Wi-Fi cameras are great for security or checking on pets, but what happens if Wi-Fi goes down? The Wi-Fi camera turns into just… a camera?
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Convenience is the name of the game when it comes to Wi-Fi cameras. You can place them just about anywhere as long as the power cord reaches an outlet. From there, they connect to your home’s Wi-Fi network and the magic starts to happen. But what if that Wi-Fi magic disappears?
Basically you’re screwed
In short, if you have a Wi-Fi camera like the Nest Cam, or any other camera that requires a Wi-Fi connection to do practically anything, then the device essentially becomes a paperweight when your Wi -Fi is disabled.
In particular, Nest Cam doesn’t let you do anything from the Nest app — it acts like the camera doesn’t even exist, giving you a «your camera is disabled» message. You can’t even log in and watch past videos.
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The good news is that at least it sends you a notification when your camera goes offline, accompanied by a picture of what the camera last saw before it lost connection.
Of course, other Wi-Fi cameras may work differently, but most of them rely heavily on a Wi-Fi connection to do anything. Now, if your Wi-Fi camera can record video locally (and not store it in the cloud), you can be clean.
Some Wi-Fi cameras can record locally
If you’re lucky enough to have a Wi-Fi camera that can also record video locally to a connected USB device or SD card, chances are the camera will be able to record footage even without a Wi-Fi connection.
Arlo Pro from Netgear is a great example. The cameras are truly wireless (i.e. battery powered with Wi-Fi connectivity) but they are directly connected to an Arlo base station and then that base station is connected to a router.
You can connect a USB flash drive to the base station to record video locally, and whenever your Wi-Fi goes down unexpectedly, the Arlo Pro camera will still record whatever it needs, but save it to the USB flash drive.
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If your particular Wi-Fi camera can record video locally, you should check if it can still do so even if the Wi-Fi goes down.
So what’s the solution?
If you need a security camera and can’t afford to take it off when the Wi-Fi gets cappuccino, there are a few alternatives.
As mentioned in the previous section, you can get a camera that can also record video locally, such as the Arlo Pro and Wyze Cam, the latter being one of the cheapest Wi-Fi cameras on the market.
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Perhaps the best option is to install a wired security system. You can get a system that costs the same as the Nest Cam but comes with multiple cameras that you can place around the house in different locations.
Obviously a lot more work is required because you have to run wires in different directions to connect everything together, but you will have better reliability and most importantly, they won’t have to rely on Wi-Fi in your home. ,