Stand alone web cams have been around for a few years but only recently have dropped in price to a few hundred dollars. Stand alone web cams differ from standard web cams in that they have a server and connectivity built in making them independent of a computer. That means you can put these web cams somewhere far from a computer (say in a cabin, or the top of a building) as long as you have a phone or ethernet connection. The cameras made by Axis seem to be the most compact and well-designed. These cams use a Linux-based server and come with an ethernet port so you just plug it into the network, assign it a public IP address, and presto, you are live on the web. Far from a network, you could even plug the camera into a phone modem and have a PC call the camera to see the images. We’ve had an Axis working in our office window for a few months without problems. There is a choice of models depending on whether the camera will be indoors, outdoors, or wants sound, etc.
[This review was written for the 2100, which may no longer available. The 211 series appears to be similar.]