This paper proposes a continuous real-time structural health monitoring (SHM) and damage detection system. Wavelet packet decomposition (WPD) with a likelihood ratio was used for the damage sensitive indicator (DSI). A benchmark model updating structure instrumented with acceleration sensors was used for demonstration tests. A real-time reference-free damage detection algorithm is successfully implemented and verified using the benchmark test structure. The DSI based on WPD with a likelihood ratio algorithm showed consistency with two different damage scenarios. Furthermore, the application was web-published on a remote collaboratory site for remote access to a real-time structural health monitoring system.© (2011) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.