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Netgear Arlo Review: Setting Up

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Netgear claims that setting up the Arlo is simple: connect the base station to the router, turn it on, sync the cameras, and run the Arlo app. That implies it uses DHCP, which is not so simple for my home. Due to security reasons, DHCP is disabled on my home router. Only static IP is allowed. Arlo's base station is unforgiving in this manner. If forces me to enable DHCP and fixing its IP using MAC address.

Although doable, it requires enabling DHCP. And on less sophisticated routers, it means you are opening the router up to the rest of the world. If my router does not allow DHCP restrictions, Netgear Arlo would be a no go for me and earn itself a return to the store.

After about an hour of messing with my routers' DHCP configuration (I have three routers in my home), I finally got a working set-up. It involves assigning the Arlo base station a static IP using its MAC address.

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Placement Limitations

Just because Arlo's HD security cameras are wireless, doesn't mean placing them is any easier than wired video camera. In fact, it can be just as hard or even harder in your situation. It's true, wireless cameras mean you don't have to drill holes and run wires everywhere. That part is definitely easier. But for wireless devices to work, there are strict placement requirements that you have to meet.

Arlo camera has to be within 300 feet from the base stations. Range could be shorter through metal and thick walls. This maximum distance is probably no problems for most home owners. But if you have a ranch or a huge plot of land, be ready to deal with this limitation.

What's more restricting for a typical home owner is that the Arlo camera should be at least ten feet from the base station. And each camera should be at least 6.5 feet away from each other. Because the base stations uses wired Ethernet, not WiFi, you can be even more restricted, unless your Internet router happens to be in the middle of your home.

But in my case, it turns out that camera placement is really easier than running wires. See the next "Installation" section for details.

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Installation

After making sure the system works on the "bench", I proceeded to install the three cameras around our home. It took me only two hours to get everything up and running, thanks to the wireless system.

I suspect if I have to run wires all over my house, it would take me days to plan, design, and implement. So the Netgear Arlo wins hands down if you are going to DIY and you need it done quickly.

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