The Axis 2100 Network Camera

Jason reviews the Axis camera. It has a built in web server and runs Linux.

The Good, The Bad

  • Manufacturer: Axis Communications

  • E-mail:

  • Price: $499

  • Reviewer: Jason Schumaker

Axis Communications sent Linux Journal one of their 2100 network cameras for review. I was lucky enough to spend a week playing with the thing, and I am very impressed. The camera is running Linux (version 2.0.33) and is powered by Axis' own chip—the Etrax-100.

The Camera

Axis bills the 2100 as a “plug and watch digital camera with direct network attach”. Accurate enough. It truly does have an “appliance” feel. A PC is not needed—the camera operates stand-alone, requiring only a LAN or modem connection. It has a built-in web server, which allows you to view images through a browser and throw those images directly out on the Internet (or not). So, you can interact with friends, jazz up your web page, create small movies, monitor your home/office or, ahem, start a business.

The camera weighs, excluding mini-tripod and power supply, a mere half of a pound. There is a feeling of fragility to the thing—one of the few “bad things” about the camera (see Sidebar). Axis does have an industrial strength camera in the works, but no release date has been set. I actually knocked the camera down at one point (please don't tell the folks at Axis!). It fell about two feet and landed on the floor. The images on the screen froze. After two hours and a $500 transfer from savings to checking, I pushed the camera's reset button, which reboots the camera. Everything was fine after that. A heavier, more durable version will certainly be needed, especially for brutes like me.

For $450-$499 you will get the camera, a mini-tripod, one 12V AC adaptor, a null modem cable, a PS-D extension cable, along with the user's guide. The price seems quite fair, considering the myriad of functions it can serve, not to forget the entertainment value. The lens can be replaced with any standard C or CS lens, which I would recommend. The factory lens is fine, but having more lens power is always good.


The Axis 2100 is itching to be used. The set up is painless and quick, though personal error, lack of certain permissions and little patience on my part added time. Linux/UNIX users may need to be logged in as root, which might not sit too well with some sys admins. I needed to be root in order to use the arp command.

The camera can be installed on a network or to a modem. I went the network route, so will not be providing the modem installation procedures here. That method is a bit more complicated, but after a quick reading, I wouldn't think it to be difficult. Axis has made the installation process easy, unless you're completely unfamiliar with Linux.

It took nearly as long to free the 2100 from the packaging as it did to get it running. There were some “non-camera” related issues to work through. To begin with, plugging the AC adaptor into the outlet really helped. Then, choosing a working Ethernet port got me one step closer. And, finally, reading the enclosed “Addendum”, which informed of a possible need to “reinstate the Factory Default settings”, proved instrumental in getting the camera operational. What can I say, excitement got the better of me!

The accompanying “User's Guide” provided installation commands for both Windows and UNIX systems. The first command wasn't quite right for a Linux system, but a quick query to the LJ tech department provided clarification. The following commands are what worked for me and are different from those in the 2100 User Guide. To install the camera to my Ethernet network, I typed (in an xterm):

/usr/sbin/arp -s 00:40:8c:10:00:86 temp

where the IP address was issued from my sys admin and the Ethernet address is the serial number from the bottom of the camera. I then ping'd the IP address:

That's it. I opened a web browser and entered the IP address (i.e., A page quickly opened and there I was, caught in a side view, bad posture revealed. I was immediately struck by the quality of the image and the speed at which my movements were followed. This camera delivers between 3-10 images/second. Speed can be effected by bandwidth, your computer and browser type, monitor resolution and more. The images produced were close enough to real-time to amaze the entire LJ staff. Laurie Tucker, LJ's Special Projects person, described it best by saying, “It looks like a moving painting.” Images are a bit “trippy”, but the quality is one step closer to real-time.



Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Nice review. I ordered an

Axis Network Camera's picture

Nice review. I ordered an Axis 221 Network Camera. looks good till now. But would still like to read a review. Can you please review it? I wanna be sure I bought the right camera. I ordered it online from here: Axis Network Camera

page formatting - low-contrast gray text

Anonymous's picture

Hey, who decided to make the text gray instead of simply black? Why reduce the contrast and make things harded to read?

The AXIS 2100 was a great

IP Camera Guru's picture

The AXIS 2100 was a great camera and is now replaced by the 210. The 210 also comes in many variations including POE, Audio and Wireless.

Tickets and information for

Nick Flip's picture

Tickets and information for all the hottest Prom Parties, After Prom, stories about prom, prom photos, prom transportation, and much more

Great Review!

Wes Fernley's picture

Hi Jason,

That was a great review for the Axis 2100 Camera. I wanted to let everyone know that I have created a website specifically for network camera reviews. It is located at It offers reviews, ratings, articles and forums to help users learn and troubleshoot their network camera.

Once again this was a great review. :)



Anonymous's picture

what do you people think this is, technical support? this is an informative review written to provide, from one person's perspective, an un-biased report on a product. this isn't a support page.....

anyways, enough of that......a well written article Jason, thanks for the straight forward info. your information provided has helped me make a final decision on a camera to purchase. i thank you for your effort and time in writing this article/playing with a cool device. }:)

Re: wtf?

Anonymous's picture


very nice outdoor cam

Nice but...

Anonymous's picture

They're VERY expensive, the cheapest model is about $1K US compared to about $300 for the Axis 2100.

4XEM 2100 comparable to Axis 2100

JT's picture

I wanted to buy an Axis Communications 2100 Network Camera but found out they are disco'd. After searching PC Connection I found the 4XEM W-2100 and lower than $300. I guess this is a new camera they just released but it is comparable to the 2100 by Axis with a few added features.

So far it is working great. I got it up and running fairly easy and got it working online so I can view it from wherever I am. I even figured out how to view snapshots on my cell phone, which I thought that was cool.

Compared to the Axis 2100, I think this camera beats the Axis version because of all the additional features and better quality image. Some of these features included a max resolution of 704 x 480 pixels where the Axis 2100 has 640 x 480, a higher frames per second of 30fps where the Axis camera had 10fps, better light sensitivity, motion detection (which I got working to ftp so I can view on my cell phone), free software that you can run up to 4 cameras (which is great if I ever want to get more, we will see ;)) and its a heck of a lot cheaper than the Axis 2100 - especially with the free software included which Axis doesn't include.

As for the camera itself, it has a great image quality and an easy to use interface. Getting it working online with FTP was even a breeze. Also another good selling point for me was the free software included. It allowed you to use up to 4 cameras.

The only downside of this camera I found is that it has no audio. I guess the Axis 2100 had an add-on you can get but it looked to be a bit expensive.

All-in-all, network cameras are really cool and I would highly suggest the W-2100 by 4XEM. About a week ago I know anything about them and thought they would be really confusing to get running. But after talking to the 4XEM support staff they helped me understand how network cameras work and what features to look for when purchasing them.

IP Camera Purchase

Anonymous's picture

I ended up buying one of these cameras as well. It works great for users viewing the camera in Internet Explorer and FireFox. I found a great resource for information about these cameras. The website was They have a forums that helped me connect the camera to my network.

Where to Buy

Anonymous's picture

That is a good site. Another good one is Network Camera Store. They list locations to purchase these cameras so you can find the best price.

Another Good Online Store

Jeff's picture

We have purchased multiple IP cameras from Network Webcams. They also have a store located in the UK.

Re: Product Review: The Axis 2100 Network Camera

Anonymous's picture

I really appreciated your review, especially about the "obvious" things to be aware of such as a RJ45 that really worked. Your descriptions were clear and useful.

I almost wish you would have made more mistakes so I could learn more from your article. I am trying to run my camera from behind a linksys router, and tough the flashing green light suggests I am connected, I cannot view a picture for the life of me (yet.) 954-772-8776

thanks again for your article 1/30/02

Re: Product Review: The Axis 2100 Network Camera

Anonymous's picture

John, if you have NAT gateway in your router, you need to address the cameras with your external IP address (given to you by your ISP) and not the internal (192.168.x.x). The way to do this is to assign a port number to the camera, such as 81 (done in the network setup of the camera) and use that to address the camera from outside the router. For instance

If you dont' have a fix external IP address you need to do some DNS-tricks, contact the cool Axis-guys at and they will help you out.

Re: Product Review: The Axis 2100 Network Camera

Anonymous's picture

I am testing them for a larger application, but I have two running behind a netgear router. I allowed DHCP to assign it an IP addie and check the DHCP table in the routers' menu. I typed in the IP and no problem it was up and running.

good luck

D. Hulse

Re: Product Review: The Axis 2100 Network Camera

Anonymous's picture

Feb 6, 2002

Dear Mr. Schumaker,

I would appreciate it if you could advise me.

Less than a year ago, I bought an ATI capture card (Radeon VIVO) and installed it on one of my computers. I also bought micro camera (resolution at least 400 lines, and luc .05). I was able to see live (no delay) images through the micro camera attached to the camera care.

I have an intranet at home, seven computers attached to Linksys 8-port router, using Windows 2000 Professional. Using Microsoft NetMeeting I was able to do video conferencing LIVE from one room to another room, using my home intranet. The images and sound are live (no delay). I could see my three year old daughter singing in the other room, and she got a kick out of it.

But later, I could not make NetMeeting work anymore. I learnt from ATI that Microsoft has changed the format and that is why I could no longer use NetMeeting for video conferencing. I do not remember details regarding name and nature of the format.

It was so good. Do you have any suggestion how I can do video conferencing using NetMeeting or any other similar software.

The video servers and web camers do not have the flexibility that I was able to do, and my way was so cheap.

I would appreciate if you have any suggestions.

BO Gyi

TEL : 909-353-4014