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November 1st 2011
archived under: Family Life, Home & Garden, Organization

A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to babysit for a sweet family with a 2.5 year old boy. It was then that I got my first taste of the genius that is the Video Baby Monitor. Sure it was staticy and only worked with the receiver plugged in (the battery sucked, which I think is pretty common with this type of monitor) but the information gained from being able to SEE the child was so valuable. You see, it could be 100% quiet in his room, but he could be going through his dresser, or standing on his bed, or any number of other non-sleep things. Usually that meant he needed a diaper change, to be honest. So I’d go check on him, change his diaper, and remind him to lie down in his bed.

Other times, a sound-only monitor would’ve had me opening the door to check on him unnecessarily! Sometimes it was a bit loud in there, but he was just lying in bed telling his stuffed animal a story. Or laughing in his sleep at a funny dream.

I knew I would NEED a video monitor when I had children of my own. It’s just far too useful to be able to have that little bit of extra information. This conviction was solidified when I nannied for another family who had sound-only monitors. There were so many times I had to peek in because of a sound when it would have been perfectly fine (but I couldn’t know until I peeked!) not to… and the door closing, or the tiny bit of change in light, or the sound of a floorboard squeaking would wake up the child… I tried to convince the parents to buy a video monitor but they didn’t understand what they were missing, so they stuck with audio-only.

I researched and researched, and 2 years ago when I was looking at these, there were not as many options as there are now. I really wanted one with two cameras so that I could have one on the cosleeper in our room (when Anneliese was tiny she slept in there for naps, and at night) and one on her bed in her room (after a couple of months, we had her taking occasional naps in her room, and later, she started the night in her room too). I wanted the option of adding more cameras when we had more children with more rooms… see? I was thinking long-term. I read a LOT of reviews of a LOT of cameras, and ended up settling on the Safe Baby video monitor with 2 cameras ($215). Because it was digital, I hoped to avoid the static I had experienced in my babysitting job (and I did avoid that. Now and then it would go blank for a second or two, but that was fine with me). It also had the capability to monitor up to 8 cameras at a time, with auto-scan, or you can manually select which camera to view. It also tunes out low noises like our white-noise or the fan, but clicks the sound on when baby whimpers or cries. So that was nice to not have constant whooshing sounds coming from the monitor.

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Now, a couple years later, touch screen video monitors are becoming all the rage. The Summer Infant Baby Touch Color Video Monitor is highly advertised and very popular, at $250 for the receiver and one camera. Additional cameras for the system are available at $130 each. Despite the high price tag, this one was tempting to me. I knew a few new moms who had gotten it and RAVED about it, and I liked that the camera had remote panning ability so that more of the room would be visible (important since we use a floor bed with Anneliese, so she can crawl off of her bed and ideally go play with her toys when she wakes up). I’ve also grown accustomed to the touch screen of my iPhone and generally dislike buttons now. A larger viewing are on the monitor was also appealing.

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Wait a second… the touch screen ON MY IPHONE??? “Why isn’t there a baby monitor system that works with the iPhone?” I wondered. Oh, there HAS to be something. Because, you know, “there’s an app for that.” So many months ago, I began searching. It just seemed silly to me to carry around TWO touch screens, when one should work. My phone is usually on my person, and as long as I plug it in at night, I rarely have to think about charging it, so this would be perfect!

My searching took me to the Wifi Baby Video Monitor, which seems to be (now, not then) semi-well-known among techy mamas. At the time, there were NO actual mom-blog reviews of this monitor (there were a few on youtube that all seemed to be the same, created by the Wifi Baby “team” most likely), and currently there are still only a few out there. There was speculation and a few negative comments here and there too. Still, I thought it HAD TO BE A GOOD IDEA because ever part of it made sense in my head. So I emailed the company, told them I believed in their product from what I knew of it, and that I’d love the opportunity to review it on my blog with pictures and screenshots and whatnot, so that others searching for iPhone baby monitors would be able to find my review and learn more about it, and feel more secure purchasing it. Because dude, I was that mom. Searching. Finding nothing. And because I found nothing, I felt pretty insecure about dropping $279 (!!!) on a hunch.

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After a while they emailed me back and basically told me I had to buy one myself to do a review, or I could borrow one for like a week, then return it (I wanted to review it but not badly enough to do it for zero compensation and if I liked it not even get a discount on the purchase for my effort…). I wrote back with a final appeal, telling them that my blog has high google ranking and that a lot of my reviews appear in the top google results when people search for them (it’s true!) and reminding them that moms who are unsure but curious would love to read about first-hand experience with their product. Nope. They sent me a very rude email saying not to contact them again. Fine. I also chose not to buy their camera.

But guess what. I’m GLAD I didn’t. It’s completely overpriced, and the camera itself doesn’t tilt or pan, which was a feature I was hoping for since my daughter has free rein of her room. But the more I looked at it and wished there were another option, the closer I came to the lightbulb moment. There must be something special about this camera… for it to be able to connect over a network. More googling took me to a “new” class of cameras. New to me anyway. Because they aren’t marketed as baby monitors. They’re marketed as home surveillance cameras. And what is baby monitoring anyway?

IP cameras are available at a range of price points, and with a variety of features. I’m not sure what IP stands for, but it means that it can connect to your wifi network (or can be plugged in with ethernet) WITHOUT being connected to a computer (another option I had seen and immediately ruled out was a camera that only worked when your computer was on. No). It’s just another device that can connect to your network, just like your wireless printer, your playstation 3, or your wireless external networked hard drive.

The model I purchased is the Foscam F18918W in white. It has night vision/infrared that works up to 26 feet or so – MORE than adequate for any nursery or child’s room, can pan and tilt to view nearly an entire room (depending on where you mount it), has a mic and even speakers (so you can talk to your child from far away!), and also has a wide viewing angle so you can see a good amount if you are zoomed all the way out. I chose white because it would better blend in with Anneliese’s furniture and things, but I have read that the black version has even clearer night vision because there is no reflection of light (from the LEDs) off of the plastic of the camera itself.

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This camera is LESS THAN $100, and way better than the almost-$300 Wifi Baby camera. It just requires a bit more tech knowledge (OR this blog post, where I’ve saved you the trial and error I went through myself) to set up. There is no receiver (like with the summer infant monitor) so you’ll need to be prepared to use your smart phone / iPhone and/or your computer. Like I said, I always have my phone on my person, so that wasn’t an issue for me. It was a perk. One less piece of equipment!

So I have the long version of installation (how it actually went for me), and then the short version. If you want to be amused (or just laugh at me), you can read the long version, but if you’re just looking for the nitty gritty, feel free to skip ahead.

How to install an IP Camera as a Wireless Baby Monitor for iPhone – Long Version

  1. Screw the antenna into the back of the camera. Easy peasy! I can do this, no problem! This camera setup is going to be a piece of cake!
  2. Plug in the ethernet cord and the power cord to the back of the camera. Woo hoo!
    IMG_0940
  3. Go over to your router and plug the other end of the ethernet cord into the router. Except that all the spots in the router are being used already. Unplug something else and hope it wasn’t important. Then plug in the camera.
  4. Plug in the power cord to any outlet. Realize there’s only one outlet nearby and it’s covered with a crazy child-proofing thing you have to pry off with two hands. Attempt to plug in the power cord but discover that the child-proofing thing only allows straight plain plugs, and nothing with a “box” on the plug end. Search for an extension cord. Grab the only one you can find, a 4000 foot outdoor bright orange extension cord. THEN plug the camera in. Yes, ridiculous.
    IMG_0943
  5. Put the CD in your computer’s CD drive, and open the folder that matches the type of computer you’re using (windows/mac). Select IP Camera Tool and install IPCamSetup.exe .
    IMG_0941
  6. Restart the computer to finish installation. So far so good!!!
  7. Once the computer has rebooted, click the IP Camera Tool icon on your desktop.
  8. The instruction booklet has a list of 3 IP addresses that show up in their tool, and one is labeled “foscamdemo” which you might think is what you’re looking for (since the brand is foscam, and the other two IPs were “anonymous”). Freak out a little bit when only one IP address shows up and it’s an Anonymous one. Plug/unplug things a few times waiting for a “foscam” IP address to show up, but then realize maybe when they were taking the screenshots, they had 3 cameras connected. Double click the “anonymous” IP address and cross your fingers.
  9. Success! The IP Camera login page pops up. Type in “admin” for the username, and leave the password field blank. Then click “login” for the browser you’re using. You may be prompted to enter the username/password again. It’s still admin/nothing.
  10. The camera monitor will load on “device settings” initially, but you can click “live video” to make sure everything is connected. Again, freak out a little bit because it appears that there is no video stream, but then realize the camera is pointing at a blank wall. Use the mouse to pan the camera around and relax when you see the miles of extension cord appear in the video.
  11. Decide you don’t want to have to run ethernet all over the house to connect the camera to the router all the time (and that other thing might need to be plugged back in, too), so take a deep breath and click “Device Management” and then “Wireless LAN Settings.”
  12. Click “scan” to find the available WIFI devices. Select your wireless network and enter your “Share Key.” Panic because what the heck is a “share key”? Enter your network’s password and hold your breath while the camera reboots. During the reboot, unplug the ethernet cable from the back of the camera.
  13. Become upset when the camera reboot countdown ends and an error message “The Connection Was Reset” appears where the camera info should be in the browser.
  14. Plug the ethernet cord back in. Go back to step 11. Admit that the “Share Key” probably isn’t the network’s password in this case. Google. Get more confused. Call the router company’s customer service line. After giving the lady all your information, hang up the phone with your face accidentally.
  15. Wait for the customer service woman to call back, since she JUST TOOK YOUR PHONE NUMBER. After several minutes, realize she is not calling back. Try calling again. Accidentally select “French” for the language option. Hang up. Try calling back again. Make it through the menu in English, then accidentally hang up again.
  16. Go to the bathroom and get some Reese’s peanut butter cups to reboot your brain.
  17. Look in the husband’s file box to see if there is anything about a key that came with the router. When you don’t find anything, call customer support again. The support guy, after a lot of prodding, tells you that there isn’t a separate password attached to the router by the manufacturer, and that the ONLY password is the personal one you set and use for logging in to the network on all other devices (so your password should have worked). Also find out that because your warranty has expired, they cant talk to you any more and want to send you to a third party support company who “only” wants $70 in exchange for helping you solve 3 problems within the next year. Tell them that’s ridiculous and hang up.
  18. Wave at yourself in the live camera view.
  19. Take a deep breath and return to google. Discover that the instruction booklet that came with your camera actually has different instructions than the Foscam site, for how to set up the camera wirelessly. Rejoice in new information.
  20. Realize the encryption method and encryption technique selection (which was supposed to be “auto-selected” when you scanned and selected your network) might be wrong, not the “share key.”
  21. Log into the router to find out what encryption is used. I’m sorry, but this really depends on what type of router you have. For mine, Cisco Valet, I had to type http://192.168.0.1/ into internet explorer and then enter my network name and password. I have read that http://192.168.1.1/ is also a very common one, so try those two first. If neither works, google. You might also have to use a default user/pass if you haven’t changed yours. If that’s the case, google “[your router name] default user password” and you should find some information there. My router uses WPA/WPA2 mixed-mode. The camera thought it just used WPA, which is why it didn’t work before.
  22. Correct the settings in the Wireless Lan Settings of the IP Camera to include the proper encryption. Then reboot the device again and unplug the ethernet cable.
  23. IT WILL STILL show that the network connection “has been reset” but this is because your camera now has a new IP address. So close the window you were using before, and click the IP Camera Tool icon on your desktop again. Double-click the one that appears, and log in again like you did before. Now you can view the live video WIRELESSLY!!!!
  24. With your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, open the app store and download IP Cam Viewer Pro by Robert Chou / NibblesnBits. It’s only $2.99 and from reading reviews, I decided it was the best one to go with. Many IP Camera apps do NOT include the ability to listen to the sound, or to talk through the camera’s speakers with your device’s mic. This app has both. It also works with TONS of brands of IP Cameras, so if you decide on a different one, you’re still covered. AND there is an android app (which I haven’t tried obviously, but if you have a different smartphone, you can use that). The app will also support lots and lots of cameras, so you can add as many as you choose to over time, if needed.
  25. Setting up the camera with your app is easy. Click Options / Manage Cameras / Add Camera / IP Camera, DVR, NVR. Then you can name your camera whatever you want, select the type (this Foscam model is supported), and type in the IP address of your camera, which is what pops up when you click the IP Camera Tool icon on your computer. A quick test will confirm that you’ve entered everything correctly, and then you’re good to go! You can view the camera remotely, toggle sound, and toggle mic. You can also pinch to zoom, pan, take screen shots, and I’m sure some goodies I haven’t discovered yet. Here’s a crazy screenshot (not photo) of what it looked like on my phone when I got it all set up.
    IMG_0945
  26. Move it to your baby’s room (it will still work after unplugging and plugging in) in a good spot, and you’re set.

Here’s a shot of my baby after she went to bed tonight. Her room is pitch black…completely dark.

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After a few hours, she woke up, and I heard her cry out, so I opened the app and saw this:

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I decided to (for the first time ever) see if I could “remotely soothe” her using the microphone on my phone / speakers on the camera in her room. I clicked the mic icon to toggle it on, and told her to find her sleepy sheep or her pacifier if she wanted them, and go back to sleep. She FROZE. Disembodied-Mama-Voice can be kind of disorienting I suppose. But no more crying. She looked around for a while. I suggested again, that she lie down and “go night-night.” After a few seconds, she did this:

IMG_0957

I could hear her take a deep breath, then yawn, and when I zoomed in closer, I could even see her blinks getting longer and sleepy, and then her eyes closed and she was asleep.

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You guys??? I REMOTELY SOOTHED MY BABY. With my IPHONE!!!! What more could a technology-loving mama ask for? (Note: I’m not endorsing NOT visiting your baby or meeting his or her needs. If your baby needs a new diaper or to nurse or even just a snuggle, by all means, GO IN THERE. But it doesn’t hurt to see if maybe all he or she needs is a little reassurance and a reminder that it’s nighttime.) If I weren’t already completely sold on the IP-Camera-as-iPhone-Baby-Monitor concept, this sealed the deal.

Now for the short version, in case you just want to get to the point and set yours up.






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How to install an IP Camera as a Wireless Baby Monitor for iPhone – Short Version

  1. Screw the antenna into the back of the camera. Plug in the ethernet cord and the power cord to the back of the camera.
  2. Go over to your router and plug the other end of the ethernet cord into the router. Plug in the power cord to any outlet.
  3. Put the CD in your computer’s CD drive, and open the folder that matches the type of computer you’re using (windows/mac). Select IP Camera Tool and install IPCamSetup.exe .
  4. Restart the computer to finish installation.
  5. Once the computer has rebooted, click the IP Camera Tool icon on your desktop.
  6. Double click the “anonymous” IP address that pops up.
  7. Success! The IP Camera login page pops up. Type in “admin” for the username, and leave the password field blank. Then click “login” for the browser you’re using. You may be prompted to enter the username/password again. It’s still admin/nothing.
  8. The camera monitor will load on “device settings” initially, but you can click “live video” to make sure everything is connected. Use the mouse to pan the camera around. Cool, right?
  9. Click “Device Management” and then “Wireless LAN Settings.”
  10. Click “scan” to find the available WIFI devices. Select your wireless network.
  11. In a new window or tab, log into your router to find out what encryption is used. I’m sorry, but this really depends on what type of router you have. For mine, Cisco Valet, I had to type http://192.168.0.1/ into internet explorer and then enter my network name and password. I have read that http://192.168.1.1/ is also a very common one, so try those two first. If neither works, google. You might also have to use a default user/pass if you haven’t changed yours. If that’s the case, google “[your router name] default user password” and you should find some information there. My router uses WPA/WPA2 mixed-mode.
  12. Back in the IP Camera Lan Settings, select the proper encryption, and your “share key” which is your network’s password (the same one you use to connect to the network from your computer, phone, or any wifi device).
  13. Reboot the device again and unplug the ethernet cable.
  14. It will show that the network connection “has been reset” but this is because your camera now has a new IP address. So close the window you were using before, and click the IP Camera Tool icon on your desktop again. Double-click the one that appears, and log in again like you did before. Now you can view the live video WIRELESSLY!!!!
  15. With your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, open the app store and download IP Cam Viewer Pro by Robert Chou / NibblesnBits. It’s only $2.99 and from reading reviews, I decided it was the best one to go with. Many IP Camera apps do NOT include the ability to listen to the sound, or to talk through the camera’s speakers with your device’s mic. This app has both. It also works with TONS of brands of IP Cameras, so if you decide on a different one, you’re still covered. AND there is an android app (which I haven’t tried obviously, but if you have a different smartphone, you can use that). The app will also support lots and lots of cameras, so you can add as many as you choose to over time, if needed.
  16. Setting up the camera with your app is easy. Click Options / Manage Cameras / Add Camera / IP Camera, DVR, NVR. Then you can name your camera whatever you want, select the type (this Foscam model is supported), and type in the IP address of your camera, which is what pops up when you click the IP Camera Tool icon on your computer. A quick test will confirm that you’ve entered everything correctly, and then you’re good to go! You can view the camera remotely, toggle sound, and toggle mic. You can also pinch to zoom, pan, take screen shots, and I’m sure some goodies I haven’t discovered yet.
  17. Move it to your baby’s room (it will still work after unplugging and plugging in) in a good spot, and you’re set.

Hopefully this post helped you decide whether using an IP Camera as a baby monitor is right for you. And if so, maybe I saved you a little bit of legwork or trial and error when it comes to research and setup. I’m planning on doing another post in a little while after I’ve played with it some more to answer questions some of my friends have asked. Among those questions are:

  1. Can I control whether other people see my video stream? (The answer is yes, but I’ll elaborate.)
  2. Related: Can you access the camera from the 3G network? Like if you were away from home and wanted to check on the baby when with a sitter?
  3. Can the app be running constantly and have your phone still work as a phone and everything else?
  4. Can you still have sound when you aren’t viewing the camera?

Let me know if you have any other questions you’d like addressed, and I’ll try to find an answer for you for the next post! I’ll also include some daytime/light (rather than night/infrared) screen shots if you’d like.

If this post has helped you in any way, please consider using one of my Amazon links to purchase your camera (or make ANY purchase). It won’t cost YOU a penny more, but I’ll get a small percentage as an affiliate kickback. It would be a really nice way of saying “Thank you for opening my eyes to the magical world that is IP Cameras as iPhone Baby Monitors, Emily. I appreciate you, and you are awesome.”

     

If you don’t need to buy anything any time soon, I also appreciate tweets and facebook shares (buttons are at the top of this post) as well as Stumbleupon stumbles, or pins on Pinterest. All of that lets me know that I didn’t sit here typing for hours for nothing, and keeps me doing what I do.






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Caravan Delia (1 comments)

I strongly recommend you to take a look at WiFi Baby 3, the price is ok so as the video and audio streams but the best part is that it’s not cloud based so you won’t have any problems with your ISP. You can also attached an SD card (up to 32 GB) so that you can record your infant, the app is a bit clumsy but you won’t have any problems.

Another great alternative is Dropcam PRO (acquired by Google) which has a 720p video quality but will generate 60 GB of traffic each month for every camera and if you want to record video you have to pay $10 per month for a 7 day archive.




Ann (1 comments)

Is there a way you could provide the step by step instructions on how to be able to view your camera from another city? So far the camera is set up to view from my laptop but I would like to be able to view this from away from my home. Thanks!




Emily Chapelle (260 comments)

Hey Ann! I really wish I could… I was going to do that, but I realized something… it works way better with some modem/router setups than others. My first setup was impossible to do remote viewing. Then that modem died and I got a new modem/router combo and it was SO EASY TO SET UP.

I was going to write the tutorial for it, but then we moved, and here there is no DSL, so we had to get ANOTHER new modem/router… and this one is again basically impossible to set up that way.

I have no idea what makes a modem/router easier to set up this way than not, but I’m still hoping I can get this working and I WILL update when and if I do. I WILL say that with the “good” modem/router, the NEW version of this foscam camera was easier to set up, because it has its own built-in DNS or something like that… (I’m not super techy so I might be using the wrong term).

Wish I had better “news” on this front. I know it can be done, and maybe someone far techier than I am could do it with any modem/router combo, but for now I’m still in the dark with you.




Theresa (1 comments)

In case anyone is wondering they have the app available for android for $1 more. So happy I found this post! I knew something like that HAD to exist I just didn’t want to do the leg work to find it! Thank you thank you!




austingirl (7 comments)

Brillant! Our kiddo is old enough to stand in his crib, and I need a monitor to make sure that the silence-after-crying is just him sleeping…and not him rummaging around the room after figuring out how to escape his crib.
SO smart!! Thank you!!




lostinthewoods (1 comments)

Thank you so much for the excellent instructions on the Foscam. The reason I purchased it was because you made it so simple! Then, when I went to install it, I couldn’t remember where I had seen the easy instructions…I cried for hours. Finally, I found you again. The only thing I’m having trouble doing is connecting remotely…I think I need to keep digging, but you were an awesome help!!




Emily Chapelle (260 comments)

You’re very welcome. I figured out how to do the remote connection when I got a new router/modem right before we moved… then when we got here, there was no DSL, only cable, so I had to get ANOTHER new modem/router, and it has been a pain to even think about setting up.

So I think if it’s easy to set up, it’s probably because of the hardware you have. I can follow the same exact steps 200 times with my current modem/router and it’ll never work… I’m sure there’s some way to adjust more major settings on the modem itself but I don’t know what those are yet. :(




Amanda (1 comments)

Not sure if anyone has asked this but do you know if this works for android phones? Also if it does a suggestion on an app?

Thanks




Emily Chapelle (260 comments)

Yes, it works for any smart phone… just get an app that you can set up with IP cameras. I’m actually using the Foscam Pro app now, and I’m pretty sure they have an android version.




MIranda (1 comments)

Hi Emily,
I don’t know if you are still coming back to see comments and questions, but I hope you are. First, thank you for posting this. I have had so many issues with my Summer baby monitor and I don’t want to give them any more of my money. I was wondering if you have tried traveling with this? This seems perfect otherwise but traveling with the camera is very important to us.




Emily Chapelle (260 comments)

You’re very welcome! Traveling would work okay but you’d have to go through the whole setup to connect to your host’s wifi … so it depends on whether you want to go through all of that. I never have. When we travel, I just listen for the kids (and usually we’re not sleeping super far away from them while traveling anyway).




Hey, Emily. Thanks for sharing.It’s really detailed and useful.You know that one important thing of WiFi baby monitors is connection stabilization. I’ve got the Withings Smart wifi baby monitor to monitor my son. There were several time that I waked up seeing that the camera had been offline for a while, which really freaked me out.

So how is your experience with Ip cameras on this part?

Thank you.




Emily Chapelle (260 comments)

I used to have some issues with that, but haven’t in a long long time. I guess updates with the apps or something made it work more consistently? The only time it goes out now is if my entire wi-fi / internet connection is dead, which is pretty rare. :)




Thanks for replying. It seems that the baby monitor takes too much of your bandwidth.




Kate (4 comments)

HI,

Thank you so much for your post it is awesome and I am almost sold on doing this for our two boys.

One question – We use white noise in our kids bedroom and our previous monitor blocked out white noise by only transmitting any uneven noises (if that makes sense). Would we hear the white noise all night long with this solution?

Thanks again,
Kate




Emily Chapelle (260 comments)

Yes, you’ll hear the white noise. I didn’t mind it too much because it was…white noise. Sorry it’s not a nicer answer! Haha




Kate (4 comments)

ok thanks for your reply! I think i’m going to go for it anyways – thank you so much for all your research I’m really excited to have found such an affordable option!!!




Kate (4 comments)

alright one last question and then I will be out of your hair! I purchased the camera and its working great in my house! however as soon as i’m away from my house the remote access doesn’t work because I can not figure out how to set up the remote access on the app. Its asking me for the camera’s remote address and port. I’ve found the remote address but can’t figure out the port..

do you know where I can find this information?




nichole (18 comments)

have you read anything about people being able to hack into your video feed? I heard about a story in the news and wondering if you looked into that at all?




Emily Chapelle (260 comments)

Yes, but I think if you set up your network with a good secure password, and don’t use the default login and password for the camera AND use them on a non-default port, it would be really hard to hack into it. I think it’s just easy to do it if everything is set to default! And bored creepy people do it because it’s easy… if you set up roadblocks they’re probably going to leave you alone.




Sarah (2 comments)

I work in IT and am expecting my first child this year. Needless to say I LOVED your article. I pinned it on Pinterest and shared it on Facebook :-) thank you SO much for the information. I’ll definitely be buying mine through your site!!




Emily Chapelle (260 comments)

Thanks for sharing and pinning! I really appreciate it. So glad you liked the post! :) And hey, if you want to help me troubleshoot remote access, let me know. LOL. I set it up super easily with our last modem, but now we have a new one (no DSL here) and it’s giving me issues. ugh.




Sarah (2 comments)

No problem. I love giving credit and recognition to good bloggers! I’m on the business side of IT so I’m not all that ‘techy’. My advice would be to call the support line for the modem or google it (seems you’ve already learned that google is the best resource when you don’t know how to do something :) ) best of luck getting it to work!




Emily Chapelle (260 comments)

haha yes i love googling. i haven’t tried with this modem yet beyond the initial “well the last one was so easy, so maybe this one will be too.” It wasn’t. Haha. I’ll try later… thanks for the luck!




morgankr (1 comments)

GREAT REVIEW! Do you know how much data is used on your wifi network when using a wifi monitor? We have satelitte internet and therefore only a certain amount every month. Is the data used similar to web browsing or is more like video chat and streaming? Thanks!!




Tasha (1 comments)

Everything about this camera sounds fabulous! One thing I haven’t gotten from this post is how do you know your baby is crying … unless you are close to his/her room. My baby’s room is across the house from our room. If you leave the app open when you go to sleep at night, but then your iPhone goes to sleep, too … does it somehow alert you to the fact your child is in need or making noise?




Emily Chapelle (260 comments)

I left the app open while my phone was plugged in on my night stand so the battery wouldn’t die, and it didn’t go to sleep, so if I had the sound on, I could hear the baby all night long. :)




Kelly (1 comments)

Thank you, thank you for sharing this. We got this cam as a gift and set it up a couple of months back. It’s been SUCH a help! Now when our toddler starts fussing, we can look and see if she’s still sacked out and likely to settle herself easily or if she’s standing up and needs a rescue. Plus it’s been total entertainment seeing what happens in the crib after lights out. :)




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Jen (1 comments)

You’re a genius. Thank you.




Brittany (1 comments)

YOU are amazing! THANK YOU SO MUCH for this blog post. I seriously was lost when trying to figure out which camera was best. So I picked the Foscam and then followed your long (and totally entertaining) tutorial which was awesome because I’m so not tech savvy and could not have done it on my own. I can now keep an eye on my two year old who just switched to a toddler bed and is having a hard time staying in bed at night. THANKS!!




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Hallie (1 comments)

Hey. Great post. I’m deffinerly going to purchase this.. All the other iPhone compatible monitors are way too expensive.

But most importantly I need to know :

CAN YOU VIEW THE ROOM FROM YOUR PHONE WHEN YOU ARE NOT AT HOME OR CONNECTED TO THE SAME WIFI?
Like would I be able to open the app if I were say at work? Or do you have to be connected to the same wifi?

Please get back to me
-hallie




Emily Chapelle (260 comments)

you can. it depends on your modem/router setup but you can.




Allison (1 comments)

How do you get it to work away from home? It quits working when I’m out of my network…




Pam S. (1 comments)

I am a caregiver for my husband. I have been contemplating buying a monitor, as he sleeps in a room on the other side of our house. Do you think this would be a good investment and a proper set-up for an adult?




Alexis (1 comments)

Just shared on my FB wall and it’s already gotten a ton of comments/shares. Why? Because it’s a great post! Honestly I’ve known to do this for a while but never got around to writing up “how.” And now I don’t need to because you did it BEAUTIFULLY!

Thanks!




Amy (2 comments)

I have a 3-yr-old who we’ve been needing to switch to a toddler bed. She’s a feisty one, so I’ve been worried about what she’ll do once she is “freed” from the crib confines. We made it 3 years without a video monitor and had trouble justifying spending hundreds on one at this point. Your blog was exactly what we needed!! We did everything you said, step by step. It took my husband 20 min to set up the camera and its perfect! Thanks so much!




C.O (1 comments)

Thank you so much! You are the best for sharing this info…ugh…monitors are so overpriced. On our second one. Im going to go with the IP setup…good for home security too. Thank you!!!!




Jessica (1 comments)

How bright are the LED lights? Do they light up the dark room a lot?
My boys sleep in pretty dark rooms and I am concerned this may put off too much light.

When switching from camera to camera does it make a clicking noise or any noise at all when turning on, zooming?
I dont want it to distract or wake my boys

What is the range?
I want to be able to take my iphone outside and still be comfortable with my baby sleeping inside




hilary (1 comments)

hi! did you ever do a follow up to this post? curious about question 3&4 “Can the app be running constantly and have your phone still work as a phone and everything else?Can you still have sound when you aren’t viewing the camera?” basically i’m wondering how you receive alerts and how you monitor at night. thanks in advance!!




Elena (1 comments)

We travel a lot. Is there anything you’d suggest that you can use your iPhone for and easily set up using wifi? I love the idea of a video monitor we’re just in a new place all the time.




kristenh (1 comments)

Is this set up transportable? Our family lives out of town and I was hoping to take it with me when we go visit. Thanks!




Emily Chapelle (260 comments)

You’ll just need to set up the camera the same way at their house, to work with their wifi.




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Andy & Sarah (1 comments)

Hey Emily! AWESOME post! Just what we’ve been looking for! I bought the Foscam FI8910W. Works great! And the iphone app you suggested…. awesome! I downloaded some other app first, that cost $7.99, and it was horrible! Anyways, what have you found works best for using on the computer to view the cam? The IP Camera Tool that they provide, isn’t doin’ it for me. Also, I won’t work when I try to share with family on the other side of the country. We have 1 set of grandparents with a Mac and 1 set with a PC. I don’t know how to get them set up to view. Thanks!!!!




Ashlee (1 comments)

What if you dont have a cd drive on your computer to install with? Is it still possible to use? We are running a mac mini. Also did you use sound monitor in addition to this?




Amy (2 comments)

Go to Foscam.us and go to “support”. You can download the software. We had the same problem with a Mac mini. Also I’m keeping a sound monitor on because the camera makes a little noise when u use sound through it. Also I didn’t want to keep my iPhone running throughout the night.




Rebecca (4 comments)

So I found this blog entry about a month ago after my husband got the idea to use an IP camera instead of a baby monitor for our 2-year-old son’s new room. He bought a D-Link camera at Best Buy, fiddled with it for four hours, and couldn’t figure it out. Our existing monitor is HORRIBLE (it doesn’t charge anymore, meaning it has to be plugged in all the time, it shuts itself off or “loses signal” randomly in the middle of the night without any indication except visual, which TOTALLY works when you’re sleeping, plus an extra camera is $100: http://www.amazon.com/Summer-Infant-Secure-Handheld-Monitor/dp/B008CGY7DA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1366384448&sr=8-1&keywords=summer+infant+slim+and+secure)&tag=associatizer-20.

When my husband gave up on the D-Link camera, he asked me to do some research to see what I could come up with, especially since we don’t want to trust a crappy monitor with the newborn we’re soon to have. That is how I found you :)

I ended up buying the updated version of the Foscam camera you suggest (I got this one: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B006ZP8UOW/associatizer-20/ and I bought the app you recommended. Setup was pretty easy, but for some reason the image was flipped horizontally (like a mirror image), and we couldn’t figure out how to fix it. I tried the Foscam app, which is free, but it was awful.

Finally I did a bit more research and discovered this app: http://babymonitorhd.com/BabyMonitor/Home.html It’s $11.99 in the AppStore, which is pricey, but considering the camera was about $85, I couldn’t complain too much.

So far, it’s been awesome! I did have one night where the app shut itself down, though to be honest I can’t say that I didn’t accidentally do that myself in a groggy state in the middle of the night. We’ve been using it for about three weeks now and have only had that happen once, so I’m going to guess that it was my problem. The functionality is really good, and, like you, I WAS ABLE TO GET MY SON TO GO BACK TO SLEEP BY TALKING TO HIM THROUGH THE CAMERA! He woke up at 4:45 this morning screaming for apparently no good reason. I touched the little mic function, said, “Honey, you’re fine, just get your Tigger and your bear and go back to sleep.” He looked like a deer in the headlights for a couple of minutes, then cuddled up with his stuffed animals and passed out.

Yup, I’d say we have a winner. I’m ordering a second camera for the baby’s room, and I am burning my old monitor.

Thank you so much for your post! You saved me time, money, and TONS of aggravation!




Emily Chapelle (260 comments)

You’re so welcome! I’m glad you got everything all set up. For anyone else that might have the same problem, the app I use actually can do a mirror image flip. In manage cameras, select the camera and edit, click “more options” and it is there.




Rebecca (4 comments)

I was probably too aggravated by that point to figure that out. Since we paid for it, we still have access to the app (I’d just have to re-download it), so if the more expensive one starts acting up, I’ll go back to it. Thanks for the tip!




Rebecca (4 comments)

Oh, and as an additional thing, I *lovelovelove* that I can look at the app through my iPhone, we can use my husband’s iPhone, or either of our iPads. It can run in the background, too, so you have sound-only while you do other things on your iPhone/iPad. I’ve never taken a call while it was on, so I’m not sure how it affects that.

My husband also said he will set my phone up so that I can see the camera remotely, so if I’m away from home for any reason, I can actually see what’s going on at home.

My thought is that when we are done using them as baby monitors, we might keep the cameras around for security purposes.




Kelly (1 comments)

Hi! I found your blog while researching the foscam 18910. It runs about $20 more…do you know what the differences are? Trying to decide which one to get! Thanks!




Rebecca (4 comments)

Hey Kelly, I just saw your post – I bought the 18910 because it appeared to be an updated version. Considering how technology changes, especially with wireless capabilities, I figured it was worth the extra $20 for the peace of mind of knowing that it might become obsolete a little later than the $65 one. (I know that’s a totally lame reason, but it wasn’t worth the $20 to me to research it when time is of the essence in getting it set up.) Maybe some of the Amazon reviews on the $85 one will tell you what the difference is. You’d be surprised at how many people use these cameras for security purposes and thus have both cameras. Good luck!




Emily Chapelle (260 comments)

I just bought that one too, for my son’s room… we’ll see if there is much of a difference. Reviews say maybe it has better color (other one distorts color sometimes, but not a big issue).. not sure what else.




Kate (4 comments)

how is the newer model? I’m torn as to which model to get




Emily Chapelle (260 comments)

I love the newer model. It’s faster than the other one (loading time in my apps) and has a clearer picture too. It also has its own remote-viewing DNS dealiebob URL from foscam, so that makes remote viewing setup easier if you choose to do that.




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I want this…for my chickens! ;) ~Honey




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Alex (1 comments)

Foscam has another customer because of your post. I hope you’re getting a kick back! Also, thanks Pinterest! :D




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Kassie (1 comments)

So has there been a follow up post yet answering all the questions?




Elissa (1 comments)

This is a great post! It convinced us to go with the foscam. Now that we have it all set up, we are having trouble with having to reset the IP address in the app every time we want to use the app. Did you have this problem? How did you solve it? Having to go to the computer and then enter in the new IP address to the app every time takes away from this being convenient. Help!




Cathy (1 comments)

wondering if you get the “kickback” if we click thru to Amazon and then order a different Foscam model? There is a 2-pack I’d like to buy, but don’t want to short-change you. Thanks for all your help, I’m fairly techy but wouldn’t have had a clue on this one! I’m planning to use it to monitor a new dog we recently adopted.




Emily Chapelle (260 comments)

Yes, thank you so much for asking. :) That will work perfectly. And what a great idea, using it for a pet!




Emily Chapelle (260 comments)

Yes, thank you so much for asking. :) That will work perfectly. And what a great idea, using it for a pet!




Heidi Mickelson (1 comments)

Thank you for your research! You are a genious!! We already have one of those cameras. My husband just had to have one, to monitor our downstairs but guess what? It never gets used. So I am going to sell my video monitor and use this! So excited. Thank you again.




Tonia (1 comments)

This is amazing!! Thank you! So easy to set up with your instructions.




Candice (1 comments)

Did you end up writing the follow up post addressing those FAQs? This is awesome.




Nathalie (1 comments)

Hi
This is such a funny article. But it’s especially very practical as I need exactly this!
Thank you!!
Keep up the good work!




Brandy White (2 comments)

Just wondering if any of the previous questions have been answered?




Brandy White (2 comments)

I have some of the same questions that many people already asked, however I don’t see any answers posted.
1. Does it scan between the 2 rooms if you have 2 cameras?
2. Does your iPhone alert you when the baby starts crying?
3. Can I still talk on my phone when the app is in use?
4. Can others see your video feed?




Kassim r. (1 comments)

1. You choose which camera you want to watch in the app.
2. No
3. Yes
4. Anyone with access to your network and has the cameras password can see the video feed.




Curious (1 comments)

I’m stuck at step one. My router is downstairs and far away from my daughters room. How can I possibly plug the camera into the router? Is there a wireless version of the camera?




Joyful Abode (953 comments)

It is wireless. You just have to plug it in during the set up process. Then when you unplug it from the router it will still work. Read through all of the directions and you’ll see !




Marc (1 comments)

Hi there,

is somebody still monitoring this post? I’ve started looking into this, and I would love to learn from your experiences. Has anybody managed to audio monitor a baby with the foscam?

thanks




Misha (1 comments)

Thank you so much for this article!! Have you had a chance to address the questions you posted? I’ve been waiting months to hear the answers! I’m seriously considering going this route (and using your Amazon link in the process), but my decision is contingent on the answers to those 4 questions (mostly the “can I access from outside the home WiFi network” question). Thanks so much! And congrats on your new addition! =)




Little Misses Kate (1 comments)

Oh my word – this is exactly what I’ve been asking my nerdy husband to rig up for me! Thank you, thank you, thank you! :)




Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful article. Thank you for supplying this information.




Amy (1 comments)

Have you had to address using it with a babysitter or someone without an iPhone? I’m looking for a digital video option with internet capabilities so (fingers crossed) the hubby could sometimes “check in” on the little one while deployed. But I need the ability for my sitter to use it too and I’m not giving her my iPhone. Lol
Thanks! Great review of the camera.




Kristen (4 comments)

Great post! Any chance you have the time to do an update answering reader’s questions? Can I control whether other people see my video stream? (The answer is yes, but I’ll elaborate.)
Related: Can you access the camera from the 3G network? Like if you were away from home and wanted to check on the baby when with a sitter?
Can the app be running constantly and have your phone still work as a phone and everything else?
Can you still have sound when you aren’t viewing the camera?




Kristen (4 comments)

Great post! Thank you! I will definitely buy my Foscam through your link. Any chance you can post an update to these questions:
Can I control whether other people see my video stream? (The answer is yes, but I’ll elaborate.)
Related: Can you access the camera from the 3G network? Like if you were away from home and wanted to check on the baby when with a sitter?
Can the app be running constantly and have your phone still work as a phone and everything else?
Can you still have sound when you aren’t viewing the camera?




Kristen (4 comments)

Emily, have you posted an update answering the other reader’s questions? I am DYING to know the answers.

Great blog and great post. Once I know more about the IP camera usage with the iPhone, I will use your Amazon links to purchase!

You rock!




Gary (1 comments)

I purchased the Foscam f18918w and i was easy to get it on my apple imac, but I’ve spent three evenings and downloaded three app’s for my iphone 4 and none of them bring up the camera feed. Needless to say I’m totally pissed that’s the whole reason I purchased the camera to watch th house when I’m away and now I don’t know what to do.




Rene Hester (1 comments)

Do you know if IP cameras come in wifi models? Yes, the camera I linked to and used is a wifi camera. 4. What if you have 2 cameras, will the app scan between the two rooms?




What happens if you get a phone call? Can you still hear and/or see the baby? I want to do this but am curious about the logistics of all the other things I use my phone for!




Liz (1 comments)

So awesome! I am so glad I found this. I have been eying up video monitors but as I am pregnant with our last child, I really didn’t want to spend that much money! This is a really affordable option! Yeah my iphone is already like an extra appendage so hey why not put it to work? hehe. Thanks for all the legwork!




Kelly (32 comments)

Thanks for the great review and instructions! We have baby #2 on the way and was looking to get a video monitor with 2 cameras. A few questions-

1. Do you turn off the camera when you aren’t home or do you worry about people being able to connect to your camera and see in your house? There was a story about this on the news and people can hack into your baby monitors! Scary!

2. Does it use up a lot of your iPhone battery?

3. When you are sleeping at night and have your iPhone next to you, do you need to have the volume up all the way? What if your iPhone is in the “sleep” mode, do you still hear the baby cry? I sleep with my iPhone on vibrate because I don’t want to be bothered at night time.

4. What if you have 2 cameras, will the app scan between the two rooms?




Sharon Sayson (1 comments)

I think having this kind of device to monitor your baby is a wonderful idea. Thank you for sharing these and the tips on how to install one.




Amandabryce (13 comments)

AMAZING! Wish it would work with my Summer monitor… I have the handheld receiver so it’s not a huge inconvenience like the small TV some people have, lol! I don’t *need* to see the baby on my iPhone cause things are working fine with the one we have, but man… that would be so awesome!




Courtney (2 comments)

Hi Emily- I love your blog, I have been reading it for the last year since my son was born. Love the idea of an affordable video monitor with a device I already have! Do you know if IP cameras come in wifi models? We don’t have an Internet connection in the baby room. Great idea!!




Joyful Abode (953 comments)

Yes, the camera I linked to and used is a wifi camera. :) Notice the part where I set up the wireless ability … there is no ethernet plug in my baby’s room either. Once you set it up to work with your network, all the camera needs is a power source.




Nicole (1 comments)

Thanks so much Emily! My 13-month old is starting to sleep in her own room now and this is so helpful.




Lynelle (1 comments)

Thank you so much for this!




Anna (3 comments)

I just wanted to thank you for the detailed steps! I ordered this camera this past weekend and was telling Rachel about it the other day – then she pointed me to your website! The step by steps were so helpful to set it up. I would’ve been lost without them!




edmond0925 (1 comments)

Wow! You really went all the trouble to share these info with us! Thank you so much for taking your time to do so! These are really great gadgets you have posted! My wife will definitely be thankful to you once I get me one of those!




Stephanie (19 comments)

Amazing. I love your long version!

Also, companies need to learn not to mess with well trafficed mommy bloggers. :)




Megan (1 comments)

Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been searching Amazon for a monitor & thought of trying something like this but I was intimidated and didn’t know if it would work for me (or be able to set it up!)




Lynn (75 comments)

I’ll have to look into this method for sure.




Liz @ Law Mama (1 comments)

This is so much more user friendly than the super tech nerdy “baby monitor” that my husband set up – he started from a similar concept, but we usually use our tv to monitor – so much simpler to have it on the iPhone. Going to have to send him this tutorial. Thanks for doing all the work & sharing it!




Natalie (1 comments)

This is so brilliant. Wish we had enough data on our wireless plan…! I definitely want a video monitoe, especially with three sleeping kids upstairs…last night we watched a movie & I went up to check on them THREE times on our creaky stairs, because it sounded like they were awake & they were asleep each time.




Joyful Abode (108 comments)

If you are using the wifi network in your house it should NOT affect data usage on your phone’s plan. Call your wireless provider if you want to be sure but I dont think it would be an issue!




Joelene (6 comments)

Do you think this would work with an ipod touch? It’s a great idea!




Joyful Abode (108 comments)

Absolutely! I know this particular app says iPhone/iPad compatible but I have an old iPod touch and I’ll try it on that and let you know. But I don’t see why it wouldn’t.




Joelene (6 comments)

Awesome! Thank you!!! We are just thinking of transitioning to a toddler bed or floor bed from a crib and I want to be able to see what is going on in there!




Rachel (2 comments)

Wow. This post is awesome!! Pretty sure I will be packing up my Summer monitor for a return and buying this!! (We registered for the cheapest one that has the monitor that looks like a mini old school TV. aka, it’s huge.) This is so much more my style! Thinking of putting one on my back porch too!! Love love love.




Joyful Abode (108 comments)

Lol the 7 inch flat screen? Definitely something you want to carry around with you right?? Have you used it at all or still in the box? Awesome that you can return it and try this out instead!






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