Do Wireless Security Cameras Need Internet? Not Really…

Wireless security cameras are the clear victor against wired security cameras in terms of wiring, installation, and flexibility. But a common question around their recording is – do wireless security cameras need internet?

If the question intrigues you or you’re the owner of a new wireless camera wondering this – read ahead as we discuss the question in detail.

Do Wireless Security Cameras Need Internet?

Wireless security cameras don’t need an active internet connection to function properly. The wireless security camera can temporarily store the footage on an SD card. An NVR can also be used to record the camera’s footage in a private network managed by the recorder itself.

In comparison to wired security cameras, wireless security cameras require a network connection for video transmission. However, most models feature onboard storage as well as batteries. It’s why you don’t require an active power supply or network connection.

However, it doesn’t last very long – especially if the camera records continuously.

Now, you might be wondering:

Well, I don’t have an internet connection; what other options do I have for the wireless cameras to work without internet?

Let’s discuss options for the wireless security cameras to work without the internet next!

How Can Wireless Security Cameras Work Without Internet?

Wireless security cameras can work without the internet by connecting to an NVR or an onboard SD-card storage. However, both options are limited to closed-circuit viewing i.e., you can’t view the footage remotely. For remote viewing, an internet connection is mandatory.

Let’s explore these options in a little more depth next:

Network Video Recorders

Editor’s recommendation: if you’re looking to buy a camera system with NVR that works without wi-fi, then we recommend having a look at Reolink’s 4MP Surveillance System. Check it out on Amazon.

Network video recorders (NVR) are excellent gadgets to help manage recordings from an array of wireless cameras. Using the device, a number of wireless cameras can connect using LAN cables. A connection is then made to a monitor or TV for viewing the live footage.

If you don’t feature an internet connection, an NVR is perhaps the best option for viewing the footage. It creates a private network with the cameras by itself and manages it such that all security cameras transmit their storage successfully. 

However, an NVR without a network connection can’t be used to view the footage of the camera remotely. If you provide the NVR a connection to the router, the internet connection makes the devices accessible over the open internet.

On-board SD card

Other than NVRs, we have onboard SD card storage. Most wireless security cameras feature SD cards to temporarily record footage when a network connection is amiss. However, this storage is suited for short-term storage and will quickly be filled if the camera records actively.

Usually, SD cards are activated when the security camera has connectivity issues. This way, the wireless camera can work without the internet and doesn’t lose footage at all. Again, this can’t be treated as a permanent solution and replacing SD cards isn’t a feasible option either. 

Limitations of Wireless Security Camera Without Internet

Wireless security cameras generally feature backups, remote access, and alerts based on active recording. However, all three features are dependent on a network connection. An NVR might not assist in this case as its private network doesn’t replace an active internet connection.

Let’s explore what issues the wireless security camera might fact without internet and their solutions, if possible:

Remote Access

Remote accessibility is dependent on an active network connection. Most wireless camera models transmit video over the network and feature cloud-based storage. In the absence of the internet, the device fails to transmit remotely and stores the footage on the SD card.

If you’re eager to monitor your residence away from home, the security camera would need an internet connection. You can use mobile hotspot or run a LAN cable to/from the router to bring the security camera online. If it’s configured to allow remote accessibility, it should work with either of the two solutions.

Alerting and Notifications

Trigger-based security cameras are capable of alerting homeowners of potential activity. However, these alerts or push notifications are also dependent on an internet connection. Based on your need, we suggest providing both the security camera and your handheld device a proper network connection for these features to work as intended.

Remote Backup

NVRs can cost you a few bucks on top of the wireless security camera itself. Luckily, wireless security cameras also feature an internet-based backup option. Cloud-storage is used to backup the footage of the camera for safe access later on.

Again, if the wireless security camera doesn’t have an internet connection, the feature is disabled. Even an FTP-based storage of the recording won’t work without an internet connection. Using hotspot or LAN cables, you can temporarily provide the device a connection for the backup to take place.

FAQs on Whether Wireless Security Cameras Need Internet

Let’s take a look at some of the top questions from the community on ‘do wireless security cameras need internet’. Here you go:

Do WiFi cameras need internet?

WiFi cameras don’t need internet if you don’t wish to view the footage remotely, backup recordings, or receive alerts. Wireless security cameras usually require WiFi for transmission of video. However, an NVR, ethernet cables, or SD cards can be used in absence of a WiFi connection.
You can use an Ethernet cable in absence of WiFi to connect the wireless security camera to the internet. Otherwise, if you own an NVR, simply connect the NVR to the router and an internet connection should be provided to the WiFi camera.

How do you power a wireless security camera?

A wireless security camera can be powered using the main supply, PoE, or onboard batteries. If it features an adapter, you can plug the adapter into an electric outlet. You can also plug an ethernet cable into the router for both power and transmission. Otherwise, batteries can be used to provide power to the wireless camera.
Main supply and PoE are stable modes of power supply to the wireless security camera. Onboard batteries can last anywhere from a month to a year based on usage. If the camera is on continuous recording mode, the batteries are bound to die much earlier than expected.

Which is better, wired or wireless security cameras?

Wireless security cameras are easier to install, flexible in terms of placement, and cut out obtrusive wiring. Wired security cameras, on the other hand, require professional installation, are bulky to manage, and can add significantly to the power bill.
Both types of security cameras have their pros and cons and are suitable for a particular type of property.
Wired security cameras feature a much more stable video quality due to a wired transmission. Wireless cameras transmit over the network and are only as stable as the WiFi connection. If quality of footage isn’t a big concern, wireless security cameras are excellent if you aren’t the tinkering kind and prefer easier solutions to monitor your residence. 

In conclusion, wireless security cameras don’t need internet connections to function properly. However, the majority of the features are disabled as they require a stable connection. Luckily, broadband internet isn’t the only source of network these days – you can use mobile hotspot to connect the camera to the internet, as well.

It all depends on what you wish to do – are the remote features important? Get an internet connection. Otherwise, an NVR should suffice for you to use the wireless camera efficiently.