I have been using internet cameras for cabin security and at home for a couple of years. I want to know my home is secure while I am at the Adirondack cabin. I obviously want the cabin to be safe as well, but an additional interest there is to watch undisturbed wildlife pass by. I have a variety of IP camera types but I prefer power over Ethernet (POE) internet video cameras based on my experience to date.
Selecting a digital internet video camera brand for home security and an Adirondack cabin
There are a bunch of internet cameras from different brands clustering around similar price points for each of the various classes of IP cameras. I found its easier to stick with one brand since the set up is probably going to be consistent across the company’s models. I can configure a Foscam unit in about 20 minutes but was frustrated when I bought an Amcrest camera. Foscam units were sold via a sales company Foscam USA until they had a fallings out with the Chinese manufacturer and launched their own Amcrest brand. Foscam now has a new distribution company. The Foscam manuals have limitations but the FoscamUSA videos on YouTube explain set up and expand on the manuals, especially for the computer based user. The most recent cameras, such as those from Amcrest, have manuals that also cover phone and cloud usage which it great but the detail seems to have suffered since there are more options and the detail is missing. Amcrest manuals seemed to skip points but the phone support was excellent – they will run TeamViewer to reach into your PC. That was OK at my home address but I lose the internet when I use the phone on DSL at my cabin.
Choices for connecting to internet cameras for cabin security & at home
You have the option of wireless or wired with internet cable. For the wired type you have two options- versions using a power adapter or what they call Power over internet (POE) where the power is pumped in via the internet (Ethernet) cable.
I have several internet video cameras that will do wireless but I set them up using internet cables. I am starting to prefer the POE wired IP cameras.
Finding a power outlet is a problem shared by conventional cabled cameras and wireless cameras. Its a limiting factor on location. Its a glaring weakness for home security surveillance if its intruders, rather than critters, that you are trying to surveille and someone can pull the power plug without being seen on camera.
The advantage of POE internet video cameras is that you have to run just one cable and don’t have to worry about finding a power outlet near the camera. You can be pretty sure that any POE camera is not going to have a wireless option (since you know they are going to be wired to get electrical power)
The other reason that I prefer wired internet cameras over wireless is that I am 100 miles from one set of my cameras – either at camp or at home. With wired cameras I don’t have to worry about the ‘handshake’ between the IP cameras and router failing.
I might go wireless for an internet video camera on my camp boathouse/barn that is about 30 ft from the main cabin, and has power inside, but for the ones around the main building I am settling on power over internet versions. All the surveillance stuff at home is also run wired (the cables are mostly out of site in the basement).
POE internet cameras for cabin security & at home
I have two IP cameras that are Ethernet only (no wireless) and powered over the Ethernet (internet) cable. One of them could be plugged into a converter but didn’t come with the ‘charger’.
For POE cameras you need an injector to add power to the Ethernet cable. This is a CAT5 or CAT6 internet cable setup, not a USB hookup. So I needed to add power injectors, that was confusing the first time: I bought my first POE camera and had no power for it – I needed a power injector.
Basically its a box that has Ethernet and mains power in but only Ethernet out. There may be a range of voltages listed for injectors, from say 9 to 40V but the cameras and injectors seem to take care of regulating themselves. The power is shot down pairs of strands of wire in CAT5 cable that aren’t being used for the camera signal (data). I read something about power and data sharing in strands for CAT6 cable (where more strands of wire are used for signal) and that decent injectors can cope with this. One of my injectors was ultra cheap so I used CAT5 on that line just to be sure there wouldn’t be a problem. The better one is labelled ‘gigabit’ , probably as a flag for ‘CAT6 ready/capable’.
I have one internet video camera at home and one at my cabin that use POE so I am using individual injectors. You can get plug and play routers set up for POE but they aren’t cheap. They might be a worthwhile option if someone settled on using a number of POE IP cameras. I have cameras at home and at my cabin so I might switch one site (say home) to an injector router and move all the singletons to camp. If you go this route than make sure you have power for shooting down the cables – some of them seem to need a separate power pack.