What internet speed do I need for my home security cameras?

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Installing home security cameras, whether you’re looking at a DIY setup or a professionally monitored system, comes with many benefits. They can deter would-be intruders, allow you to keep an eye on furry family members, and generally provide peace of mind knowing there’s an extra set (or several extra sets) of eyes on your home. However, just about every home security system these days requires internet access, not to mention half-decent download and upload speeds. But just what kind of internet plan do you need?

Minimum internet speed required for security cameras

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as every security camera is different. Ring cameras require a minimum upload speed of 1Mbps per camera, but recommend 2Mbps per camera for optimal performance. Typically, the higher the security camera video quality (e.g. 2K instead of 720p or 1080p), the more bandwidth required. In our experience, we think 4Mbps is the minimum upload speed you should look for to get the most out of your camera.

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What’s the difference between upload and download speeds?
In simple terms, upload speed refers to the rate at which data is transferred to the internet from your device, while download speed refers to the rate at which data is transferred from the internet to your device. In terms of security cameras, upload speed determines how fast your security camera’s footage is transferred to the internet, while download speed determines the quality and speed of the footage you’re watching back.

Internet speeds explained

Depending on what technology is used to connect your household to the NBN, you have a choice of up to six different speed tiers.

  • NBN 12, or Basic I, is the slowest speed tier available with maximum download speeds of 12Mbps and a meagre 1Mbps upload speed. That’s enough for infrequent internet users who only need to check the occasional website or fetch emails, but not enough to allow for optimal security camera performance.
  • NBN 25, or Basic II, offers maximum download speeds of 25Mbps and upload speeds up to 5Mbps. It’s a solid option for single-person households who are reasonably light internet users. It should be enough to allow for decent performance of one HD security camera, but probably no more than that.
  • NBN 50, or Standard, is the most popular NBN tier and offers download speeds of 50Mbps and upload speeds up to 20Mbps. It’s the best choice for most households, allowing for multiple users to do their thing on the internet while still providing enough bandwidth to support security cameras.
  • NBN 100, or Fast, boasts download speeds of 100Mbps and upload speeds of 20Mbps or 40Mbps, depending on your plan. Uploads-wise, that’s not much different to NBN 50 unless you upgrade, but NBN 100 is still a good choice for larger households or heavy users with a few security cameras.
  • NBN 250, or Superfast, is only available to select households connected to the NBN via Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) and some Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) customers. This tier offers download speeds up to 250Mbps, however, upload speeds are the same as cheaper NBN 50 plans at 20Mbps, so you won’t see too much difference in your security cameras’ performance.
  • NBN 1000, or Ultrafast, is also limited to select FTTP and HFC customers. It’s the fastest tier available, with download speeds of 1000Mbps and upload speeds up to 50Mbps. It’s overkill for most people and isn’t necessary for optimal security camera performance, but it’s still an option.
How can I tell what technology I’m connected to the NBN with?

There are five different types of NBN connection technology (FTTP, FTTN, FTTC, FTTB, HFC and FW) and certain plans are restricted to certain technologies. The easiest way to find out which technology connects you to the NBN (and therefore which speed tiers are available to you) is to pop your address into the NBN’s website.

What’s my current internet speed?

If you have a recent bill from your internet provider (or can log in to your account online), you should be able to see what speed tier you’re on. For a quick idea, run a quick speed test below and compare it to the speed tiers above to work out which one you’re likely on.

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The best NBN plans for security camera users

If you have security cameras, though you may be able to scrape by with an NBN 25 plan, we’d recommend NBN 50. It offers enough bandwidth for both your cameras and all your usual Internet-based activities, like watching Netflix, playing online games and video calling. It’s also one of the better-value speed tiers, with most internet providers offering pretty solid six-month (and sometimes even 12-month) promotions.

If you’re in a larger household or are a heavier internet user, NBN 100 might be right for you. Plans come with 20Mbps upload speeds as standard (the same as NBN 50 plans), however, some providers offer 40Mbps uploads at an extra cost.

We think NBN 250 and NBN 1000 are overkill if you’re simply looking for a plan that will help your security cameras perform at their best, but if you’re keen to learn more about these faster plans, head over to our sister site, Reviews.org Australia, for a detailed breakdown.

Georgia Dixon
Written by
Georgia Dixon
Georgia Dixon has 10 years of experience writing about all things tech, entertainment and lifestyle, with bylines on Reviews.org, 7NEWS, Stuff.co.nz and in TechLife magazine. In her spare time, you'll find her playing games and daydreaming about good food, wine, and dogs.

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