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

  1. #1
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    Re: Looking for a better IP camera?

    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.
    Last edited by mannyr7; 02-28-2011 at 05:16 PM. Reason: Topic has broadened

  2. Re: Looking for a better IP camera? - Cisco Wireless-N Internet Home Monitoring Camera WVC80N

    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/scre...1005060201.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

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

    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."

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

    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

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

    Quote Originally Posted by lnxfergy View Post
    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. :}

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

    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.















    Sorry, no weight comparison. I don't have a digital scale.
    Last edited by mannyr7; 08-20-2010 at 10:45 PM.

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

    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.
    I Void Warranties´┐Ż

  8. Re: Looking for a better IP camera? - Cisco Wireless-N Internet Home Monitoring Camera WVC80N

    Quote Originally Posted by lnxfergy View Post
    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

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

    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.
    I Void Warranties´┐Ż

  10. Re: Looking for a better IP camera? - Cisco Wireless-N Internet Home Monitoring Camera WVC80N

    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

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