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Wired Vs. Wireless Security Cameras – Which is Right for You?

Home and business protection is more convenient than ever thanks to advances in security camera technology. Both wired and wireless security cameras offer a sense of relief and safety wherever you are. But which is best for you?

In short, wired cameras take more time and effort to install yet offer more reliability. Wireless cameras are relatively inexpensive and easy to set up but suffer from possible network failure and tampering. Let’s break down these two options so you can make the best choice for your home or business. 

Wired Security Cameras

Pros of wired cameras

  • Clear video and audio
  • Reliable signals, low chance of signal loss
  • Constant power to cameras
  • Wireless hacking of system is impossible

Cons of wired cameras

  • Not portable; the system will remain with the house if you move
  • Running wires to each camera can be difficult and time-consuming
  • Wiring needs to be hidden
  • Number of cameras can be limited by the hardware you select

How wired security cameras work

Wired security cameras run audio and video through a wire to a central hub inside the building. This footage can remain on the hub to be viewed later or can be sent to a network for remote viewing. 

Wired security cameras receive their power through a hardwired cable. The power can come either directly from an outlet or through the wire that goes to the central hub.

The hub can be either a digital video recorder (DVR) attached to the cameras through coaxial cables or a networked video recorder (NVR) that connects to the cameras via PoE (Power Over Ethernet) cables. NVR hubs are used with the more modern IP cameras.

Advantages & disadvantages of wired security cameras

With inexpensive wireless security options becoming more commonplace, it’s easy to think of wired systems as outdated. This is not the case. Wired security cameras are a very strong security measure that offer a number of advantages. 

The main appeal of wired systems is that the feed to the hub is safer than in a wireless connection. The signal will not break or lose quality. As long as the wire remains in place, the hub should always receive uninterrupted, clear footage. 

Wired cameras are also good for multiple installations across several rooms or outside of the building, as the walls will not interfere with the signal.

However, there are downsides. The primary concern is installation. Because you want as much property to be covered as possible, several cameras will have to be spaced out across the property. This means that potentially hundreds of feet of wire will have to be run throughout the building. Also, having wiring tacked to the wall is neither visually appealing nor optimally secure, so many wires will have to be fished through baseboards, walls, attics, and crawl spaces.

If that sounds intimidating, fear not. Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy offers cabling and security camera installation services that will allow you to have clear, consistent security footage without the headache of installing the wire. If you are interested in upgrading your security, click here to get a quote.

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Wireless Security Cameras

Pros of wireless cameras

  • Clean installation
  • System is flexible and mobile
  • Easy to increase the number of cameras
  • Intruders cannot cut wire (because there is none)

Cons of wireless cameras

  • Limited signal range
  • Walls, floors, etc. can obstruct signal
  • Interference with other Wi-Fi-dependent systems possible
  • Susceptible to digital spying
  • Batteries need changing for wire-free systems

How wireless security cameras work

Wireless/wire-free systems send footage from cameras around the property to the WiFi router. This transmission is totally wireless. Once the footage is received on the WiFi, it’s sent to a cloud server. The footage can be viewed in real time or archived for later. Some cameras also have built-in SD cards for storing small amounts of footage.

It is important to note that “wireless” and “wire-free” do not mean the same thing. Both types of cameras will transmit the footage wirelessly, but wireless cameras still require power cables to work. Wire-free cameras, however, are battery-powered.

In order to conserve power, wire-free cameras typically only record when motion is detected. Wireless cameras, on the other hand, receive constant power from the home and are constantly recording (though they can be set to only record for motion detection).

Advantages & disadvantages of wireless security cameras

Wireless camera systems are less invasive to your home and require less setup. No drilling through walls or ceilings is required. The lack of wires also makes it easier to rearrange cameras or move them to a new location – perfect for rental properties. These cameras have a range of up to 500 feet with a clear line of sight. Wire-free also means there are no cables that intruders can cut to disable the system.

Wireless systems generally work very well, as long as the signal from the cameras to the central hub/WiFi is not interrupted. When installed indoors, wireless systems typically only have a range of 150 feet. The signal can pass through walls of drywall and wooden studs but will struggle with walls of brick or concrete. 

Power is also a concern. Wire-free cameras are battery operated and require fresh batteries for each camera periodically. Wireless systems will need to be situated near power outlets which can impede the flexibility of the system. 

Wireless security cameras can also expose you to digital spying. The FTC recommends only buying security camera systems that encrypt your data and only running the signal off of WiFi protected by WPA2 (or similar) security. 

Conveniently, Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy can help with all of this. Our technicians can install wireless and wire-free systems quickly and properly. We can even set up security on your WiFi router for an added layer of digital protection.

Which should you buy?

Now for the most important question: which is best for you?

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In summary: If you’re going to be using this property for a while and are willing to put a little work in initially for long-term reliability, then you should consider wired cameras.
If you’re renting or moving soon and want flexibility or need the cameras up and running quickly, then wireless/wire-free cameras may be right for you.

Ready to install your cameras?

Your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Guy is ready to help!

Curious about our security camera and CCTV installation services? Click here to learn more.

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