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Webcams again

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Webcams again

After watching a streaming webcam for an hour today (sadly of a fish tank, nothing exciting), I checked the F9 usage meter to see it had used a whopping 100mb, without sound!! (Whopping as that is usually 3 days usage for me).

I had been thinking for a while about one of these myself, but having seen the amount of my available bandwidth which is used, I am thinking again. The webcam I was watching had a resolution of 640x 480, the one I am thinking of getting is only a cheapie with a resolution of 352x 244, so hopefully some savings there due to file size.

I have a BB+ account and have several questions.

1. Obviously whilst streaming, my bandwidth is being eaten into from 4pm- midnight, although excessive off peak usage could also cause problems. Limiting the amount of hours the webcam is "live" can obviously also help to limit excessive usage. Am I living in cloud cuckoo land?

2. Instead of continuous streaming, the option for an image upload once per minute is an alternative, although not a totally satisfactory resolution. How do people feel about regular refresh webcams?

3. Although the images will be sent via my BB connection, the images will be hosted elsewhere, otherwise my daily website limits would be exceeded within an hour everyday. Am I right in saying that sending the image usage will be counted in the same way as when it is viewed on the site?

4. Should I consider getting a dedicated streaming host? If so, what sort of cost would I be looking at and where from?

As you may have guessed, I am walking into this with my eyes "wide shut" so any information given will be gratefully received. I have seen posts previously about webcams, bu the people posting no longer have them active.

Thanks

Mark
18 REPLIES
N/A

Webcams again

Cant really help you on this one, as i dont use a webcam in the house (ie using my F9 connection)

However, i did set one a system where images where taken directly from a CCTV system at my work, where the end user could select upto 5 Live cameras, and take control of them if there were not in use! - and what i found out, like you, the bandwidth was huge!

From the surveys which took place, people enjoyed having the options of Low Bandwidth option and High Bandwidth Options, ie the frams per min were higher on the High Option. - So the more images which you can send, the better!

Quote
Should I consider getting a dedicated streaming host?


You would still have upload bandwidth would you not? - so whats the point.

Hope that helps a wee bit!
astarsolutions
Grafter
Posts: 393
Registered: 26-07-2007

Webcams again

I have a couple if IP cameras forming a basic CCTV system, the bandwidth used for each camera is about 1-2Mb so I couldn't even run one on my connection (at least not at normal resolution).

Quote
2. Instead of continuous streaming, the option for an image upload once per minute is an alternative, although not a totally satisfactory resolution. How do people feel about regular refresh webcams?

I personally find these really annoying, if you streaming anything other than some fairly static scenery then it isn't a good choice.

Quote
3. Although the images will be sent via my BB connection, the images will be hosted elsewhere, otherwise my daily website limits would be exceeded within an hour everyday. Am I right in saying that sending the image usage will be counted in the same way as when it is viewed on the site?

If you are displaying a static image on the site then yes it will use bandwidth on the hosting account, but if you run a live picture then you wont use any bandwidth, the user viewing the footage connects to your computer not the web server to get the footage.

Also if you are planning on using a web cam you will need to keep your computer running all the time and suitable streaming software running. You would be better off using an IP camera this will deal with the streaming itself; there a little more expensive starting at about £100 but a much better choice.
N/A

Webcams again

Thanks for the replies.

I have been looking at the Linksys cameras as they have their own web server built in and work on wa wireless connection. Unfortunately, they are like rocking horse doo dah at the moment. Funnily enough, the webcam I was looking at yesterday was the Linsys one. The owner has ditched the provided software and gone for VisionGS which he says it pretty good and configurable.

Yes, I can now see that if the images are streamed it won't be taking up space on the server. A little more thought needed I think.

Cheers

Mark
carpangler
Grafter
Posts: 60
Registered: 30-07-2007

Webcams again

I was thinking about a web based Ip security camera, but was worried about usage.

With download limits is it really viable to have one as I as work away a lot and it would be good to monitor the house. At present I have standard webcam that I view the output on using VNC to my box at home. I'd rather have an indpedant camera though, and the Linksys ones do look good.

This does beg the question on the future of things like video and radio on demand, as now we have the speed we seem to be scuppered by the amount of download/upload bandwidth. And it's all (or most) Isp's that are doing this.
astarsolutions
Grafter
Posts: 393
Registered: 26-07-2007

Webcams again

Quote
I have a couple if IP cameras forming a basic CCTV system, the bandwidth used for each camera is about 1-2Mb

I got a new Axis camera last week to go with the other few I have, running at full resolution it uses 15-20Mbps!

I also found some very good software, there are several versions from a full CCTV system (much better than anything else I have tried) to a single use system that will work with either a web cam or an IP cam, these will all stream footage over the net at a reduced bandwidth.
http://www.icode.co.uk/icatcher/
carpangler
Grafter
Posts: 60
Registered: 30-07-2007

Webcams again

Sorry, I did spot the 1-2 meg but what is that refering to. Per hout, per day if that makes sense. If its per hour I don't see it being a problem for me (24 meg a day - 750 meg a month approx).

Cheers
astarsolutions
Grafter
Posts: 393
Registered: 26-07-2007

Webcams again

Per second!

A residential broadband connection has 0.4Mbps upload speed and a business connection has 0.8Mbps upload, you would need to set the quality of the cameras output to a fairly low level to get it to stream live footage and even then it would probably consume your entire bandwidth.

The upload bandwidth I mentioned in previous examples is also per user.

These measurements are in bits not bytes, 1 byte = 8 bits.

Assume you have a camera operating at a low level of 0.1Mbps or 100kbps it would transfer:-
6Mbps every minute
360Mbps every hour
8640Mbps every day

That's about 1Gb of you allowance every day.

Or for my new camera outputting data at 15Mbps - 162Gb a day.

You can reduce the data rate significantly by lowering the number of frames per second, proper video footage is about 25-30fps but if you drop this to 1fps or lower you aught to fit it into your upload bandwidth.
N/A

Webcams again

So I am now using Active Webcam as my preferred streaming (by http) programme (at the moment), which requires the opening of port 8080 on my router. I have done this, but now my router sees the intrusion by visitors and constantly emails me of a LAND attack. Any ideas what I need to do now to prevent this happening?

Thanks

Mark
astarsolutions
Grafter
Posts: 393
Registered: 26-07-2007

Webcams again

You usually have to create the NAT entry which I imagine you have just done and then you need to open port 8080 in the firewall.
carpangler
Grafter
Posts: 60
Registered: 30-07-2007

Webcams again

It looks like a lot of bandwidth then. Like I thought the existing internet structure does not really support this kind of use of the net if the camera is used 24 hours a day.

I'll look at the cameras spec and see if there is an easy way of enabling/disabling it so that I can view it as and when neccessary. Another thought, if I'm not viewing the webcam does it use any bandwidth. By that that I mean if I look at the camera stream for say 30 minutes a day, does it use only 30 minutes bandwidth. If so, then that won't be too much of a problem.

Also, I could do with one that has motion detection and would email me if it detects motion. Does anyone know a good IP camera for this that doesn't requrie software on the PC.
astarsolutions
Grafter
Posts: 393
Registered: 26-07-2007

Webcams again

Quote
if I'm not viewing the webcam does it use any bandwidth


No it doesn't, but if you have 2 people watching it it uses twice the bandwidth.
If its for your personal use only and you will keep it hidden then it should be fine but if you want something like F9's web cams then your connection isn't suitable.
carpangler
Grafter
Posts: 60
Registered: 30-07-2007

Webcams again

It's just for personal use so I will probablty get away with it. As it uses upstream bandwidth I guess if I'm NOT on Max (which I'm not as far as I'm aware), I'm limited to the standard adsl upload speed of 256k.

Do you know of any reasonable camera's that have motion detection built into them? If not I'll have a look around.

Thanks

Steve
astarsolutions
Grafter
Posts: 393
Registered: 26-07-2007

Webcams again

I have used a couple of D-Link cameras for the past few years now, they have built in motion detection and e-mailing capabilities except for their most basic one.
The new camera I am using is an Axis camera, this has the same features but is far better quality and a lot more reliable although it has a price tag to match.

You should check out these two sites, they have a wide selection of cameras and software.
http://www.icode.co.uk/icatcher/cctvshop/
http://www.ipcctvcameras.co.uk/
carpangler
Grafter
Posts: 60
Registered: 30-07-2007

Webcams again

Cheers, your a star. On the case

Thanks for all your help

Steve