Building a Surveillance System on a Budget

Building a decent surveillance system for your home or office doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars. In fact, you may already possess most of what you need to build a small network of cameras around any areas you’re interested in surveying. You don’t even need special training or a technical degree to implement a cost efficient and effective system; byusing wireless IP cameras and your computer, you can watch and record streaming video directly to your system.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

1. Cameras – There are many brands of IP cameras thatcan work well for your needs without requiring an expensive investment. Cameras like the Airlink 101 SkyIPCam1500W offer a range of features and can easily connect to virtually any wireless network. Loaded with night-vision technology, these cameras are inexpensive and work well for monitoring doorways, rooms and other areas you may want to cover.

2. Router – Unless you have custom settings entered into your router for DHCP or other connections, virtually any wireless router will work with these IP cameras. As default settings go, the entire setup can be as easy as plug-and-play. However, keep in mind that you’ll have greater wireless coverage for your network with more powerful routers.

3. Computer Software – Many of these cameras utilize software that you install on your computer. This software can control most of the recording aspects of your surveillance system, including support for multiple monitors. Each camera saves its recordings to individual folders on your computer for ease of use. While this software may be a quick and small installation, each camera folder can take up a lot of hard drive space. If you have a desktop computer or a server, it would be wise to install a separate hard drive for nothing more than camera recordings.

4. Monitoring the Cameras – While most camera software will allow you to watch all of the cameras in unison, many of them will also support the ability to connect to them directly. By using the camera’s IP address in a web browser, such as Internet Explorer or Firefox, you can directly access the camera and view the live stream. This kind of access will also allow you to change different settings of the camera, such as wireless network access, night-vision, motion sensing and other features the camera might have.

5. Easy to Install – Depending on the model of your camera and where you buyit,it’s possible to start running your own single camera surveillance system today for less than $100. Although setting the camera up may take a little work, the camera can typically be plugged in and set up in its location in less than an hour. Since many of these camera brands are stackable, you are able to add the same model of camera to your surveillance system later and manage the recordings from a single piece of software. The software included in cameras such as the Airlink 101 SkIPCam can support up to 16 simultaneous cameras.

For those on a tight budget, this may be a more ideal solution for an affordable way to build an effective surveillance system. As long as the cameras can connect to your wireless network, you can place them in virtually any locale that power can reach. Day or night, monitor your home or business from the convenience of your own computer or laptop.

About the Author: Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.

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