Security Camera Purchasing Advice

Posted on 2014-08-26
Last Modified: 2014-09-01
I have a client looking to get a new security camera system.   This is for a small truck stop.  

Any advice based on your own experience.  What is a good brand, type, package?  I would like to set this up to view from home as well as in the building.
Question by:Scott Fell,  EE MVE
    LVL 51

    Accepted Solution

    Hi Scott,

    I'm in the middle of the same exact project for a client with a retail shop. As with many projects, budget/cost is a big issue. There are cameras for less than 50 bucks and ones for more than $2,000 each. I settled on the Foscam FI9821W V2, which is HD (1280x720), and is both wired and wireless. It comes in black and white, and is in the $100 range:

    The black and white models are both available at that link.

    If you are going wireless and a camera is far away from the router, I suggest the 9dbi antenna, also available in black and white (less than $10 each):

    The Foscam software is horrible, so I went with a third-party package called Blue Iris:

    It works very well and is reasonably priced at $50 for the full version, which allows an unlimited number of cameras. I have four of the Foscam FI9821W V2 cameras configured in Blue Iris now and it is handling them well. It has everything you would expect in security camera software — motion detection, alerts, snapshots, video recording, PTZ controls, etc. They also have a mobile app for Android and iOS:

    For viewing from home, you may either assign static IP addresses with port forwarding on the router or use the Foscam (or any) DDNS service. I've tried the former and it works well; haven't tried the latter.

    Of course, there's the issue of a computer and monitor(s), which I'm sure you're on top of.

    My project is not complete yet, but I'm happy with the results so far. Regards, Joe
    LVL 52

    Author Comment

    by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
    Thanks Joe.  What are you using for an NVR/DVR?   Are you worried that the wireless can be hijacked or jammed?
    LVL 51

    Expert Comment

    by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
    I'm using a Windows computer with a 1TB hard drive as a DVR (and as the security camera displays). Blue Iris lets you specify the location of the storage folders and limits on their sizes. I also tested it with a low-end, multi-terabyte NAS (RAID 1) and it worked fine, so that's a future possibility if my client needs more space for recording. No, I'm not worried about the wireless being hijacked or jammed, but I am worried about good signal strength from the basement locations, which is why I purchased the 9dbi antennas.

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