As wireless cameras have become more compact and affordable, they have become a practical alternative to the traditional webcam or security camera. One advantage to wired solutions is that they are easy to connect, and computers typically support them in plug-and-play fashion. Wireless solutions, on the other hand, require communication via a wireless network, and that configuration process isn’t always as user-friendly as connecting a USB cable.
About Wireless Cameras
A very common kind of wireless camera is the IP camera. IP stands for Internet protocol, and these cameras are designed to work over the Web or over local networks. The network is a requirement. There are, however, options that do not require a network. Examples include Bluetooth cameras and USB RF cameras. These types of cameras are as user-friendly and convenient as portable webcams but not as feature-rich as IP cameras.
Choosing a Wireless Camera
Users should itemize how they plan to use the camera and then make a selection based on that list. For the person who simply wants a portable solution to Skype with family, a Bluetooth camera may be a perfect option. For regular surveillance duty, IP cameras are a more practical choice. Durability may also be a concern. For a nanny cam, nearly any camera will do, but outdoor use requires waterproofing and other features.
Connecting a Wireless Camera to a PC
A network camera must first connect to a network. Once connected, any PC on that network with permissions has access. In addition, if that local network has Internet access, then any PC connected to the Internet that has privilege has access as well. Such access is convenient, for instance, if parents want to check in on their children from work.
Setting up the Network
Setting up the network will require a wireless router or a wireless bridge that can connect to the current wired network. Note that only the camera has to connect wirelessly. Computers and other devices can continue to connect in wired fashion. Before attempting to connect a wireless camera to a new network, ensure that a laptop or tablet can connect to that network wirelessly and access the Internet and other local features.
Extending and Strengthening the Network
Network range may also be an issue. Wireless routers generally have an optimal range of about 100 feet, and there are numerous environmental factors that can reduce that potential. When configuring a security system, it is often necessary to install wireless security cameras outside that range. The common way to overcome this problem is to use wireless repeaters or range extenders, and such devices can be wirelessly daisy-chained to cover longer distances.
Installing the Camera
Installing a wireless camera, particularly outdoors, can be tricky because several factors have to be accounted for: line of sight, weather, and interference. Interference can be caused by telephone lines and other sources of electromagnetic radiation. In order to avoid such interference, look for a mounting location that has a wide line of sight to the area being monitored, and opt for cover where possible because that will help to reduce the wear and tear caused by sunlight and harsh weather.
Installing the Camera Software
A PC cannot read a camera and manipulate it natively, so software is necessary. Most wireless cameras come with some form of software solution. Users can also opt for a third-party solution. Whatever solution is chosen, ensure that it can handle all the wireless cameras on the network. It is also important to ensure that the software supports all of the features that the cameras do.
Getting the Camera and PC to Talk
Start the camera software. Retrieve the list of available wireless cameras. All cameras will have unique names, usually number strings, and it may be helpful to rename them, such as living room, backyard, driveway, and so forth. In addition to viewing the stream, ensure that the line of sight can be adjusted by the user. If the stream is not viewable or the camera not movable, attempt the troubleshooting steps in the camera’s manual before replacing it.
Finding a Wireless Camera on eBay
Consumers in the market for wireless cameras or the accessories needed to connect them to a PC will find a wide variety of solutions at eBay. Most of those options are located in the Security Cameras section of the Home Surveillance category. Routers, adapters, extenders, and other network devices are located in the Home Networking & Connectivity section of the Computer, Tablets & Networking category.
A Wi-Fi camera is among the most convenient and cost-effective ways to add webcam and surveillance capabilities to a network. The key is to ensure a stable network and stable workstations. With that foundation in place, wireless cameras will connect to and communicate with a PC with relative ease.