D-Link DCS-932LWireless N Day/Night Home Network Camera

When you're keeping a home or office safe from intruders, what happens after dark is at least as important as what happens in broad daylight. The D-Link DCS-932L is an inexpensive networked video camera featuring infrared night-vision capability that can see in complete darkness out to about 15 feet.

Like the company's popular DCS-930L, the DCS-932L lets you see the camera's view through a free app running on an iPhone or Android device — or through a Web browser — via the mydlink Web site. This way, you can check up on your property any time, from anywhere in the world. Also like the DCS-930L, the unit offers a Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) button, an Ethernet port, a pinhole reset button, a power adapter, an internal antenna, and a stand for mounting on a table or shelf. It adds four infrared emitters spaced around the lens for night vision. These LEDs produce a little visible red light, making it possible to spot the camera (if one is looking for it). Happily, you can turn them off to make the camera less conspicuous.

The night-vision capability makes the DCS-932L perfect for monitoring not only after dark but in any very low-light environment, such as a covered entryway. The camera captures full-color video in daylight mode or black and white video in infrared mode. Video resolution can be set to 320x240 or 640x480 in either mode, with frames per second settings from 1 to 30fps. The camera can be configured to switch from day to night mode automatically, or it can be set to switch modes at designated times of the day or night.

With the option to connect to a network via either a wired 10/100 Ethernet network or an 802.11n wireless network, the DCS-932L offers great flexibility in placement, and since the system supports 32 cameras on the same account, a large number of cameras can be positioned for full coverage of multiple areas. The only limitation is the 3-foot power cord. Placing the cameras up high will require either custom outlets near the ceiling or extension cords.

Configuring the camera to connect wirelessly is very simple — all you do is press and hold the WPS button on the side of the camera for three seconds, press a button on the router, and the camera creates a connection automatically. You can also choose from a variety of connection standards in case your wireless router does not support WPS. The documentation for setting up wireless connections is detailed and thorough.

Once you've got the camera set up and networked, you can check out its view through an iPhone, iPad, or Android device using the free mydlink app or via the mydlink portal, a Web-based service that lets you see the camera's view through any standard Web browser. The browser interface offers a flexible scheduling system, allowing the camera to save video at any desired interval to an FTP server or send it via email. It can also automatically open a browser window showing the camera's view if motion is detected.

Overall, the camera's view is clear and crisp. There is some loss of range viewing through glass doors and windows, but in my testing, I was able to automatically record neighborhood cats passing by within about eight feet outside a window at night. The motion detection system was able to automatically record when motion was detected, greatly reducing digital storage needs. The camera was also able to switch automatically to daylight mode and detect the same cats passing by during daylight hours, recording them in full color.

Moreover, the motion sensor divides the camera view into a 5-by-5 grid, making it possible to designate one small area to trigger recording. Motion detection sensitivity can also be adjusted, so you can determine whether larger or smaller moving objects trigger the system.

The installation software and documentation makes configuration and setup, creating a mydlink.com account, and adjusting of camera settings both straightforward and easy. Even non-technical users should be able to connect the camera and access it from anywhere without difficulty. You simply insert the CD-ROM, follow the on-screen prompts, and the installation software will lead you through connecting the camera to power and a network, setting a password, and adding the camera to the mydlink Web site so you can access it from anywhere.

With a street price of around $120, the DCS-932L represents an exceptional value, considering its ability to operate in complete darkness, connect over wired or wireless networks, and — thanks to mydlink — access the camera's video signal from anywhere.

Subscribe to the Business Brief Newsletter