WiFi camera (NOT requiring phone app) question

Discussion in 'Computers, Hardware, and Operating Systems' started by N4FBZ, Aug 15, 2020.

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  1. N4FBZ

    N4FBZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    We're looking to buy an outdoor WiFi camera that does NOT need a phone to be used. We both work from home and need something so we can see if someone comes in our driveway - and we want something that can be set up and used with one of two desktop computers - one Windows 10, the other Ubuntu. Our main router has WiFi (with security) on it, and I'd like to connect to it through the router.

    Every affordable camera I've looked at on eBay (and Amazon) - they expect you to put their app in your phone and use it with your phone. You ask about using it with desktops, they say "NO!" (one said you could set things up to run their phone app from your desktop - that boat won't float!) Having read reports of spyware being connected through some of those apps, I don't want to deal with that!

    Anyone have suggestions? It needs to be weatherproof (we live in Florida), will work through a WiFi router (using browser software), and has decent resolution (1024x768 acceptable). I prefer something that doesn't need special software to make it work!

  2. WF7A

    WF7A Subscriber QRZ Page

    Have you checked out SimpliSafe? That's what we use and I can monitor the camera on my desktop computer (through our account on their website) and on mobile devices. The doorbell camera connects by WiFi to our wireless router; it uses the doorbell's power lines for power.

    Here's a live pic from my doorbell camera:

    Screen Shot 2020-08-15 at 04.28.14 PM.png

    By the way, their customer service is outstanding.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
  3. N4FBZ

    N4FBZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    What I'm hoping for is suggestions for a single camera - nothing that goes through a service or external website (we need something that goes from our computers through ethernet to the router, and from the WiFi in the router to the camera). I had one like that before, but it went dead on us.
  4. WF7A

    WF7A Subscriber QRZ Page

  5. W5UAA

    W5UAA Ham Member QRZ Page

    I recently put one of this on my front porch.


    You first have to set it up with a cat5 cable, then once it's set up, all you have to do is apply power to it and it'll hook up to your WiFi without that cable. Then you can make other configuration changes via WiFi. Just don't mess with the IP address setup or you'll have to drag it back to a wired connection to get it working again.

    As for viewing it, you don't need a phone app. Just view it on any web browser. I reserved a range of my LAN IP addresses for static IP addresses and I set it to one of those. Then all you have to do is bring up any web browser and type in https://ip_address and you see what the camera is looking at (and you're able to control it if it's a PTZ type camera).

    What I've found is the reasonably priced PTZ WiFi security cameras (such as the one above) produce an H264 video format and if you tell it to take pictures on motion detection, it'll produce *.jpg's.

    Any movement in my driveway is captured in a series of 3 pictures at 2 second intervals as *.jpg's day or night, 24/7. Pictures are stored on a memory card on the camera (when it fills up, oldest is deleted as new ones are added--holds about a week of pictures), but I also have a linux file server on my LAN set up 24/7 where the pictures are also sent in case someone thinks all they have to do is destroy my camera to get away. Everything stays inside my LAN.

    H264 works with windows, but I can't find that codec for Linux. Well, I haven't looked recently, but when ever I want to see what's happening at my front door, I have to bring it up on a Windows box but not a linux box.

    So, check video formats before you buy. That's my only advise.

    Edit: works fine outside--I have it under the eave so it never gets rained on. It's hanging upside down, but you can flip the camera upside down in the software.
  6. KA8NCR

    KA8NCR Ham Member QRZ Page

    These easy to install cloud security cameras are a privacy sinkhole. Ring and their peers are nice, but the price of admission is surrender of your privacy and often the privacy of your neighbors.
    I give a hard pass on installing apps on my phone unless absolutely required. And aside from two 2FA/OTP apps, nothing is required that I can't get from a web browser in private browsing mode.

    I've been looking at buying four Unifi cameras to cover entrances and the driveway looking toward the house. They're expensive, but they'll function fine without an app, cloud access and I get that without having to root the device.
    KA9JLM likes this.
  7. KA9JLM

    KA9JLM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I use Foscam, They are priced reasonable, They have a web interface. Many have a FTP server with SD card backup built in, And wired Ethernet.

    You can put them on your LAN with no need to connect to the internet.

    If connected to the internet you can upload to a remote server. You can also upload to your LAN NAS.

    WiFi may not be the best way to go for privacy, But it does work good. If you do not have many Hackers in your hood.

    Good Luck.

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