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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Avalonix Wireless Camera review

A wireless security camera is quite an interesting piece of technical equipment, which – the conventional wisdom holds – can deter people from breaking the rules (whatever those might be) or help after the fact demonstrate “who done it”. Their real value is however questionable. For one, they can become a prime target for attackers (“the first to fall”). Second of all, regardless of what is shown in TV shows, the resolution is quite poor, so it is improbable that you would get something out of it which could be used to identify a person with any certainty. Finally, there is a big problem with unauthorized people getting access to the pictures (voyeurism), especially with wireless security cameras, and especially with Internet connected wireless security cameras.

If you have carefully considered all the possible drawbacks and still want to install a wireless security camera (or more), you might want to take a look at the Avalonix 5.8GHz Wireless cameras. They advertise a reception distance between 3000ft (around one Km) and 7 miles (around 11 Km) with a proper antenna. They have a separate night vision mode and 420 lines of resolution. Again, consider if this is enough for your purpose. 420 lines is lower than the resolution of a standard-definition TV (which is 480). Two other concerns are the fact that the only provider for Avalonix cameras ( seems to be offline currently (even though the server responds to pings, the webpage doesn’t load – tried from two geographically distant networks - and the Google cache shows a lot of MySQL errors) and the only mention I could find contains a complaint. The technical specification also fails to clarify if this is an outdoor or indoor camera.

On the bright side of this wireless security camera, the domain seems to be rather old (stable) and its owner doesn’t hide behind a proxy registration service (off topic: I too agree with the opinion that only private individuals should by allowed to use the domain-by-proxy type services, and that businesses should be needed to provide real verifiable contact information).

Currently my advice would be to go for a different type of camera, one which is more widely available and for which more reviews exists. Again, consider that such equipment might be a prime target for vandals, so you might be better off installing it in a covert location, and eventually providing some cheap fake camera lookalikes. Also, consider using a high resolution camera. One good test is to take a digital camera and shoot a couple of photos from the angle where you are considering to mount the camera (include some people in the photos near the perimeter of the view field). Then take the photo (which is probably of a high resolution 5+ megapixel) and shrink it down to whatever the camera specification says. See if you can still see enough details of the people in the picture (and consider that scaling down preserves more information that just plain-out taking the picture at the smaller resolution – so if you are unable to distinguish faces, you won’t be able to with the camera).

Full disclosure: this is a paid review from ReviewMe. Under the terms of the understanding I was not obligated to skew my viewpoint in any way (ie. only post positive facts).


  1. I see that you're now implementing the new "disclosure rule" way ahead of its official implementation.

    Anyway, I think its imperative to hide or at least camouflage cameras. Quality would really depend on how much data storage you have. You can adjust resolution, frame rate to maximum but that would take up more space and you'll be able to record less.

  2. @Dan Coppen: disclosure makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and counteracts the fact that I'm selling my soul :-)

  3. There are lot of new cctv camouflage cameras that are out in the market. There's only 1 cm in diameter lens or even bigger. You just have to check the pixels if it's still clear even on more than 30 meters.

  4. With most wireless equipment it is possible to block / interfere with the signal and I can't help but wonder are there any concerns on this issue with regard to security equipment..? I'd appreciate your input on this one.