Baby Monitors – The Geek Way

So you’ve got a baby and you’ve probably got some sort of baby monitor right? It’s probably a boring audio only, plays one lullaby type? Here’s how the geeks do it:

The Problem

A lot of baby monitor on the market these days are using the 2.4GHz or 5.6Ghz unlicensed spectrum. What’s that you say? Well think of it this way, all wireless devices (including your mobile phone, free-to-air television, radio, 2-way radio etc…) use the same kind of technology: radio waves. The government leases the different frequencies to different groups based on what they want to use it for and how much money they pay.

That leaves the rest of us with our Cordless Phones, Home WiFi, Wireless Doorbells and you guessed it, Baby Monitors, with a small range of frequencies to use that don’t require a license. This means that many devices you buy are competing for the airwaves.

Many devices are now digital, so you won’t actually get much audible interference… perhaps the odd drop out or two, but you may notice that while using your microwave oven (this actually sends out static in the 2.4GHz range), talking on your cordless phone or listening in on your baby monitor etc… Things like your WiFi might slow down.

The Solution

So we want something like that fancy baby monitor that can send a picture to your TV, but not have it cause drop outs on your phone or slow your internet.

This is where WiFi enabled webcams come into play. These devices join your home WiFi network (just like your iPad or laptop) and you can connect to them using any web browser. This allows you to pull up a video stream of your baby’s nursery when ever and where ever you want.

Most devices come with software that allow you to connect via an iPhone or Android app, letting you tune in when you’re out. Great for checking up that your kids aren’t running amok when being babysat by the grandparents!

If you spend a little more, you can get versions that have powerful infra-red sensors letting you see the room while it’s in complete darkness. You can even get models that allow you to zoom and pan around the room.

The great thing is, these cameras aren’t any more expensive (sometimes a lot cheaper) than the standard video monitors you’re likely to find in a baby shop.