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Running a security camera over a power line network

WiLife's LukWerks Surveillance System

By Keith Shaw, Network World
March 08, 2006 01:59 PM ET
Keith Shaw

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You would think I’ve had enough of trying to run data over my home's power lines given the woes of the power line network adapters I’ve tested (see our last two newsletters). But then I've been nothing if not adventurous (hence the newsletter's title).

The product that just crossed my desk begging to be installed is a network camera and surveillance system. What makes WiLife's LukWerks Surveillance System different from other network cameras and IP surveillance systems is, instead of using Ethernet or Wi-Fi to transmit video signals back to a PC, it uses HomePlug. Yep, I was back to testing power line networks.

The LukWerks Starter Kit ($300) includes a camera that attaches via Ethernet cable to a power line adapter. Using your home's power lines, data is transmitted to a second power line adapter, which then connects via USB cable to the PC you want to use as the “monitoring station.” Software that comes with the system lets you monitor up to six cameras. Additional cameras are sold separately ($230), and include an additional power line adapter and Ethernet cable.

The beauty of the system is you don't need an existing power line network to run the LukWerks system - it runs on its own network between the adapters and your PC. Furthermore, you don't need to run the data through an existing router - installation is as easy as installing the software and then placing the cameras near a power outlet.

The Starter Kit includes a variety of camera mounting options - a suction cup for placing a camera on a window to monitor the outside or inside of a room; a desktop stand for placing on a flat surface like a table or desk; or a more traditional wall mount. My system was up and running within minutes after installing the software.

And the software is where LukWerks really shines. While you could sit at your computer all day and watch the live feed, what you really want to see is when something moves in front of the camera. The cameras include motion detection that trigger the software to record events whenever something (or someone) moves. The software also lets you set up smaller motion detection zones to record only when something moves within that zone. For example, I set up my camera to record only when motion was detected on the road in front of my house - if a leaf blew across the lawn it wouldn't record.

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