D-Link DCS-920 IP-Camera

[See also my more recent post Setting up Sensr to monitor a DCS-920 Network Camera.]

Wow.  Long time, no postings.  I’ve been busy — more on that another time.

Last week I picked up a D-Link DCS-920 wireless IP-Camera on Amazon for $62 (after rebate).  I did not have high hopes for such an affordable camera, but was pleasantly surprised with the installation process and resulting image quality.

dcs-920

The last time I bought one of these types of cameras, the installation process was a little complicated.  This time, it was far easier.  By default, the camera has DHCP enabled, so you plug it into your network using the supplied Ethernet cable and it grabs an address on your network.  I looked at my router status page to see that it had added itself.  Mine also registered itself on my network as “dcs-920” so I could connect to its admin page at http://dcs-920.  Nice!  The default login is “admin” and the password is blank.

The next step was to add the camera to my wireless home network.  Here is how to do that.  Go to the Setup>>Wireless page and click the “Site Survey” button.  This scans the available wireless networks and shows their signal strength.  (My network was right at the top as the strongest.)  Select the network.

Now, the wireless network password has to be set.  This step always seems confusing and error-prone, and I’m not sure why.  Perhaps there are too many security options.  Before I set up the camera, I went back to my wireless hub and checked its settings.  It was set for “WEP, Open System, 64-bits, Hex.”  I copied all of these settings into the camera.  Then I uplugged the ethernet cable and power-cycled the camera, hoping it would connect to the wireless network.

It did not connect the first time, and I suspect I had some of the wireless settings wrong.  I ended up repeating the settings->disconnect->reboot loop a couple of times, and eventually succeeded.

I’ve got the camera set to upload an image via FTP every second.  It’s looking good!

Troubleshooting FTP Upload

The DCS-920 has a great facility for troubleshooting the FTP upload.  On the FTP Setup page (Setup >> FTP) there is a “Test” button in the “TEST FTP SERVER” section.  Pressing this button causes the camera to upload an image to the FTP server.  You can see the result of the test by going to the  Status page.

If all is well you will see the following message after a successful FTP upload.

FTP Server Test2010-08-11 04:04:43 Test succeeded.

I helped diagnose one user who was having upload errors and was observing the following error.

FTP Server Test2010-08-11 04:00:17 TCP/IP socket error.

This turned out to be because the user had not left the “Path” field on the FTP page the default value of “/” … and had mistakenly put a name like “/foo.jpg” in there.   The Path should be left as “/”.

20 thoughts on “D-Link DCS-920 IP-Camera”

  1. Hi thanks for your nice post.

    I also have the DCS-920 and want it to FTP the capture to myh website – can you please help how I should do this ?
    thanks

  2. If you have a simple website with FTP upload, you can simply use the FTP option of the camera to continuously overwrite a single file if you only want to display the latest image.
    If you want recording and searching of your images, I suggest you read my other post about Sensr. It works great with the DCS_920.

  3. I currently have my IP camera setup as a static ip outside of DCHP with port forwarding ( dynds.org ). To make the FTP with Sensr.net work , do I need to disable dyndns and disable virtual server settings ? Is there anything else to do ? – Thanks

  4. Hi Pete –
    I don’t think you need to “un-do” any of the DNYDNS stuff you’re doing. Adding the FTP service with Sensr dosn’t require disabling that. By using Sensr you’ll get image archiving and social sharing on top of the functions you already have.

  5. i have 5 DCS-920 cameras set up in my store with a DSL isp . i live 70 miles from the store and i have a DSL isp also for my home , i can view the camera images fine, i use static ip’s, DYNDNS service, a pc at the store with IP Updater running to update my store router’s ip, i have also set up snap shots mailed to my email at scheduled intervals. Everything works fine viewing the camera’s from home , BUT, when i am on the road and using my Sprint Wireless Broadband stick, i can get to the sign on screen of each camera, and the the DLINK screen of the camera, and it hangs there with no image. the same thing occurs when i am on a cable broadband isp – all my Java and Activex are up to date. the common denominator comes down to this-when trying to view cameras from the internet, it always works when i am on a DSL isp, and it doesn’t work when i am on any kind of Broadband isp . can you shed some light on this matter ?

  6. Sorry – I can’t think of any reason why this happens. Perhaps someone else out there reading this can comment?

    You may want to try the http://sensr.net service. Using Sensr, you would configure your cameras to FTP images up to Sensr at regular intervals. You should be able to access Sensr from anywhere.

  7. Hi Tom,

    I keep trying to set up my cam wirelessly . . . I seem to get through set up fine, but when I disconnect the cable, my camera can not be found. I’m sure I have my home network and password set correctly. any ideas?

  8. Hi Mike –
    the only thing I can suggest is to re-check and re-check the wireless settings. Use the “Site Survey” button to choose your network. That helps eliminate one source of typos. The “Site Survey” will also give you some information about signal strength and WiFi channel number that may be interesting.

  9. Hi Tom,
    I have a few DCS-920’s at home and an FTP running without a password/login, on XP-Pro. I was wondering how I can upload to my FTP when there is no username or password. I was getting the TCP/IP socket error when using anonymous for the username and password. I have left the path as “/” and I am using “passive mode”. Any help would be appreciated.
    Brad

  10. Hi Brad –

    Off hand, I don’t have a good suggestion for you. (sorry) Is there a reason you cannot configure your FTP server to require a username and password for each camera?

  11. Tom-

    I’ve had my DCS-920 for a year now and just discovered the Sensr.net site. I have followed all of the instructions for the FTP upload, but continue to get the TCP/IP scoket error when I test the upload. I’ve read your troubleshooting above, but it still does not work.

    Do you have any suggestions?

    Shawn

  12. You might want to send Sensr a note using the “Feedback” form on the website. Be sure to include your name, and information about your camera – like its name and its FTP name (“camNNN”). At Sensr we can take a look and see if any of your packets are getting through to the site. Further diagnosis can continue from there!

  13. I have a d-link DCS-920 camera. all the wireless configuration has been done and can be viewed through local network. Following the instruction above, the camera still cannot connected to sensr.net. I don’t know how i can solve it.

  14. Hi I purchased a newer model of this camera (DCS-932L). I set up a lan based ftp specifically for for this purpose. Every pc on my lan can get to the FTP site with exception of the camera. The FTP server I’m using is filezilla. I’m just using the ip address for the ftp site. I entered into the hostname field ftp://XXX.XXX.X.X, as well as just the ip XXX.XXX.X.X and listening on port 21 with anonymous login. I’ll take whatever advice you have.

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