Linksys WVC54G Wireless-G Internet Video Camera review: Linksys WVC54G Wireless-G Internet Video Camera

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Typical Price: $489.00
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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Offers dynamic DNS for those on a dynamic IP address. Wirelessly connected.

The Bad Power cable doesn't neatly at the base of the camera stand. Power cable exposed.

The Bottom Line Linksys's WVC54G offers solid video performance for IP-based video.

0.0 Overall

Design
The WVC54G certainly stands out. This is one solid chunk of silver plastic that can be mounted on most surfaces, with a somewhat flexible single wireless (802.11g) antennae sticking out of one side. A mounting stand is provided that can be used to partially obscure the cabled parts of the camera - power is always required, but you can optionally connect the WVC54G to a wired Ethernet connection. The stand does a good job of propping up the camera, although we were irked by the fact that it doesn't sit quite neatly on the power cable, and unless you're careful setting it up, it can wobble in place all too easily.

Features
Setting up an Internet-enabled camera can be a touch daunting for network novices, as in the bulk of cases most broadband accounts don't offer a fixed IP address. This can make getting a camera Internet-accessible into something of a nightmare of firewall permissions and port forwarding malarkey. Linksys offers an interesting service for the network terrified, which they label as SoloLink. It's basically a dynamic DNS service that'll map a distinct user name to the camera of your choice, removing the need for an IP address altogether, in a similar fashion to the way that Internet URLs work. You'll still need to be confident enough to open up a port on your router, but there's a larger catch than that. The camera only comes with a 90-day free trial.

After that trial period, it'll cost you $19.99 for a year's subscription or $34.99 for two year's worth. These are presumably US dollars, although it's never entirely clear. Then again, the sign up form seems to think that the world's comprised of only the US and Canada, so it's probably safe to presume that the fees are in Yankee currency. If you let the 90 day period expire, it's marginally more expensive, which is either a great incentive to sign up early, or incredibly rude, depending on your perspective.

On the software side, the camera is quite simple to administer, and can be used as a security device, detecting motion and sending images anywhere in the world, although as a single fixed camera you'd want to carefully consider positioning in order to capture the best possible images. It's not in the same price bracket as the D-Link SecuriCam DCS-5300G, but those with security on their minds might want to check out that camera first.

Performance
The WVC54G does present clear pictures, although we did have to tweak the focus a bit in order to get a truly flat and thus visible picture. Like most Web-enabled cameras, what you end up with is a workable picture for presentation, but hardly a high-definition TV-quality image. In either wired or wireless configurations we had no problems capturing video and still images with the camera. The camera presumes you're running Internet Explorer, and is in fact even more closely tied to it, as it'll default to an internal viewer application rather than run on anything it detects as a "Netscape" browser.

Whether the WVC54G is right for you depends on your choice of application for it. As a Web camera it's certainly more impressive looking than many cheap and cheerful alternatives, so if you need something in a fixed camera that looks professional this certainly fits the bill.

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