Being an Security Engineer by trade, I understand that awareness is key. Any good network security involves having visibility into every part of your network and computer systems. I realized not too long ago that I should apply the same logic into the security of my home and family, so I put together a system of wireless and wired Home Security Cameras.
Home Security Cameras for the Preparedness Minded
First I needed to know if things were happening at my perimeter, so I decided on video surveillance gear. My home is a typical home, I didn’t want to drill a bunch of holes and run a bunch of cables to have a CCTV security system. Time to step back from home security to my technical skills.
What I did have was an extra wifi router, so if I went with wifi cameras, for home security cameras, I could use them with this extra wireless access point, without impacting my home’s wireless network (as long as I choose a channel at least 3 channels away from my home’s wifi, if possible). I also decided that I can use wired cams in the immediate area where the wifi router was because it has Ethernet ports on it also.
Ok, the methodology is easy, now I just have to find the home security cameras and display monitor. This took some research and tons of time to figure out. I read many reviews of cameras and systems.
Most “free” camera software only supports 8 cameras and they you must buy a license. I needed more than 10 cameras (planning for expansion and scalability). Oringally I thought I’d use ZoneMinder (on Linux), but man if I didn’t have issues keeping it working right (kernal shmall and shmax if you are a nerd, buffers man, buffers).
I thought I was out of luck until I found D-ViewCam, from D-Link. It turns out I was making it harder, to have home security cameras, than it really needed to be.
D-ViewCam is free and supports up to 32 cameras, as long as they are D-Link cameras. I did some research and realized I could buy D-Link DCS-920‘s for about $45 each on ebay.
I downloaded D-ViewCam. Then went out in the garage and found a decent Dell Pentium 4 tower that still had Windows XP on it and installed the software. Then it was off to ebay, where I bought 10 D-Link dcs-920’s and 4 dcs-1000’s (no longer supported, but I got them to work just fine). When the camera’s arrived I setup the wifi acess point for my cameras, then joined the cameras to the new wireless network. Sweet, things are coming together.
We have an exterior entrance to our basement and that was the one spot I couldn’t see from the windows, so I opted to use one of my dcs-1000’s in an outdoor camera housing. This required some drilling through my office wall to the outside of the house to run an ethernet cable to the camera. Then I had to use some POE (power over ethernet) to get power to the camera using the ethernet cable. I was able to find a POE adapter, D-Link DWL-P200 Power Over Ethernet Adapter , and that was the answer to that issue.
None of my current home security cameras have night vision lights, but I do have motion activated lights in the front and back of my house. I’ve also tested (with a TV remote) and these camera’s will pick up IR light, so if I had an IR flood light, the home security cameras would be able to see at night. These cameras would also pick up any intruders coming towards my house wearing night vision gear. That’s a nice perk.
I expanded the functionality and used a couple spare android tablets (and my phone) and installed “IP Cam Viewer Pro” from the android market ($3.99), and manually configured it to access all of my cameras. This allows me to have a camera “monitor” in my bedroom and in our first floor living room providing full visibility into my security perimeter. Add to this a little tech know how and VPN access to my house, I can see the display from my home security cameras, when I am away!