It certainly pays to invest in a good video surveillance system: those which can see and record what’s happening in and around your home will minimise the damage caused by a break-in. The purchase and installation of video surveillance systems is neither expensive nor complicated, especially with the Synology NVR1218 network video recorder as a basis. We’ll show you how easy it can be to keep an eye on your home while you’re out and about.
How does it work?
The station is supplied with a license for four IP cameras, and allows connection to up to twelve. You can buy additional licenses if necessary. In addition to the station itself, you’ll need hard disks or SSD drives. You don’t need a separate PC, as the monitor can be connected directly to the station via HDMI, or to a keyboard via USB.
Setting up the NVR1218 is simple. First, remove the top of the chassis and install the drives. You’ll need 3.5 inch drives with two or three screw holes on each side, such as this low-cost solution from Seagate, or a 12-TB model for larger storage capacity. After replacing the top of the case, you can connect the NVR1218 to the mains and to your local network, and also connect an HDMI monitor and a USB mouse. By connecting the supplied USB installation dongle and switching on the station, you’ll then by guided step-by-step through the setup of the monitoring software.
Now it’s time to connect the IP cameras to the NVR1218. The great advantage of the Synology system is its versatility. It can be used with a range of compatible cameras from our online shop; find our guide here. For indoor use, we’d recommend the affordable Foscam C1, or the swivelling Edimax IC-7113W. Both can connect with the home network via WiFi, saving annoying cabling. For outdoor areas, we’d suggest the Foscam FI9961EP or the rotating, zoomable Foscam FI9828P with its night-vision LED.
Easy overview at the touch of a button
After setup, you can find the “Surveillance Station” software by clicking on the “IP-Camera” icon on the desktop. Here, add a new camera via the button, give it a memorable name and then press the button with the magnifying glass. The software will then search for all cameras connected to the same network as the NVR1218. Select your camera and enter the username and password of the IP camera in the appropriate fields. Check the “Test” button to see if it works, and select other options, such as video format and resolution, if needed.
It is also possible to specify recording options. For example, Surveillance Station can automatically start recording when the camera detects motion. Each camera can be assigned its own schedule, to set certain recording options at certain times, such as at night.
If motion is detected during your absence, you’ll likely not only want a recording, but to be notified. This can be set in Surveillance Station’s main menu and can be done via e-mail notification. However, we’d recommend installing the free DS Cam app on your smartphone, which is available for Android and iOS. Here, you can enable push messages and then select them in the Surveillance Station notification window. Notifications can also be set for many other situations, such as a camera being disconnected.
DS Cam – safety while out and about
The DS Cam app allows access to the system wherever you are. It shows live streams or recordings of all the cameras and, if your chosen camera has the functionality, you can also pan, tilt and zoom. Geofencing also makes it possible to program certain settings for when you are at home or on the road. So you not only have an overview at your fingertips, but total control over your home security.
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