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Is Wireless Networking for Cameras Reliable?

July 5, 2022

What is the difference between a wireless network and a wired network?

If you have a security system with one or more IP (Internet Protocol) wireless cameras, your system probably operates over a Wi-Fi network. IP cameras with wireless technology are more popular than their wired counterparts because they let you remotely control your camera no matter where you are. With your mobile device, you can receive smart alerts, view live footage, and adjust the focus of your camera's lens or angle of view. Wireless security cameras are also cheaper and take up less space than their wired counterparts.

The Downside to All Wireless Connections

There is one tradeoff that comes with the use of any wireless camera for your security. Devices on wireless networks cannot simultaneously send and receive information-containing radio waves from other devices. This inability to multitask can result in long latency periods (or waiting times) between your remote control commands and the responses from your camera.

The Many Downsides to Wi-Fi Connections

In addition to the inability to simultaneously send and receive information, Wi-Fi is a type of wireless technology that transmits data over radio frequency bands that are shared with many other users and electronic devices. This shared internet space can result in poor video quality, large latency gaps, and dropped connections during busy traffic times.

An even larger drawback to Wi-Fi's public internet bandwidth is increased vulnerability to hacking. The shared public internet space is the reason most people can see the Wi-Fi usernames of their neighbors simply by looking at their computer's internet connection options. Without password confirmations, we would be able to spy on our neighbors and access the internet through their Wi-Fi modems.

The good news is that you can have remote wireless access and control over your surveillance equipment without relying on Wi-Fi--and even if you do choose to use Wi-Fi, there are ways to get around the problems that Wi-Fi presents.

If I use Wi-Fi for my security camera, what can I do to reduce the drawbacks?

Backup Computer Network Options

Wi-Fi networks are famously unreliable. We've all spent time aghast at our sudden inability to complete an online form. Lost access is usually just a small inconvenience, but when you are relying on Wi-Fi to operate home security cameras, that inconsistency can be a problem.

One partial fix is to be sure that your security camera is able to switch to a cellular internet connection if your Wi-Fi goes down.

Another way to get around Wi-Fi's unreliability is to use a product called Airview. Airview uses gigabeam and nanobeam technology to scan the wireless spectrum for signal strength. If your security camera is operating on an overly crowded channel, Airview will jump to a stronger and faster channel.

Backup Data Storage

If you want to make sure to capture footage in the event your internet connection has stopped transmitting surveillance data and footage, add an SD (Secure Digital) card or a microSD card to your camera. An SD card is a kind of memory card for security cameras. A full size card can store ast much as 512 GB of information and a microSD card can store 1 TB. If your cameras go down because of an issue with internet access, you will still have the video data secured on the camera itself.

Make Sure Your Device Has Adequate Bandwidth and Speed

Internet speed is a measurement of the time it takes for digital data to be exchanged between a server and your device. Specifically, it's a measurement of the number of bits that can be exchanged per second between your server and device. And bandwidth is the maximum amount of data that your connection can handle at any given moment. The larger the bandwidth, the faster your internet speed is likely to be. Think of it as your data traveling on a highway--with internet speed as the speed limit and bandwidth as the number of lanes.

If your wireless internet has inadequate speed or bandwidth, your security camera will run into issues with high latency. Latency is the amount of time between a command you give your device and your device's response to your command.

High latency can result in delays in audio and low resolution video quality. With high latency, your camera will not only take more time to respond to your remote commands, it will be more prone to malfunctioning. On the other hand, low latency describes a wireless network that can quickly respond to messages and commands across the network.

If you choose to rely on a Wi-Fi network and want clear images and low latency, seek service from wireless networks with high connection speeds and large bandwidth options. If you use a Wi-Fi modem, make sure to use a Wi-Fi 6, the most recent and fasted modem currently available.

Use an Access Point

An even better way to get around Wi-Fi's unreliability is to use access points. An access point is a network hardware device that lets other Wi-Fi devices connect to the internet through a wired computer network.

A wireless security system with a bandwidth of 60 GHz can transfer information to a wired access point at the highest possible speed. 60 GHz is a great option when you have several high definition 4k cameras surveilling a modest-sized area with clear lines of site between the cameras and the access point. The downside is a smaller coverage area and susceptibility to signal interference. It's a good idea to back up a 60 GHz network with smaller bandwidth access networks in case of severe weather conditions.

There is an inverse relationship between an access point's bandwidth (connection speed) and range (the distances they can exchange information with other electronic devices). A security system with a bandwidth of 5 GHz is slower than the 60 GHz option but covers a larger range and is less prone to signal interference. A bandwidth of 2.4 GHz can handle only a few low-bandwidth cameras, but offers users the largest coverage area and are the most reliable option in severe weather conditions.

Wireless Networks with the Most Reliable Wireless Connection

While all Wi-Fi networks are wireless, not all wireless networks are Wi-Fi. Given all the drawbacks of Wi-Fi, this is very good news indeed.

Point to Point Wireless Networks

Like all wireless networks, a Point to Point Wireless Network (or P2P) uses radio waves to connect devices and exchange information over bandwidths. The difference is that Point to Point networks transmit data over private bandwidths which are so secure that encryption isn't really necessary. In fact, P2P is the wireless network option used for credit card processing.

This is how it works: A point of origin is set in a desirable spot in a large area. Then radio equipment and multiple antennas are positioned throughout the area to capture and transmit data between the various equipment locations and networked devices.

Because PTP operates on private lines, it has great service reliability and high-quality footage. Additionally, the fast wireless internet speed of a P2P network (usually over one gigabit per second) will help you to avoid poor video quality, dropped connections, and latency periods that prevent your camera from receiving and acting on remote commands. You can add multiple devices to a Point to Point system and businesses can easily upgrade their Wi-Fi to a Point to Point wireless network.

Another Wireless Network Alternative

Arlo Go security cameras are a model that avoids Wi-Fi by instead using LTE plans. Digital data is wirelessly transferred through an LTE wireless network to the Arlo mobile phone app, which you can use anywhere in the world. For extra backup, Arlo Go security cameras also store footage on microSD cards and the cloud.

Your Wireless Network Options Considered

While all wireless networks send and receive data over radio frequency bands, Wi-Fi networks are especially problematic because they operate over bandwidths that are shared with multiple devices and users. Today we've reviewed options to either boost the reliability of your Wi-Fi system or to switch to a wireless network that is faster, more reliable, and more secure.





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