Ubiquiti Micro HD Camera Tested

Author: Derek Ward, Published on Jul 13, 2015

With nearly $600 million in revenue, Ubiquiti has become a major force in wireless networking and a very common one for wireless video surveillance deployments.

Back in 2011, Ubiquiti came out with the industry's first $100 HD IP camera line, which was groundbreaking at that time (see IPVM's test results).

Now, Ubiquiti has released the HD Micro camera. We bought one, shown below:

Can Ubiquiti replicate what it did in wireless networking to video surveillance?

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Key ********

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Physical ********

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Limited *************

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Competitive ***********

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Comments (26)

Cool. Plus 100 on the cool tiny design. Minus 101 on not having Onvif conformance. Booo!

Not just lack of ONVIF - even the inability to stream RTSP direct from the camera probably makes it a non-starter for 99% of jobs. I mean, sure, I guess I could run their NVR software on the same Vigil NVR, and get a stream from that, but... even if it is reliable, it's a pretty goofy way to do things.

I purchased a couple of these to test when they first started shipping. Another thing I found troubling was the streaming performance in a real world situation. I was testing in my kitchen and had my Ubiquiti Unify Access Point in my attic about 30' away. So the video stream had to uplink to the AP and then wireless back to the laptop I was running their NVR software on. The latency was terrible. Wondered if you encountered anything similar in your tests?

One other thing: The camera specs list a built in mic and "audio support", however it's one way only. There is no ability to add a speaker and have 2 way audio.

I'm also trying to figure out the market for this camera. It only has a 110 ac plug in at the camera, so if there's not an outlet within about 20' of the intended location, you would have to string an extension cord I guess. Also the innovative magnetic mount is quite impressive from a technical point of view, but it also renders the camera extremely unstable for having the body bumped, rotated or even removed. I found no way to "lock it down".

Hey John, two way audio support was lacking when the camera first came out. There are discussions on their support forum about this. On ours, using 3.1.0.36 firmware, it worked. I wouldn't say it's blaringly loud, but it works.

I agree that there is no way to "lock it down", it is relatively easy to move out of place on the magnetic base.

Overall, the whole camera is more cool than practical.

We didn't notice latency any higher than other cameras in the test, no. I'd say it was average. Maybe this (like the two-way audio issue) was improved in firmware?

I bought and tested their first $100 camera way back when. While it performed okay, it was just okay, and I couldn't get it to connect to any VMS, and in fact they only recommended using MJPEG at the time for any RTSP streaming.

While I like the disruptive intentions of Ubiquiti, and some of the innovations in their mechanical designs, so far they've still left me wanting, and I feel like they're not taking the integration needs of this industry very seriously.

"I feel like they're not taking the integration needs of this industry very seriously."

My understanding is that, from their perspective, that is a design feature, not a bug. It's basically all UBNT or NADA. I think there is going to be a lot of nadas, but perhaps Ubiquiti can build a significant enough business for their desires from their core wireless customer base, which is substantial. That said, the approach undoubtedly blocks them from a far larger market segment.

I concur, I wasn't attempting to paint it as a bug.

But from my experience, putting basic and verified ONVIF functionality isn't that big of an R&D investment, and opens it up to a much bigger market.

From an IT perspective, if they have penetration into an end-user's wireless hardware, and they ALSO have a video surveillance camera line that will work with most industry NVR/VMS systems, that goes a LONG way toward force multiplying their offering.

You're preaching to the choir here.

To me, not having ONVIF is definitely a bug.

I am just saying to them, it's by design. Maybe they think they will generate increased total profits that way or they just want everything end to end or they are concerned about increasing their support costs (ok, the last one is joke :).

While I am a huge fan of UBNT networking equipment, at the same time, I am trying to find a purpose for their cameras. I just don't get it.

Saw it at ISCWest, really liked the design. At the time I thought it could be really interesting for a very discreet (but not "covert") indoor residential, or small business camera. However the lack of even RTSP streaming, is a complete deal breaker.

Ubiquity is a strange company. They have these really compelling and high performing wireless products that are very impressive and at great price points. Their routers are also very good as well...

But then they do these strange products like a line of flashy android business phones systems with no obvious service providers to enable them, strange power control / home automation-ish products that don't operate with zwave standards. Now they make this interesting little camera that deliberately excludes 99% of their potential market.

Oh well. As long as they keep making good / cheap wireless products and routers, people will buy them, and I guess they can afford to fund their strange oddball skunkwork projects.

Totally agree. I want to say I learned of this company back in 2011 from this very web site. http://ipvm.com/updates/1076

Totally shifted my wireless offerings to their product. Never forget I replaced a custom wireless bridge that cost about $3000 for 2 of their Nano M5's at $85 each. They streamed (5) 3mpxl cameras flawlessly over a 1.5 mile link.

They went public that fall and I began following the stock go from an IPO price of 17 to about 34 in just a few months. Then came the counterfeiting scandal and it got rocked all the way down to 8 the following summer. I jumped in on the way down and average in about 14. Well it took a year but they fixed that problem, the CEO bought the Memphis Grizzilies, and the stock went to 56. Now, they introduced all of these new products, foreign growth/currency issues has slowed while US is growing and the stock has been stuck at 30+ for about a year. I'm betting we see a breakout 2nd half of this year.

Was very excited about the android VOIP phone, but after announcement, nothing. Same with the Surveillance line. As price disruptive as they are in wireless and routers, they just aren't that special both price and feature wise.

You wanna talk "strange", let's talk about 24V proprietary PoE. We have a customer who's been using Ubiquiti APs in their stores, and they can't be used on existing standard PoE switches; you have to use their included 24V injector. On some sites, the APs are going straight into their ToughSwitch, which does have the option to use 24V rather than 44V on selected ports... but then that leaves this nice PoE injector that's completely useless for anything else. And don't even get me started on the fact the APs don't support endpoint power - nooooo, midspan only means in a pinch, I can't use the extra pairs from a nearby camera run.

You have to remember that their founder and CEO, Robert Pera, cut his teeth at Apple where he worked on their wireless products. He saw the value of proprietary interfaces to differentiate and somewhat de-commoditize your product line. That toughswitch 8 port allows for both 48 and 24v and is a very impressive piece of hardware. Very much lives up to it's name. Heavy with rubber bumper edges and a very cool interface. I wish the 5 port offered 48v POE as well. Would be great for remote camera locations.

It is a nice unit, and handy to also allow you to put the APs on their own VLAN... still, having the AP only work on non-standard power is a really silly thing.

They make a $20 little dongle that enables it to work with conventional .af PoE. Basically conventional PoE plugs into one end of the dongle, and the access point plugs into the other and the voltage is converted appropriately.

I know, it's stupid to require that, but there is a solution if it's needed. Even with the additional $20, it's a really compelling price point for a really high performance backhaul radio or AP system.

Those adaptors work well but they don't work with all UBNT APs. I tried them with the Nanobeams and they didn't work. We have had luck with then with EOC coax adapters with poe output to power UBNT Rockets.

No Video sample from the camera?

beside the picture

Most new UBNT gear works on a narrow voltage range around 24V,

you CAN NOT use EITHER a 12 or 24V PV/Battery supply. MikroTik wireless gear works from 8-30V or 8-57V .. so do not require the expensive, exposed to transients and unreliable grid deployment at each POP to function essential for wide deployment of Reliable networks.

UBNT was one of my main competitors when I was at FluidMesh. After replacing enough failed UBNT networks to make a respectable income, it's hard for me to see them as anything else other than an advanced consumer grade product.

Looking at this now, it's still surprising that no ONVIF option is offered. I saw my first Engenius camera installation the other day at my daughter's school. They have mostly analog cameras, but this is new. Threaded rod isn't too stable for a camera. I looked upt the specs and while they offer their camera software, the cameras are listed as ONVIF compatible. They seem to run in the same price range as Ubiquiti, but don't look as nice.

https://www.engeniustech.com/products/networked-surveillance-cameras/bullet/eds5250.html

https://www.dropbox.com/s/kflzygmsifzwzb9/2016-09-27%2020.19.49.jpg?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/r9poxkfl64y46yk/2016-09-27%2020.19.33.jpg?dl=0

They changed their ways a few months ago:

Ubiquiti Open IP Cameras Tested

I remember reading that article. However, that is just re-enabling RTSP which they used to have and then took away and then enabled it again. To my knowledge as well as searching the UBNT forums, ONVIF has never been and is still not supported.

Kyle, agreed, no ONVIF support for Ubiquiti.

Yes, you are right, sorry to mislead you.

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