Two months ago D-Link announced the release of the D-Link DCS-932L Day/Night Network Camera. Setting up some network cameras in my house has been on my ever growing to do list, and thanks to D-Link for providing me the DCS-932L to review, I finally had the chance to test out. Let’s take a closer look at the DCS-932L to see what it has to offer and if it lives up to my expectations.
- MSRP USD 149.99, but digging around on Amazon.com you can find it for as cheap as USD 99.99! or on Newegg.com currently for $116.
- IPV4, ARP, TCP, UDP, ICMP
- DHCP Client
- NTP Client (D-Link)
- DNS Client
- DDNS Client (Dynds and D-Link)
- SMTP Client
- FTP Client
- HTTP Server
- UPnP Port Forwarding
Built-in Network Interface
- 10/100Base-TX Fast Ethernet
- 802.11b/g/n WLAN
- 802.11b/g/n Wireless with WEP/WPA/WPA2 security
Wireless Transmit Output Power
- 16dbm for 11b, 12dbm for 11g, 12dbm for 11n (typical)
- 32 MB
- 4 MB
- Reset to factory default
- JPEG for Still Images
- Adjustable image size and quality
- Time stamp and text overlay
- Flip and Mirror
- 640 x 480 at up to 20 fps
- 320 x 240 at up to 30 fps
- 160 x 120 at up to 30 fps
- Focal length: 5.01 mm, F2.8
- VGA 1/5 inch CMOS Sensor
- Removable IR-Cut filter: auto/schedule/manual
- 5 meter illumination distance
- 1 Lux @ F2.8
- B/W: 0 Lux with IR LED on
- Horizontal: 45.3°
- Vertical: 34.5°
- Diagnol: 54.9°
- Up to 4x
- AGC (Auto Gain Control)
- AWB (Auto White Balance)
- AES (Auto Electronic Shutter)
- Input: 100-249 V AC, 50/60Hz
- Output: 5 V DC, 1.2A
- External AC-to-DC switching power adapter
Max Power Consumption
- 2 W
- 32°F to 140°F (0°C to 40°C)
- -4°F to 158°F (-20°C to 70°C)
- 20-80% RH Non-Condensing
Dimensions (W x D x H)
- Including the bracket and stand:2.6″ x 2.6″ x 5″ (65.8mm x 65mm x 126mm)
- 1.1″ x 2.4″ x 3.8″ (27.2mm x 60mm x 96mm)
- FCC Class B
- 24/7 Basic Installation Support
- 1-Year Limited
The D-Link DCS-932L comes in very straightforward packaging, highlighting several of its features
Once unboxed you have the DCS-932L camera, cat5e cable, power adapter, and documentation.
A closer look at the front of the camera.
The rear of the camera. As you can see there is the option to hard wire the camera, although for the purpose of this review I will be testing out the wireless functionality.
Here is a picture of the DCS-932L next to the DAP-1522 Access Point which the camera will be grabbing the wireless signal from.
I must admit that setting up any product that involves networking always makes me a little queasy. However, D-Link promises that in 3 easy steps the DCS-932L will be set up and ready to go, so hopefully setup will not require a bottle of Jack to get through!
With the DCS-932L unpacked, the first step is to head over to a PC and run the D-Link Setup Wizard via the included CD-ROM.
I planned on connecting the DCS-932L to my D-Link DAP-1522 Access Point (see my writeup here), and since the DAP-1522 has a Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) I chose the WPS option in the Setup Wizard.
The next few steps just detail setting up the DCS-932L hardware, plugging in and confirming the LED on the front of the camera is red.
Since I decided to connect via WPS, the next step requires pressing the WPS button on both the DCS-932L and the DAP-1522. If everything is success and the two connect the LED on the front of the camera should turn green (which I am happy to report worked on the first try!)
Now that the camera has been installed the next step is to set up the camera. Through the Setup Wizard you should see the camera just installed as well as any other D-Link cameras you may already have in your network.
Selecting the camera just installed and clicking next will take you to the following screen where you will assign a password to the camera.
One of the features D-Link offers is the ability to view the camera feed through the Internet (via a web browser or mobile App). To do so you will need to set up a mydlink account which can be done via the Setup Wizard.
Last step is to assign a password for your mydlink account, and if everything is working correctly you should see the live camera feed.
I would say walking through the entire setup took me 5 minutes at most. It was dead simple and I was pleasantly surprised at how everything worked on the first try.
Settings On The D-Link DCS-932L:
With the DCS-932L set up, the easiest way to test out is via the mydlink webpage and log in using your email address and the password you set up. If everything is working well you should now be able to see your live camera feed as seen below. One thing to note, if you are accessing your mydlink webpage from outside your network and you have UPnP disabled on your router, you will only be able to see the camera feed in 60 second increments (i.e. you will need to refresh the page every 60 seconds).
From your mydlink webpage you can also access your DCS-932L settings by going to the Camera Settings tab and clicking the “Camera web page” button. Note that you can also access your camera settings by simply typing in the IP Address of your camera in a web browser (within your network or via your registered domain name as long as you have port forwarding set up, the DCS-932L defaults to port 80)
If you have ever used a D-Link home network product the settings page for the DCS-932L will look very similar to the other D-Link products.
There are quite a few settings you can go through, but I thought I would just take a look at a few. The first which is useful if using the camera for surveillance or home security is motion detection (in order to use this feature you will need to have D-Link’s D-ViewCam or 3rd party software running).
One other feature I found interesting was the ability to have the DCS-932L email you snapshots from the camera based on some predefined settings (such as motion detection or based on a specific schedule)
Using the D-Link DCS-932L:
With the camera set up, now comes the fun part, using the camera. There are several different ways you can access the camera feed. You have the option of viewing from an internet browser via mydlink (as discussed above), viewing from a mobile device via an App, or viewing directly on a PC via software. Right now I am actually using all three methods. D-Link offers a free mydlink lite App that works with both Android and iOS. I have set up on both my Android Tablet and iPxxx and the apps work well, although I do occasionally get issues with connecting to the camera. Instead I have been using the Android IP Cam Viewer Lite App which has worked flawless.
The other option I mentioned was using software installed on a PC. D-Link comes with software called D-ViewCam which not only can be installed directly on a PC, but also comes with a Windows Home Server version (Add-in and all!). The oddity with the Windows Home Server Add-In is that the initial setup is done through an internet browser and not from within the WHS console. The WHS Console gives directions on how to launch in the internet browser, with the one caveat being if you are using a browser other then Internet Explorer you actually need to download a small file to launch (second screenshot below).
Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to test out the D-ViewCam WHS Edition software as I was unable to get it set up. When adding my camera it would either tell me that my User ID/Password were incorrect, or it would just hang. I have been having some Gremlins running around in my WHS of late, so this could very well be attributed to issues I am having with my WHS and not D-Link’s software. At some point down the road I will revisit.
Fortunately, one of the nice things about an IP Camera such as the DCS-932L is that there are several third party software that support IP cameras from various manufacturers. One that I have heard frequently discussed is Blue Iris. I downloaded the trial version and was up and running viewing the love feed from the DCS-932L in no time.
Here are a few more screenshots of the DCS-932L taken from my Android tablet. The first shot is in the morning, and with enough sunlight coming through the camera has switched to daylight mode. As you can see my son is out cold, butt in the air!
Here is a screenshot in Night mode:
Here is a screenshot of an email alert I received based on motion detection:
I have had the DCS-932L running for nearly a month now. We set it up in my youngest son’s room, and both my wife and I constantly check in to see what he is up to (he is 21 months old and on some nights insists on taking my iPod in with him, the camera allows us to see why he is cracking up watching his Thomas movies!). Right now we monitor the camera from the PC via Blue Iris, via the mydlink lite App on my wife’s iPhone/iPad, and on my Android Tablet via the Android IP Cam Viewer Lite App. Picture quality has been great for what we use it for. Possibly the only issue I have noticed is with audio, which seems to be hit or miss. At times I can clearly make out sounds but on other instances I just get static or no sound.
Overall, it has been nothing but a positive experience with the DCS-932L. If you are looking into getting started with home surveillance (whether it be monitoring your home whilst away, monitoring young children, or figuring out what the heck your dogs do all day alone at home), the DCS-932L is an easy and inexpensive solution. The only serious downside, now that I have one camera it is not enough, and I am now trying to justify why I need more! With Father’s Day just around this corner, this definitely could make for an excellent present that almost any Father could appreciate!