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Remote Capabilities

Web-based viewing is another remote capability that WiLife provides, enabling you to monitor live video from your cameras while you're away from home. To access this capability you need to log into a free account on the WiLife Web site. My tests showed that web-based viewing worked well. Everything was set up automatically and worked without any special configuration such as port-forwarding, firewall management, and so on.

I was a bit disappointed, however, that web-based viewing was an Internet Explorer-only feature. You're out of luck if security considerations have driven you to Firefox, or if you're like me and use a Macintosh for day-to-day usage. Figure 15 shows my video being accessed via Internet Explorer while I was logged into the WiLife Web site.

Web Viewing (click image to enlarge)

Figure 15: Web Viewing (click image to enlarge)

It's hard tell from this picture, but the video quality was quite a bit poorer than the local application, but this is to be expected since there's a lot more bandwidth available on the local LAN. The web application allowed me to pick either of my cameras for viewing. I could cycle between them, or I could view them both simultaneously as shown in Figure 16.

Of course, when I was viewing both of the cameras, the picture quality suffered even more. This remote capability would be OK for general monitoring, but you wouldn't want to use this video to try to identify a person.

Viewing Two Cameras Via the Web (click image to enlarge)

Figure 16: Viewing Two Cameras Via the Web (click image to enlarge)

As far as frames per second through the web, there wasn't anything to tell me what my rate was, but it was pretty low, maybe 5-6 fps (frames per second). Another issue is that your home computer must be up and running the management application. So, if you want to use this system for monitoring a vacation home or other remote site, you must dedicate a computer for this use and always have it running, thereby increasing the overall cost of your setup.

In contrast to this setup, the Hawking camera I reviewed previously was a stand-alone device that could support remote viewing and management without any special software or vendor accounts. An issue with the LukWerks system is that remote camera viewing is tied into your WiLife account. Decking out a full-featured surveillance system could set you back a couple of thousand dollars, but if WiLife went out of business or moved on to other pursuits, you may be stuck without a way to remotely view your expensive system.

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