NETGEAR arlo Home Security System
A new home security system from NETGEAR.
If home is a person’s castle, then it’s the one place we should feel the safest, right? Yet, in today’s society the news is filled with home invasions, burglaries, and kidnappings. So we must take steps to protect ourselves, our homes, and our possessions.
No, you can’t put a price on safety, but we all have our limits. With the emergence of new technology, we’re now able to install and monitor our homes with DIY in-home security systems like the “arlo” Home Security System from NETGEAR.
The new internet systems use a camera or multiple cameras to provide multiple views of the areas you want to keep an eye on, almost like a video baby monitor without the sound. This is a good time to mention most of these systems are video only.
When we saw the new NETGEAR Home Security System known as “arlo”, we were eager to test it out. Its a wireless system that claims to have a 300-foot range under ideal conditions. Our system came with two cameras, but will support up to fifteen different battery operated cameras that are designed for indoor or outdoor use. You can view up to four cameras at one time.
With up to four cameras, there can be a camera somewhere on the back of the house, one out in front of the house, maybe one in the garage, and even one in the living room or den to keep an eye on those mischievous teenagers or pets at night. Finally, a device that answers questions like: who ate the last cookie or how did the books get knocked off the table?
The “arlo” system comes complete in one heavy duty package that can keep a child busy for sometime trying to get it open, or even testing the frustration levels of an adult. Of course the industrial strength packaging keeps the cameras safe, especially when shipped. The kit also includes wall mounts that allow the magnetic cameras to be mounted in a variety of angles, and of course it comes with batteries. Eight batteries to be exact, as each camera takes four of the ‘123 type’ of batteries which looks like a AA cut in half. If your use of the “arlo’ system is critical, or you just don’t like to spend money on things that don’t work, be sure to stock up on these may-be-hard-to-find-at-the –corner-store batteries. The base station looks remarkably like a wireless router, well, because it almost is, and there is an ethernet cord supplied to connect with an open port on your existing router.
Once the base station is connected to the router, the power cord attached, there is an on/off button that starts the final process. It is at this point that old school panic set in, while looking for the software CD that could not be found in any of the boxes. Step 1 of the quick start guide, before connecting the base or even putting the batteries in the cameras as we have done here – download the app, which works on Apple products or the Android system. Duh! (This may fall under the heading of men failing to read directions)
The app downloads quickly and goes through the ‘new system’ creation process easily, including the online account registration. Now that we are back at the correct step in the setup process, the two cameras are identified by the base, and the next step is to sync it all together. This critical step is accomplished by the only other button on the base station, a sync button on the side. Once this process is finished, opening the app will start the primary camera, and the app will also offer to open the second camera with a split screen setup that is pretty cool.
The app on a smart phone or computer serves as the master controls for the entire system which includes access to the library where the recorded videos are stored. There is a variety of settings that will make finding those videos possible once the system has been in place for a while. There is also a setting that will allow for the oldest files to be overwritten by new files if the system is full. We liked that it is a real first in first out system that always has the latest on hand. Good news for simple use that makes watching your security videos about as easy as watching YouTube.
The settings section of the app will also let you set different parameters on when the videos are triggered at a specific date, specific time, or even triggered just by motion sensors in the camera. The quality of the video is also variable which can affect the battery life of the cameras, with several settings designed to optimize battery life.
The setup instructions for the NETGEAR “arlo” Home Security System are clearly written and pretty straightforward, which is particularly useful if they are actually read before starting. The app loads quickly on the test iPhone. The hardware feels solid with the magnetic camera mounts sticking well, and the 720p video will match a lot of standard television sets and smart phones. The concept of plug and play often requires a little more than just that, maybe with a CD to load followed by an online software update that seems to take forever, followed by more ‘stuff’. Our experience with the NETGEAR “arlo” setup is truly: plug in the internet, plug in the power, sync it all up and start…once the app is loaded….in step 1…not step 3 of 5.
‘arlo’ is on the job!
Accessing the security system with the app is accomplished via WiFi, with our test including a check-in via internet almost 900 miles away from the base station that was as quick and easy as being in the same room. If only all computer hardware could be this easy.