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IP camera is another upcoming gadget where it is started to be widely used in consumer sector; an alternative way besides CCTV as long as there is internet connection. WL-350HD is one of the latest Airlive wireless 1.3MP IP cameras which is equipped with plenty of great features; auto light sensor, two-way audio communication, mobile phone live viewing and etc.
The manufacturer of AirLive products, OvisLink Corp. was founded in 1993 in Taiwan by a group of industrial experts who set out to provide the best combination of quality, service, technology and value in the industry. Today, OvisLink Corp. is an international corporation, total networking solution provider with over 200 products and with hundreds of distributors around the world.
AirLive is a brand providing Innovation, Solutions, Reliability and Technology. AirLive's R&D department continuously focuses its efforts on developing the right products including AirLive WISP and Outdoor solutions, AirLive SMB and Security solutions and AirLive Small Office and Home products.
Package & Content
Airlive WL-350HD comes with a net packaging where everything is arranged nicely in the box. Accessories that come along with Airlive WL-350HD are wireless antenna, adapter, quick reference guide, software & drive CD and mounting kit.
The user manual comes in soft copy (inside the bundled CD) but it still can be downloaded from Airlive's website. This user manual is very important as it explains the details on how to fully utilize Airlive WL-350HD effectively; a great tool for newbie.
The Airlive WL-350HD's mounting kit consists of stand, mounting brackets and installation screws which allow it to be installed on the wall, ceiling or any other location. The stand and mounting bracket allows user to manually adjust the Airlive WL-350HD's viewing angle.
A Closer Look on AirLive WL-350HD
IP camera (digital) is not created to replace CCTV (analog) as both of them are being used for different priorities and functions. For simple and flexible setup, Airlive WL-350HD IP camera serves the surveillance purpose well; at least for home and SOHO usages.
Unlike CCTV, Airlive WL-350HD comes with much compact size and light weight which are just about 104 x 63 x 35mm and 116.5 grams. The body of Airlive WL-350HD is coated with a layer of grey glossy paint which makes it looks much attractive.
Airlive WL-350HD is equipped with 1/4" progressive scan CMOS 1.3 MP sensor (with 10x digital zoom) and able to support up to 1280 x 1024 resolution at 15fps or 640 x 480 at 30fps. Resolution is one of the important factor when selection an IP camera besides the megapixel.
In term of video compression, motion JPEG, MPEG-4 and H.264 are supported by Airlive WL-350HD. H.264 (MPEG-4 AVC) is one of the latest and best formats in video compression standards especially in high definition video. (The table was taken from Wikipedia)
Airlive WL-350HD can worked in both cable or wireless connectivities but wireless is a much preferable choice since user have already paid for that. Airlive WL-350HD comes with IEEE 802.11 b/g which is adequate for consumer and SOHO usages; 125 feet for indoor and 460 feet for outdoor.
Besides that Airlive WL-350HD is also built-in with audio and microphone. Airlive WL-350HD comes with two-way communication but additional speaker has to be connected for broadcasting the audio to the IP camera while microphone is used to receive the audio.
6pcs high illumination LEDs is one of the reasons why we picked Airlive WL-350HD for reviewing. These LEDs will serve as a night-vision aider during low light condition but it will not be as good as those IP cameras with true IR LED night-vision functionality.
Viewing from mobile phone is one of the important features and Airlive WL-350HD supports it via Wi-Fi (viewing from Safari of iPhone) or 3GPP (through PortForwarding; external network). Besides that it is also can be a good tool as a baby monitor. (The table was taken from Wikipedia)
Other features of Airlive WL-350HD are alarm buffer (pre/post), audio detection, motion detection and etc; enhancing the surveillance effortlessly. It also supports FTP, TCP/IP, SMTP, HTTP and many other Internet related protocols for remote surveillance purpose.
Installation, Testing & Performance
Installation for Airlive WL-350HD could be complicated since some manual tweaking are required. However thanks to the user manual which provides step to step setup guides or else it will be disaster to discover it by ourselves.
Anyway hardware setup involves mounting and cabling which are pretty straightaway. Mounting on wall or ceiling is not a problem as well since mounting screws are provided. A network cable is required for the initial setup before the wireless connectivity is activated.
Couple of software have to be installed on the console PC or user's system and the most important software are IP Search Tool (search for the IP camera within the same network), CamProExpress (control & monitoring software) and Messenger Plug-In (viewing through MSN chatbox).
As we mentioned above, once the Airlive WL-350HD is connected to the switches though cable for the initial setup then it will be searchable and appeared in IP Search Tool (AirLive IP Wizard II). Remember to reset the Airlive WL-350HD before starting to use it.
Double clicks on the device will pop up an internet browser and connect to the Airlive WL-350HD surveillance automatically. The default username and password to access Airlive WL-350HD are "admin" and "airlive". Remember to change the password for higher encryption.
The next step will be the wireless configuration; under Setting > Basic > Network. Turn on the "Wireless" function and key in password for the detectable SSID. IP address could be configured manually or automatically. After that Airlive WL-350HD is accessible via Wi-Fi connection.
Now it is time to talk about the configuration of Airlive WL-350HD; setting, client setting and image setup. Snapshot, full screen, audio play, video play and digital zoom settings are configurable through the browser window.
There are two tabs under setting page; "Basic" and "Advanced" (for administration only) where "Basic" allows configurations of system, camera, network and security while "Advanced" allows setup of FTP client, SMTP, network storage, HTTP event, schedule, alarm buffer, motion detection, audio detection and system log.
Under client setting there are video compression mode (H.264, MPEG-4 or Motion JPEG), view size (1/4X, 1/2X or 1X), protocol (TCP, UDP or HTTP), and video buffer (on or off to make the streaming more smoothly).
The last tab under configuration page is "Image Setup" where there configurable settings are brightness, contract, saturation and sharpness. If the default image display is acceptable then this setup could be ignored.
Airlive WL-350HD can be accessible by entering its' IP address in internet browser; authentication has to be verified (for Wi-Fi connection). The resolution of the image/video could be adjusted to fit the screen as 1280 x 1024 could be too big for most of the displays.
Airlive WL-350HD can be acted as a webcam as well and shared with others within a messenger chat box. However Messenger Plug-In has to be installed first then key in the messenger account details under the configuration.
With the setup of audio or motion detection, photo can be captured by Airlive WL-350HD automatically and upload to Facebook album; an email (SMTP) has to be linked between Airlive and Facebook for such functionality.
Professional Airlive surveillance software is bundled together for Airlive WL-350HD; CamPro Express which allows monitoring up to 64 channels via computer and WEB UI. This CamPro Express is definitely much preferred than web monitoring for multi IP camera monitoring purpose.
Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E8300 @ 2.83GHz
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3/Gigabyte G31M-ES2L
Heatsink: Noctua NH-D14
Memory: Kingston HyperX 4GB DDR2 8500
Hard Drive: 250GB 7200RPM 8MB Seagate
Graphic Card: Galaxy GeForce GTX260+
PCIe: Aten IC320U USB 3.0
Casing: In Win Maelstorm
PSU: OCZ ZX 850W
Optical Drive: HLDS DVD RW +/-
Controller: Aerocool Touch 2000
Monitor: Dell 22" Wide Screen LCD
Speaker: Edifier R501
Mouse: SteelSeries Ikari Laser
Mouse Pad: SteelSeries QcK+
HeadSet: SteelSeries 3H
Router: TRENDnet TEW-639GR
Operating System: Window XP Pro SP2/Win 7 HP
Ambient Temperature: 27 Degree Celsius
In term of physical mounting and installation, Airlive WL-350HD does not create any problem for us; thanks to the flexible mounting design which allows the IP camera to be adjusted manually to have better viewing angle adjustment. Airlive WL-350HD generates quite amount of heat during operation and hopefully it is able to operate 24x7 without any issue since we have tested it for couple of month. Before the Airlive WL-350HD's surveillance could be started, its IP address has to be discovered and IP Search tool is able to do so within a minute or else it is hard to identify the IP address.
We have no problem to detect the Airlive WL-350HD during our test and an internet browser will be pop up by double clicking the IP camera in the IP Search tool. Some minor adjustments could be done to further enhance the desired result such as changing the resolution size from 1280 x 1024 to 640 x 480 in order to get 30 fps smooth real time surveillance. Other important factors are bitrate, IP interval, video compression method and etc.
Besides the normal viewing through PC, we have tested it with our mobile phone with Wi-Fi connection which could be used for a short distance surveillance such as baby monitoring, identifying unknown guest and etc. Private IP address of the IP camera (like 192.168.1.X) has to be identified in order to view it from a mobile phone to get real time surveillance.
Another great ability of Airlive WL-350HD is the high illumination LEDs which assists the surveillance under low light condition. The captured photo above was taken without assistance of any light where the result is awesome and as good as normal lighting condition (for at least up to 15 feet away). Besides that we also tested the audio sending and receiving of Airlive WL-350HD; the quality of the sound is loud and clear but we noticed that there is slightly delay during audio sending from end user to the Airlive WL-350HD; not really a major issue since Airlive WL-350HD is not intended to be used for broadcasting/communication purpose.
The digital zoom is working well but the quality is limited since it is still a digital zoom but not an optical zoom. Firmware of Airlive WL-350HD could be upgraded easily and the settings could be back up and restore as well. Audio and motion detections are two of the important and useful features as no one is able to monitor the surveillance 24x7 except those security guards in CCTV room hence with the help of these two features, it allows us to focus what we really need to take note and beware of. The sensitivity of the detectable and area of motion detection are configurable to minimize invalid triggering.
There are too many things Airlive WL-350HD can do such as sending trigger alert of audio or motion detection to FTP client, SMTP email, network storage for replay as well as HTTP event. We are not able to focus all of them here so we have picked some important messages that we would like to share us and remote surveillance is something important for far distance surveillance. This remote surveillance could be setup easily where the "virtual server" of the router could be enabled with an external port; 80, 800 or other valid number (act as port forwarding) so that the IP camera could be accessible from external network by entering the public IP address + the external port with internal browser like (http://188.8.131.52:80). However due to the external access, the real time surveillance could be lagging hence a lower quality setting should be setup. Anyway we were successfully to do a remote surveillance with Airlive WL-350HD and the performance is still up to our expectation.
IP camera is getting much popular nowadays due to is greatly improved quality, advanced features, flexibility and of course much reasonable price. Airlive WL-350HD is one the latest Airlive's IP cameras and overall we are pretty satisfied with its decent performance, great abilities, high illumination LED during low light condition, motion & audio detection, remote surveillance from external network and etc. The initial setup cost of IP camera could be more costly than CCTV but it provides greater flexibility. If you are considering to get a IP camera for home or SOHO usage then Airlive WL-350HD should be listed under your wish list which costs about 250USD.
+ Excellent surveillance performance
+ 6pcs high illumination LEDs
+ 1.3MP CMOS sensor
+ High resolution @ 1280 x 1024, 15 fps
+ Compact & light weight
+ Easy installment & setup
+ Motion & audio detection abilities
+ Two ways audio communication
+ CamPro Express; up to 64 channels
+ High quality video compression; H.264
+ Remote surveillance from external network
+ Advanced features; FTP, SMTP, HTTP
+ External storage for surveillance recording
- Looking for IEEE 802.11E
- Not cheap
Thanks to Airlive for providing this sample for us to review.
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