Linksys WVC54GCA Wireless-G Internet Home Monitoring Camera

Wi-Fi cameras for home security ought to be a no-brainer, and at this price, the Linksys pretty much is. We just wish it worked seamlessly cross-browser, and took better pictures.


7.3
CNET Rating
3.9
User Rating

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Design:
When you unpack the WVC54GCA Wireless-G Internet Home Monitoring Camera, you're presented with three things, not including the flimsy set-up instructions. Firstly, a standard AC power adapter. Then a base unit, and lastly, the strangely UFO-styled WVC54GCA Wireless-G Internet Home Monitoring Camera itself. You can screw the camera into the base, or optionally wall-mount it, as long as you can somehow supply it power.

While it's a wireless camera, initial set-up will require a free wireless port and a length of Ethernet cable, at least until the Linksys WVC54GCA learns your wireless settings. More on this later.

Features:
The basic function of the Linksys WVC54GCA is home security, and it does this either via still or video capture of whatever is in front of it. Image fidelity isn't a high priority — this isn't a dSLR — and as such, it's hardly surprising to find out that resolution tops out at a relatively meagre 640x480. On the downside, you won't be filming Lawrence Of Arabia on this thing. On the upside, keeping the resolution low means the bandwidth is low, so even shaky wireless set-ups should be able to keep up. If this is a problem, you can drop the resolution down to 320x240 or 160x120, with either a fixed or variable frame rate.

On the wireless front, it's 802.11b/g compatible with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2. It's also perfectly feasible to set up the Linksys WVC54GCA with a permanently embedded Ethernet cable; you could even sidestep the issue of it being fixed in place with clever use of power line Ethernet sockets if you so wished.

Performance:
Setting up the Linksys WVC54GCA was, to put it mildly, interesting. In theory, the CD-guided tour should cover all your bases. In theory, it's just a matter of working through the instructions. For whatever reason, however, while we could find the Ethernet-connected camera via the router, the software was unable to discern our wireless network settings, and we had to enter those settings manually in order for them to pass through to the camera. It's doubly odd, because we were using a Linksys wireless router at the time, and you'd think a Linksys router and camera would talk to each other, given the chance.

Once you're past the initial install — which is really just setting IP variables and Wireless settings for the camera, the Linksys WVC54GCA operates on a Web-based interface, but sadly it's not cross-browser compatible. In order to get motion detection working properly, you've got to set a sensitivity for the camera. This can be simply full frame, or a specific zone within the camera's vision, but either way, it requires an ActiveX control to be installed, and this means that you've got to use Internet Explorer to configure it, something we only discovered when configuring it via Firefox and wondering why the sensitivity screen resolutely refused to do anything. Every other control for the camera worked fine in Firefox, or even Safari, if that's your browser of choice.

When you're talking about filming people, there's always a very fine line between privacy — making it clear to people they're being filmed — and security, but we were struck by the fact that a product designed for home security has such a prominent blue light attached to it. It's quite noticeable, and if the local burglars spot it, there's always the danger (if you've got motion detection intervals set in minutes, as is the default) that they'll spot it, unplug it and steal it along with your other valuables.

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S.Hundu posted a comment   
Other

Tested it with Windows

bo
1
Rating
 

bo posted a review   

The Good:Nothing

The Bad:Everything

This is a piece of crap. The software does not work at all and the camera is too doffocult to set up. After about 4 hours I was able to get it to display a picture in the browser, but it wouldn't playback any of the recordings. Since recordings are in a special format, they can;t be viewed without the crappy software

Patrick N
2
Rating
 

Patrick N posted a review   

The Good:Very little

The Bad:WiFi

Basically a useless camera when used in a Wifi setup. My iPhone and Macbook can connect to the access-point perfectly fine and get a decent enough throughput. While in exactly the same location (exact spot) this useless piece of hardware manages to get a 1 Mbps WiFi connection (with resulting poor performance). Waste of money.

 

APM posted a comment   

The Good:Does what it is supposed to

The Bad:Not for novices

This camera does everything I want it to, well. Motion detection works perfectly, only a few false alarms due to changes in the light shining through the window. It was not difficult to setup with a Linksys router.

 

njbrit posted a comment   

The Good:mounting options

The Bad:software

the cameras are quite good for the price, but Cisco should spend $$ to get software that works. The connectivity drops, but there's no auto retry, so you have to check DAILY. The recordings are zillions of small files and it can take 20 mins to delete a week's files. The cameras don't work with Win 7. The tech support is a long wait, followed by nice people who don't know what they're doing.
I was told the dropped conns were "you can't use IE8", "doesn't work with Vista", "not designed for Win 7", "signal from router too weak", "too many programs running" (5), etc. After 9 months I have $600 of useless cameras, two versions of their sucky software, $30 in vnc charges from them, and now two routers whith signals that evrything can use except the cameras.

blue eyes
7
Rating
 

blue eyes posted a review   

it works ok the software is not at good as it could

Dragan Markovic
3
Rating
 

Dragan Markovic posted a review   

The Good:wireless

The Bad:wireless (extremely poor range)

I have severe coverage problems with this camera to the point that I think it might be a failure...Camera actually works bad even after only ONE thick concrete wall...Generally - dissapointing.

 

Schnulli posted a comment   

*Dang*, what a stupid reviewer is "Alex Kidman". Stop writing crap and do proper testing of the products. The blue LED can simply be switched off in the setup form.

Correct is, that Motion detection is completely useless.

 

John posted a comment   

I pressed on the SPECS button (right of REVIEW) and it says the webcam weights 130 kg. What the hell?!

 

David posted a comment   

The Good:Its easy to setup and theres so many things you can configure.

The Bad:None

I have had 3 of these cameras for over a year and I have had no problems with any of them. Email works fine, and the range is good. If you really don't like the blue light as talked about in the description, Just turn it off using the web utility, trust me, its not that hard. Overall a good camera.


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User Reviews / Comments  Linksys WVC54GCA Wireless-G Internet Home Monitoring Camera

  • S.Hundu

    S.Hundu

    "Tested it with Windows"

  • bo

    bo

    Rating1

    "This is a piece of crap. The software does not work at all and the camera is too doffocult to set up. After about 4 hours I was able to get it to display a picture in the browser, but it wouldn't p..."

  • Patrick N

    Patrick N

    Rating2

    "Basically a useless camera when used in a Wifi setup. My iPhone and Macbook can connect to the access-point perfectly fine and get a decent enough throughput. While in exactly the same location (ex..."

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