Wireless Home Security Cameras: Which is the Right Choice for your Home?


What sort of price would you expect to pay for a high-specification wireless home security camera? Actually, the answer is, surprisingly, less than you probably imagined. What’s more, not only are wireless home security cameras now within the reach of home owners on a budget, they’re also flexible, portable and, importantly, easy to install. If all this sounds almost too good to be true, then there is a caveat that you should be aware of: wireless security cameras, like most technological innovations, do have their limitations, so you’ll need to be aware of these before you part with your cash. 

How do wireless home security cameras work?

Wireless security cameras transmit video signals and, depending on the specification of the camera – audio signals too, over the internet or other wireless networks to a receiver that connects to your viewing or recording device. A wireless security camera relies on communication between video transmitters and receivers. Most new digital-video cameras come with a built-in wireless feature that allows the cameras to connect to a computer or the device being used to receive the signal. The receiver must also maintain a wireless connection to a monitor or time-lapse recorder in order for the wireless security camera to capture the feed going into the receiver.

Wireless Security Camera Frequencies

The communication between camera and receiver takes place at a frequency specific to both devices. Most wireless devices, cameras in this case, allow you to select from only four frequencies. Frequency limitations usually limit you to four cameras per location at a given frequency

How are Wireless Security Cameras powered?

Although the video signal that transfers the signal from the camera to the receiver and monitor might be wireless, sadly a totally wireless security camera set up is still not yet available. Therefore, each of the devices – the camera, receiver and monitor- still need a power source. So security cameras need to be set up near electrical outlets.

What benefits can you expect from wireless security cameras?

Easy to install

  • Wireless security cameras are much easier to install than their wired alternative. The latter needs to connect to a home’s electrical system. If you would prefer a wire home security system, then you’ll probably have to hire a professional to install it.  Wireless cameras, however, rely on Wi-Fi or other networks so they’re much easier to install. If you follow the installation instructions carefully, there’s no reason why you can’t set up and connect most cameras in under 30 minutes.

Portability and flexibility

  • Wireless security cameras are flexible pieces of kit and can by and large be placed almost anywhere. They’re also portable and transportable: all you need to do is unplug them, and you’re ready to go. That makes them ideal for people who are either renting or always on the move, or those who are novices and new to the home security scene.

24/7 coverage

  • Wireless security cameras are a great addition to your home security system, as they offer you 24/7 viewing access to your home, no matter where in the world you are.

Are there any limitations to a wireless security camera’s capabilities?

  • A wireless camera has to maintain a signal and connection to a network in order to record and capture footage. If the connection is disrupted at any time, the wireless security camera won’t be able to send the feed to the chosen viewing device. What’s more, if the camera is completely wireless, it will need to be powered by a battery. In this case, it’s is vitally important that battery life is monitored regularly and that batteries are replaced regularly.
  • Another limitation with wireless security cameras is that they need to be located reasonably near to the main hub. If there is a direct line of sight between the camera and the hub, then a wireless camera’s range can reach as far as 500 feet or more. However, within properties the range is inevitably going to be much lower: some believe the range could be as low as 150 feet, but that isn’t always the case. 
  • The signal range depends on a number of factors: the building materials from which the home is constructed, other wireless devices in the area, and any walls or objects through which the signal has to pass. Standard drywall and glass windows may not impact the strength of the camera’s wireless signal, but brick and concrete certainly will. If there are brick walls, concrete floors, and large trees in between the camera and the receiver, your signal strength will inevitably weaken.

Will one wireless security camera be sufficient to secure your home?

The answer to that question depends on the size and layout of the home. If your home has large grounds or exterior spaces, or has many rooms which will need to be monitored, then you’ll probably need more than 1 camera to do the job effectively. The camera will need to monitor or ‘see’ the key spaces in the property: areas like doorways, windows, roofs and any area where an uninvited person could gain entry to a property.

The general rule of thumb which most security experts subscribe to is that for many homes and small businesses up to 4 cameras will probably be the most effective solution. The good news is most video surveillance systems come in kit-form and include cameras, a digital recorder and hard drive for storing and transmitting images, a video monitor, and enough video cabling for most installations. As your requirements expand, you can always add more cameras if needed. 

Are hidden wireless security cameras necessary, or will visible cameras be more of a deterrent to thieves?

Hidden security cameras have their uses, especially if you’re looking to gather information without an intruder’s knowledge. However, there’s a lot to recommend security devices that are mounted in plain sight in the space they’re recording. By simply being visible, they can help to deter criminal activity.

What types of visible wireless security cameras are available?

Box Cameras

These are the most commonly used video surveillance tools. They’re cost effective, they’re a visible deterrent and they make sense for most security applications. What’s more, many box cams can accept a variety of interchangeable lenses that let you adjust their viewing angle to optimise coverage of the area you need to monitor.

Dome cameras

Dome cameras are also a common and popular security choice. Dome cameras are generally much less obtrusive than box cams – depending on their size –   and they’re easy to mount in most locations. Interchangeable dome cam lenses are available at the more expensive end of the spectrum.

Pan/tilt/zoom cameras

PTZ cameras, by their nature, offer more installation and monitoring options. They can swivel up and down and side to side, so you can cover a full 360-degree field of view with only one camera. The vast majority of PTZ cams are remote-controllable, which makes them a great choice in many single-camera surveillance setups.

Bullet cameras

Bullet cameras are similar to traditional box cameras. They serve as a visible deterrent and they come in a variety of sizes — some are very large; others are extremely compact. For monitoring flexibility, many bullet models come with variable focal length zoom lenses, whilst some also offer an interchangeable lens option.

Indoor or outdoor use?

Indoor cameras tend to be smaller, lighter, and generally less brawny than their outdoor counterparts. Outdoor security cams are often more expensive than indoor models because they’re built to withstand not only the elements, but also attacks from vandals and thieves. Many of today’s higher quality security cameras are designed for both indoor and outdoor use.

Site Lighting

A lot of business premises are well lit at night: unfortunately, many private homes are not. Sites with less or limited lighting, can often be a tempting target for thieves. If you need to protect an area with poor lighting, you may want to invest in an IR (infrared)/ Night Vision camera system. IR cameras can shoot and record in complete darkness, and they can be useful security tools in many surveillance situations.  

Recording and viewing surveillance video

For simple security setups, memory card recording is the most common method. Memory cards are particularly effective if you’re using a single camera in your system. Some cameras have built in memory cards; others need to be connected to a standalone digital video recorder (DVR). Cams with built in recording are fine for many basic security applications, but they aren’t ideal as a long-term video surveillance solution because they store much less data than a dedicated DVR.

A dedicated DVR is the best choice for sophisticated surveillance systems. DVRs can record much more video than a typical removable memory card, and they’re available in a range of sizes. Small DVRs designed for personal use can support a single camera, while others can support as many as 16 cameras simultaneously and capture video to their large built-in hard drives.  

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