These days security ecosystems are firmly in two camps. Base station versus Wi-Fi and local versus cloud recording. D-Link with its range of Wi-Fi cameras and it‘s base station DCS-2802KT has a foot in both camps.
This article is a review of D-Link Omna Wire-Free Indoor/Outdoor two Camera Base station kit – DCS-2802KT. But, it doubles as a discussion about surveillance ecosystems.
Let’s start with an update to Security Camera 101.
Most security cameras have a 720p (HD), 1080p (FHD or 1K as we will refer to it) and some are 2K (1620p) or 4K (2160p) at a range of speeds from 7 to 60 frames per second.
While the higher resolution/frame rate is best for detail and colour, it does generate substantial file sizes that need to go over the home network to a cloud or for remote viewing. 1K produces a file size of about 15MB a minute (10GB/hour), and a 4K can be 60-90GB/hour.
Cameras either connect to the home network router via Wi-Fi/Ethernet or to a Base station which in turn connects to the router. The latter keeps camera Wi-Fi traffic off the home network accessing the Internet via the router. This can have significant advantages if you have a lower powered router or a crowded network.
Some cameras are for outdoor use and have an IP rating (from rain resistant IPX5 to rain/dust resistant IP65 or more).
All require power. Some have removable batteries you charge in a dock. Some use micro-USB (few use USB-C), solar power or are mains powered (via a DC adapter).
All use an app for Android or iOS – some support Windows and Mac via a browser. Look for fully featured apps instead of dumbed-down ones.
Many now have a basic level of integration with Apple Home Kit (Siri), Google Assistant or Alexa Amazon.
Then you have 4G cameras but let’s not go there.
It is very confusing to a buyer, but we have some sage
At a minimum 1K cameras that actually transmit 1K video (many use a 1K sensor but fall back to 720 or 480p). 4K is best for detail. Fit for purpose depends on the purpose.
Stick to the same brand if you want to use one smartphone app to see all the cameras. It is a nightmare to mix cameras and apps, ergo a brand with more options in the security ecosystem is better.
If reliability and quality is the aim, a base station system works better than Wi-Fi connected cameras.
The jury is out on cloud versus local recording. The former has annual fees, and the latter has the initial costs of buying microSD or SSD storage. If you are aware of the costs, we have done our job.
Don’t expect seamless voice assistant integration. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integration depend on the quality of the makers programming. Apple Home Kit is a late starter, and we don’t hear many success stories there yet.
And don’t believe a word of most companies marketing hype – there is no such thing as crystal clear HD vision day or night, true two-way communication, batteries that last six months etc. Its all a load of theory and we regularly call companies out over this.
D-Link Omna Wire-Free Indoor/Outdoor Camera Base station
Power supply for camera 5V/2A small micro-USB
Magnetic wall mount with screws
¼” mount with screws
One year’s premium cloud recording
A pair of 1K indoor/outdoor cameras that connect to a dedicated base station. The MyDlink app allows a mix of these cameras and D-Link Wi-Fi cameras. We expect in the future the app will support its growing range of smart home plugs, sensors, environmental monitors, etc., and these, in turn, will be available via a voice assistant.
It is most comparable to the 1K Arlo Pro 2 base station camera (GadgetGuy review here) but is not comparable to the Arlo 4K Ultra base station system (GadgetGuy review here).
I must congratulate D-Link for having detailed specifications
on its website. It makes our job easier than spending hours wading through
mounds of marketing bovine excrement and FCC ID’s to get to the core issues.
For example, I can tell you that the Omna Indoor/Outdoor
camera has a ¼”, 2MP, 16:9, progressive CMOS sensor, f/2.2, 1.9mm (focal length
infinity), 115×64° (135° diagonal) angle of view, 4X digital zoom, and four IR
LEDs for mono night view. Thank you.
It admits that the camera tries to record [email protected] up to 24fps
before dropping back 15fps, then to [email protected] up to 15fps and the app tells me
exactly what speed I am getting. Thank you.
It gives accurate power consumption figures – around 1200mW
daylight and 1880mW using IR. Now we can calculate accurate battery life. Thank
Download the MyDlink app, scan the Hub barcode and setup is
foolproof. Ditto to connect the two cameras in the kit. I have never had fewer issues
in setting up a system – five minutes and viola.
D-Link has thoughtfully made it optional to add either
micro-SD storage to the hub and throws in a 12 months premium cloud recording
subscription as well (to get you hooked). Thank you.
Approximate additional price $279
You can connect up to four cameras to the hub. We cannot ascertain
if you can have multiple hubs, but the MyDlink app seems to support it (number unknown).
The battery is a 3.7V, 6700mAh, 24.79Wh using 2 x LG 18650, 3350mAh
cells. In theory, it should be replaceable by a smartphone repairer with a heat
gun and spludger.
The charger (one for two cameras) is a standard 5V/2A
micro-USB so as long as you have a spare ‘small’ head cable, you can use any
charger. It will accept 5V/3A – the maximum over micro-USB.
In two weeks of testing it (5-10 events per day and two to
three live views), it used about 20%, so this should last about 2.5 months.
I have read other reviews that claim they use of between 1
and 2% per day (100/50 days) with is about 3/1.5 months.
Recharge times are about 6 hours at 2A and 4 hours at 3A.
The LG batteries are particularly good and will handle 3A charging.
PIR (claims sensitive to 7.5m)
PIR detects heat changes that is interpreted as motion. In
our tests, it was reliable to about 4 metres with the caveat that we are
testing in Winter at 9-11°.
The 2MP, ¼-inch (4.5mm diagonal, 3.6 x 2.7mm, 16:9) progressive
CMOS sensor is used by dozens of security cameras. If it is the sensor we
believe it is, it has larger 2.2um pixels coupled with an f/2.2 aperture (for
distance and fixed focus). This should be good for low light, although it needs
IR LED illumination.
Subjectively you can’t get great pictures 1K pictures from a ¼” sensor.
You can view and record up to 4 cameras at the same time
through the included Mydlink app.
Night vision – claims up to 7.5m
It has four LEDs and the practical distance is about 2 metres.
I love the flat magnetic back (like the Arlo Pro 2). It
means you can move it easily around placing it on metal poles, door frames, rainwater
Otherwise, it has a half golf ball mount and a ¼” tripod
The first number 6 means no ingress of dust; complete protection against contact (dust tight). The second number is water projected by a 6.3mm nozzle against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects. While not waterproof it is weatherproof and should stand up to rain, snow and dust.
I wish all manufacturers would stop promoting clear two-way voice. It is at best echo ridden and laggy sound. Respond, wait a few seconds, rinse and repeat.
Lag is caused by the signal having to go from the camera to the Hub, the hub to the internet to the cloud, the cloud to the internet and then finally to the phone – again rinse and repeat. Painfully slow – but then all brands are.
The siren claim is 100dB volume. Our tests got to 93dB – it
is loud enough, but the hub is somewhere inside the house, so it is more of a
deterrent once you get inside.
Storage is via micro-SD. We tested to 128GB, and with a 2TB
WD My Passport external USB-2.0 hard disk and it worked well.
Distance from hub
The Hub receives video data on the 2.4Ghz band, and the
camera uses a type of Bluetooth to signal the hub (e.g. on/off, battery life, signal
strength etc). Maximum signalling range is 20m but in practice around half that
for maximum signalling reliability.
The 2.4Ghz transmit power is approx. 100mW (-20dBm).
Dedicated routers can have from 100 to 500mW, especially those with multiple active
antennas. Our reference D-Link AC5300 has 250-500mW transmit power.
Maximum hub to camera range is in theory about 30 metres but
coupled with the signalling range means 10-15 metres is about it.
One camera is outside about 15 metres from the hub. A bi-fold
glass door does affect the 2.4Ghz signal – so its two bars. Most of the time it
connects in a few seconds but occasionally times out as it is at the extent of the
signalling range. Then you can try again a minute later, and it connects.
The other camera is inside in a foyer about 10 metres line-of-sight
from the hub. It has four bars signal and connects every time.
We repeat warnings with any brand of camera setup – plan for placement as close to the hub or router as possible. And don’t use Wi-Fi-based cameras if you have an old router not up to the job – use base station connected cameras.
You can customise the app to arm or disarm the camera
(away), set them to home mode (privacy), bedtime, wake up, panic or custom with
its one tap (shortcut) features.
You can set schedules to arm or disarm as well as use
templates for weekday, weekends, vacation, holiday, privacy or other.
Using IFTTT, you can link to other IFTTT devices and set up
complex command structures including geofencing etc.
We set it up with Google Home, and it was as usual,
flawless. The cameras can be given a name and allocated to rooms. Once done you
can access them via voice, cast to a TV or screen. If you want to know more
Alexa connection is here
and uses IFTTT as well as an Alexa skill (not tested).
If you need a cloud – and you really don’t.
MyDlink cloud recording offers free and paid subscriptions with pricing details as follows:
Note there is a complimentary Premium package for the first
12 months. It enables remote playback of recordings in the cloud or to download
video clips to a mobile device from anywhere, anytime, through the Internet. Sorry,
the prices are in USD – Aussie costs use the exchange rate of the day plus GST.
(free for the first year)
Video clip recording period
# of Supported Cameras
Up to 3 Cameras
Up to 3 Cameras
Up to 5 Cameras
Up to 10 Cameras
GadgetGuy’s take – good value, base station style, security system
I am warming to base stations as they do keep video traffic
off the network and offer increased reliability via correct placement.
I like the options of local or paid cloud storage, and one
year’s service is free. Not wanting to take revenue from D-Link but I think
local storage is fine!
For sheer image quality, Arlo’s new Ultra 4K is superior,
but you will pay $1049 for a dual camera setup and $449 for each extra camera.
The Arlo Pro 2 is the closest 1K comparison, and the two-camera
kit is on runout for $699.
While D-Link has an RRP of $799.95, you can get it online
for as low as $579. That is a bargain and gets extra points from me.
The MyDlink app has come a long way and is comprehensive and
easy to use. I also like the flat magnetic camera back for quick mounting. I
like this as it can become part of your smart home via a voice assistant.
It is a competent 1080p (1k) camera kit from a good company
with great after sales service and support.
Value for money
Ease of Use
Reader Rating4 Votes
Reasonable 2-3-month battery life and 4-6 hour recharge
Images as detailed as any 1K camera
Free first-year premium cloud storage or local store
Easy setup and voice assistant compatible
Convenient magnetic or ¼’ tripod mount
Base station keeps traffic off the home network and provides local storage option
No word from D-Link if this is a one-off kit or whether new different cameras can use the Hub
The app is comprehensive but needs a little clarification