How to Install a Wireless Webcam
By: Anthony Moreira
Whether it is for keeping in touch with long distance relatives, video conferencing with business clients, or for security monitoring, having a webcam is very useful. Traditional webcams have always been wired. This means, for example, that they plug-in to a computer with a USB connection, and are used within a close proximity to the user's computer. Some computers, such as, netbooks and laptops have a webcam built-in to the screen for easy videoconferencing use. Offering even more flexibility, wireless webcams can be placed and viewed practically anywhere.
Anything wireless is much more convenient. With a wireless webcam, there are no tangled messes of wires to worry about, and you don’t need a host computer to view the camera's feed. Wireless webcams there also offer some other great features to consider. For example, with a wireless webcam, anyone can view the camera's image and feed from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection. That is, provided they have the permissions and the camera's address.
There are a variety of cameras available to choose from. You should consider the following before purchasing a wireless webcam.
· A wireless webcam will need to communicate with a router to be available on a network. In the world of networking, including wireless, protocols are like languages. Be sure your router and webcam can communicate with the same wireless protocol. Most modern devices support 802.11n and are also backwards compatible with 802.11g protocols.
· Confirm the wireless security communication method the webcam and router will use with each other. Security settings are optional, but highly recommended. Security methods between devices act very similar to a lock and key pair. Using a security method will allow devices to function with one another without allowing other unauthorized devices to connect to them. Two popular wireless security methods include WEP and the stronger WPA.
· Investigate the camera's built-in web management and user features. To connect to, view, and manage a wireless webcam, a type of built-in web page is usually used. This means, that by using a web browser, the camera can be remotely managed and viewed through a webpage that is built-in to the camera. Management options will vary by camera make and model. · Also consider other features such as the camera's video resolution, support for audio, and/or a built-in microphone, and mounting options, such as a wall mount, or a stand.
Ready to configure your wireless webcam?
Although cameras and their features may vary slightly by model, the installation and configuration is usually quite similar. For starters, wireless webcams usually feature a physical network connection port so they may be connected by wire to a network router for initial setup purposes. This is because not every wireless network is the same, and the camera may not be able to connect to a router via wireless right out of the box. To perform the initial wired setup, it is recommended to be near the router, rather than the camera's ultimate installation point.
Often, software that comes with a camera is typically used to configure a camera's settings. A wizard detects the camera on the network and confirms all of its settings. Here are some of the common settings.
· Wireless Mode. Ad Hoc or Infrastructure? If you are asked this question, chances are that you will need to select Infrastructure Mode. This means that your camera will communicate with the router for Internet access, and not individual devices such as computers.
· Network Information. Your camera will need an IP Address. If you are using static IP addresses, you will need to consult your router. It is likely that DHCP is being used, which means the camera receives its IP address from the router. Make note that there is such a thing as a private IP address, and a public IP address. Your camera is likely using a private IP address. This means it is only viewable on the local network, and not on the Internet. Advanced technical knowledge, and the owner’s manual may provide help on making the camera publicly available.
A wireless webcam will need to be configured to communicate with a router. This means selecting a common protocol for devices to communicate with. Be sure to select the same wireless protocol that the router is configured to use.
· Service Set Identifier (SSID). This is a network name. Consult your router for the network name if you are unaware.
· Security Settings. If the camera supports security settings, such as, WEP or WPA, you may optionally set these settings.
· Administrative Credentials. In order to gain access to the camera's configuration webpage, an administrative user name and password will need to be created. Provide this information when asked.
· Camera Name. Cameras can be named for easy management and access. With the use of advanced knowledge, setup, and/or third party tools, a camera may be accessed by name for viewing and management, rather than by IP address.
Using the camera!
Once the configuration has been completed, the camera may be installed in its permanent location, wirelessly. Then by entering the camera's IP address in a web browser, the camera's feed will be viewable.
If you are experiencing difficulties configuring or viewing your camera, be sure to check any antivirus, firewall, or the settings on the computer you are viewing from. The camera manufacturer's website support page may also offer tips to common problems.