DropCam Wireless IP Camera

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With the rapid deployment of wireless networks around the world wireless enabled devices have exploded in popularity and there isn’t much sign of slowing down. There are plenty of devices such as blu-ray players, printers, thermostats, and even our televisions can connect to the Internet wirelessly. Now IP cameras are not a new technology and they have been around for a few years but you had to run cables in you wanted to install them. Wireless IP cameras are fairly new to the market over the last few years. Dropcam has released the Dropcam wireless IP camera with advanced features such as AES-256 encryption, night vision, and two-way communication. When we visited Dropcam’s booth at CES I could not help but say “Yes” when we were asked to review the camera. The question is not does it work, but instead how well does it work and for that answer you will need to read on to find out.

 Here’s a word of caution before we go on. Any network can be hacked and while the Dropcam wireless IP camera communicates securely with the Dropcam servers, if your wireless network is not secure then you could very well have other people watching your camera. Network security is very important to keep others out. This is not a dig against wireless but instead just a heads up. I will discuss the security features of the Dropcam wireless IP camera later on in the article. Securing your wireless network is beyond the scope of this article.

Dropcam HD Technical Specifications

Video Camera Basics

Dimensions 4.5″ x 3.15″ x 3.15″ (height x width x depth)
Weight 5.5oz (156g)
Power Adapter Input: 100-240V ⏦ 50/60Hz 0.5A Output: 5V ⎓ 2A
USB Cable 4 pin USB Type A to 5 pin Micro-USB Type B 10 ft
Warranty One-year parts

Video Camera Details

Type Color with digital pan-tilt-zoom
Digital Video Format  H.264 encoding
up to 720p HD (1280 x 720) at 30 frames/sec       
Field of View 107 degrees (diagonal)
Audio Speaker and microphone
Night Vision 12 high-power infrared LEDs
Operating Temperature 0 – 40 °C

Video Camera Networking Details

Supported Wireless (802.11b/g/n)   2.4 GHz       
Wireless Security none
WEP (40-bit, 128-bit)
WPA (TKIP, AES) WPA2 (TKIP, AES)

About Tom Brokaw

Tom is a network analyst by day. He currently holds the CCNA & CCNP certifications. He has been reviewing hardware products around for various sites around the net since 1999. He has modded a few cases back in the day, such as cutting a side window or two.

5 comments

  1. Well, I have the DropCam and am thinking of getting the DropCam Pro – Its have better everything and its about $50.00 more. I would like to see someone make a mod that allows the user to use there own Hard Drive and store the video it sees, I dont want to pay a monthly fee to DropCam.

    • I second that. The bandwidth-eating upload/download transfers are too much, I read someone calculating around 60GB per dropcam monthly upload. That’s not even on dropcam pro! If there’s a hack that would allow diverting the camera video signal to a pogoplug device on the same network. There’s a drawback to doing this, if the thief steals the hard drive with the dropcam, then it defeats the purpose of having this system in the first place.

    • Dropcam is nice, but its business model is flawed. The camera is expensive; and it only works with Dropcam’s cloud service, which is even more expensive; it uses too much bandwidth that will significantly slow down your Internet connection. It requires Internet connection all the time and does not support local storage or local streaming. If you have more than one Dropcams, the cost will be even more expensive and you are likely to hit your ISP’s usage limit.

  2. We’ve been using our Dropcam with one of the outdoor cases from dropcamcases.com to watch our dog in the garden while at work and they work amazingly well! Love that cam!

    • +1 I was disappointed when I found out that Dropcam didn’t have an outdoor model, but I also found the dropcase enclosures and they work nicely, even in the rain