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Wireless security cameras for your home: Convenience with some challenges

I have been experimenting with various options for home security cameras for a while. After I got some good results with the Ring Stick-up Camera in my backyard, I added a Ring Pro doorbell and another Stick-up camera in my driveway. I also have a Nest indoor camera in my family room.

All the cameras use WiFi to connect to my home internet gateway router. That’s very convenient as I didn’t have to wire them all together with ethernet cables, but it does come with its own challenges. The Ring Stick-up cameras can be powered by a solar panel, or a USB source. The Ring Pro doorbell gets its power from the old doorbell’s transformer. So powering these devices is relatively easy. But the real challenge is to ensure that they all get good WiFi signal strength. The doorbell, the two external cameras, and the indoor camera are spread all over the house and the yard. My internet gateway WiFi Router is in one corner of the house, and is close to one of the cameras, and quite far from the others.

If  you are planning to use several WiFi cameras in your house, you would typically need WiFi extenders or access points placed strategically to provide reliable connectivity to all the cameras. In my case, I had to set up two WiFi access points — one close to my backyard, and another centrally located in the family room — to ensure that all the cameras were online 24/7. Another challenge that needs to be solved is how the access points are connected to the main router. WiFi extenders are easy to setup, but they reduce your effective WiFi bandwidth to 50%. Drawing Cat5 or Cat6 cables between your router and your access points would be the ideal way, but that’s not always practical.

I used power line network adapters to connect my access points to my router. With these, I get close to 50Mbps bandwidth between the router and the access points, and that is plenty. It’s not as good as the 1Gbps that you would get with a Cat6 cable, but quite adequate for most households.

So, my four WiFi cameras needed two WiFi access points, and power line adapters to complete my home network infrastructure to support them. With this, they are up and running all the time, and do a pretty good job.

Depending on the cameras that you use, and your WiFi router and how good the signal is, you may at times run into reliability issues. I have read about the cameras dropping connection often in some cases, and most of the times it appears to be related to WiFi quality or some reliability issues with the router. So it makes sense to do some research on what kind of WiFi infrastructure you need before you set up your wireless cameras.

 

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