How Do Wireless Security Cameras Work?

Gone are the days of long, obtrusive wires running across floorboards or walls. Many of today’s security cameras are wireless, using Wi-Fi to communicate with a control panel or connected smart device. Wireless security cameras are easier to install, and they give you greater flexibility for placement.


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How wireless cameras work

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Wired vs. wireless home security cameras

When security cameras first hit the market, they required a wired electrical source to work. Some multi-camera setups still work this way. These wired cameras rely on video cables to transmit video signals to a viewing device, like a computer monitoring or television.

With a wireless security camera, the video signal—and, with some, the audio signal as well—transmits over the internet or other wireless network to a receiver that connects to your viewing and recording device. Many people use computers or cloud storage accounts to save the video footage for later viewing.

Learn more about wired vs. wireless home security cameras.

Do wireless security cameras need internet?

A wireless camera must maintain a signal and connection to your network to record and capture footage. If there's a disruption to your connection, your wireless security camera can’t send the feed to your mobile device.

Wireless security camera benefits

As mentioned above, wireless security cameras are easier to install than the wired alternative. Many wired cameras connect to your home’s electrical system, so you’ll need to hire a professional for the installation. Wireless cameras rely on Wi-Fi or other networks. Follow the instructions, and you can set up and connect most cameras in less than 15 minutes.

Wireless security cameras are often more ideal for renters, people new to home security, or those on a budget. Not only are wireless security cameras less expensive than wired systems, but they’re easier to move and transport. Just unplug them, and you’re ready to go!

Wireless security camera limitations

It’s important to note that there are limitations to a wireless security camera’s capabilities: 

Battery power

If the camera is completely wireless, it needs a battery for power. In this kind of arrangement, you need to replace or recharge the battery before it dies. Solar cameras also use a solar panel to charge the batteries during the day.

Distance from router or hub

Don't place a wireless camera too far away from the main hub or wireless router. If there’s a direct line of sight, a wireless camera’s range may reach up to 500 feet or more. Within a house, the range is usually lower—around 150 feet—though not always.

The signal range depends on a few factors, including your home’s building materials, other wireless devices in the area, and any walls or objects through which the signal has to pass.

Standard drywall and glass windows may not impact the strength of the camera’s wireless signal, but brick and concrete will. If there are brick walls, concrete floors, and large trees in between the camera and receiver, your signal strength will likely weaken.

Final word

Wireless security cameras are a great addition to your home security system, as they offer you 24/7 viewing access to your home, no matter where in the world you are.

Now, explore the best home security cameras on the market and see which ones can integrate with your home security system.

Compare the best home security systems

Brand
Best for
Lowest monitoring price
Starter equipment price
Contract required
Installation
Smart home compatibilityIcon Tooltip  Dark
Learn more
Read review
Best overall$599.00
Icon Yes  LightNo *
ProAmazon, Google,
Z-Wave
Budget pick$245.00
Icon Yes  LightNo
DIYAmazon, Google
Most experienced $0.00
Icon No  LightYes
ProAmazon, Google,
Z-Wave
Best customer experienceQuote required
Icon Yes  LightNo *
DIYAmazon,
Google
High-end DIY pick$129.00
Icon Yes  LightNo
DIYAmazon, Google,
Z-Wave

Info current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
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John Carlsen
Written by
John Carlsen
John is a technology journalist specializing in smart home devices, security cameras, and home security systems. He has over nine years of experience researching, testing, and reviewing the latest tech—he was the Smart Home Editor for Top Ten Reviews and wrote for ASecureLife before joining SafeWise as a Staff Writer in 2020. John holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications, Journalism emphasis from Utah Valley University. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, cooking, and starting countless DIY projects he has yet to complete.

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