ONVIF Wire Free Camera Tested (Netgear FlexPower)

By John Scanlan, Published Oct 31, 2017, 10:14am EDT

Totally wire-free cameras are a hot growth market.

But they have had one major problem: Proprietary.

IPVM has tested Netgear's Arlo and Arlo Go, Blink/Blink XT, and EZVIZ's Mini Trooper, none of which work with VMS systems.

There is clearly a need for an open wire free camera that can work with one's choice of VMS or NVR.

Netgear's new FlexPower aims to solve this, with an ONVIF conformant wire free camera system. We bought one and tested it.

Inside the report, we share our results on:

  • How well or poorly VMS integration with Avigilon, Exacq, Genetec, Milestone and NxWitness
  • How motion detection performed and what issued it had
  • Setup / Installation
  • Image Quality vs commonplace IP Cameras
  • Battery life / consumption
  • Cybersecurity issue

Below is a sample image from the test:

*******

*** ******* ********* ****** aims **** *** ****** on **** *** ***** in *** ****:

  • ***** ******* ***** *******:******** ** ******* ** cameras *****, *** ********* camera ** ***** *******, with **** **** **********, soft ******, *** **** IR ************.
  • ***** ******* **** ** high ******: **** ***** ********* ** scenes **** **** **** a *** ****** ****** per ***, ***** ****** expect ** ***** *** camera *** ***** ** plug-in *******, ** ******* life *** **** ** our *****, ******* **** ~2 **** ** ** indoor ******.
  • **** *** ***********:********* *** *** ******* camera **** *** ****** and ** ***** ******, only ********* ******** ********** properly ***** ****** **** VMD, **** ****** ******* event **********, ********** ** sensitivity ********.
  • *******, ***** ****** ******* password ** **** *****, which ** * ******** risk, ********* ******.

*******, *** ***** ******* for * ******** ****** for *** ** **** active ************, ********* ** not ***********, ** ***-**** cube, ****, ** ****** cameras *** ********* *** a ***** ***** *** camera, *** **** **** direct ****** *******, ****** side *** ***********, ***.

*******

*** ********* **** ******* sells ***$** *** ******, ***** *********** ****** ** $***.

****, **** *********, ** well ** ******* **********, list *** ********* ****** as ***-*****. *******, ** were **** ** ******** one ******* ***** *** received ** ** *-* days.

Physical ********

*** ***** ***** ******** a ******** ******** ** the ******* ********* ****** and ********* *******. ***** familiar **** **** **** see **** ************ ** the ********* ******, ** the ****** ** ****** identical ** *** **** Pro, *** **** ******* similar.

FlexPower *** *********** ********

** ***** ** ******** ONVIF *********** **** *****, the **** ******* ******* a ****** ***** ** VMSes **** ** ****** is ******** ** *** camera, ******* * ******** of *** **** ****** event *** ******* ******* and ****** ******. **** ******, video ****** ********* **** in * ******** ** a ******. ***** *** also **** *** *** action, *.*., *** ****, tilt, **** **, ***., to ******** ******* **** streaming. 

** **** *** *** FlexPower ****** ***** ** Milestone ******** ** **** video:

Base ******* *** ****** ** ********* ********

********* ******* *** ******** ** addresses **********, ********* ***** to ******* ** **** devices ** *** * fully ****** ****** (**** cameras). *** **** **** uses * ***** ** address *** *** *** interface, *** **** ******* is *** **** *** adding ** *****.

Hard ***** ****** *********

********* ****** *********** ****** be *******, ********** ** admin/password, ******* **** ****** with ** ***** ****** on *** ******* *** view *** *******' ******* knowing **** *****/********. **** that ***** *********** *** ******** from *** *** ********* of *** **** ****, which **** ******** ** admin/password, *** *** ** changed. ************, ***** *********** are *********** **** *** live **** ****, **** camera ************* ********* **** the **** *******'* *** interface.

ONVIF *** *********** ***********

** *** *****, *** FlexPower ****** ********* ** most ***** ****** ******* issue (*****, *******, *********, NxWitness), **** **** ******** Control ****** ******* ** connect, ****** ****** ***.

*******, ***** ***** ****** connected ** ******** *****, recording ** ********** **** unless ****** **** ****** detection ** ****, ******* FlexPower lacks ****** **** ****** events. ****** **** ****** detection *** ** ****, but *********** *** ******, discussed *****.

VMS ****** ********* ******

*** ** *** **** of ****** **** ******, we ********* ** ********* server **** ****** ** Genetec, *********, *** *********, with ***** *******.

  • ********* ********:******** ********* ****, **** motion ******** ********** **** the ****** ******* **** its **** ***** (***** armed / ******* ******) to **** **** ******, and ********** ** ****** as **** ** ****** was ****** ** **** cases:

  • ******* *** ************* **** **********, **** motion ********* ****** *** triggering **** *** ****** began *********, ********** ** sensitivity ********.

Battery ****

****** *** *****, ******* life lasted **** ***** *** days ** * **** office ***********, **** ~***-*** motion *********** ****** **** time. ******* ********** *** camera ** **** ** battery **** ** ** a *** ******** ********, and ***** ******* ** optional ***** ***** **** otherwise.

Image ******* ***********

******* ****** *** ********* camera *** * ***° lens, *** ** *** testing, *** ****** ***** of **** *** ******** narrower **** * ***° model ******:

******* ** ****, *** its *** ******* **** *********** **********, ***** ******* is ******* ***** **** typical ***** ******* *** commonplace.

** **** *****, *** ********* camera ******** ***** ******* of *** ******* *** to *** ***** **********, but **** ********** *********** the ******* *** **** chart, **** **** ******** in ******.

** **** ******** ** a **** *****, *** FlexPower ****** ***** ***** softness, *** ******** ****** details ******* ******** ** the ***** ******, ***** overexposes *** *******/*****.

*******, ** **', *** specified ** *****, *** FlexPower ******'* ** ************ is ****, ******* **** dim ****** ** *** subject, *** ** *******. By ********, *** ****** camera ***** **** ****** detail ** *** ******* and ***** ******* ***** of *** *****.

Test **********

*** ********* ******** ******** were **** *** **** test:

  • ******* ********* ****: *.*.*
  • ******* ********* ******: *.***.*.*******

Comments (13)

I have seen VMS' that can take a live feed from a cellphone (not sure if it is through an app or a raw feed) and incorporate that in (display the feed in a control room, record the feed, etc.) so Ops staff can see what an officer is seeing in the field.  Could this Flexpower unit be used in that scenario?  Taking into account that it would be used within the WiFi coverage of a facility. 

Basically have it off the majority of the time, but close at hand to grab and take on a call in case you need to fire it up and feed the images back to control where it would not only display but record?  I know it is not made for that at all, but would that work?

Could this Flexpower unit be used in that scenario? Taking into account that it would be used within the WiFi coverage of a facility.

Problem is that the camera normally talks to its own semi-proprietary base, which does the actual streaming...  

Right, but that is not limited by distance is it?  As long as it is within the network it should be OK.  Or does it talk directly to the base not via the WiFi network?  

They communicate directly with the base. It's not wifi, it's a proprietary 2.4 GHz network.

Thanks Ethan.  In that case.....  Blah.  No thanks.

I kind of like the idea of using this for response to a scene.  The problem is making it handle the Wi-Fi handoff from access point to access point while an route.  Something tells me that would be a problem. 

In NxWitness you probably need to go to expert tab of the camera and enable MD regardless of the resolution( by default it won't work if camera does not provide secondary stream of small image size).  

It sounds like this thing is just a firmware upgrade to Arlo Pro for ONVIF...

Are there any other real differences between the two? 

The base needs to connect to VMS via usb cord. Can be difficult if range of camera to base is restricted for signal strength to hard wire to VMS. So far this is the only camera I have found that advertises Onvif compatible to work with VMS's. I have a few clients that this would be very handy. Could one assume this technology will increase in availability and quality in near future?

The base needs to connect to VMS via usb cord.

The base does not connect to the VMS via USB.  In our test the base was connected over the network via a patch cable.  We also talked to tech support about the USB ports, they stated they are for power only.

Could one assume this technology will increase in availability and quality in near future?

Which technology exactly, USB to VMS connectivity or ONVIF on DIY camera?

If it’s the former, look at Milestone.

I would expect that this is not the last ONVIF wire free camera we'll see in the next year. I think the technology is improving, but I think this is held back by trying to share some components with the DIY side. These could be $300-400, larger, with a bigger battery, and 1080p, etc., addressing a lot of the weaknesses we saw, and users would be more likely to move towards this sort of gear.

Well that just shows that Netgear tech support cant even provide me the correct info. It took me 5 reps and over an hour to finally get one guy to tell me the only connection to a Onvif VMS is the USB port.

Should stick to IPMV for all my tech support questions....Netgear is not impressive at all. Thanks John...that makes more sense of how it connects.

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