation
Flip Images Vertical / horizontal
Light Frequency 50Hz, 60Hz or outdoor
Pan Range +165 ~ -165 degree
Tilt Range +90 ~ -15 degree
Preset Positions 8 positions
Control Up, down, left, right, center
LAN 10/100Mbps Auto-MDIX
Hardware Specifications
CPU ARM9 base
ROM 8Mbyte NOR Flash
OS Linux
System Requirement (Web Configuration)
CPU Pentium III 350MHz or above
Memory Size 128MB or above
Resolution 800 x 600 or above
Browser Internet Explorer 6.0 or above
Supported OS Windows 2000/XP/Vista
System Requirement (SecurView™ Software)
CPU Pentium4 1GHz or above
Memory Size 512MB or above
Resolution 1024 X 768 or above
Supported OS Windows 2000/XP/Vista
Physical /Environment
Dimension 115 x 110 x 105 mm 
(4.53 x 4.33 x 4.13 in)
Weight 355g (12.4 oz)
Power 12VDC,1.5A external power adapter (3.5 mm)
Power Consumption 10 watts (max)
LEDs Power (orange), link (green)
LED enable/disable support
Operation: 0°C ~ 45°C (32°F ~ 113°F)
Storage : -10°C ~ 60°C (14°F ~ 140°F)
Standard IEEE 802.11b/g
Security 64/128-bit WEP, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK (TKIP/AES)
Antenna 2dBi detachable reverse SMA connector
USB Port USB 1.1 (type A) 
Up to 500mA power device with FAT16/32 format
GPIO 1 input and 1 output
IR Sensor 
(minimum lux)
Normal mode: 2~2.5 lux
Night mode on: 0.5 lux
IR on: 0 lux 
Light sensor activates the IR LED on/off: 5~10 lux

In the retail package, we have the camera, antenna, documentation, power adapter, CAT5 cable, and mounting plate / bracket

Here we see the camera itself.  Note the IR emitters around the lens.  These serve to illuminate the area when in total darkness

The rear of the camera shows all the connectors.  We see the Ethernet port, GPIO pins, WiFi antenna, 12VDC input, and audio output. 
Note that the camera has WiFi, allowing you to place it just about anywhere you have an AC outlet and a signal.  As for the audio output, it is not amplified.

On the side of the camera is a USB port which can be used to save video to a USB storage device.  Very cool!

The web interface of the Trendnet is pretty straightforward.  MPEG4 compression delivers smoother video than MJPEG.  The directional arrows move the camera on its axes.  Clicking on the image centers the camera on to that point.  The numbers on the left are presets where the user can predefine points where the camera should be facing.  The TALK  and LISTEN buttons allow the user to communicate to the viewing area using the built-in mic and audio output.  TRIGGER OUT can be used to enable other external devices through the GPIO pins.  Recording and snapshot functions are pretty typical, and quality is as good as the streaming video itself.  But perhaps the cool part of this product is the NIGHTMODE, where the IR LEDs will let you see in complete darkness.  Such is a very important feature for security cameras, or kiddie cams - where you don't want to wake the baby with bright lights.  Furthermore, you can also open ports on your router to be able to not only access this very same browser interface, but also watch just the streaming video via RTSP.  If your mobile phone supports QuickTime, then you can open your WAN address and port on your phone's browser and watch the IP cam video. 

In our testing, the camera worked as advertised and had no problems connecting to our access point with WPA2/AES security.  Video quality is exceptional as shown in the image, and we were able to get near 30fps video frame rate over LAN, and around 15-20 fps over broadband WAN.  Audio sounded excellent and clear.  We also requested that a colleague 8000 miles away connect to the camera over WAN and carry a conversation with someone while watching their video.  Although not perfect, it worked flawlessly although with a 1-2 second delay.  The only missing feature from the IP-422W is optical zoom - its 3x digital zoom really doesn't do much other than make small pixels into bigger pixels without increasing detail.  As for streaming via RTSP, we had trouble getting it to work with a couple phones, but that is more the fault of the CODEC and software support on the phone's browser.  Using a PC to view the RTSP stream over a cellular WAN link worked flawlessly as well.



Next, let us take a look at the D-Link DCS-5610.  This little unit is not wireless but does have one advantage over the Trendnet - it has 2.6x optical zoom!

Aside from the camera, a LAN cable, power adapter, CD, documentation, and mounting plate are included

Camera Specifications
• Sensor: Sony VGA Progressive Color ¼” CCD
• Lens: 2.8-7.3mm zoom lens, F1.9 ~F200
• Minimum Illumination: 1.0 Lux at F1.9
• 3A Control: AGC, AWB, AES
• Electronic Shutter: 1/60 (1/50) ~ 1/100,000 Sec
Remote Management
• Configuration Accessible via a Web browser
• D-ViewCam™ 2.0
• 10/100BASE-T
Power over Ethernet (PoE)
• 802.3af PoE
Networking Protocols
• DHCP Client
• NTP Client
• DNS Client
• DDNS Client
• SMTP Client
• FTP Client
• HTTP Server
• Samba Client
• UPnP Port Forwarding
• IP Filtering
• 3GPP
Video Algorithms Supported
• 3G Video Support*
• JPEG for Still Image
• MPEG-4/MJPEG Simultaneous Dual Format Compression
Video Resolution
• Up to 30fps at 640x480
• Up to 30fps at 320x240
• Up to 30fps at 176x144
IP Surveillance Software
• D-ViewCam™ 2.0 Allows You to Remotely Manage and Control up to 32 Internet Cameras
• Supports all Management Functions Provided in Web Interface
Dimensions (W x D x H)
• 4.1” x 4.1” x 4.5” (104mm x 103.5mm x 118mm)
• 0.7 lbs (319 grams)
• Operating: 32°F to 104°F (0°C to 40°C)
• Storage: -4°F to 158°F (-20°C to 70°C)
• 20%-80% RH Non-condensing
• FCC Class B
• CE
• IC
• 1 Year Limited**

Behind, we have the DC power input, RJ45 with PoE support, mic input, GPIO pins, audio output, and a mic switch

Unlike the Trendnet, the DCS-5610 has its mic move with the lens

The D-Link web interface is similar to the Trendnet, but also allows you to define the PTZ speeds.

At the full 2.6X optical zoom, we see more details in the painting

The DCS-5610 perform admirably well but its lack of WiFi made it difficult to position in certain places.  On the other hand, its support for PoE negates the requirement of a nearby power outlet.  This product is clearly designed for businesses.  Image quality is very good, but the video is not as smooth as the Trendnet.  Also, it lacks the IR emitters which allow the Trendnet to see in the dark.  RTSP and WAN access work well as long as the requisite ports are opened on your router and firewall.  Overall, it does what its supposed to do, but its a bit underwhelming.


And so we move on to our last contestant, D-Link's top-of-the-line DCS-6620G.  This beauty features 10X zoom, remote control, and WiFi, but sadly no IR illumination either. 

Along with a nice retail box, the DCS-6620G comes with a power adapter, remote control, AV cables, Ethernet cable, mounting bracket, and documentation

Here we have the antenna connectors, DC input, mic input, GPIO pins, and AV output

A credit card-sized remote control is also included, allowing you to control the camera without the web interface


Modes of Operation
• MPEG-4
• 14-Digit Password
• 20 User Accounts
• 10 Simultaneous Users
Network Protocols
• 802.3
• 802.3u
• UPnP
Video Resolution
• Up to 30fps at 352x240
• Up to 10fps at 704x480
Field of View
• 5° to 65°
Lens Size
• 6mm
Physical Specifications
Device Ports
• 10/100Mbps Fast Ethernet
• Power
• External Mic
• A/V Out*
Diagnostic LEDs
• 2 LEDs for POST, Connection, and Heartbeat
Power Input
• External Power Supply
• 12V DC 1.5A
Power Consumption
• 5.5W (Still)
• 8.0W (Moving)
Dimensions (W x D x H)
• 4.12in x 4.13in x 5.0in (104.6mm x 104.9mm x 127mm)
• 0.99 lbs (0.45kg)
• Operating: 32 ° to 140° F (0° to 60°C)
• Storage: 22° to 167°F (-6° to 75°C)
• 5% ~ 95% RH, Non-condensing
Emission (EMI)
• FCC Class B
• CE Class B
• LVD (EN60950)
• 1 Year Limited**

Here is the GUI of the DCS-6620G.  Pretty much the same as the DCS-5610.  The camera is at 1X zoom.

Now, we are at 10X zoom.

10X zoom with 2X digital zoom

10X zoom with 10X digital zoom

The DCS-6620G is a fabulous device!  10X zoom, remote control, and all the other bells and whistles, except for IR night vision.  Video is not as big or as smooth as the Trendnet either, but still very usable.  Audio streaming worked well, and the PTZ controls were easy and intuitive.  Overall, this edges out the Trendnet TV-IP422W simply because of additional hardware features.  You can add IR LEDs to DCS-6620G, but you can't add a 10X optical zoom to the Trendnet!







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