If you can’t be physically present to keep an eye on your home, business or vacation property, the next best thing is a state-of-the-art Wi-Fi camera that can stream real-time video to the device of your choice.
Unlike typical security cameras, network cameras, Cloud Cameras, or Wi-Fi Cameras don’t require a closed circuit TV system and special cabling to work. Instead, they connect to your home’s existing network via Ethernet or Wi-Fi, just like a laptop or tablet. Once connected, they stream live video you can access from any connected computer. The most flexible systems even let you view feeds through a web browser, smartphone or tablet; great for on-the-go viewing.
Wi-Fi cameras are the perfect solution for homeowners, business owners, pet owners, parents and anyone with something to watch. To help you sort through the choices, this guide offers some quick recommendations and plenty of info about key features to look for in your next camera.
Wi-Fi cameras for every need
The average home user needs reliable monitoring that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, whereas a business owner might be interested in greater functionality and integration with existing security systems. Network cameras fall into two classes corresponding to these types of users.
Entry Level Cameras
These cameras are small, very affordable and perfect for the home user. Designed to be easy to set up and easy to use, they connect to a wireless home network at the push of a button. Key features include:
- Wireless capability and compact size for flexibility of placement
- Low cost so you can purchase enough cameras to cover multiple areas
- Ability to check camera feeds from any web browser, iPhone®, Android®, Windows device or tablet
Professional Level Cameras
These cameras are more expensive than entry-level cameras. However, the added investment pays off in upgraded features that make it possible to integrate your cameras with dedicated alarm and sensor systems. Key features include:
- Designed for permanent installation, with durable, rugged housing
- Wired or wireless connectivity
- Outputs for alarm and access control systems
This guide will focus on entry level network cameras, as they offer plenty of functionality for the average household. If you need more robust features, visit the network camera page on dlink.com to learn more.
Features to look for
Not all cameras work the same way or offer the same capabilities. In this section, we’ll look at the most important features and what they mean to you.
Some cameras require software to access a camera’s output and only computers that have this software installed can view the feed. Other cameras, like D-Link Wi-Fi Cameras, offer more flexibility and are viewable using a web browser so you can check your cameras locally or remotely from any connected computer.
Wireless cameras give you the flexibility to keep an eye on areas that would be too hard to reach with a wired model. Setup simply involves connecting it to your existing home network just like you would a laptop or tablet.
For truly mobile viewing, you need a camera that allows you to see a live feed from your smartphone or tablet. D-Link’s mobile interface is a free app called mydlink™ Lite and is available for iPhone, Android and Windows devices. The app works with all mydlink-enabled cameras and is completely free to use. With mydlink Lite, you can view your home or office and keep an eye on your kids, pets and possessions from anywhere with a Wi-Fi, 3G or 4G connection.
If you choose to record footage only when motion is detected, you’ll save space and know exactly what footage you need to view. If you plan to record footage, select a camera that makes it easy to set motion triggers as well as specify recording schedules so you can record exactly what you want directly to a local microSD card.
Enhanced Motion Detection
For more reliable motion detection day and night, certain cameras feature passive infrared (PIR) sensors that use changes in heat to detect movement, rather than visual cues. This is great for monitoring at night when a standard camera would not be able to detect motion due to low light conditions.
Some Wi-Fi cameras can illuminate a low-light or no-light area with infrared lighting so you can clearly see what is happening day or night. Infrared lighting is invisible to the human eye but allows the camera a clear view, even in total darkness.
For those looking to keep an eye on their loved ones or their homes while on vacation, sound detection is the perfect addition to the standard motion detection feature. With automatic email alerts and the ability to configure sound detection for a specific area, cameras with this feature allow you to stay one step ahead.
Sometimes you need the ability to record footage in addition to viewing a live stream. All D-Link Wi-Fi Cameras support recording to a storage device, but for seamless use, most feature a microSD card slot, so you can record directly to a microSD card and view footage from anywhere using the free mydlink app or by logging in to www.mydlink.com. D-Link’s cameras with MicroSD slots use H.264 enhanced video compression, which allows you to record up to 5x more footage when compared to MJPEG.
D-Link’s most popular cameras
Find your perfect match
Let’s consider your monitoring needs and identify network camera models that suit you.
You might be new to the Wi-Fi Camera world and you want to try one before you go all in or you just want a quick, affordable home security solution. You need a camera with infrared LEDs that give you a clear view day or night and enhanced motion detection so you can be alerted if there’s any movement inside when there shouldn’t be.
- Recommended Camera: HD Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-936L)
You want to keep a watchful eye on those in your care and monitor their daily activities. With a 180-Degree lens you can capture an entire room with one Wi-Fi camera, making it perfect for your larger, open spaces. You need a discreet camera with two-way audio and the clarity of HD so you can check in on (and communicate with!) your loved ones for peace of mind, anytime.
- Recommended Camera: Full HD 180-Degree Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-2630L)
The Pan & Tilt
No matter how many shoes they chew up or how many rolls of toilet paper they shred, you love your pets. You need a camera with pan/tilt functionality and night vision, so you can get a clear view of your cherished companion no matter where they wander.
- Recommended Camera: HD Pan & Tilt Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-5030L)
This durable, weather-proof camera lets you keep tabs on important outdoor areas like your home’s exterior, your back yard, or the outside of your store or office.
- Recommended Camera: HD Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-2330L)