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Introduction

At a Glance
Product WiLife LukWerks Digital Video Surveillance System
Summary User-friendly powerline-based network camera system handling up to six cameras
Pros • Easy setup
• Sophisticated capabilities
• Good-quality video
• HomePlug networking allows flexible camera placement
Cons • Windows and Internet Explorer only
• Requires PC to be up and running for usage
• Remote viewing requires WiLife Web site
• Email alerts requires SMTP authentication

When we had a problem with an arsonist in my neighborhood, I thought perhaps installing a visible network-security camera would at least persuade the guy to have second thoughts about targeting my house. The first network camera I tried was an inexpensive unit from Hawking Technologies. This camera, although flexible and easy to set up, suffered from numerous issues, which made it inappropriate for serious use. What I needed, along with flexibility, was reliability in a unit that would give me high-quality images.

In this review, I'll take a look at a higher-end network-security camera setup from WiLife, Inc., which advertises ease-of-use, "view-anywhere" capabilities, and a motion-alert feature that can send you an email alert if anyone approaches the house. WiLife brands its camera system, "LukWerks," and sells a number of different components.

LukWerks Digital Video Surveillance System

Figure 1: LukWerks Digital Video Surveillance System

For this review, I was supplied with a starter kit and one outside (outdoor) camera. Figure 2 shows the outside (outdoor) camera, and Figure 3 shows the basic starter kit.

Outside Camera

Figure 2: Outside Camera

The basic starter kit includes one inside camera, network connection hardware, and a Windows-only software package that is capable of managing six network cameras.

Starter Kit

Figure 3: Starter Kit

While unpacking the starter kit, I took notice of LukWerks's "interesting" network components. Instead of wireless networking or standard Ethernet connections, the system uses HomePlug networking, which enables you to run a network over the existing power lines in your house. For the camera setup, it means that you won't have to worry about stringing Ethernet cables around or messing with a wireless network. Although the HomePlug standard used (1.0) is fairly low-speed, around 14 Mbps, it's sufficient for a few security cameras.

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