Published on November 2, 2018 by Matt Garnham in Blog Posts on Security Cameras
Wireless Surveillance Cameras
A very common request we receive from customers is for wireless security cameras. Personally, I would love to be develop and stock a wireless security camera. A lot of our customers think this is what they want. No cables to run, quick installation – surely this is the ideal solution for a surveillance camera system, right?
Unfortunately, the reality is a lot different.
This blog post provides a few details as to why wireless CCTV cameras really are not what you should be considering for your security camera system.
Wireless doesn’t really mean Wireless!*
Yep. I said it. When it comes to security cameras, wireless doesn’t really mean wireless! Wireless CCTV Cameras still need wires.
Wireless cameras need power. This power is provided by the power cable. Yep – that’s a wire. You still have to run wires to the camera location.
Ok – I am being a bit flippant, however the point is still very valid. If you have to install the power cable to run the camera, it is worth going to the additional effort of installing a CAT5e cable back to the recorder from the camera location and get around the wireless issues.
*Battery powered cameras – there are some battery powered security cameras that I have seen and evaluated on the market. Don’t get me started on these – the image quality from battery powered surveillance cameras make the wireless ones look incredible!
Wireless Camera Image Quality
Wireless surveillance cameras are targeted at the lower end of the market…the cheaper end. This shows in the quality of the product, but most importantly, the image quality that the cameras output.
There is no point spending a load of money and time selecting, purchasing and installing a security camera system…if the end result is no good. This is another reason to avoid the wireless surveillance cameras on the market.
Wireless Connection Issues
Another area where you will run into issues with wireless cameras is the actual wireless connection itself.
Think of how often you try to connect your iPhone to a wireless network and it doesn’t work. Or your wireless internet connection at home suddenly stop working. Or drops in and out intermittently. None of these types of issues are end of the world. The reality is that most of the time they can be solved by just turning something off and then back on again.
Wireless connections are good when you do not need them to be up and running 100% of the time. For example, when browsing the internet on your cell phone – if the connection is not consistent you experience a little delay. No big deal. When used in security cameras however, when your wireless camera’s connection stops working so does your recording. Not good.
If you need to rely on a connection (of any sort), you don’t make it wireless.
Wireless Connection Interference
This point kinda runs on from the previous one. There are lots of potential sources of interference to a wirelessly connected security camera. These are really split into 3 types:
- Electronic devices that are actively using the same or similar wireless frequencies that interfere with the wireless surveillance camera system. Some examples of these are WiFi routers, baby monitors, cordless telephones etc
- Electronic devices that don’t use wireless connections, but when running can interfere with wireless signals. Examples of these include microwave ovens and some satellite services
- Physical barriers to wireless signals. As an example, these can be walls and other solid objects
What this really shows is that even if you can overcome some of the forms of interference, it’s easy to introduce a new electronic product to the property and interfere with the wireless connection.
I have recently been asked if wireless connections that are around 5GHz still suffer the same interference issues. This is a great question. After all, these connections are, in theory, meant to be more resistant to interference. Unfortunately, the frequency is becoming more and more congested! Not only that, but the 5GHz wireless transmissions are actually blocked more easily by solid objects – e.g. walls.
Wireless Jammer Devices
I’ll start off here by saying that neither I nor any of the team here at Orange Security have any first hand experience with these devices.
In speaking with a number of police departments, it has become apparent that criminals are more regularly using wireless jamming devices during burglaries and robberies. These devices not only block cell phone and wireless internet signals. If you have wireless security cameras, they will block those too. Just when you need it most…your cameras go dark.
We have been informed that these devices can be purchased off the internet for as little as $30. Sure, they are illegal…but why is a criminal going to worry about that?!
Sure, the potential advantages of wireless security cameras are self evident. Unfortunately, these are just a really great idea…in theory. As we have discussed, the reality is different. From extensive experience in the industry, I can tell you that companies have been producing wireless security camera products for many years. Regardless of the way technology advances in leaps and bounds, these wireless products are no more common than they were previously.
Stick to using wired security cameras. With CAT5e cable and video baluns, you will have a great system that is as futureproofed as you could hope for. Oh, and with this type of wiring, it’s possible to do over 3,500 feet…far more than any wireless security camera could hope to achieve. Check out our CAT5e Wiring Guide for Security Camera Systems for more information.
If you’d like help planning your wired surveillance camera system, just get in touch here!
We continually evaluate new and up coming products before they hit the shelves here in the USA. I really would love to find a wireless security camera system that worked well. Unfortunately, they just don’t. This may change in the future, but for now, if you want a professional quality security camera system, you will need to keep it wired.
about the author: Matt Garnham
Security Camera expert for many years. He is the founder and owner of Orange Security. Started life in the security industry in the UK. Relocated to Southern Florida and Orange Security was formed.