How Do Wireless Security Cameras Work?
Like all security technology, security cameras have come a long way in recent years. As people look for more ways to protect their homes and businesses, the industry has stepped up with new and improved technologies.
Security cameras today have higher resolutions, can stream live video directly to a phone or computer, and some even connect to the cloud for virtually unlimited storage space. And the days of long, unsightly wires run along floorboards or ceilings are gone—many of today’s security cameras are wireless.
Wireless cameras use short-range technologies like Z-Wave to communicate with a control panel, phone, or other smart devices.
Z-Wave is a smart home interface. There is a huge range of Z-Wave security devices, from wireless security cameras to motion sensors and so much in between. All Z-Wave devices communicate via a mesh network, and all the devices connect to either a control panel, smartphone, or both. Z-Wave- enabled wireless security cameras can be controlled and viewed right on your phone, making it easy and convenient to keep an eye on your home.
But there are more benefits to wireless security cameras, whether they are Z-Wave enabled or not. In general, wireless security cameras are easier to install than wired. Wired cameras must connect to your home’s or business’s electrical system—this means you will have to hire a professional electrician or security company. And that’s the ideal solution in many cases! However, if you want DIY security that can have at a lower cost, then wireless cameras are a good solution. Wireless cameras rely on Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth. Just follow the instructions, and you’ll be all set up in under ten minutes.
Not all security cameras are wireless. Some are still wired, especially those found in commercial spaces.
To be clear, wireless security cameras are not 100% wireless. They do need a power source, and most are plugged into a standard outlet. Wireless refers to the method of video and audio transfer, and that part is done wirelessly.
Wired cameras rely on a power cable and a video transmission cable, though some cameras—digital cameras, in particular—need only one cable. Digital cameras are powered and transmit video via a single Ethernet cord, which provides power and can handle data transmission. On the other hand, analog cameras require two cables, one cable for power and one cable for data transmissions. In either case, the cable(s) connect to the camera and wind back to the DVR or NVR.
Wired cameras make sense for a lot of people and businesses. Think of a sports arena, which can be a few hundred thousand square feet in size. Wired security camera cables will be long and numerous in a commercial building of this size, but that’s not such a big deal when the wires can be strung behind walls and above ceiling tiles. In this case, wired is probably better, especially given that across such a large space, wireless data transmission may require repeaters and, due to the number of devices, experience traffic congestion that undermines performance. Even small, locally owned retail stores may find wired cameras more practical. No two situations are the same, and no solution is one-size-fits-all.
Should you get wireless or wired security cameras?
Wireless security cameras aren’t for everyone. But the same can be said for wired security cameras. So what’s best for you?
Wireless security cameras are a good choice if you are:
- A renter. If you want to upgrade your security but can’t alter your property in any way, wireless is the best choice.
- New to security. Maybe you aren’t ready to take the plunge on a professionally installed security system and want to see what it’s like first.
- On a budget. You can get adequate security at a lower price point with wireless security cameras, which can be bought off the shelf and don’t require professional installation.
Wired security cameras are a good choice if you are:
- Looking for a more comprehensive system. Wireless security is more convenient than comprehensive, meaning you can potentially get more coverage and reliability with a professionally installed system.
- In an area or have a business where wireless is spotty. As we mentioned, you need to make sure you have a stable wireless connection, which may not be possible in some areas or businesses.
- Looking for professional support that’s just a call away. If tech support is a concern, you can get it with a professional security company that installs your wired system and offers ongoing support.