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layout: post
title: Advance WB-IP02W WiFi-G IP-camera review
date: 2012-03-05 20:40:29
updated: 2014-03-25 09:13:00
coordinates: 50.86505 4.70068
proofread: yes
---
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<p>Digital baby monitors are expensive, around &euro;150 for one with an infrared camera. They don't last very long (as most baby stuff) and aren't very hackable. They mostly come with an extra screen module. A proper geek has to do better, so off I went, looking for a cheap, infrared-enabled <abbr title="Internet Protocol">IP</abbr> camera.</p>
<h2>Finding a camera</h2>
<p>There are a lot of webcams out there in different ranges, so I should probably list my requirements first:</p>
<ul>
<li>Cheap, as cheap as possible</li>
<li>Network-enabled, as I don't want an extra computer sitting around</li>
<li>Usable at night (day view is a plus)</li>
<li>Hackable, as I want to reuse it for something else when the baby gets older</li>
<li>Able to integrate with my home <abbr title="Wireless Fidelity">WiFi</abbr> network</li>
</ul>
<p>There are a lot of cheap motorized cameras out there, and I couldn't care less. They look clunky and I don't need the extra features. There are cameras from well-established brands and cameras without names. I went for the &ldquo;I can always throw it away&rdquo; approach and got me the cheap Ad(i|v)ance WB-<abbr title="Internet Protocol">IP</abbr>02W <abbr title="Wireless Fidelity">WiFi</abbr>-G <abbr title="Internet Protocol">IP</abbr>-camera for &euro;70.</p>
<h2>Installation</h2>
<p>The camera comes with an antenna, wall mountable support, ethernet cable, power cable and manual in French and something that sounds like English. The package includes a mini-<abbr title="Compact Disc">CD</abbr> with the installation tools.</p>
<p>The camera manufacturer, Advance or Adiance (can't really make out the name from the logo), doesn't seem to have a website. Google doesn't help, and the French manual only mentions a support link to the French importer, Suza, who has nothing more than a simple product page.</p>
<p>I hoped the camera would have a web interface so I wouldn't have to install any software. It turns out you do, a small application called &ldquo;IP Camera Tool&rdquo;. There was no mention of Mac OS X support, though. Well, I did find a Mac OS X version of the application that even works on Lion on the tiny <abbr title="Compact Disk">CD</abbr>. What a surprise! I wouldn't dare stick the mini-<abbr title="Compact Disk">CD</abbr> in my MacBook Pro, as it would probably never come out again, so I booted an old Linux <abbr title="Personal Computer">PC</abbr> in the attic to copy the application to a <abbr title="Universal Serial Bus">USB</abbr> stick.</p>
<h2>Configuration</h2>
<p>Once you get the application installed and the camera connected, you can configure its <abbr title="Internet Protocol">IP</abbr> address and access its ugly web interface. There are two modes: &ldquo;ActiveX Mode&rdquo; and &ldquo;Server Push Mode&rdquo;. The first one requires ActiveX, so I have never tried it (you'll need a Windows <abbr title="Personal Computer">PC</abbr> with Internet Explorer to do so). The second one looks more like your router's web interface.</p>
<p>You can configure the camera's <abbr title="Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol">DHCP</abbr>, <abbr title="Dynamic Domain Name System">DDNS</abbr>, e-mail, <abbr title="File Transfer Protocol">FTP</abbr> and alarm settings from this interface. You can set it to upload or mail pictures when it detects movement at a certain threshold. It doesn't feel very polished, but it works.</p>
<h2>Video Feed</h2>
<p>Another section of the web interface gives access to the video feed. It's nothing more than a stream of images with some brightness and contrast settings, but it works. I noticed a delay of around 5 seconds when using <abbr title="Wireless Fidelity">WiFi</abbr>; ethernet is a little faster.</p>
<p>You can access the feed directly at http://user:password@ip-address/videostream.cgi if you don't need the web interface. I use it with my smartphone, for example.</p>
<p>The colors look horrible (black looks more like purple). This is something I expected, as most cheap cameras seem to have this issue. Here is a screenshot for comparison; the left side is taken with the Advance WB-IP02W WiFi-G IP-camera, and the right side with an iPhone 4S in the same light conditions:</p>
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<img src="../../assets/ipcamera-iphone.jpg" alt="IP Camera vs. iPhone">
<figcaption>Left, the Advance IP camera. Right, the iPhone 4S</figcaption>
</figure>
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<p>The infrared image is actually quite nice. The image is bright, and you can clearly see details in a really dark room. The six infrared <abbr title="Light Emitting Diode">LED</abbr>s seem to do a good job.</p>
<h2>Conclusion</h2>
<p>The Advance WB-IP02W WiFi-G IP-camera is what I expected it to be: a cheap, infrared camera with decent images in dark rooms. I can directly access the video feed over <abbr title="HyperText Transfer Protocol">HTTP</abbr>, allowing me to use the camera with my phone.</p>
<p>Negative</p>
<ul>
<li>Not a plug-and-play camera; be prepared to jump through hoops.</li>
<li>Information is difficult to find: bad manual and no website.</li>
<li>Install tool comes on a mini-<abbr title="Compact Disc">CD</abbr>. Please, give me a <abbr title="Universal Serial Bus">USB</abbr> stick, or better, a download link.</li>
<li>Software needs to be installed to configure the camera.</li>
<li>Really bad color calibration; black looks like purple.</li>
</ul>
<p>Positive</p>
<ul>
<li>Cheap, &euro;70 in Belgium</li>
<li>Video feed accessible by <abbr title="Uniform Resource Locator">URL</abbr></li>
<li>Decent night vision quality</li>
<li>Includes a Mac OS X version of the installation tool</li>
</ul>
<h2>Read More</h2>
<p><span class="vcard"><span class="fn">Troy Hunt</span> has a really thorough review of what seems to be the motorized version of this camera over on his <a href="http://www.troyhunt.com/2010/02/no-name-infrared-ip-camera-for-diy-baby.html" title="No name infrared IP camera for DIY baby monitoring" class="ext">blog</a>.</p>
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