How do Wi-Fi Security Cameras Work

In Home Defense Tips by homedefense

In this post, I am going to share with you how Wi-Fi security cameras work. This will give you a better understanding of what to buy when purchasing a Wi-Fi security camera for your home.

Wireless cameras also called Wi-Fi cameras will transmit through RF or better known as radio frequency transmitter. The video that is captured by the cameras is sent to a receiver that will store the video on the cloud or on a storage device at the home. Through either of these storage devices, you can play back any video recorded.

Why use Wi-Fi for home security cameras?

This is a preference based on what you are looking to do with your home Wi-Fi camera set up. Most people in today’s technological world will probably use Wi-Fi instead of wired cameras. Here are some of the benefits to using a Wi-Fi camera:

  • Setup is Easy – Wi-Fi security cameras are easy to get set up and install because setting up these types of system has become very easy. People who are not even technologically savvy can set up their home camera systems that use Wi-Fi.
  • There are no Wires – You do not have to wire every single camera on your property. Using Wi-Fi, the only thing you will need is a power source such as a 120V outlet to plug in the cameras. You can find cameras that would use batteries but replacing the batteries, plus tracking if a camera is not working may be more tedious to manage.
  • Moving to another location is not complicated – The cameras are easy to move if you want to change to a new location. You can also move the whole security camera system with you if you happen to move to a new home.

Are wireless security cameras as good as wired?

Years ago wired would have been better for security cameras. Today with the technology advancements Wi-Fi is very reliable and works just as good as a wired system.

Benefits to the Wired security cameras:

  • With Wi-Fi cameras, you may get some interference when connecting the cameras but this issue will not happen with wired cameras.
  • Running anything on a cable is more stable and faster, so wired security cameras have this advantage as well.
  • Wired security cameras are great for several areas of protection with a larger number of security cameras, so they may be most efficient in really big homes.

Wired security camera cons:

  • Installing the wires all over the home to connect the variety of cameras is a major pain. It will also cost you money to get someone to install.
  • You will need to drill into the home to run wires which can look unsightly to the aesthetics of your home
  • You cannot take the system with you if you move to a new home. It is also harder to move a camera from one location to another

Wireless security camera advantages:

  • Wireless system is easy to install and you can easily DIY with wireless
  • You have a ton of flexibility on where you can install a wireless system you just need a power outlet
  • You can take the system with you if you move to a new home

Wi-Fi security camera disadvantages:

  • You do have a chance that someone could hack the Wi-Fi network you have set up, so make sure the password is strong
  • There is a chance you could get interference with Wi-Fi transmission and this is something that would not happen with wired
  • Wi-Fi systems could be more expensive

Wireless signal strength

The range that the cameras can be from your main hub is limited with Wi-Fi camera systems. The range depends on many things: 1. Where the main hub is located. 2. What is the building material of the home. And 3. Is there a direct line of sight or are there many obstacles.

The distance to place a camera from the main hub can be up to 500 feet, but more likely should be between 100 to 175 feet. You will need to test cameras at each location before finalizing the exact location. You do not want to do all this work to install and learn the camera is too far away for the signal to work. You definitely need to take this into consideration if you want to secure a camera to a detached garage, barn, or shed.

Things like drywall and glass will not impede the signal range too much. A brick house or concrete walls would impact the signal strength if the camera is placed too far. If you are attaching cameras to a barn or shed that is further away from the hub, you also want to consider if there are any trees in the way, because this will also affect the signal strength.

How the recorders work with Wi-Fi

There are two ways that work best when recording video from your security system. You have a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) or an NVR (Network Video Recorder) which both will work for what you need to do. These systems come with a built-in HDD that has a large storage capacity of 1TB to 5TB or more. There are also ways to add more storage if you need that down the road.

When the cameras send the video signal to the NVR or DVR, the storage size you have will determine if you can record 24/7 or less.

Set up to record video to a Laptop or PC

You can set up your system sometimes to record to a laptop or PC if you do not have the money for the DVR or NVR. There is free camera software you can download to your PC or Laptop to record to the PC.

Setting it up this way will make it so the video footage is stored to your computer hard drive. You need to have the storage on the laptop or get additional storage like a USB to accommodate the recordings.

Recording to the cloud

You can also now send recordings to the cloud. This may be way more expensive than just buying the DVR or NVR. Many people like storing on the cloud, It’s up to you to decide if that is something you want to do.

Understanding DVR/NVR

I shared earlier how the DVR/NVR devices record the video from the cameras. This video will be stored in the hard drive of the device you bought with the system. You will want H.264 compression, which is the newest and best. The codec (what is this?) will look for unnecessary frames or files to reduce without affecting the quality of the video. All of this is done automatically but you do usually have the option to choose the compression you want to use. The H.264 DVR is the best choice because you get the higher video quality, which in the case of facial recognition would be best.

H.264 defined from Wikipedia  

H.264 or MPEG-4 Part 10, Advanced Video Coding (MPEG-4 AVC) is a block-oriented motion-compensation-based video compression standard. As of 2014 it is one of the most commonly used formats for the recording, compression, and distribution of video content.[1] It supports resolutions up to 8192×4320, including 8K UHD.[2]

The intent of the H.264/AVC project was to create a standard capable of providing good video quality at substantially lower bit rates than previous standards (i.e., half or less the bit rate of MPEG-2, H.263, or MPEG-4 Part 2), without increasing the complexity of design so much that it would be impractical or excessively expensive to implement. An additional goal was to provide enough flexibility to allow the standard to be applied to a wide variety of applications on a wide variety of networks and systems, including low and high bit rates, low and high resolution video, broadcast, DVD storage, Security Cameras, RTP/IP packet networks, and ITU-T multimedia telephony systems

What to look for in the DVR and NVR

You want a system with the best motion detection capabilities with object masking. This will allow you to easily see the different events on each camera if you needed to do that. There are many different options and features you can get when buying a system. You can set recorder to record motion, 24/7 recording, or record on a set schedule. You can assign each camera on some of these systems which can time stamp and can be watermarked to prevent tampering.

This post should have helped you to understand how the Wi-Fi security cameras work. This should help you in picking a camera system to protect your home or business. You can also check out our articles on how to burglar proof your home and where to place security cameras.