Many wireless camera features will work even if your site doesn’t have Internet access.
Wireless cameras are the go-to security solution for a growing number of businesses. They’re easy to install and can go nearly anywhere on your property. But what if your job site has unreliable or unstable connectivity? Can wireless cameras still work?
The quick answer is, yes. But there are some limitations on what they can do. It depends on a variety of factors including the type of camera being used, its storage capacity, and how it was installed. If the camera can record to a hard drive, local network, or SD card, you’re still in good shape. If it only saves to the cloud, your options are more limited.
Here’s an overview of which features will and won’t work without wireless internet along with the pros and cons of going off the grid.
Features that will (probably) work without Internet
Most top-of-the-line wireless camera functionality – such as remote live streaming, cloud storage, and alerts – needs the internet to work. But some features will work even without an Internet connection, such as:
- Power. First and foremost, you don’t need the internet to keep your camera on and running. Yes, you’ll need power cords or a bag of batteries, but cross this off your list.
- Watching video. If the camera is physically wired to a laptop or other device, you can still capture and watch footage. If you’re connected to a monitor, you’ll be able to see (but not record) video. Connecting to a computer will also let you record.
- Recording on hardware. The camera can still record and save footage on a hard drive, local network, DVR, or SD card. This can eat up your capacity quickly, so be sure to have plenty of storage media on hand if you find yourself going this route.
It’s helpful to know ahead of time what brands offer cameras that don’t need internet connections or can easily go off the grid, such as the Defender PHOENIXM2 or the Reolink 4G LTE.
Features that won’t work without Internet
Despite the virtues of cameras that can go without Wi-Fi, there are some features that just won’t work without an internet connection.
- Remote viewing. If you need to see live footage while off-site – on your phone, tablet, or laptop – you’ll need a wireless connection. Likewise, if you trust your security to an outside firm that provides remotely monitored site surveillance, a wireless connection is necessary.
- Push notifications. Your security system will need the Internet in order to send alerts to your phone or other devices when something suspicious happens.
- Cloud recording and backups. Many systems are designed to record and back up data to the cloud, which requires wireless internet. This allows for far greater storage at an affordable rate and the ability to access past recordings instantly. If you’re solely using local storage, the chances of it filling up are high, which may then force a decision of whether to stop recording or to record over past footage.
To put it simply, while many cameras are fully capable of operating offline, most of the security features that businesses take for granted are no longer available without wireless connectivity.
Cameras without internet: pros and cons
Alongside the features mentioned above, there are other pros and cons of taking your security system offline.
- Safety from hackers. Although wireless networks are more secure than ever, hackers are still out there. If your camera is only connected locally, odds are they won’t find much of value. But if hackers sneak onto your Wi-Fi network, they can gain control of your camera itself and get access to your files.
- Round-the-clock recording. Cloud storage can fill up quickly (and adding space comes at a cost) so many cameras that rely on it aren’t able to record 24/7, reserving their recording time for when they sense motion.
- No additional cost. While storage on the cloud is convenient, it comes at a price. A typical plan requires monthly or annual fees. With a wireless camera, there are no fees after you’ve purchased your storage hardware.
- Power outage-proof. When the power’s out your facility remains secure. Just be sure to stock up on batteries.
- Reliable bandwidth. Since wireless cameras aren’t on your network, they won’t suck up large amounts of bandwidth.
- Fewer options. There aren’t nearly as many cameras available that can function without an Internet connection.
- Higher initial cost. Since there is less demand, these cameras tend to cost more than their Wi-Fi-enabled counterparts. Also, you’ll need to purchase a DVR or other storage option.
- No remote access. You’ll have to be on-site to see your footage.
- Battery replacement. Unless you’re fortunate enough to have the rare system that’s solar-powered, you’ll need to continually pay to replace batteries in all your cameras.
- No notifications. Again, you need to be there in person to see when the camera spies something.
- No cloud backups. Redundant backups are key to effective security. Without an internet connection, you’ll only have what’s stored locally.
The choice really comes down to your security priorities. If you need a smaller solution that takes up less bandwidth and has fewer long-term expenses, then an internet-free camera might be a good fit. If you have a larger space to cover and need to be able to access the footage from anywhere, then an internet connection is a must.
Mobile security options
If reliable internet simply isn’t an option, you can choose a mobile security solution, which is often used at remote industrial properties and temporary construction sites. This usually includes a series of mobile internet hubs that allow for remote access and notifications, along with battery backups and 24/7 professional monitoring.
Whatever your security needs, Mobile Video Guard can meet you where you are to provide a customized solution, no matter your location or connectivity issues. We’re happy to provide a free consultation and quote when you reach out to us today.