Product: Network camera
Price: €199 excl. Vat
Security personnel and monitoring services do not come cheap these days and so it is not surprising that individuals and smaller businesses are seeing the appeal of any affordable technology that can enhance the physical security of their premises. One such device is the Axis 205 Network Camera from Axis Communications.
The first thing to note about the Axis 205 is its size, as the device is small enough to nestle in the palm of your hand (see picture). Okay, so you probably won’t buy a smaller network camera in the shops, but whether it is in fact the world’s smallest network camera, as its maker claims, is open to debate.
Unlike webcams, the Axis 205 hooks up to a network rather than a PC. Set-up is straightforward and took us about five minutes in total. After you connect the camera to a broadband router using a standard Ethernet cable and plug the device into a power socket, it’s straight on to a dedicated website to access the link to the 205. A few pages of form-filling later, the camera image will pop up on your computer screen.
The camera has three resolution levels, up to a size of 640 x 480. The quality of the latter is especially impressive, with images coming out at television quality or better. The camera captures video images at a standard 25 frames per second for all resolution modes.
The camera images can be viewed locally on the network or accessed remotely via the internet. Bear in mind, however, a broadband connection at the remote location will be needed to receive comparable video quality.We tried to access the camera using a 56Kbps connection, with the result that each successive frame went into slow refresh mode every five seconds.
The lens on the camera does not allow you to zoom in on any action but it does have near and far settings to focus on nearby and distant objects respectively. It is not a wide-angle lens — you will be able only to cover a relatively small area of your office or residence. A green LED light on the front of the camera indicates it is on but there is an option to turn the light off if the camera needs to be kept as unobtrusive as possible.
The Axis 205 comes with a stand for placing it on any level surface or suspending it from a ceiling. The camera itself has a swivel head that allows it to be pointed in virtually any direction for security monitoring.
Any quibbles? The Axis 205 doesn’t come with a network cable, which would be a nuisance if you did not have one lying around. The device does not work out of doors either, which may limit its appeal to some users. Also, at €199 excluding Vat, the Axis 205 is not particularly cheap, considering that good-quality webcams are available from around €30 these days. Then again, it is still a good deal cheaper than engaging the services of a security firm.
The Axis 205 is available from TNS distribution www.tnsdistribution.com.
By Brian Skelly