EnGenius EL-EWS1025CAM review

A clever hybrid IP camera that combines video surveillance with a wireless AP and support for EnGenius’ Neutron WLAN meshing

Editor's Choice
Price
£285
  • Simple setup and management; Incredibly flexible; Great image quality
  • Some Live View functions only work in Internet Explorer

EnGenius adds a new dimension to video surveillance as its EL-EWS1025CAM teams up a 2-megapixel IP camera with an integral dual-band 11n/ac wireless access point (AP). There's more, too: it can function as a standalone unit or integrate with EnGenius' Neutron WLAN management switches and join a wireless mesh network.

This ceiling-mounted camera has impressive credentials - along with a wide 120-degree diagonal FOV, the lens is encircled by 24 IR emitters for night-time operations. It has an integral mic, the Gigabit port is PoE-enabled and EnGenius also provides an external power adapter.

The kit includes a circular plastic mounting bracket and a set of clips for hanging it from the T-rails of a suspended ceiling. The lens position can be easily adjusted using its friction joints and behind the rubber cover on the side are a MicroSD card slot and reset button.

The camera is easy to deploy and on first contact, its tidy web interface sensibly advised us to change the default admin password. The Live View offers two streams using H.264 or MJPEG at up to 30fps. The first supports 1920 x 1080 while the second only goes up to 640 x 360 for mobile viewers.

The Live View image quality is excellent at the top resolution, with a sharp focus, good colour balance and smoothly conveyed motion via an H.264 feed. Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome had no problems showing the Live View, although we noted that the snapshot, full screen view, recording and audio mute buttons to the side only worked with IE11.

The camera uses a single web console for video and wireless management and provides eight SSIDs each for the 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios. All the expected security options are present and correct, plus you can assign one isolated guest network to each radio with its own DHCP server.

We used the scheduler to control availability of individual SSIDs, allowing us to turn them off outside normal working hours and on weekends. Monitoring options include lists of associated wireless clients and real-time graphs showing traffic for each radio plus system CPU load.

The EnGenius Video Management Software (VMS) provides a video wall for up to 16 IP camera feeds. The camera slotted in neatly with VMS allowing us to place it on an e-map, create recording schedules and motion detection events, store its feed on network storage and browse the recording vault.

To test the camera's efficacy with the Neutron solution we used an EnGenius EWS5912FP PoE WLAN management switch and threw in a couple of EWS360AP wireless APs for good measure. The switch has a dual-role web console providing access to the switch itself and the WLAN controller portion.

Adding the APs and camera was simple, and after they had been auto-detected by the switch, we assigned them to an AP Group containing all our wireless and security settings. We could enabled both radios, enforce security for all 16 SSIDs, broadcast them, enable or disable client isolation, create wireless VLANs and enforce upload and download traffic shaping limits.

With meshing in action, new APs don't need to be wired to the network as they'll link up wirelessly with the nearest AP and grab their settings from the switch. We tested roaming by unplugging an AP and watched connected clients transparently move over to the next available one.

The camera's video functions can still be accessed directly from its local web console so there's no change here. To simplify management further, we moved over to the VMS app loaded on a Windows 10 desktop and monitored and recorded its feed from here.

Priced right for SMBs, the EnGenius EL-EWS1025CAM is a great idea for adding surveillance and wireless access at the same location. As a standalone device it has a lot to offer but support for the EnGenius Neutron WLAN management solution probably makes it the most versatile IP camera we've seen.

This review originally appeared in PC Pro issue 276.

Verdict

Priced right for SMBs, the EnGenius EL-EWS1025CAM is a great idea for adding surveillance and wireless access at the same location. As a standalone device it has a lot to offer but support for the EnGenius Neutron WLAN management solution probably makes it the most versatile IP camera we've seen.

1/2.9in. Sony RGB CMOS 2.8mm/F2.0 lens 1080p max res 30fps MJPEG/H.264 Gigabit PoE 2.4/5GHz 11/n/ac wireless AP 24 x IR LEDs Internal mic MicroSD/SDXC card slot External PSU EnGenius Video Management software 134 x 134 x 97mm (WDH) 1yr standard warranty. Options: EWS5912FP 8-port Neutron switch, £273 ex VAT

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