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Introduction

At a Glance
Product Hawking Wireless-G Network Camera (HNC290G)
Summary Inexpensive but buggy wired / wireless network camera
Pros • Inexpensive
• Built-in web server
• Wireless and Wired support
• Bundled TZO dynamic DNS trial
Cons • Too buggy and unreliable for serious use
• Low frame-rate at full-resolution
• No audio

Hawking HNC290G Network Camera

It all started a few months ago. I was awakened at three in the morning by the rumble from a large truck. And then my wife and I noticed flashing lights illuminating the bedroom window and heard the unrolling of hoses. Fire! When my wife gathered in the street with the neighbors, she saw a detached garage from a nearby row of townhouses ablaze. When it was all over, the garage and two cars inside were destroyed. The fire had scorched the townhouse walls, but hadn't breached the interior.

The next time, I didn't hear the trucks. It was only when I went for my morning run did I see the fire investigators and police cars. This time, the fire was in a single-family house just behind ours. I don't know how we slept through it. Luckily, the fire hadn't spread far and thanks to an observant passerby, everyone in the family had gotten out.

As I ate my breakfast, and watched the goings on through the back kitchen window, I thought it was too much of a coincidence. The second fire was less than 30 feet from the first. When we talked to the neighbors, it became clear this was no accident. Someone had stuffed newspaper under a ledge at the front of the house and set it afire. After this incident, the fliers offering a reward went up, and the fire investigators went door-to-door asking questions.

Then, no more than a month later; three A.M. and a nearby rumble again. This time as we looked out the bedroom window, we could see large billows of smoke and flashes of light through the trees as the flames rose. Three suspicious fires in a matter of months, and they were all in close proximity to our home. Along with new smoke detectors and outdoor lights, was there anything else we could do to make sure we weren't the fourth victim?

And then I had an idea: a networked surveillance camera. I wasn't sure they would help identify any firebugs, but maybe even the presence of a visible camera would scare him off. In this review, I'll check out the the HNC290G Wireless-G Network Camera from Hawking Technologies. The camera is available for around $120, features a built-in web server for stand-alone operation, 640x480 resolution, motion detection, and is advertised as being able to stream video at up to 30 frames per second.

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