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 “/”.