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Wireless security cameras are closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras that transmit a video and audio signal to a wireless receiver through a radio band. Many wireless security cameras require at least one cable or wire for power; “wireless” refers to the transmission of video/audio. However, some wireless security cameras are battery-powered, making the cameras truly wireless from top to bottom.

 

 

 

Wireless cameras are very popular among modern security consumers due to their low installation costs (there is no need to run expensive video extension cables) and flexible mounting options; wireless cameras can be mounted/installed in locations previously unavailable to standard wired cameras. In addition to the ease of use and convenience of access, wireless security camera allows users to leverage broadband wireless internet to provide seamless video streaming over-internet.

 

There are two types of wireless security cameras: analog and digital. In addition to relying on different signals for transmission, the term ‘wireless’ can apply to whether or not a camera needs to be plugged in for electricity. There are wireless cameras that can run on batteries, making the camera itself portable and mountable away from a wall outlet.

How Analog Wireless Works
The camera takes the audio and video recorded and transmits the data using radio along three general frequencies at 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, and 5.8 GHz. Since radio is not WiFi, analogue cameras don’t require a connection to the internet to transmit its signals.

The drawbacks of analogue wireless cameras involve short range and susceptibility to interference from other devices using radio signals. In addition, much like radio stations, your signals can be detected by other devices within range. You’re giving strangers access to the image you’re filming, which could ultimately facilitate a break-in as a burglar can see when you are and aren’t home.

Many devices operate using radio signals, such as cordless phones, video game controllers, and routers. Even microwaves can interfere with the signal, making analog wireless cameras a channel that’s not secured.

 

Analog wireless

Analog wireless is the transmission of audio and video signals using radio frequencies. Typically, analog wireless has a transmission range of around 300 feet (91 meters) in open space; walls, doors, and furniture will reduce this range.

Analog wireless is found in three frequencies: 900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, and 5.8 GHz. Currently, the majority of wireless security cameras operate on the 2.4 GHz frequency. Most household routers, cordless phones, video game controllers, and microwaves operate on the 2.4 GHz frequency and may cause interference with your wireless security camera. 900 MHz is known as Wi-Fi Friendly because it will not interfere with the Internet signal of your wireless network.

Advantages include:

  • Cost effective: the cost of individual cameras is low.
  • Multiple receivers per camera: the signal from one camera can be picked up by any receiver; you can have multiple receivers in various locations to create your wireless surveillance network

Disadvantages:

  • Susceptible to interference from other household devices, such as microwaves, cordless phones, video game controllers, and routers.
  • No signal strength indicator: there is no visual alert (like the bars on a cellular phone) indicating the strength of your signal.
  • Susceptible to interception: because analog wireless uses a consistent frequency, it is possible for the signals to be picked up by other receivers.
  • One-way communication only: it is not possible for the receiver to send signals back to the camera.

Digital Wireless Uses WiFi
A digital camera encodes the analog recording into a digital packet which it broadcasts over WiFi, whether the WiFi signal is delivered to a live feed or sent to a computer for recording.

Without being connected to a computer, the camera can’t also record the contents of its video and audio stream. The transmission range is about 1.5 times longer than radio, and it doesn’t suffer from the same security issues of interference and interception by anyone who stands within range of the signal.

An encrypted wireless system resolves the possibility of interception. A higher quality stream of video and audio can be sent as WiFi is a high-bandwidth radio frequency. A digital wireless camera is far more powerful than its analog counterpart.

Because of how data-heavy a constant stream of video and audio would be, many security systems are motion activated, recording only when something or someone within the field of view moves. Other systems have evolved to send alerts when the motion sensor has been activated

 

Digital wireless cameras

Digital wireless is the transmission of audio and video analog signals encoded as digital packets over high-bandwidth radio frequencies.

Advantages include:

  • Wide transmission range—usually close to 450 feet (open space, clear line of sight between camera and receiver).
  • High quality video and audio.
  • Two-way communication between the camera and the receiver
  • Digital signal means you can transmit commands and functions, such as turning lights on and off.
  • You can connect multiple receivers to one recording device, such as security DVR.

 

Staying Connected Online
Your home monitoring system does not require a separate WiFi channel to operate; instead, it can piggyback onto your existing internet configuration at home. The main difficulty will be ensuring a strong enough WiFi signal where your cameras will be positioned. A router emitting a strong enough signal will do the job.

Once the video and audio streams have been digitized and transmitted, it’s possible to receive that information anywhere as long as you have a device that has access to the internet, in short, an internet service provider will set them up for you. You can be halfway across the world and still check up on your home.

Wireless range

Wireless security cameras function best when there is a clear line of sight between the camera(s) and the receiver. Outdoors, and with clear line of sight, digital wireless cameras typically have a range between 250 and 450 feet. Indoors, the range can be limited to 100 to 150 feet. Cubical walls, drywall, glass, and windows generally do not degrade wireless signal strength. Brick, concrete floors, and walls degrade signal strength. Trees that are in the line of sight of the wireless camera and receiver may impact signal strength.

The signal range also depends on whether there are competing signals using the same frequency as the camera. For example, signals from cordless phones or routers may affect signal strength. When this happens, the camera image may freeze, or appear “choppy”. Typical solution involves locking the channel that wireless router operates on.