Setting up and using the Edimax IC-7113W Smart Network Camera
After connecting the camera to the power supply using the provided power adapter, you have several options to perform the initial setup . You can use:
- the Android/iPhone app - install the app, connect to the camera with your phone/tablet, input the name and password of your existing Wi-Fi.
- the WPS button on your router - press the WPS button on the router, then the one on the camera for 2-5 seconds.
- a computer and the application provided on the CD, EdiView Finder - connect the camera to the router with the provided network cable, use the application to find the camera on the network and provide the Wi-Fi details, then remove the network cable.
While the WPS method is the easiest and quickest, it presents certain security risks. We used an Android device for the initial setup, but no matter which method you use, you will find that the process is very simple.
After connecting wirelessly to your router, the camera checks for firmware updates and prompts the user to install it if a newer version is available. The camera can then be accessed, controlled and properly set up with the apps above or via a web interface. The steps for each method are described in the user manual, which is available on the CD and on the Internet: Edimax IC-7113W Manual.
The CD also contains the Quick Guide, the EdiView Finder application and 16 Channel Viewer, a specialized application for viewing/recording video streams from multiple Edimax Smart Network cameras.
The detailed settings of the camera are accessed via the web interface, by opening a browser and entering the IP address of the camera in the address bar. You can find the address using the EdiView Finder application. Alternatively, you can press the wrench symbol on the bottom of the EdiView Finder window and then click on "Advanced".
And at this point we found what we think is the biggest issue of the camera: the interface uses a Java plugin. Java is a dying plug-in : due to numerous security flaws and a number of major issues, Google Chrome and Opera browsers have already removed the plug-in support. Furthermore, Oracle, the company which owns the rights to Java, has officially announced that it will be removing the plug-in on all platforms in the near future. The best and most popular alternative is HTML5 and we hope that Edimax will soon develop a HTML5 version of the administration interface.
There are two main sections of the administration interface. The first is the Live View, pictured above, which gives the user the relevant information from the sensors, as well as control over the camera orientation, resolution, microphone and speaker. The second is the Setup menu, which configures the camera.
While we cannot tell if the problems we encountered were caused by Java or were simply a result of an early version of the interface, we experienced several of them during our tests: sluggish response, freezes, missing or unresponsive buttons. Missing sections of the interface made it impossible to set up the areas for the motion detection and also the threshold of sound detection (tested with Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox on a Windows 7 computer). With the exception of the two missing sections, the user can configure the camera in every detail, from recording to notifications and scheduling. The User Manual has very detailed information on each section, in case you don't know what some of the settings actually do.
Getting to the actual usage of the camera, we found that color rendition is not particularly good, even in well-lit spaces. Pictured below is an image of a light green colored wall as seen through the camera sensor, with night vision off.
You can clearly see the discoloration in the center as well as the poor color rendition in general. But keeping in mind what the potential uses of the camera are, we don't see this as much of a problem. You won't need perfect colors when checking if the baby is asleep or if your home is safe.
On the computer screen, the image is reasonably sharp at full resolution and there are no frame drops (this will also depend on the bandwidth of the network connection). The night mode captures a lot of detail in low-light situations, albeit in black and white. With no light sources (complete darkness), the infrared LEDs are only useful if the subject is up to 20 inches (50 cm) away from the camera.
The user interface gives you access to four preset positions for the camera (which can be edited from the Settings menu). They are useful when you need to watch several fixed areas of interest, in succession. Also, the two-way communication is a good addition, as well as the option to play music from the SD Card. The quality of the speakers is mediocre, but we doubt your sleepy kid will notice the sound quality of the lullaby.
Another useful feature is the temperature and humidity logging, which can provide valuable information on the environment (useful for example for checking the well-being of the plants in your house).
We liked the fact that you don't need to set up the camera in any way to use the Edimax Cloud service. The cloud service allows a user with proper credentials to get a live feed from your camera from just about any Android device, iPhone or computer which has an internet connection. Although the Edimax IC-7113W Smart Network Camera can be set as an IP camera, we suspect most users will use it in Cloud mode because of the easy configuration. If a live stream is not what you need, the camera can record the images on your computer, on the SD card or on a NAS (network attached storage), which doesn't need an active computer and has enough capacity for long recordings. The images are compressed using the H.264 or MJPEG standards.
We also liked the fact that you can schedule the recording and other features such as motion and sound detection. Notifications on detections and other important events can be sent to an E-mail address, to a FTP (file transfer protocol) server or to your mobile device using Push notifications.
The second application supplied on the CD is "16 Channel Viewer", or IPCam (the actual app name). As the name suggests, the application allows the user to view and manage up to 16 network cameras simultaneously.
The live feed is also available on your mobile device with the EdiView II app, but the frame rates are not great on the mobile and also the software sometimes introduces delays of as much as three seconds. You can configure the camera in detail using the app.
The pros and cons of the Edimax IC-7113W Smart Network Camera
To summarize, here's what we liked about the Edimax IC-7113W Smart Network Camera:
- Incredibly simple to set up for remote access
- Temperature and humidity monitoring is useful for many applications
- Two-way communication - for the moment when you need to shout at the burglar in your home 🙂
- NAS recording for long recordings on remote locations
- Compatibility with Android and iPhone
However, there are also some negative aspects:
- The browser user interface is based on Java, which has numerous security and usability problems
- A sensor with a small resolution (less than 1 Megapixel, up to 1280 x 720 pixels in resolution)
- Poor color rendition
- No autofocus
- No support for Windows Phone devices
The large number of features makes the Edimax IC-7113W Smart Network Camera a perfect fit for many surveillance situations, from watching the kids or the pets to the surveillance of critical areas of your home. It's very simple to set up for remote access even by inexperienced users, and we think that is a big plus. The only real issue is the interface which is based on the aging Java plug-in, with noticeable slow-downs and some important bugs. At the moment of the review, the camera can be purchased for as low as $ 129 on Amazon. While the competitors can supply similarly priced Pan/Tilt surveillance cameras, they cannot match the features of the Edimax IC-7113W such as motion, temperature, and humidity sensors, night vision and two-way communication.