Review by Sean Webb:
Here's the scoop: I was rather concerned about reading the wide range of ratings on this camera, seeing that there were some one star reviews coming in, so I was fully ready to return this puppy if it didn't live up to my pretty high standards.
That said, here is my experience:
I have a Linksys Dual Band Wireless N Router running in a single level ranch about 50 yards from some pretty serious power lines. On the network is a Power Mac connected via ethernet cable, and 3 laptops (a PC, an older Macbook, and a newer Macbook Pro) via wireless. Off topic, I'm not impressed with the range on the Linksys Router, but it provides some pretty quick bandwidth in the home with two networks to connect into, so I live with it.
I unboxed the WVC80N, which came with an ethernet cable, a CD, and some instructions/manual. I followed the instructions to the letter, which instructed me to put the CD into a computer first. I put it in the Power Mac. The CD worked fine and opened up a set-up guide. The set-up guide told me what to do... it detected the wireless devices on the network, then told me to plug the ethernet cable into the camera... I clicked 'next', then into the router... 'next', then plug the power in on the camera... 'next', and turn it on... 'next'... it detected the camera via the ethernet cable with no issues, and continued to lead me through the set-up... I had to create user name and password for the camera, etc., then something awesome happened. I used to be pretty technical, but now don't like to mess with having to figure out how to make something work... I just like it to work. So to my pleasant surprise, when I clicked 'next' this time, ALL THE ADVANCED SETTINGS that allow the camera to be seen via the internet (through secure login and password) were done AUTOMATICALLY for me while I watched. No port mapping. No WPA set-up. No hassles! Awesome!
Then it led me to the TZO set-up (free for 90 days) for the service to be able to look at the camera from anywhere on the Internet any time you want. To explain the technical side of this to non tech folks: If you have a normal DSL or cable internet service, you get what's called a "dynamic IP address" assigned to you from your cable company. This IP address is a number that allows other computers to be able to find your computer whenever you ask to see something (like pulling down video from [...] or getting search results from google - it's a "send the video to this address" kind of thing). But a dynamic IP address can change every time the power goes out or your modem reboots. The internet provider just gives you another one from the ones they have laying around. So where your IP address at your house might have been 123.456.789.123 yesterday, it could be 123.456.789.456 today. So when you are out on the Internet looking to view your camera, you need to know what your IP address is for your house at that particular time. Enter TZO. TZO is an IP mapping service that has your camera send out a message to them saying "here I am". Then TZO writes down that IP address (automatically) for that day and gives you an address at their site to log into ([...]), which then forwards you to your house and your camera. The service costs a year, or discounted for multiple years. NOTE: You don't have to have this service if you have a static IP address or can figure out your dynamic IP address without this service.
So I set up a TZO domain (and will probably pay the , because we got it to show the family what's going on in the nursery for a new baby... and it's a simple web address for the grandparents can bookmark. FYI, the camera allows you to set-up user accounts and passwords for different users.), and here's where another magical thing happened. I clicked on "show video"... and it just worked. FROM THE INTERNET ADDRESS... IT JUST WORKED. Amazing. So now I started to play with and test to see what the limitations of this device are:
First, we had two family members log on simultaneously to see frame rate response. It worked at almost 30fps for three simultaneous users at maximum resolution of 640x480. Cool. So let's play with the settings:
The camera is a smart device, and if you've ever seen your Router's set-up menus after logging into your wireless router... there's the same type of interface here inside the camera. You can change basic settings like dynamic or specific IP address, tell it whether or not to turn the power LED on/off on the front of the camera, etc.... you can change image settings, to large, med, or small resolution, set frame rate, etc... you can add or delete login accounts and passwords (add: grandma password: grandchild for grandma to use when she clicks on your camera's web address), and you can change the settings for automatic motion detection, automatic timed recording, etc. The camera will send you an email with still images or short 5 second video clips every time it detects a change in the camera's environment (if you want it to - fully customizable), and it works well if you set the outgoing SMTP server (google this).
My experience with network response in the home with the camera on:
I've seen the complaints about the camera interfering with throughput to other computers in the house, bogging down the network, etc. I tested this camera two ways: 1) I put everything on one side of the dual band router (simulating what it would be like for a normal wireless router), then 2) I put the camera on one side of the router, and everything else on the other. FYI, we cancelled cable/satellite as soon as Hulu started putting the good stuff online, and use that and podcasts as our sources of entertainment. As that [...] can be a bandwidth hog (streaming hi-res digital video usually is), I fired up hulu, set the camera to it's maximum resolution and frame rates, and did some tests.
First, if no one is looking at the camera, or it's not sending you an email telling you about motion, it doesn't affect bandwidth at all.
When looking at the camera feed, the camera's operation with nothing else going on within the network is great. 640x480 comes through mostly 30 fps at about 1/2 second lag or less. When you fire up hulu while the camera is running (on the same channel) is when you can start to see a difference. Both the camera and hulu suffered a bit. Where I usually don't have to wait for hulu to buffer, it stopped to buffer once while the camera was on the same side of the router, but mostly... it was still fine. The camera was running at about 10fps, and I was watching a hulu show. I was impressed. WARNING: When I turned on motion detection and walked into the room so I could force the camera to fire off a "motion detected" email... both hulu and the camera ground to a halt. I assume this is because the camera was creating media attachments and sending them off via email.
So then I put the camera on the other side of the router's dual band capability, giving it some bandwidth privacy. The camera worked great. Hulu worked great. I could even watch then simultaneously in two different windows. When hulu was showing a video, the frame rate on the camera drops a little (20fps?), and lag time increases to a second or so. But when you're not streaming digital video from the Internet or downloading some torrent, it's a top notch camera that works great. I would highly recommend the dual band router however if you want to have fewer bandwidth issues.
It's not HD, but it's not bad either. Digital artifacts are non-existent in proper lighting, and if any light is existent in the room at all (a night light), the low level light operation is exceptional. The camera WILL go dark if there is no light present. It is NOT an infrared camera, does not have IR lights, and did not pick up anything when I turned some IR lights on in the room. But crack the door with the hallway light on, and you can see. If you want to have the capability to check in on the cats during the day, or have the grandparents watch while you feed/change/play with the baby, this will be a great camera for that. Color is good. Clarity is good. I can even watch it on my iPhone. Having see what the rest of the market has to offer, and with as hit or miss as Linksys has become now-a-days, I gotta give this camera 4.5 stars.
Review by MyHomeServer guy:
We've been using the WVC80N camera for a while on our home network with a Linksys WRT350N router. The WVC80N is the next generation IP camera from Linksys. It's older similar looking twin the WVC54GCA is good but had some issues that the WVC80N solves. You can see reviews of the WVC54GCA cam at myhomeserver.
The WVC80N adds Wireless N, an easier setup for Remote Viewing and best of all, direct writing to a NAS drive to record video! This means you don't have to keep a computer running, simply setup a shared folder on your NAS/Network drive and then add in the path,username and password into the camera and that's it! It will instantly start recording a AVI file to the drive directly that you can play in Windows Media player, etc.
Remote access is also better since it is now included as an option in the CD wizard. When you setup the camera, it asks if you want to remotely view the camera. Selecting YES will setup a custom domain name [...] and then the wizard will set a static IP on the camera and setup the DDNS at TZO and set it up in the camera. All of this is done behind the scenes and it does all of the port forwarding and port selection automatically. This is a big advancement in camera setups..its actually easy
Great camera, I give it a thumbs up