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Introduction

TRENDnet TV-IP551WI

At a Glance
Product TRENDnet TV-IP551WI Wireless N Day /Night network camera [Website]
Summary VGA network camera with entry-level features for under $100
Pros • Budget minded
• Wireless N functionality
• Night vision may be better than the TV-IP572PI
Cons • Very short power cord
• Motion detection was spotty
• Transition out of day mode was problematic at times
• Manual focus

Last week I looked at the TRENDnet TV-IP572PI HD network camera. To wrap up this round of TRENDnet camera reviews, I'll be looking at the TRENDnet TV-IP551WI 802.11n wireless day/night camera. The "I" indicates it's a day/night camera and the "W" indicates wireless capabilites.

The TV-IP572PI can be found for about $143 shipped if you do some smart shopping, while the TV-IP551WI can be purchased for $88 shipped. For the most part this will be a comparison review, however the cameras were different enough that they do warrant closer inspection of several items.

Setup

Like the TV-IP572PI, the TV-IP551WI box came complete with camera, 5VDC-1.2A wall-wart power adapter with very short power cable, manual, software CD, network cable, and mounting hardware.

The TRENDnet instructions warned not to install or mount the camera until the software installation steps had been followed. For the TV-IP551WI I used software CD and followed the installation steps. The software installation does strongly suggest changing the admin password, which I did. Setup was then completed. When I set up the TV-IP572PI I didn't run the installation software and instead just went directly to the web interface, so either way appears it will work fine.

Inside

TV-IP551WI TV-IP572PI
RAM unknown 128MB
Flash 4MB 16MB
Lens 4mm focal length, 38 deg horizontal view, F1.5, manual focus 4mm focal length, 51.8 deg horizontal view, F1.5, manual focus
Wireless 802.11n None
Power over Ethernet No Yes (802.3af)
Maximum resolution 640x480 1280x800
Horizontal Field of View 38° 51.8°
Video Compression MJPEG H.264, MPEG-4, MJPEG
Audio 1-way, built-in microphone only 2-way, built-in microphone and audio out jack
Record to storage FTP and email only FTP, SMB (network share), SD card, Email

The TV-IP551WI had the same disassembly procedures as the TV-IP572PI, 4 case screws and one board screw. Inside I found a 4MB Winbond flash chip. I couldn't identify the CPU as it was under shielding and I also could not identify the RAM chip without risk of breaking the equipment.

Flash and RAM memory of the TRENDnet TV-IP5551WI
Figure 1: Flash and RAM memory of the TRENDnet TV-IP5551WI
Shielding concealing the processor of the TRENDnet TV-IP551WI
Figure 2: Shielding concealing the processor of the TRENDnet TV-IP551WI

The image sensor is a 1/5" CMOS sensor. The lens has a 4mm focal length with a horizontal field of view of 38 degrees. Like the TV-IP572PI, the lens is manual focus, which really wasn't a big deal. Four LEDs are supplied for night vision, which did very well compared to other cameras with equal IR LEDs as we'll see later. Rounding out the rest of the internals are a built-in microphone, (no audio out). Figure 3 below shows this detail.

The front and rear callouts of the TRENDnet TV-IP551WI
Figure 3: The front and rear callouts of the TRENDnet TV-IP551WI
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