Thursday, November 12, 2009
The War of the Clones
Posted by Bubbah
I was expecting to see their name on it, but instead it's actually a label we could already see on the non-Foscam clones:
VIA networking as established in a earlier post by Josef)
The MAC address: the first part of it identifies the Ethernet controller manufacturer (00606E is for the Davicom).
So, this is official: I'll just stop trying to distinguish them visually at all for now on ! It appears to be a waste of time!
But why is it important to distinguish a Foscam from another clone anyway ?
Well, first of all, to avoid bricking your camera if it's from another manufacturer.
I initially didn't look for a particular 'brand' of ip camera, just the cheapest, and it occurred that I received a Foscam in the first place.
Over time, I found convenient to keep that one brand for the following reasons:
- Their customer support actually replies to questions, and takes suggestions into account (I could verify this with several improvements added in the newer firmwares)
- They provide improvements through firmware updates on a regular basis (3 updates since June 2009...yes, by the way, there's a new one, read on)
- It is simpler to keep all the cameras under the same firmware line.
All these are added values to such a cheap product and good reasons for me to stick with this brand.
So if you happen to have an IP camera that looks like a Foscam FI8908W, the hardware won't make the difference, but upgrade availability and customer support will.
On to the treat:
Foscam just sent me their latest firmware update 188.8.131.52 for FI8908W.
It is said to contains some minor updates and some much bug fixes. There is no new WebUI. It is still the same that came with 184.108.40.206
For some unclear reason, I bricked my older IP camera with this one but Foscam re-tested the same firmware file on a FI8908W and confirmed that it works. My second camera updated fine, so this update seems to be as safe as the previous ones.
It is still quite new (received yesterday), so I don't know yet what are the exact improvements, but I can already say it's not in the area of uPnP that remains as useless as before.
I do not see anything new on the interface which is logical since there the WebUI file hasn't changed.
As always, make sure that your ip camera is compatible with Foscam firmwares and in doubt, ask the reseller to confirm the origin of the device.
For instance, New Star and MayGion are legal manufacturers of clones with different software and should be contacted respectively for firmware updates and feature requests.