Wired vs. Wireless Home Security Camera Systems

by Deep Sentinel | | Learning Center

The Differences Between Wired and Wireless Home Security Camera Systems

There are a lot of design components to consider when choosing a home security camera system. In this article, we will clear up some confusion about what wired and wireless means, as well as analyze the differences between wired and wireless security camera systems, to help you decide which option best suits your home security needs.

What makes it wired or wireless?

You may be wondering what exactly are these wires that make up a wired security camera. Traditionally, security cameras needed two different wires: a cable to electrically power the camera, and a cable to export the recorded footage to the system control panel.

Security cameras have since advanced in technology, and many models will either be battery powered, or are designed to send the video footage out through your WiFi. Other security cameras are PoE devices, which stands for Power over Ethernet. They have eliminated the need for two separate wires by drawing their power supply over the same Ethernet cable that they send video along.

To be considered a wireless security camera, the camera needs to be WiFi enabled. Therefore, even if it needs to be plugged into an outlet, it may be marketed as wireless. Be sure to check the specifications of the camera model to see if it requires a power supply, or if it is battery powered. If it is not battery powered, there is going to be a cable requirement. Any cable requirement will cancel out many of the benefits that comes with an actual wireless security camera.

Many home security camera systems can be controlled by a base unit or system control panel. When that is the case, each individual security camera sends their information to the control panel, and the control panels sends out alerts or raises alarms. The traditional home security system would send out an alert signal to the monitoring center over telephone wires.

Nowadays, wireless security camera systems come in all sorts of packages. You can buy a home security camera without a control panel, and have the camera send alerts just to you through a mobile network. You can buy a home security system where multiple cameras send their footage to the control panel over WiFi, and the control panel connects to a monitoring center over a mobile network. Certain wireless cameras come with a base unit that they communicate with through their own frequencies, without using WiFi at all.

What are the benefits of a wireless security system?

There are many benefits to investing in a wireless security system over a wired system.

Installing a wireless camera is almost always cheap and painless. With no cables to think about, a wireless camera can be positioned in locations where installing a wired security camera would be costly. There’s no drilling through walls to attach an Ethernet cable or to plug the camera into the nearest socket. A wired security camera can require a professional to install, whereas a wireless cameras can be installed by yourself, in under an hour.

Having no cables also makes relocating your security cameras easy. Wireless cameras are also easily portable in case you move. Having no wires also makes it easy to add in additional ones at any time, or replace them if needed.

Most wireless security cameras come with a phone app. Depending on the model, this may allow you to control the pan, tilt, and zoom of the camera, to change under what circumstances you receive alerts, and to review current and saved footage while away. Some wired security cameras can be controlled remotely through the control panel, or possibly through the control panel’s phone app.

What are the cons of a wireless security camera?

If your WiFi is not very strong, then you are to some extent limited with your placement of security cameras. This will not likely be a problem for indoor camera usage, but those seeking complete outdoor coverage may have to upgrade their WiFi system beforehand. Video quality may also be reduced depending on the quality of the internet connection. Wired cameras, on the other hand, won’t be subject to interference or deteriorate over distance.

Wireless cameras which send footage to a base unit through their own frequencies will not have to deal with WiFi shortcomings. Their range of communication can, however, still be reduced by structural interference, like walls, ceilings and large metal objects. Even with interference, the range in most directions will still be hundreds of feet.

True wireless security cameras run on batteries, and that can also be a con. The battery life of security cameras has increased considerably, to multiple months, and many of the apps monitor battery life to let you know when they need changing. Battery life will depend on factors such as how often the camera is set to record, what the resolution is, and, if it’s an outdoor camera, the temperature. Wired cameras don’t need batteries, but do consume more electricity.

Should I choose wired or wireless?

Unless you already have a wired security camera system in place in your home, we recommend purchasing a wireless system. They are cheaper and easier to work with, and the drawbacks of WiFi strength and battery life have decreased considerably.