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View Full Version : Re: Looking for a better IP camera? - Cisco Wireless-N Internet Home Monitoring Camera WVC80N



mannyr7
05-15-2010, 03:14 AM
Having been thoroughly let down by the Trendnet IP-110W time and time again, I decided to try something else. I don't know if I just got a dud or what, I never saw great framerates from this, 18-20 fps MAX at QVGA, low quality and frequent freezes, requiring re-connect. After my recent letdown at RG 2010, I thought it was time to try something better.

Enter the Cisco model WVC80N, available at Best Buy.
It is a bit more involved configuring in comparison to the Trendnet, but there are more options available, and there is RTSP forwarding available, for viewing on smartphones. It is N rated, but there are no external antennae mounted, and 802.11b and g are supported.

The URL for viewing is "http://xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx/img/video.mjpeg", with xxx being replaced with your static or DHCP IP address, which this camera supports. So, quite obviously, this could be easily integrated into existing control solutions.

While I've been writing this post for the last half hour, the stream is still flowing smooth as silk, 640 x 480 VGA, in extremely low light, which the Trendnet would have just shown a black screen.

External dimensions are 3.5" x 4" x 1.5". I plan to crack the case tomorrow, and see if the mounting can be reduced further. NO perpendicular mounted power board! Power supply is by wall-wart barrel plug supplying 5V at 1A, consistent with the Trendnet.

PS. I tested this using my existing, non-exceptional 802.11g Linksys router, which also happens to be marketed by Cisco.

cdop
05-15-2010, 12:38 PM
Another alternativ, though a little bit more expensive might be the Surveyor SRV-1 Blackfin Camera:
http://www.surveyor.com/blackfin/
Advantages:
-Very small/light
-500Mhz Blackfin with opensourced (C-language) firmware (easy/meant to modify)
-might even replace the control board.
-extension-boards avaliable.
-lots of ports: GPIOs, I2C, UART...
-very-low-light 120-degree "fish-eye" camera (order with OV7725 VGA cam module with 2.2mm f2.5 lens)
[email protected] 15 fps, [email protected] 30 fps
-wifi
-tcp or udp
-http interface
-raw java client with sources
-very fast support in the forum by company (mostly with in 2 hours)

A good modification is to only transmit the middle half of the picture:
http://combatdrones.com/private/screenshots/201005060201.png
In this picture the room is luminated by only a small desktop-light.
The 600+fps is the refresh rate of my custom client, not of the cam on the screenshot ;-)

In case of questions ask me. I am working with this module for 6+ months now and just want to share :)

Stobs
05-15-2010, 04:51 PM
I hope I'm not way off base here, but why can't the camera feed be directed through the XBee? If I'm understanding what went on with the XBee communications break down correctly it was more to do with issues of range (to be addressed by locating an AP/relay more central to the arena), location (so it'll more than likely be relocated to the "pit" area) and scheduling (interference from the hockeybots), and that it's a stable communications platform once those issues are resolved. Presuming that they are, and unless there's a reason(s) why shuttling through the XBee can't be done, then why have a redundant communications stream? If it can be piggy-backed then I'd opt for a single point of "contact."

lnxfergy
05-15-2010, 06:13 PM
You can send video over xbee as long as you are ok with 0.5 fps. The xbee radios just aren't high bandwidth.

-Fergs

Stobs
05-15-2010, 06:18 PM
You can send video over xbee as long as you are ok with 0.5 fps. The xbee radios just aren't high bandwidth.

-Fergs

ok, thanks; nice to see that i wasn't completely off-base. It'll be nice to see if I can actually catch the bus next time. :}

mannyr7
08-20-2010, 10:38 PM
I pried the case off the Cisco IP cam and found there isn't much size or weight savings by removing it. The outer case is very form-fitting to the dual stacked PCBs, (wireless card and everything else). But if you wanna see for yourself, use a precision flat screwdriver to pry along the ridge indicated, while gently squeezing the vent-like sides in around the perimeter.

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/2/8/4/0/imag0181_730907.jpg

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/2/8/4/0/imag0178_919210.jpg

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/2/8/4/0/imag0179_835614.jpg

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/2/8/4/0/imag0177_813719.jpg

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/2/8/4/0/imag0175_308645.jpg

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/2/8/4/0/imag0173.jpg

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/2/8/4/0/imag0172.jpg

Sorry, no weight comparison. I don't have a digital scale.

Adrenalynn
09-08-2010, 12:47 AM
We have a couple of those watching a client's datacenter. They're actually a pretty nice camera for cheap cmos and pseudo-lens. That said - they aren't so hot at holding up a connection unless they're talking to Cisco product APs or Routers... But when you keep the manufacturer true throughout, they are pretty stable.

Mitch
09-09-2010, 11:51 PM
You can send video over xbee as long as you are ok with 0.5 fps. The xbee radios just aren't high bandwidth.

-Fergs


I've actually been working on a potential solution for this... XBee's dont have the thruput to send full color images (or even full grayscale images) at any decent resolution. Who actually needs 24bit color images to determine whats around them? Anyway, I've been tinkering with downsampling/filtering CMOS camera outputs using an AVR as an image processor to bring it down to 4bit-per-pixel (and even less if needed) and serializing the data to be sent out to whatever processor you have available to be sent out over XBee as a super compressed binary packet. Its also possible to compress even further after filtering by doing something similar to PNG compression by detecting large blocks of the same color (theres quite a few if you use a high contrasting filter).

There are also some available cameras (such as the CMUCam2/3) that have onboard image processors that could be used to do the exact same thing as well as handle image/blob tracking for your autotargeting needs :)

I'm hoping to really dig into this again toward the end of this year as I get more free time :) I played w/ the TrendNet thing and also have a generic "PC Wireless Infrared Camera" ($60 on geeks.com; not bad btw; infrared and color modes + 2 axis servo controlled by HTTP; spams JPEGs back across TCPIP). Anyway i've been really disappointed with the results.. even in close proximity to a router. I want 25fps without freezes or lagging. The only way to do this across 2.4ghz G or XBee is going to be drop the requirement of high-thruput by compression/picking very carefully the data we want to send back. If I can gain control over the image processing element prior to sending back across the air its possible to create "Preview" modes as well that are more heavily downsampled then refined over the next few packets. Stuff to think about :)

Adrenalynn
09-12-2010, 12:23 AM
2.4ghz WiFi g can stream 60fps 720p HD without a hiccup.

PNG isn't going to get you anywhere. You need to research motion prediction, sprites, and temporal compression.

Mitch
09-13-2010, 10:26 AM
2.4ghz G can handle high thruput assuming you have something that looks remotely like a clean signal. Most embedded G devices (at least that i've seen) can't filter noise as well as PC's/laptops so even something like a second router on the same channel nearby that was spamming up the air will drop performance dramatically.

I've looked into MPEG streaming and came to the conclusion that the quality/flexibility wasn't a good fit for this application due to its lossyness and honestly its still too high of a bitrate until you start talking about the 40kbit 3-5fps 160x120 streams which are just painful to look at.

Anyway - in the case of xbee... the max achievable thruput given near perfect signal is about 105kbps. With that limitation i feel like a very small stream such as a 64x64 image with a 2bpp or 4bpp paletted color table would yield a fairly decent image-quality:framerate result. so with a raw 2bpp palette you can contain a 64x64 field within 1024bytes + the color table. Eh; more on this later when I actually start putting up numbers :)

Adrenalynn
09-13-2010, 01:22 PM
>> until you start talking about the 40kbit 3-5fps 160x120 streams which are just painful to look at

Even then it's latency that will kill you.

>> so with a raw 2bpp palette you can contain a 64x64 field within 1024bytes + the color table.

The problem there is getting the frame into the microcontroller, reducing it, and getting it back out again in time. Again - latency.

>> even something like a second router on the same channel nearby that was spamming up the air will drop performance dramatically

There are ways to address that. Channel selection, of course, but more importantly, off-axis rejection through antenna and polarization selection.

802.11n is certainly the better choice with mimo and OFDM.

DresnerRobotics
09-13-2010, 03:56 PM
I wonder how much frequency overlap 802.11N has with the 5.8ghz transmitters that some of the combat guys use...

Adrenalynn
09-13-2010, 05:59 PM
What 5.8 are they using?

n is in the 5.4 to 5.75Ghz range.

DresnerRobotics
09-13-2010, 07:34 PM
What 5.8 are they using?

n is in the 5.4 to 5.75Ghz range.

I'll check with Dave, it's at least something we should be aware of if we're contemplating 802.11N

lnxfergy
09-13-2010, 07:46 PM
I'll check with Dave, it's at least something we should be aware of if we're contemplating 802.11N

Eh, just tell the hockey bots to go 5.8, and we'll stay in 2.4..... :veryhappy:

-Fergs

Adrenalynn
09-13-2010, 07:46 PM
802.11n is faaaar more frequency-agile and far less susceptible to interference regardless. That's a big part of what OFDM (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) buys. And mimo doesn't hurt either. (Multiple Input/Multiple Output)

gdubb2
09-13-2010, 08:31 PM
Wouldn't this put us into much more expensive cameras??

oops.. I guess I should read the first couple of posts..

Mitch
09-13-2010, 08:35 PM
MIMO is wonderful for dealing with the signal traffic jam that is a heavily populated area :) And in general yea; N is much much more agile. Honestly i've been exploring XBee simply because of its availability/cost (and of course the fact that they do a better job of dealing w/ the 2.4 spam)

If someone could show me a sub-$200 N solution (that means laptop N adapter and an embedded radio thats at least somewhat documented) I'd be happy :)

./New thread time?

Adrenalynn
09-14-2010, 12:43 AM
The SG901 modules are ~$30ea in moq: 1, have free drivers (cross platform) and they GPL the hardware abstraction layer.

http://www.sagrad.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=109:sg901-1059&catid=38:wifi-modules

edit to add: And a USB stick 802.11n adapter can be had on Amazon for ~$7.00. Four star rated even.

RobotAtlas
09-15-2010, 05:33 PM
The SG901 modules are ~$30ea in moq: 1, have free drivers (cross platform) and they GPL the hardware abstraction layer.

http://www.sagrad.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=109:sg901-1059&catid=38:wifi-modules

edit to add: And a USB stick 802.11n adapter can be had on Amazon for ~$7.00. Four star rated even.

I noticed this in that link for SG901:

Operates in 2.4GHz frequency bands.
Single antenna configuration;


I think this is a much better alternative Linksys Ultra RangePlus Dual-Band Wireless-N USB Network Adapter:

http://www.linksysbycisco.com/EU/en/products/WUSB600N

Willow Garage uses its big brother counterpart on their PR2 robot:

http://www.linksysbycisco.com/EU/en/products/WRT610N

I don't understand why Mike first says 2.4GHz is dirty, then he wants to stay there...
Nostalgia? :)

Adrenalynn
09-15-2010, 06:01 PM
http://www.sagrad.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=47&Itemid=70 <-- 5Ghz

The module in your linksys example is undocumented.

RobotAtlas
09-15-2010, 07:30 PM
From that link:



Flexible Power

Enhance your laptop or desktop computer with the incredible performance power of today’s most advanced wireless technology. Wireless-N dual-band capability offers the flexibility to connect on either the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequency, so you can access both types of Wireless-N networks, virtually anywhere you go. Offers optimal performance with a Linksys by Cisco Dual-Band Wireless-N Router, but also works with Wireless-G, -B and -A networks.

Adrenalynn
09-15-2010, 07:38 PM
Yes. Let's see you get it running on an arduino - or even a SAM9...

Again: Undocumented.

And still undocumented.

The module I posted is documented. With source.

RobotAtlas
09-15-2010, 07:54 PM
Oh, I see now. Sorry, my fault. I didn't realize you guys are talking about brainless, sorry - limited brainpower, robots here.
I was not suggesting to use it with arduino. I was talking about using a wired webcam with Fit-PC2 or netbook.

lnxfergy
09-15-2010, 10:42 PM
I don't understand why Mike first says 2.4GHz is dirty, then he wants to stay there...
Nostalgia? :)

Because there aren't yet many low-cost, low-weight, small-size, off-the-shelf wireless IP cams in the N-band.

-Fergs

mannyr7
09-16-2010, 12:30 AM
Oh, I see now. Sorry, my fault. I didn't realize you guys are talking about brainless, sorry - limited brainpower, robots here.
I was not suggesting to use it with arduino. I was talking about using a wired webcam with Fit-PC2 or netbook.

This thread is posted under Mech Warfare(limited processing power is a given on these smallish walkers) and the first post is titled "Looking for a better IP camera?..." Guess I should have said wireless ip camera.

rebel
01-19-2011, 05:23 PM
I do not have allot of know how with this stuff, but
Would these, SG901-1059 802.11 b/g/n Wireless USB Module,
that Adrenalynn posted, act like a wifi bridge between a ethernet camera and a comptuer?

mannyr7
02-10-2011, 06:56 PM
And yet another camera, the D-Link DCS-930L wireless g/n network camera. Here are some teardown photos and a side by side comparison with the popular Trendnet model most people use for Mech-Warfare.

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/2/8/4/0/cimg4954.png

Note the locking tabs around the perimeter of the device's front case half. I found inserting a small flat tip screwdriver along the bottom lip while working around with another small screwdriver worked to separate the two halves. Be careful not to shove the tip too far and risk damaging components on the board!

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/2/8/4/0/cimg4958.png

The lens and microphone most prominent here.

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/2/8/4/0/cimg4957.png

Ethernet jack and barrel connector for power. You could probably slim the device further by de-soldering these both and connecting your power leads directly to the PCB, but I wouldn't recommend it.

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/2/8/4/0/cimg4956.png

Very slim and no antenna to connect.

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/2/8/4/0/cimg4959.png

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/2/8/4/0/cimg4960.png

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/2/8/4/0/cimg4961.png

http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/2/8/4/0/cimg4962.png

mannyr7
02-12-2011, 02:06 PM
A little searching in the D-Link forum produced these links:

http://<camera ip>/video/mjpg.cgi

http://<camera ip>/image/jpeg.cgi
http://<camera ip>/image/jpeg.cgi?profileid=1

Paste these in your browser or imaging software of choice to view streams or stills devoid of the D-Link GUI.

lnxfergy
02-12-2011, 02:10 PM
A little searching in the D-Link forum produced these links:

http://<camera ip>/video/mjpg.cgi

http://<camera ip>/image/jpeg.cgi
http://<camera ip>/image/jpeg.cgi?profileid=1

Paste these in your browser or imaging software of choice to view streams or stills devoid of the D-Link GUI.

Sweet. This should make it very easy to interface with our existing Python-based mech apps. And also thanks for posting the images --- you convinced me to buy one just for the size.

-Fergs

byi
02-20-2011, 08:01 AM
The dcs-930 looks like a great camera, but I couldn't find any information about powering it. Do you by any chance know what voltage it takes or how much current it draws? Thanks.

mannyr7
02-20-2011, 04:51 PM
The included power supply is 5V @ 1.2A and I'm not sure of the exact current draw, but 500mA should be more than sufficient. I power mine with a 7.4 900mAh 2s battery going through a castle creations switching regulator and get around 45 min run time. Also, the weight is 59 grams, case and all.

byi
02-22-2011, 05:33 PM
Thanks. So, would i need more than one battery for convenience at the competition? how long does that battery charge?

mannyr7
02-22-2011, 10:38 PM
Thanks. So, would i need more than one battery for convenience at the competition? how long does that battery charge?

I have an "El Cheapo" LiPo charger but mine takes about 1/2 hr to fully charge this particular battery. It uses very little power, but would be totally dependent on what type of robot you are carrying this on, number of servos and available power source.

byi
02-23-2011, 12:39 PM
ok. thanks for all the help.

lnxfergy
02-23-2011, 12:46 PM
I'd really suggest that everyone have at least 2 sets of whatever batteries are needed on their robot -- especially if they think they might go all the way (time will be a bit more rushed towards the end of the matches).

-Fergs

byi
02-28-2011, 04:13 PM
I just got the dcs-930l. i got it off trossen robotics in a kit that allows easy mounting to bioloid robots. In order to assemble the kit, I need to remove the metal stand attachment from the back. I noticed in the photos, that this was removed. How was that done?

mannyr7
02-28-2011, 04:16 PM
I just got the dcs-930l. i got it off trossen robotics in a kit that allows easy mounting to bioloid robots. In order to assemble the kit, I need to remove the metal stand attachment from the back. I noticed in the photos, that this was removed. How was that done?

I actually tore the whole metal socket out trying to unscrew it. :robotsurprised: Tyberius wanna chime in here?

byi
02-28-2011, 04:19 PM
hmm... this is gunna be difficult. thanks for responding though.

DresnerRobotics
02-28-2011, 04:41 PM
hmm... this is gunna be difficult. thanks for responding though.

We were able to use some pliers to grab hold of the bolt, then simply unscrewed it (righty tighty, lefty loosy). I had Matt hold the camera and twist while I held the pliers firmly.

Let me know your results; not sure if Manny's trouble was a one-time thing or not. I could possibly build a lasercut enclosure for you guys as well, if all else fails.

byi
02-28-2011, 04:47 PM
ok. i was trying to use pliers earlier with no results. the bolt doesn't give much traction. i'll try again. thanks.

mannyr7
02-28-2011, 05:20 PM
... not sure if Manny's trouble was a one-time thing or not...

Ok, Manny's got gorilla mitts! I swear I went righty tighty, lefty loosy!

byi
02-28-2011, 08:12 PM
This time I merely ended up breaking the tip off and rinding it down a bit. There is no way its coming out.

DresnerRobotics
03-01-2011, 08:50 AM
Alright, I'm going to look into a better solution for these cameras. I'll update soon.

byi
03-01-2011, 09:33 AM
ok. Thamks.

Lupulus
09-10-2012, 11:02 PM
Bumping an old thread here, thought I would share my experience with the DCS-930L for other people using this camera.
After taking the case apart I needed to remove the original mounting screw. The screw just sheared off when I twisted hard with pliers...so guess I also have gorilla hands :robotsurprised: This left a piece of mangled screw inside a threaded metal tube all still embedded in the plastic case. I went to work with a dremel and removed the whole mess, leaving a reasonably clean hole.

I put in a hex hole bolt with the head on the inside of the case, mounted to a bioloid bracket, and snapped it back together. Calvin my bioloid "Type A" is now doing his best GLADoS impression and streaming jerky video as he tromps around. I tried a couple different bracket configurations for mounting the camera. I like the one in my gallery, it's fairly sturdy and keeps the CoM in the about the same position. Calvin's snazzy new footgear are 2 double-A battery packs running the camera...at least until I get a voltage regulator so I can run from the main battery :D

FYI for other newbies: I have "low, not quite zero" knowledge about networking, and getting this up and streaming took some trial and error. Ended up downloading an old version of the camera firmware, which seemed to communicate better with my linksys router. D-link claims simple painless setup, this is probably only the case if you have a D-link router and don't want to do anything fancy!

Lupes

Lupulus
09-10-2012, 11:05 PM
PS....I have some accompanying images in my gallery, is there a way to tag them to this post?

jwatte
09-11-2012, 11:56 AM
Also, is there some way you can record the video and post? It would be great to get a feeling for how smooth it is (or isn't.)

Gertlex
09-11-2012, 04:29 PM
Lupulus, the best method I've found has been to just copy the image urls and use those to put images in posts.

ArduTank
09-11-2012, 07:25 PM
N-band IP cameras can be found for ~$30 near where I live. The model I'm looking at has the camera mounted in a pan/tilt assembly, which I think I could mount the guns on.

EDIT: They're not ~$30 anymore, but there is one non-wireless one for $30 I might be able to stream through Xbees at maximum baud rate

Gertlex
09-11-2012, 10:47 PM
So then you'd have a $80-90 camera...

ArduTank
09-12-2012, 06:21 PM
When I can get a pair of Xbees for ~$30?? AND use them for both control of the robot and the camera?? And said camera is much smaller than a wireless IP camera.

Upgrayd
10-20-2012, 01:29 PM
I just received a D-Link camera and went ahead and updated the MWCam.py IP camera viewer python program to support it.

https://github.com/RyanLowerr/mwscore/tree/master/server
http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/files/3/3/1/6/mwcamdlink_thumb.png (http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/gallery/showimage.php?i=5000)

Gertlex
12-08-2012, 06:51 PM
Made a basic CAD model of the D-Link DCS930L camera's board. It's attached.

Stephen
12-18-2012, 07:50 PM
For the IP cams, the D-Link DCS-930L/932L in particular, are you all using this behind a router for remote viewing? Or a direct Wi-Fi connection to, say, a smartphone using wps? I ask as I have the DCS932L, thinking I could directly connect to my phone without the need for any other hardware, router or otherwise. So far I'm having no luck monkeying around with the camera settings and directly connecting to an Android phone, or finding any answers online. Everything so far seems to be via a router. Thanks.

jwatte
12-18-2012, 09:11 PM
Wifi comes in two modes: "Infrastructure" mode where everything talks to a central wireless access point, and "ad hoc" mode where computers can talk to other computers. Typically, wifi "accessories" like cameras are not set up to join "ad hoc" networks and thus need to go through an access point. Also, the performance over "ad hoc" networks is generally pretty bad. At the Mech Warfare event, the rules thread specifies that the organizers provide an access point.

And, to clear up some terminology, what you'll buy at Best Buy as a "router" is actually often four devices in one:
1) A cable modem or DSL modem.
2) A wired Ethernet layer-2 switch.
3) A wireless access point.
4) A router that's set up to route between those three different things.

Stephen
12-18-2012, 10:13 PM
Thanks jwatte. I was looking to use ad hoc so that I could test and use my in-progresss build without the restriction of a wi-fi network (away from my apartment etc.). I had been playing with the settings of my 932L and set it up as ad hoc, but I've been unable to connect/find the camera when activating the wps button on the back and switching on wi-fi direct on my android phone (which is what I was hoping to use, to test and play around with, for the video feed).

I suppose then that with the camera in ad hoc mode I should be able to do this, and maybe I should try with my laptop first (running Ubuntu btw). Is or has anyone else had any luck using their 930L/932L in ad hoc mode? Perhaps I should move this line of questioning out of the mech warfare discussion at this point.

Thanks.

Edit: I should mention that my wireless router is quite old (although ultra reliable!) and so does not support direct connect. However I have had the camera hooked up to my router (network cable) and accessed the video image wirelessly in the browser on my laptop, and also using an app on my phone (not sure I want to use the app though and would rather write my own; the apps I've tried work but they require a suspicious set of permissions on my phone that don't seem to pertain to the app's function itself!).

jwatte
12-18-2012, 11:25 PM
My router supports "direct connect," but I never use it. The old ways are the best :-)
(Also: UPnP -- about as good an idea as inviting a known silver thief for dinner...)

alonso
01-15-2013, 01:52 PM
Has anyone tested the Dropcam (https://www.dropcam.com/features) digital wireless camera? It potentially seems like a great camera.

wide-angle lens
720p resolution
H.264 compression

It's powered through a mini USB so I'm assuming it's 5v regulated power supply that could easily be connected to a lipo battery.

A friend of mine has one, now I just need to convince him to let me test it and perhaps do a tear down of the camera =P

grafikChemikal
01-16-2013, 09:31 PM
I recently bought the Foscam FI8918W camera and am tyring to figure out how to make it move automatically based on motion detection. Any ideas on how to do this?

byi
04-18-2013, 10:28 PM
Since this seems to be the general IP camera thread, i'll post this here. My trendent has been acting up lately. A couple weeks ago, it took exactly two minutes and forty seconds to connect. That was irritating, but tolerable. Now it takes a random amount of time and does not necessarily connect after 10 minutes. Anyone have this issue before? Any solutions?

Gausswave
04-21-2013, 11:27 PM
Start with the basics. Does it work well wired? Is the power good? Once it connects does it stay connected? How's the antenna? Has the access point been rebooted lately? What else is running in the neighborhood that taking up band width? I t could be there's nothing wrong with the camera and it's the environment.