Should You Buy a Wired or Wireless Network Camera?

Wired or wireless? It’s a common question for a number of products in the world of home networking — and network cameras are no exception. Network cameras, not to be confused with webcams built in to laptops for video chatting, are used primarily for home monitoring. Many people also use them to keep an eye on their pets while they’re away or even to monitor their sleeping babies.

So when it comes to choosing between a wired and wireless model, it’s important to consider how it will be used. Generally speaking, though, I think the best answer is…both! Many wireless network cameras, including those in the mydlink line, feature an Ethernet port for wired connectivity. Choosing such a camera gives you the best of both worlds and the flexibility to switch back and forth as your needs change.

There are plenty of reasons why using your camera in wired mode might make sense in your current home setup. The most obvious relates to connectivity. For example, if you’re trying to connect a camera that’s outside of the range of your current wireless router, a wired connection offers a solution. Connecting your camera with an Ethernet cable is also ideal if you happen to want to place a network camera on the same shelf as your router or switch.

Read more »

1

The Top Three Networking Innovations of the Last 25 Years: Broadband Internet

No, it’s not Netflix. But that’s close — especially given the online DVD rental service’s Watch Instantly feature. I’m talking about broadband Internet delivered in the form of DSL or cable.

Innovation #1: Broadband Internet

It should come as no surprise that high-speed Internet access is a huge deal. Remember the days of dial-up? I sure do. You’d tie up your home’s phone line to tap into an online service like AOL or an email client like Juno, inconveniencing everyone else in the house. And you’d find yourself equally irked when a housemate killed your "Warcraft 2" network game or file download because they ignored the “don’t touch me” Post-It note you stuck to the phone.

Read more »

1

The Top Three Networking Innovations of the Last 25 Years: Miniaturization

We’ve seen phenomenal changes in the technological world over the 25 years that D-Link has been in business, and networking is no exception. But what networking innovations have fundamentally shaped our lives? In this countdown of innovation, I’ve already touched on the Number 3: domain names. Here comes second place!

Innovation #2: Miniaturization

Miniaturization, particularly in the wireless world, has wrought amazing transformations both conceptually and physically. Mobile devices have gone from bulky, portable telephones to sleek, pocket devices that miraculously house core networking technologies — the same technologies that grant you Internet access at home.

Read more »

1

Top Three Networking Innovations of the Last 25 Years: Domain Names

Have you ever thought about just how far networking technology has come in the past 25 years? I did when I learned that June 2011 marked D-Link’s 25th year in business. The change in that period is truly astounding. Two and a half decades ago, who would have imagined that ordinary consumers would carry handheld devices affording access to a worldwide network of information, communications, and cat pictures?

Networking has advanced by leaps and bounds, but we’re often so inundated with new products and gadgets that we don’t step back and look at the big picture. What have the big breakthroughs been? What monumental strides have changed our lives? To put it another way, what do we have today that we couldn’t possibly live without? In this week’s blog entries, I’ll consider the top three networking innovations of the last 25 years, counting down from 3 to 1.

Innovation #3: Domain Names

Read more »

1

Video Encoding: Overtaking Streaming Media’s Speed Bump

I’ve explained why a network attached storage (NAS) device is an ideal place to stash huge video files. And I’ve explained how to stream video from NAS to networked devices within your home. Thanks to the wonders of UPnP, or Universal Plug and Play, network devices can talk to each other without forcing you to tackle a complex configuration process.

But things may not always go so smoothly. Systems like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 might be able to see the videos you share on your NAS device, but they may not be able to successfully stream them. Even within a single file type, videos may be encoded in a variety of ways. You can’t assume that type will work with a particular device — even if the device is supposed to be compatible with the associated filename extension.

The trouble is the specific video compression/decompression scheme — or codec — the file’s author used. Certain file types are containers that hold data processed by any of a number of codecs. A file might be called David.avi, but the codec used to squeeze the data into an acceptable file size can vary. Even more confusing: The .avi filename extension does not mean that the video uses “AVI compression,” a common misunderstanding.

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all encoding technique that’s guaranteed to work in all cases, even using a third-party compression/decompression application that comes with preset encoding configurations, like Handbrake or XviD4PSP. For example, I’ve had trouble getting videos encoded with Handbrake presets to stream to my Xbox 360, whereas videos encoded with the Xbox 360 preset in XviD4PSP work perfectly.

So how do you figure out whether your videos are compatible with the devices in your living room? And how can you re-encode them if they aren’t? You have to do your research.

Hit up the online forums for your devices to learn which encoding techniques others have used successfully on their videos. Or, if you’re restless like me, grab some freeware encoding apps and give their built-in presets a try. It’s trial-and-error in its purest form, but you might luck out and strike streaming gold on your first encoding attempt!

Read more »

1