Ease of use is definitely impacted. In particular, there are some impediments in setting up access to the surveillance feeds from an external network. Unless an off-the-shelf surveillance system bundle of a number of IP cameras, a NVR, and pre-installed hard drives is being bought, there is also a challenge in figuring out the right components to buy. While the hardware components need to be set-and-forget, the software side is always a work-in-progress.
It is, therefore, great to see that NAS vendors have chosen surveillance support as an important value-addition in their firmware. Synology has put in quite a bit of effort into their Surveillance Station package. With the launch of Surveillance Station 7. Towards this, they have partnered with Seagate and Amcrest to make the choice of components for a home surveillance system easier. There are two bundles with the following configurations. The Newegg combo does provide better value compared to shopping around for the components separately. Our first task was to set up the Amcrest cameras.
The cameras support p30 capture, and have both wired and wireless network interfaces. The power cord is 3m long, providing a bit of flexibility in camera placement relative to the power socket. There is also an ABS plastic mount to orient the camera as needed in the case that placement on a flat surface is not possible. The model also has two-way audio support.
The ProHD camera comes with a QR code on the bottom that can be scanned with a mobile device using the free Amcrest View mobile app for easy setup. However, in our setup process behind a double NAT, this 'easy setup' failed. Connecting via the wired network interface and using a browser to access the web UI of the camera for further configuration was much more robust.
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Once the Wi-Fi credentials were set up inside the camera, I could move them to the desired location. The Amcrest web UI is passable, but, not particularly user-friendly.
Another issue I had with the one of the cameras was spotty Wi-Fi reception in one of my desired locations. Given the single-band nature of the WLAN connection and the susceptibility of the 2. For continuing the evaluation, I shifted the IP camera to another location. For a 'Pro' camera, it definitely needs dual-band 2. In any case, once I had the cameras up and running with a good network connection, they did their job well.
We have been reviewing Synology's NAS units for quite some time now. One must note here that the DSj doesn't support hot-swap. In our review kit, the hard-drives were pre-installed in the NAS. We are not sure about the Newegg bundle, though. If the hard drives come in a separate package, it is likely that one would spend more time fastening the drives to the bays and the NAS frame compared to actually configuring the DSM OS.
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The rest of this section is a reproduction of our coverage of Surveillance Station 7. These updates have come with Surveillance Station 7. The camera addition wizard is simple and straightforward, though network configuration issues might prevent automatic recognition of cameras. We ran our test config on our test bench. Here we are looking out our window and the garden for a simple test.
With the camera working we looked at the configuration Icon, from here, we can adjust brightness and other settings. To change your camera to Wi-Fi enabled click the Setup button on the top menu bar, this will bring up options on the left side of the screen. Click on the Network and down to Wi-Fi; this will give you a list of Wi-Fi connections and connect to the one you want to use.
If you decided to use Wi-Fi and connected to your Wi-Fi network, you can disconnect your camera from your wired network. We now have our cameras set up and configured so let us move on to Surveillance Station Beta 8. After we installed Surveillance Station Beta 8. The first step is to connect our cameras, click on the IP Camera on the desktop and then add a camera. Here you can name your camera, search for its IP address, select the brand and model, enter username and password.
When all finished entering the information, press Test Connection. After the Test Connection has finished, we can see what our camera is viewing. After this step is completed press Finish to continue. We have gone through the steps to add our second camera and it now shows up on the IP Camera list. We now have both cameras configured, Camera 1 is through a wired connection, Camera 2 is through a Wi-Fi connection.
To get full control of our cameras, click on the Live View Icon on the desktop. With Live View you have complete control of the cameras, panning around, patrols, snapshots, and audio output. Some of the features become active when you mouse over the camera window as the first camera shown. This view is very handy to monitor your camera, click the home icon to restore preset configurations.
If you have alerts setup click on the Alert Panel button, this brings up the status of your devices. At the bottom of the screen, there is an Event Detection Icon; this allows you to set up events that will trigger alerts. In the window shown, you can select an area to watch for motion that will set off an alert. Controls are available to adjust for Sensitivity and Thresholds for alerts. This is an area that will be completely transformed in the next few years as Event Detection becomes primarily driven by machine learning inferencing models.
For now, the Synology implementation is the industry standard method of event detection. The PTZ Control is where you would setup camera patrols so that it can cover a larger area, such as a parking lot or your entire backyard or large room. Back at the Surveillance Station desktop now, at the top left of the screen, there is a menu button which brings up additional options.
Let us take a look at how you would like to be notified by alerts. Clicking the Notification Icon brings you these settings.
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The Surveillance Station comes with a license that supports two cameras. If you need more than two Synology offers license packs for additional cameras. Not only can alerts be sent to you by email, SMS or Mobile, triggered events can play audio to the camera that has a triggered event. The Surveillance Station 8 solution with Amcrest cameras is very easy to manage.
While buying additional camera licenses is an additional cost, the ease of installation and use helps offset the cost with hours saved. Encrypting the Surveillance folder does impact performance a great deal, but it did not affect our video capturing ability. The next test we wanted to do was see just how much hard drive space a full hour nonstop capture would take up using both cameras. When running captures for this length of time, we can find under the Recording Icon and list of videos captured by each camera. These are broken down into minute segments.
On our workstation, we network mounted our Surveillance folder on the DSj, in this folder we see one folder for each camera, folders labeled by the name you assigned for the camera. Further drilling down into these folders, we find the actual video files; these are broken down into minute segments. You can view these here also by using your Windows media player.
This organization makes it easy to find video captures if a need to review footage arises. In our test case, we see for a hour period we captured Depending on your camera settings you might end up with more or less disk space used. Our settings were the defaults, so we consider this an average amount of disk space. HybridDesk Station.
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