Monitor Your Home From Your Cell Phone

Requirements:
-Broadband Internet Connection
-Router
-Network Camera (About $100)
-Web Enabled Cell Phone

This tutorial shows you how to monitor your home while you're away. Using your cell phone, you can request a "still" shot from your network camera(s). This allows you to see any activity that may be taking place on your property.

You can purchase network cameras from a number of different places. The one I'm using for this example is a D-Link wireless network camera (DCS-900W).

Step 1: Setup your network camera, giving it a static IP address (must be in the same subnet as your router, ie: router-192.168.0.1 -> camera-192.168.0.21). Be sure to set up a user name and password for security purposes.

Step 2: Log into your router, using your favorite web browser. Find the page that allows you to set up "Port Forwarding". Forward port 80 to the new static IP address that you gave your camera.

Step 3: Determine what your internet IP address is. You can do this by visiting http://whatismyip.com/ or a number of other websites. Check this number periodically to see how often it changes. Usually, if you have standard DSL, your IP address will change often. If your internet service is through your cable company, it will usually remain the same. If your address remains the same, you should be able to use it to access your network. If your number periodically changes or you just want to access your network using a domain name (i.e. http://myhouse.dyndns.org), you can sign up for free service through DynDNS.

Step 4: From your cell phone's web browser, navigate to "http://your-internet-ip-address" or your DynDNS address ("http://myhouse.dyndns.org"). You may be able to view a still shot from your camera from here. Most network cameras have hidden pages or methods to view only an image.

- On the D-Link, if you go to http://your-ip/image.jpg, you can view a current shot.

- If you happen to have a fast connection, you can go to http://your-ip/video.cgi to view images that refresh (a video-like effect).

- Lastly, if your cell phone or portable device has Java support, you should be able to stream the standard video from your camera.

If you're using a different brand/model of camera, you should be able to find its hidden links on the web.

*Axis cameras allow you to do this through their API.

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