This is an update of my setup for my home surveillance solution. I did a high level view in my previous post and realized that I forgot about the physical setup.
One of the pains people face when installing an IP camera is the problem with bring power to the camera. There’s no running away from this. There’s at least 1 cable to pull to the camera or 2 if you bring both power and UTP to it. My idea was to bring power to the camera via UTP.
Coincidentally, my home was due for OpenNet fibre installation, so I had to engage a contractor to open up my false ceiling and light boxes to run the fibre. I took this opportunity to piggy a pair of UTP to my door and balcony. Note that OpenNet installers will not install the UTP for you. It was my contractor who did the job but with the help of the OpenNet folks.
The Foscam Fi8904W that I bought was a budget entry level camera that doesn’t come with PoE. I initially harbored the idea of splicing the UTP and use 2 pairs of the UTP to carry power. This can be done by soldering a 3.5mm x 1.35mm DC plug on the camera end and soldering the DC output onto the UTP on the other end. After searching Amazon, I came across this product called the Air802 PASSPOE, which did what I wanted to do on my own.
On The Router End
Simply put. The Air802 PASSPOE take the AC input from the stock adaptor plus the UTP from your router and combines them into the UTP. 100BaseT uses only 2 pairs of the UTP, so there are 2 spares for carrying the power.
On The Camera End
On the camera end, the UTP goes into the Air802 PASSPOE and then splits into 2. One of the split is a 3.5/1.35mm DC male, and the other is a UTP plug. This way, power and network is carried over the UTP without the use of real PoE equipment. The Foscam Fi8904W that I’m using can now be accessed over wired and wireless network.
Why Not PoE?
The main reason is that PoE cameras are expensive. The Foscam that I got is less 100 USD. Works reasonably well for that price.
Another reason for using this is that I can reuse my router instead of placing a PoE switch. PoE switches are expensive, so it’s not justifiable for a home setup. There are PoE injectors, but they are also expensive they are hard to protect and conceal if placed outdoors.
So this is the poor man’s PoE. Simple and cheap solution for a home setup.