If you’re looking for an easy to use, yet highly unreliable web-cam, then Dropcam is for you.
The Goal: Get a relatively inexpensive, yet reliable camera to be able to remotely view weather conditions at our office. So that I can make sure the grounds crew is taking care of snow and ice removal.
After poking around the web and reading reviews, dropcam seemed to fit the bill so I ordered up two via Amazon. (gotta love Amazon Prime).
They showed up, and out of the box it configured easy enough.
We have a rather robust Cisco driven wireless network. Which from time to time we’ve had to dumb-down for some consumer devices. Fortunately for Dropcam that had already been done and we have wireless networks up and running for some of those troublesome Apple devices like AppleTV that don’t work with enterprise security.
The first camera, configured right up, and I created my account with dropcam. Then it started happening, the camera kept dropping off the network. I have to Access points within line of site and less than 40 feet away with minimal obstructions. Even my lowly iPhone 4s gets four bars in my office and it’s well known that it’s wireless is sub-optimal.
So I thought maybe I just got a bad camera. Opened up the second one, configured it up and basically got the same results. It would work, *sometimes*.
These cloud based products make troubleshooting almost impossible. There is very limited documentation, and next to no way to test anything.
We screwed around with the Wireless side just to confirm that it wasn’t on our end. We made it as basic as can be with a completely open network. Still no good. I opened support tickets with dropcam, and got no response for well over 24 hours. That’s not a good sign. So at the end of the day they went back.
Now we’ll ratchet up the search and include higher end POE/IP cameras, cause it looks like that’s what it’s going to take.
For us, dropcam sucked pretty hard.