Is Anyone Still Using Axis 2100 In Production?

The Axis 2100 is an ancient / historic IP camera.

However, we were surprised when someone asked us for help supporting / troubleshooting one this week, simply because of its age. Here's the product's press release from 1999.

And here is an image from an interesting review from 2000:

The 2100 is a VGA, 10fps max, MJPEG only, fixed focal camera that sold for $499 MSRP years ago.

So - does anyone have any of these running on their production systems?

Lol. I bought two of these around 2002 or so, online, because I was fed up with the junky Swann/Q-see analog product at Fry's. I don't know where I heard about Axis, but once I heard about IP cameras, I was sold on the idea.

Now this was in the dark times, years before IPVM, so I made a lot of mistakes. I almost returned the 2100's after realizing they didn't have audio built-in. One of them died within 5 years, but the other was working up until 3 months or so ago.

Notable was the 'remote focus' light that it has where it would tell you when it was in focus by blinking. It had been demoted from 'garage door camera' to close-up 'kitty flap camera', but it still worked.

One strange thing about both of them was that they would sometimes get into this white balance cycle where they would go from one extreme of color/brightness all the way to the other, changing on every frame. I had to put them on a fixed setting, indoor flourescent, to avoid this from happening.

Finally the last 2100 went black, no picture. I gutted it and kept only the silver cs-mount ring.

We removed four of these about two years ago. They were workhorses! We also had a couple 2120’s running until a couple years ago. They were ALL installed in our IT rooms and server rooms. They did not care about the bandwidth because THEY were using them. Once we moved them all to our VMS they started to care….. So we updated!

I bought one off ebay 5 years ago for $10. It worked like new, but even then, the camera built into my phone spanked it in every way.

The camera housing was made of cast aluminum and needed that heavy duty mounting bracket to support the weight. The MAC address label was paper or glued on fabric, and on the unit I bought it was missing, but I remember that Axis 'IP Utility' (later replaced by Axis Camera Management) autodiscovered the camera with no trouble just like current models.

We had a small 'museum' full of old and terribly abused cameras uninstalled in the field. That Axis camera was stuck on the shelf with the rest of the dinosaurs.

The camera housing was made of cast aluminum and needed that heavy duty mounting bracket to support the weight...

Are you talking about an outdoor enclosure for the 2100 or the camera itself? Mine was made out of the cheapest, lightest two-part injection molded clamshell of its day...

It "punched it's weight" at least. ;)

I am guessing you either have a counterfeit or a factory refurbished one. Mine seem like they are made to survive a nuclear blast!

Oh yeah, these are for sure internal use only. Not talking about specail housing. You sure it is a 2100 or 2120?

I am guessing you either have a counterfeit or a factory refurbished one.

And I'm guessing you might have been a contestant on 'Pimp my Webcam'. ;)

Just tried to add a HUGE picture of the 2120 let me dial it down a bit.

For sure meant the 200+ then and I am stealing the pimp my webcam idea!

Specs say the 2120 is only .55 pounds, but no way it's only that. I would guess 1.5 or even 2, but who am I to argue with specs!

In retrospect, the unit I had may have been (the older) Axis 200+. I am positive the enclosure was aluminum, not poly.

You, sir had a priceless Axis Rookie Card. Mine was but a shadowy reflection...

The AXIS 200+ Web Camera is the world’s first self-contained Web server and network camera. It includes everything you need to capture live images and deliver them to any desktop over intranets, the Internet, or mixed network environments. Just install the camera directly to your Ethernet network, ISDN line, or phone line via dedicated or wireless modem and you’ll be ready to view images via a standard Web browser in no time. It’s the easy way to enhance your remote monitoring systems and increase the value of your network.

Ah, simpler times for sure, when the coax flowed freely between the mountains of fat margins and high markup...

I am going to have to put mine up for bid! As soon as I find them that is......

I could only dig up a 2120 from my junk drawer and it is like a boat anchor. I am thinking the 200+ was the one tha also weighed a ton and not the 2000. Maybe?

We have a customer that at last check still had 2-3 in the field out of their 300+ cameras

Sean, thanks!

So is the rationale basically, "If it's not broke, don't fix it." ?

I would think they would get significantly better image quality from even a new low-end Axis model.

In this case, individual departments of the organization are responsible for paying for their cameras. One department doesnt want to pay for upgrades I guess.

if it ain't broke I assume it's online and available for the next network adversary to go after.

Ok, then what member has the oldest network camera in service of ANY model?

Man, when this camera first came out, I was just begining to convince customers to swap out their dead VCRs for DVRs.

No 2100s. Across 1500 channels for a customer I manage I have seen two 2110s which are from about the same time frame. I have also seen a ton of Axis encoders (2400/2400+/2401) from the same era in the field that are still functional... or at least most ports are. Quite impressive when you realize the age of these things and the horribly dusty/dirty locations they are installed in. It is sad when the license for a VMS channel costs more than the camera is worth on eBay.

Just read that the 2100 was POE! And I never knew.

When I bought mine, I didn't have a powered switch, or even knew what POE was, and so I just used the included adapter and ran a separate line.

Years later I got a 802.3 switch, because I had just purchased some new POE cameras. I'm sure I didn't even consider the possibility that the old 'Model A' could use it. So I naturally connected it to one of the non-powered ports. But it would have been nice to get rid that adapter and black power cable.

It must have been tough on the poor 2100, being on the same switch as all those new models broadcasting their fancy new protocols and CODECS, while at the same time thinking to himself "Why don't they just plug me in on the powered side? I would show them what I can do."

It’s exciting to hear there are still users of our 2100 camera! Given the interest in this article, I hope you don’t mind me sharing the history behind the product. As it turned out, the AXIS 2100 network camera completely changed the video surveillance industry and many of the key innovations we made are still valid in today’s industry.

In 1996 we launched the world’s first network camera, the AXIS Neteye 200. As a print server company at the time, we attached anything to the networks, including printers and networked based optical storage. It was only natural then to call our first network camera a “camera server.” We did the Neteye camera because we knew how to do it, rather than understanding the market. This was an era of thin servers, thin computing, very much like today’s Internet of things. We sold the Neteye to “spiff up your website” or use as a “remote monitoring solution for professionals” (nicknamed lite-surveillance). The product had inferior performance with about one QCIF image/s or one CIF image every 17 seconds in order to work in CCTV applications. Nevertheless, it found applications in airports and even oil and gas!

I had a deal with management: If we could sell more than 10 K units of the original Neteye we would create an independent camera business unit. We did, and I got my camera business unit. Now was the time to make it professional, so we invested nearly all of the company’s earnings into making the first generation of our ARTPEC chip in order to reach 30 fps performance.

We also had innovative engineers who skunk worked so that the camera could run embedded Linux rather than our proprietary OS that was running in our print and storage servers (as well as the first Neteye). Fortunately our group had a lot of independence so we could ignore the nay-sayers and started shipping the 2100 with a severely handicapped version of Linux (for the techies, we had no MMU). But it worked! The combination of our first ARTPEC chip, Linux, the openness of the camera and our wide array of resellers made it an enormous success. It was by far the world’s most popular network camera for 6 years. We were forced to end production of it in 2006 as several components were no longer available, otherwise we could had sold it for 1-2 more years. Other pioneering things were the embedded flash file system (JFFS) which we open sourced and on which almost all network cameras are based upon.

Here is a TV commercial for the 2100 by our partner where it was sold as part of a pre-AVHS cloud system:

/ Martin Gren, co-founder of Axis

Thanks for posting, Martin!

Is there any truth to the story that the idea for IP cameras came from a manager who had a problem with food disappearing from the break room, so he connected a webcam to a print server to keep an eye on things?

I'm sorry to say, this is not the real story. But it was an application for early units!

The real story is that I had at the time launched an optical storage product. I was on a product introduction tour around the world, New York, Boston, San Francisco, Simi Valley, Hawaii and Australia (vacation) and Japan. While in Japan, one customer asks "why do you attach storage, I have a lot of unsellable analog cameras, you guys network attach anything. That would sell my cameras!". Cool idea which I forgot while on the train to the next meeting.

At Axis at the time our mission was "we make your network smarter" and as I mentioned it was a time of what today is called internet of things (I can show the white papers from the time and you will understand). We called it thinserver, just Google! Funny that a 20 year old technology trend is back.

Anyway, under this framework one of our engineers, mr Cacke Alm, had developed a network based video conference system through students. When I get back I see this and tell him "cool idea, but Axis business model can't sell video conference systems. But it is a good idea and if we make it into a network camera, I already have a customer in Japan (who never bought it to my knowledge). So we set up a business unit, hired a bunch of people and a year later the neteye was born!

/ Martin

I already have a customer in Japan (who never bought it to my knowledge).

Canon? ;)

Hey John, knowing the co-founder of Axis posts and reads on IPVM must make you proud of the impact you have on the industry! Congrats!

We have an Axis 221 that was part of the system we took over. It is still installed and working with Spectrum. When I popped open the enclosure to clean and reposition it, I was surprised by what I saw and that it was still working. It will most likely get changed in the near future for a higher resolution camera.