Ooma Home Security Knowledge Hub

Wired vs Wireless Smart Cameras

By Husain Sumra|Thursday July 11, 2019

Wired cameras have ruled the security roost for decades now. They used to be the only way to monitor your home or business, but that’s changed thanks to the advent of the wireless camera. Now you have more choices to protect your home, your kids, your pets and even your elderly parents or grandparents.

But not all choices are equal. What are the differences between wired and wireless cameras, and which ones better suit what you need for your home or business? We’ll explore what the pros and cons are for each camera system below.

Wired Security Cameras: Benefits

Wired security systems are the old guard for a reason. They come with a number of advantages that have helped ensure their longevity. You might not even have realized that wireless cameras were even a choice thanks to the ubiquity of hardwired cams.

Closed System

Wired cameras are often part of a closed security loop. Your hardwired camera is powered with the same power supply that most of your home is, and all of its footage is stored at your home in a physical location. That footage is then cleared out after a certain amount of days, and more footage is recorded.

A closed system means that it’s difficult for anyone to hack in and access your footage. In theory, this makes a closed system more secure than a wired one, which may be important if you’ve got a large business – or a lot of valuables.

Stability

The other big pro in favor of wired cameras is stability. Wired cameras don’t often have to rely on an internet connection to transfer video to the cloud. Because they rely on local storage, whether onsite or in the camera itself, there’s little chance of footage being interrupted by a bad connection or a hiccup.  If an incident happens, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your camera didn’t miss a beat.

No Battery Anxiety

While wireless cameras rely on rechargeable or replaceable batteries, wired cameras are always powered on. They use the same power source that everything else in your home relies on, which means that you won’t have to worry about a dead battery causing you to miss out on important footage.

Similarly, you won’t have to spend time checking on whether you need to recharge your camera, which could take it away from its monitoring duties. This is especially important outdoors, where you may want your camera to operate all the time.

Hard to Steal

One of the biggest benefits of a wireless security camera is portability, but that may actually be a downside in certain situations. If you’ve got a burglar wandering around your house looking for valuables, they may just take your camera – and its footage – with it.

Wired cameras, however, are more difficult to move. They’re almost always mounted to a wall or ceiling, and they’re of course hardwired in. Trying to cover up a crime by swiping a hardwired camera is a difficult process.

Wireless Security Cameras: Benefits

Wireless cameras, on the other hand, have grown in popularity thanks to features that give it a number of advantages over traditional wired cameras, like ease of use and taking advantage of the cloud.

Easier to Install

The biggest advantage of a wireless smart camera is that they’re extremely easy to install. In fact, you don’t have to install them at all. Many wireless smart cameras, like the Ooma Smart Camera, can just be placed on a shelf or table.

You won’t have to do any of the hard work of running wiring through your wall or doors, or figuring out where you put your security setup. You can just stick the camera somewhere and let it do its job of watching your family.

Portability

Because wireless smart cameras are so easy to install, they’re also very easy to move around your home. You can move your wireless camera to your room when you’re headed out, so that it watches over your expensive jewelry, and then you can move it to the living room when you’re home, giving you some privacy.

Some wireless cameras, like the Ooma Smart Cam, can even be moved in between the outdoors and indoors, giving you plenty of choice about where to place them. Wired cameras, on the other hand, often have to be placed in certain spots to maximize viewing angle.

The Cloud

If you’ve got a wired camera, your footage is either living in your camera’s internal storage or on a server somewhere in your home. This means that if anything happens to those physical locations, that footage could be damaged or gone forever.

Wireless security cameras, however, rely on the cloud. The footage is uploaded to servers where it’s held for a couple days to a month, depending on whether you also pay for a subscription. This way, you know your footage is safe.

Smart Features

The cloud isn’t just used for storing your footage, it can also be used to give you a number of smart features you can’t easily get with a wired camera.

These include abilities like facial recognition, notifications when motion is detected and easily sending your footage to the authorities should an investigation be needed. With a wired camera, you’d have to dig out the footage from your hard drive or flash drive, cut it up and then send it off. With a wireless cam, it’s as easy emailing it to the cops.

Outdoors or indoors?

As we’ve learned, wired and wireless cameras have distinct advantages and disadvantages. Both are better suited to different environments. For example, wireless cameras are easier to use indoors, where you’re often moving things around and don’t want to mount big cameras everywhere.

Meanwhile, hardwired cameras are often a better fit outdoors. You won’t have to worry about re-charging its battery, or it getting stolen after it records an important event. You can just forget about it.

Consider a hybrid.

There is a way to combine the benefits of a wired and wireless camera into a single package, without many of the drawbacks. A good number of smart cameras can be used in both a wired or wireless setup.

You can use it wireless, taking advantage of its portability and smart features like facial recognition and notification alerts, but you can also take it outdoors and hardware it. This will let you keep it stationary, which means you don’t have to worry about the battery any more.

Instead, you’ll get some of the benefits of a hardwired security camera combined with all of the benefits of a wireless camera. It’s the best of both worlds.

Read: Wired vs Wireless Security Systems

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