Your VistaCam SD security camera can operate either through a cable or wirelessly through your home Wi-Fi system. Either way, they're controllable by Vera. In terms of being able to view and control the VistaCam, there's no real difference, you can choose either wired or wireless.
A wired connection is always better than a wireless connection. It's faster and more stable, and not affected by interference around your house that could impact the video images. Also, if you live in a home where there are lots of people using Wi-Fi, or in an apartment or condo complex where lots of people are using Wi-Fi, the performance of the camera (and all your Wi-Fi devices) is often compromised because of a Wi-Fi "traffic jam." If you have the choice of using a wired connection, use it for best performance and reliability.
Of course, many will prefer wireless operation for their VistaCam. To enable this feature, you'll copy and paste a few settings from your Vera Dashboard. You'll also need the settings that you assigned to your Wi-Fi router, such as the name of the network, your security settings and your password.
If you want to set up your VistaCam work wirelessly, you'll still need to have go through the initial step of Vera recognizing the camera. This is done with the network cable attached between your camera and your Wi-Fi router. When you've performed that initial connection and the camera is working as described by showing you images, you're ready to make the camera wireless.
STEP ONE: Get VistaCam's Identifying Information
Begin by going to your Vera Dashboard, where you'll click "Devices" and "Cameras." You should see your camera appear as shown below:
Now click the "View" button, which will bring you to the camera's screen, as shown below:
Select the "Settings" menu at the top of the camera view screen. Then scroll down the settings window, using the scroll bar on the right, until you get to the bottom of the choices (we'll discuss the other options you just passed in another tutorial). The information you're looking for is at the bottom of the "Settings" screen as shown:
An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a unique identifying "address" for things that can be accessed via the Internet, like your VistaCam camera. You'll see an IP address already filled in for you, because Vera automatically recognized your camera.
Copy this number (or write it down), then click the large "X" icon on the top right of the camera screen to close it.
STEP TWO: Tell VistaCam Your Wi-Fi Information
Now open another tab or window on your web browser, and paste the IP number into the address bar (or enter it, if you wrote it down). You will be asked for a user name, which is "admin" (no password is needed). You'll then be taken to a screen that looks like this:
The page you've just been brought to gives you full access to all of VistaCam SD's settings and functions. Most of them won't be necessary for you -- you can do pretty much everything you want with your camera directly from the Vera Dashboard.
For now, let's continue the wireless setup by clicking on the "Network" link on the left of the page. You'll see a submenu come up, and the option for "Wireless Lan Settings." Choose this menu option as shown below:
Now check the "Using Wireless Lan" box and click "Submit." Then click the "Scan" button. A list of nearby Wi-Fi networks -- including yours, of course -- will appear in the upper right hand field as shown below:
Just as you'll often see more than one network on your smart phone when you try to use Wi-Fi away from your home, you might see more than one network appear when you're in your home. Sometimes your neighbors' Wi-Fi networks will show up too -- don't worry, you can protect your Wi-Fi network with a password, if you haven't done so already).
Your own home Wi-Fi network should appear on the list. When you first added Wi-Fi to your home, you gave your Wi-Fi network a unique name (ie: myhomenetwork, etc.), which in technical terms is called an SSID (Service Set Identifier). This lets your home Wi-Fi devices know to work only on your network, and not with another one that might be nearby. Select your network from the list by double-clicking on it. Your Wi-Fi network's name and security type should appear. in the appropriate fields.
Now all you have to do is enter your Wi-Fi network's secure password -- the one you assigned to your Wi-Fi router when you first set it up. When you have, click "Submit."
Now unplug your VistaCam's network cable and then also unplug its AC power adapter. Then plug the power adapter back in and let the camera go through it's boot up cycle, which takes about 2 minutes.
Your camera is now set up to work wirelessly -- you can use it anywhere in the house, and control it from anywhere with your Vera.
NOTE: If your Wi-Fi network's name and security type doesn't automatically fill in when you double click on it, you can enter the name in the SSID field and select and security type manually.
If You Have To Select Security Type Manually....
Continuing down the page, you'll see two dropdown menus. The first, for "Network Type," can be left in its default position. The next menu is for "Encryption" -- this is the security system and password that you're already using with your home Wi-Fi system.
NOTE: Any time you make a Wi-Fi network secure, you've applied a type of data encryption. This is why you need a Wi-Fi password when you use Wi-Fi around your house, whether you enjoy it through a PC, phone or a tablet. Different Wi-Fi routers offer different kinds of security encryption.
If your home Wi-Fi network is secure and needs a password, you'll need to tell VistaCam what kind of encryption to use in order to join it. If you don't remember which type of encryption (security) your Wi-Fi system uses, you can find the information you need in the setup software for your specific Wi-Fi router.
Select the type of Encryption (security) that you assigned to your Wi-Fi router as shown below:
NOTE: If you did not assign a security (encryption) system for your Wi-Fi network when you first set it up, you can leave this option as "None."
You're almost done! Now all you have to do is enter your password for your home Wi-Fi system, so that Vera can access and control your VistaCam through Wi-Fi. To finish your wireless camera setup, enter your Wi-Fi network's password in the "Share Key" field, and then click "Submit."
Now your VistaCam is set up to work wirelessly -- you can use it anywhere in the house, and control it from anywhere with your Vera.
Unplug the network cable between your VistaCam and your Wi-Fi router. Then unplug the power adapter on the camera. You can now locate the camera wherever you like in your home. When you've chosen a location, plug the power adapter back into the VistaCam and into an electrical outlet.
REMINDER -- this process of unplugging and re-plugging the power to your camera is necessary for wireless operation.
The camera will go through a boot up sequence that can take several minutes. When the boot is done, you can return to your Vera's Dashboard and see the VistaCam images by clicking "Devices" then "Cameras" as seen below:
Your VistaCam SD camera is now sending images wirelessly, which are viewable and controllable from your Vera system -- from anywhere.