Concerned about the security of your residence or workplace? If you’re out to purchase a security camera, you’re likely to face a few types of these devices. Although the wireless variants are deemed better by many, are these wireless security cameras any good? Let’s find out.
Wireless Security Cameras
Wireless security cameras have undergone several improvements in the last few years to be more robust than their wired alternatives. The newer models are easier to install, portable, scalable, and inexpensive in terms of cost for a complete home security system. Reliability might be the only concern with wireless security cameras but can be resolved easily.
Wired security cameras have been the ‘talk of the town’ amongst home security enthusiasts for decades now. However, their bulky wirings and dependence on a power source led to the invention of their wireless competitors. Now, these aren’t truly wireless but they helped overcome several problems which are still there in wired cameras.
So, are wireless security cameras any good?
If you’re using a wireless model from the last decade, you’re likely dealing with a fairly old camera model. Wire-free security cameras with onboard batteries, cloud storage, high resolution, and increased signal range, are all benefits which were introduced in recent years.
For the sake of a fair comparison, let’s still go through the benefits and drawbacks of a wireless security system and see where they stand.
Benefits Of Wireless Security Cameras
Wireless security cameras were intended to be better replacements for wired security cameras. They’re less invasive, easier to install, flexible in terms of placement, scalable to add more cameras in, and offer higher resolution.
Let’s take a closer look at a few of these benefits.
Ease of installation is perhaps one of the major reasons why wireless cameras are superior to wired cameras. They aren’t as invasive and require no drilling unless you’re focused on installing it at a particular location permanently. You can easily install them yourself.
Wired security cameras, on the other hand, require drilling and professional expertise to install properly. These require wiring which is usually positioned inside concrete walls. An inch more or less than what’s required would ultimately damage the wiring or impact the look of your wall.
Since wireless security cameras don’t require hardwiring or permanent installations, they’re flexible in terms of placement. You can decide to place them on the porch one day and move them inside the next day and there’s no trouble in doing this.
Wired cameras, on the other hand, require expertise to move and reinstall elsewhere due to their dependence on wiring. Although you can keep the wiring out of the concrete walls, the wires would then be susceptible to being cut and the connection to the DVR would be broken.
Resolution and Quality
Even the simplest of wireless security cameras are expected to offer night vision, HD video, and audio support. Newer models go so far as to offer 4K (8MP) video quality through the small lens of the wireless camera – which is miraculous!
Higher resolution means a single frame can fit in more pixels to make it sharper and buttery-smooth.
You’re also looking at a wider field of view as these wireless cameras generally pack wide-angle lenses. With a wider field of view, the camera would be able to capture a large area. Pair this with a higher resolution and your wireless camera is ready to take on some fairly sharp images from afar.
Wireless security cameras feature onboard storage in terms of SD cards. Although they’re not as large in numbers, modern SD cards can go as far as 1TB (Sandisk). However, they’re quite expensive and might cost you more than the subscription to average cloud storage.
Since wireless cameras can transmit over wireless signals, several manufacturers support cloud storage. With no limitations to sizing, you can virtually store however many GBs or TBs of video footage you like, as you record.
Wired security cameras rely on age-old hard disks which are susceptible to corruption and physical damage. Although they’re cheaper, you’d be managing several hard disks and their maintenance can quickly become overwhelming.
Drawbacks Of Wireless Security Cameras
Wireless security cameras are dependent on the strength of the wireless signals carrying the data back and forth. The weaker the wireless signals, the less reliable the transfer is going to be. They’re also susceptible to being hacked if remote access is enabled without protective measures.
Although these drawbacks might sound serious at first sight, they’re also resolvable with a little work. Let’s discuss each drawback in detail and discuss any workaround for better monitoring with wireless cameras:
Connectivity and Interference
Wireless security cameras rely on wireless transmission of data. As such, you require a stable and persistent internet connection to record and store footage successfully. If the connection breaks in between, your footage will likely be stored on the SD cards (if any) installed onboard or discarded permanently.
Only thing is – your internet connection might be great but you’d see that the wireless camera still fails to perform flawlessly. It’s because wireless signals are prone to interference from other electronic devices which can impact data transmission.
For your security camera to function as intended, you’d have to trial-and-test a few locations with the least interference which is quite a labor-intensive task(but only once).
If you’re using a wireless security camera with a wired connection for power, and if the wiring is cut, then the camera will require power from onboard batteries. In case batteries aren’t available, the camera system would fail to perform. However, most modern wireless cameras rely on batteries for power which can completely circumvent this problem.
Apart from the wiring, wireless cameras can also be hacked if the firmware of the security device is vulnerable. It’s also possible to hack a wireless camera if remote access is enabled for the camera with no authentication. Again – these issues can be easily resolved by ensuring basic authentication and updating your device regularly.
Wire-free security cameras are truly amazing. Onboard batteries can help power these devices without requiring an active connection to the main supply. However, these batteries are bound to die fairly quickly if the camera is run continuously.
A quick workaround is to install rechargeable batteries and run the security camera on motion-based monitoring. This way, you can keep a pair of batteries (each with a lifespan of over three years and 500 charge cycles) and circle them around until you require a new battery.
FAQs About How Good Wireless Security Cameras Are
Still unsure whether wireless security cameras are good or better than their wired variants? Read ahead as we’ll explore some of the most frequently asked questions on ‘wireless security cameras.
Do wireless security cameras work?
Wireless security cameras work flawlessly if the camera can maintain a stable internet connection with the router. If the connection is established successfully, the camera can record and transmit footage to the NVR. For power, you can either connect the camera to the mains or use onboard batteries.
If the wireless security camera can’t maintain a stable connection, the camera would fail to transmit in real-time. Most wireless variants rely on onboard SD cards for temporary storage until a connection is re-established. However, these are limited in size, and disruption for longer periods would ultimately stop the security camera from functioning.
How far will a wireless security camera work?
A wireless security camera can function within a range of 100 to 500 feet depending on the type of environment. If the camera is placed in an open field with a clear line of sight, the camera’s field of view can range anywhere from 250 to 500 feet. For closed environments, it’s limited to 100 to 150 feet.
Wireless security cameras rely on data transmission over wireless signals. Signal strength can be weakened by physical objects placed in the line of sight of the camera and router. It’s why open environments have a larger range of signal transmission than closed environments with several objects impacting the signal’s quality.
How long do batteries last in wireless security cameras?
Batteries in wireless security cameras can last anywhere from a month to over three years. Battery consumption depends on the usage of the security camera along with the type of battery used. Lithium-ion (rechargeable) batteries are one of the best options for long battery life in wireless cameras.
Most wireless security cameras come with stock batteries in place. However, these are expected to die out pretty quickly. For replacements, rechargeable li-ion batteries get our vote as they’ve proven to endure over 500 charge cycles in their life cycle and can easily last over a year.
We’ve put up our thoughts on both the benefits and drawbacks of a wireless security camera system. Do wireless cameras work for outdoor security? We would say, wireless cameras can provide just as reliable and robust protection against criminals as a wired camera with fewer chances of being tampered with.
So, which camera system are you going to go for?