It wasn’t all that long ago when attempting to install a homegrown security setup without the assistance of trained NORAD engineers was anything less than an exercise in frustration. The whole process used to be too cumbersome, too conspicuous, and worst of all relatively expensive for whatever value you’d get in return. Things have slowly been coming around as cameras have gotten smaller and smarter for the average Joe’s home network, and D-Link’s mydlink-enabled Wireless N Network Camera is an affordable contender for those keen on keeping an ever-constant eye on the things that matter most in their humble abode.
There are actually three versions this specific Wireless N Network Camera. Our review unit, the DCS-932L, comes equipped with an IR-LED night vision camera for 24/7 monitoring, while the lower-spec DCS-930L lacks this feature and the DCS-942L adds a microSD card slot for added internal storage. Choices, choices…
From the looks to actual ease of use simplicity are this camera’s strongest features. Style-wise, your treated to a relatively compact webcam that’s covered in glossy white with a status light and microphone in the front, and in the back a AC input and a lone Ethernet port occupy top while a unique metallic pivot ball at the base that tilts the camera up, down, vertical, and horizontally and can be turned at a near 360 degree angle. Lastly, the 932L can be mounted if you prefer a permanent fixture approach for even more steady video capturing.
The initial setup was easy enough and only required that the camera be hooked up to your router (at least for the first time) and a wall outlet while going through the CD installation process, then connect it to your home network and use the included D-ViewCam surveillance software to get started. Nothing more (unless you want to use the additional apps and/or hook up 2 more cameras) and certainly nothing less, quite frankly it’s a snap and doesn’t take any more than five minutes for the entire configuration.
A while back I reviewed Logitech’s Alert 750i Security Camera (now known as the 750n) and I thought that system was pretty sophisticated at the time but the D-Link DCS-932L easily trumps it now. Compared to the 750i, which used a now-ancient and rather limiting IEEE PoE (power over Ethernet) hookup that required a sizable adapter, the 932L has 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi built in to cut down on the bulky mess and can be placed almost anywhere discretely without a fuss. Also the Logitech unit handled dim lighting poorly and needless to say didn’t handle darkness at all but the D-Link doesn’t have this problem thanks to IR LEDs which grants you adequate vision where there is no light. It’s really no contest between the two.
Finally, the overall cost is less than the half the price of its closest competitor (and seemingly dropping all the time), so if affordability is a concern then this is yet another thumbs up for the 932L as well.
All of these marks certainly sound like the 932L is a real winner but there are some technical concessions against the formula. Namely the overall image quality is maxes out at 640×480 at 20fps, which translates to grainy video feeds for both daytime or in the black of night. They aren’t great, but still good enough for those just looking to monitor and receive up-to-the-minute email capture feeds on the family or worldly possessions. Just don’t go in expecting super high-quality HD video streams and you’ll probably be satisfied with the results.
Another minor caveat is the required software which did the job but still randomly crashed more often than I would have liked. This issue can be harrowing if you’re afraid of the internet because the cloud-based myDlink assistant for the web or the free Android/iOS apps work a heck of a lot better than the default choice, though keep in mind the mobile apps offer only the bare essentials while the website version provides similar options like the required software.
For those who need that extra piece of mind when away for the house at anytime of the day -or night – D-Link’s mydlink-enabled Wireless N Network Camera is an fairly inexpensive and recommended solution, just as long as you keep its limitations in mind. For what it lacks in high tech wonder in video resolution and software it does gain ground in setup and ease of use, especially with its super-easy integration with your favorite iOS or Android device for mobile surveillance options. If you ever thought about adding a little extra bit of painless security to your suburban castle you probably couldn’t do it any better or cheaper than this camera.