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Review: Linksys Wireless-G WVC200 PTZ Internet Camera with Audio

The new, $299 Wireless-G WVC200 PTZ Internet Camera with Audio, launched by Linksys May 31, is an appealing, nicely appointed wireless security camera that can be used and controlled from the Web.

The design of the camera is different from -- and in many respects, better than -- most other low-cost cameras on the market. The actual camera is enclosed in a hard, clear astronaut-helmet plastic bubble that protects the lens and electronics from damage and dust. Along the front panel are the LED lights and a LCD display that shows the camera's IP address. These two features -- the bubble and the iP address -- are the camera's most conspicuous and distinctive features. The camera is flat on the back with holes that make it easy to mount on a wall. A removable stand lets you place it on a shelf. A built-in Web server means you don't need to connect it to a PC or server, although you'll need one for setup. Up to 10 users can access the camera at once.

Setup And Configuration

The setup wizard requires that you physically plug the camera into the router via Ethernet -- at least for the setup phase. After I did so, the wizard was able to find the camera on my network before taking me to a camera setup page where I could choose between Ad-Hoc or Infrastructure mode and DHCP or Fixed IP. I selected Infrastructure and DHCP mode, then set the camera SSID to look for my network. The final step was to transfer all these settings to the camera, which didn't work at first.

After a couple of tries, I couldn't get the setup wizard to transfer my preferred settings to the camera. It could find the camera but couldn't change the settings. It occurred to me that, if the camera was online, I could access it directly from a browser. I easily found the IP address of the camera by looking on the LCD display on the front of the camera. After entering the IP into Internet Explorer, I was accessing the camera directly. I was prompted for a username and password. I entered the default username and password and it took me to the camera's page. I was able to see video, but more importantly, I was able to access and change the camera's settings. I set the camera to look for my wireless network's SSID, then, in a leap of faith, disconnected the Ethernet cable and restarted the camera by unplugging the power cable and then plugging it back in.

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