(MobilePC) The D-Link Wireless Internet Camera DSC-900W, which looks like a tin can mounted on a stick, provides basic features for an extremely reasonable price. It won’t win any beauty contests, but it will let you see what’s happening at home while at the office (or vice versa). It delivers real-time streaming video with small images 320 x 240-pixel resolution at up to a smooth 20 frames per second. The D-Link uses 802.11b to connect to a base station within range as far as 300 feet away, in theory, although the practical range is probably closer to 100 feet. Just plug it in and you can start monitoring your location from any available Web browser.

Instead of having to remember the camera’s IP address, you can take advantage of a free Dynamic Domain Name Service (DDNS) utility that is built into the camera’s server. This gives the camera a personal Web address that can be used to view its images.

There are some tradeoffs. The D-Link took a little longer to show up on our office Wi-Fi network than other cams we tested, and the configuration software isn’t quite as slick. The position of the manual-focus lens is fixed, so you’ll be able to see only what is directly in front of the camera, which limits its use as a security cam. And if someone bumps the camera, the image may blur.

The D-Link has some advanced features not often found in a camera at this price, including the ability to automatically send video to a specified e-mail address, to record directly onto your PC’s hard drive (while still broadcasting over the Internet) and to time- and date-stamp recorded video. Also, like some of the high-end cameras in this roundup, the DSC-900W includes software that lets you monitor up to four cameras at a time.

The D-Link Wireless Internet Camera supports SSID filtering and 64/128-bit WEP encryption that, while not up to government-level standards, ought to be plenty secure for home use.

Best Feature: Smooth streaming video
Worst Feature: Lack of positioning options

SPECS:
D-Link Wireless Internet Camera DSC-900W
$150
Weight: 0.6 pounds
Size: 2.5 x 2.5 x 2.8 inches
Specs: Built-in Web server; 320 x 240-pixel resolution; 20 fps; 802.11b; DDNS service
www.d-link.com