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Multimedia & VoIP Reviews

Introduction

Axis Network Camera

Axis Network Camera
Summary Pro-level network camera with superior image quality, two-way audio & 802.3af PoE
Update None
Pros • Excellent picture quality
• Clear audio from the camera
• Flexible alert setup
• 802.3af PoE
Cons •Audio functions only work in Internet Explorer
•Audio to the camera is a little choppy
•Cannot record audio
•No HTTPS access

Network cameras have long been able to stream pictures and video across the globe, but audio monitoring is fairly new. A few months ago, we reviewed the Actiontec Wireless Network Camera, which had audio listening and recording capabilities, but marginally acceptable image quality.

Now, Axis Communications - a monster in the video surveillance market - has released its Axis 211A Network Camera, which combines high quality audio monitoring with top-notch video quality. Let's see what it has to offer.

Basic Features

The 211A comes with a full complement of ports as shown in Figure 1. From left to right, you can see connectors for the:

  1. DC-Iris control cable
  2. External Microphone/Line Input
  3. Audio Output
  4. Ethernet Connector
  5. Power Connector
  6. I/O terminal connector

Axis 211A rear with ports

Figure 1: Axis 211A rear with ports

The microphone input and audio output ports accept 3.5mm plugs. You probably won't need to use the microphone jack, as the built-in microphone on the bottom of the camera provides decent sound. Powered speakers must be connected to the audio output jack if you want to take advantage of the two-way audio feature.

The I/O terminal block has connections for alarm input, output and "alternative power supply", but I did not test this feature in our review. Note that all ports are labeled on the underside of the unit (Figure 2).

The ports are labeled on the underside of the camera

Figure 2: The ports are labeled on the underside of the camera
(click image to enlarge)

In addition to the camera, Axis includes a stand that screws into the 211A's standard tripod mount, 100-240V power supply, installation CD, and printed User Manual. Note that the 211A also supports IEEE 802.3af Power over Ethernet (PoE) so that you don't have to worry about locating the camera near an AC outlet.

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