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How Far Away Can a Wireless Security Camera Work? | Improving IP Camera Range

How Far Away Can a Wireless Security Camera Work? | Improving IP Camera Range

Wireless security cameras have different wireless ranges depending on the technologies they use, usually operating within a range of 150 feet, but occasionally up to as much as 500 feet. 

Homes, office spaces, and most other environments are subject to lot’s of interference caused by other wireless devices. Find out more about wireless ranges below, and how to extend them.

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What is the Range of a Wireless Security Camera?

The average range of a wireless security camera is 150 feet, though some devices may be capable of up to 500 feet or higher. The actual range achieved will depend on the model, the range of the router it’s connected to, and the amount of other devices projecting wireless signals within the range.

Brands very rarely provide data on security camera signal range, because it’s an impossible promise to keep. Range will vary dramatically for different customers.

Interference is expected in most households, where multiple devices using different types of wireless signal—whether that’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or mobile data—are used at the same time in a confined space. Not to mention, the more devices connected to a router, the more taxing it will be on the download and upload speeds. 

High quality security cameras can be very demanding on upload and download speeds. Reducing the quality settings will help not only make the camera more functional, but will free up the router for the other devices connected to it.

How Can I Extend the Range of a Wireless Camera?

It’s possible to extend the range of a wireless camera using a Wi-Fi extender. These are marketed under various names.

‘Repeaters’ are an older technology that’s mostly redundant, so instead consider ‘range extenders’ (which rebroadcast the existing radio signal on a different channel from that used by the router) or ‘network extenders’ (which uses a wire to communicate directly with the router).

A Brief Explanation of Wi-Fi

In a nutshell, Wi-Fi is a certain frequency of radio signals. The device being used (for present purposes, a security camera) translates its data into a radio signal. It then transmits that via an antenna. The Wi-Fi router receives that radio signal, and then decodes it. From there, it sends it to the internet via cables. 

The device and the router therefore have to be within range of each other to send signals back and forth so that the router can then send the information out to the internet.

In other words, it amounts to a lot of translating different ‘languages’ back and forth at high speeds, so one could think of it like two people (the security camera and the internet) using a translator (the router) to communicate.

Why Is My Wi-Fi So Bad?

It’s not uncommon to struggle to get consumer tech like security cameras and smartphones to maintain a decent signal. This doesn’t usually indicate a problem with the device itself, but the environment it’s contained in. Bad Wi-Fi is caused by:

Dense building materials

Radio frequencies have to penetrate all of the surfaces around them. Bad Wi-Fi is most likely caused by dense building materials in the building, like brick and concrete. Walls made of drywall, for instance, aren’t nearly as difficult for wireless signals to pass through.

Too many devices connected

Lot’s of devices connected to and using the same network at the same time will cause it to become sluggish and even unusable. This depends on the activity of the devices.

Demanding downloads and uploads

The regular activity of the connected devices will have a big impact on the overall ‘strength’ of the Wi-Fi. If two laptops are downloading 4K movies using the same Wi-Fi hub, other devices connected to the hub won’t stand a chance of getting even a slice of the Wi-Fi pie.

Wi-Fi routers and the products connected to them all have a given signal range. Routers usually operate on a frequency of either 2.4GHz or 5GHz. 2.4GHz travels further, but is slower, while 5GHz travels faster, but within a shorter range. Modern routers tend to have both.

If the range is just too small for the space, the Wi-Fi will be prone to dropping out frequently, and devices may not be able to connect at all.

Though they refrain from making claims about actual range, security camera models usually specify whether they use 2.4GHz or 5GHz on the box. For example, popular models like AlfredCam, Wyze Cam v3 and Arlo Pro 4 are compatible with 2.4GHz.

Other radio waves

There might be a limited number of devices connected to the router itself, but that doesn’t mean interference isn’t still occurring. A bunch of wireless radio signals are likely to be occupying the same space in a modern home, office, or other space. 

TV remotes, Bluetooth speakers, 4G mobile data from a phone—anything that projects or receives wireless signals is contributing to interference to some degree.

What is the longest distance for a security camera?

500 feet is usually the higher end of signal ranges for security cameras. Most will operate somewhere in the range of 150 feet.

Can wireless cameras work without the Internet?

Yes, some wireless cameras can function without 24/7 connection to the internet. Onboard storage can be utilized, or a microSD card. Some cameras support mobile data that uses a SIM card, and some also support Bluetooth.

How far can a Bluetooth camera reach?

Bluetooth has a very short signal range of about 30 feet (10 meters). 

Range is rarely specified by security camera brands because it is subject to lots of different variables that can dramatically impact the real range the user is able to get out of the product. 

Wi-Fi extenders are a great way to alleviate the strain on wireless routers and increase internet access throughout the home, and can be useful for helping keep security cameras within range in larger homes or homes subject to interference.

This content was originally published here.

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