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Multimedia & VoIP Reviews

Introduction

Zyxel IPC-4605N

At a Glance
Product ZyXEL IPC-4605N [Website]
Summary Cloud-enabled day/night IP cam with local SD recording
Pros • Packed with features
• Good night vision
• Nice picture quality
Cons • Cloud settings will overwrite local settings
• Interface settings aren't very self-explanatory, keep a manual handy
• Design isn't very inconspicuous

ZyXEL had announced its entry in to the IP camera market at CES 2012 with two offerings, the IPC-3605N and IPC-4605N that I am reviewing today. Both are 802.11n Wi-Fi cameras capable of 720p/H.264HD video and night vision of up to 10m. The IPC-4605N adds PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) functions to its repertoire.

When Tim mentioned he was going to be sending one of the new ZyXEL IP cameras my way for review, I was pretty excited. The pre-release sneak peeks of the camera looked more like something you would see in a science fiction movie than your typical IP camera and I couldn't wait to put it through its paces.

Setup

Like every IP camera I've tested so far, setup of the IPC-4605N was very easy. ZyXEL broke it down into two steps in its Quick Start Guide. The first step conisted of connecting the Ethernet cable and the power adapter. The second step was inserting the setup disk and following the prompts. The Quick Start Guide notes that even if you are planning on using the wireless, you need to connect by Ethernet to complete the setup.

So I pulled the rest of the materials from the box and got to work. In addition to the Quick Start Guide, setup disk, camera and 12V/2A power adapter, there was an Ethernet cable, ZyXEL USB wireless adapter, mounting plate, and mounting screws. Yes, ZyXEL includes a USB wireless adapter in the box, which I used for most of my testing of the camera. I also used the camera with an Ethernet connection and both connection methods performed equally well.

I followed the Quick Start Guide, inserting the setup disk once I'd connected Ethernet and power. There is one interesting thing I should note here. Even though the camera is plugged into Ethernet, it won't pick up an IP address via DHCP until you confirm that option in setup. If you're a "toss the setup disk and just go straight to the web interface" type of person like I sometimes am, this could throw you for a loop.

Setup will bring you to setting up an account with iSecurity+, which is ZyXEL's cloud solution for the camera. Setup of the iSecurity+ account went seamlessly and I was ready to go.

Inside

Interestingly, I could not find the FCC ID anywhere on the camera, not to say it wasn't there, I just couldn't find it. So I pulled out the screwdriver and took it apart. On the first level I found the Grain Media GM8125EL-QC SoC, two MXIC MX25L12845E 16 MB flash chips (32 MB total) and a MIRA P3R1GE4EGF 8 MB DRAM chip. That was about it for the first level.

ZyXEL IPC-4605N first level board
Figure 1: ZyXEL IPC-4605N first level board

I then went to the second level. Here I found a backup battery, the PTZ motor and its connector, the IR connector and some unused connectors for ZOOM and IRIS. I debated disassembling it further from here, but decided not to push my luck with possible calibration of the PTZ motor and with how delicate the pin connectors seemed. The deep inner workings of the camera remained a mystery to me, with only a glimpse provided through the center hole of the circuit board.

ZyXEL IPC-4605N second level board
Figure 2: ZyXEL IPC-4605N second level board

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