What you need to know about wireless CCTV camera systems
Home security provides peace of mind to any homeowner, and is becoming more of a necessity rather than a luxury. Whether you are at home, work or away, they give you the ability to keep a watchful eye over your home over your internet connection. Wireless CCTV camera systems link easily to an app on your phone, which will notify for you when there is an intruder.
It is important to understand, before making any purchase, what you want to achieve with your wireless CCTV system which will include wireless security cameras. To guide you through this, we have included topics below to help you make the right decision.
When you’re starting your search for your CCTV security system, you may see smart security referenced. Don’t let this cause confusion, this simply means that your CCTV kit and security cameras will connect to the internet through WiFi. Typically, smart security cameras will be powered and operated by an app on your smart phone or/and through a smart speaker. Some other features typically associated with smart security cameras include:
- Facial recognition
- Two-way audio/two-way talk (built-in microphone)
- Live video streaming
- Motion detection with pet detection (to avoid unnecessary alarm triggers)
Of course you may find that other features are more or less important for your smart home, so it’s up to you to consider what features you like and what you think you may need when designing your own system.
Types of CCTV security system
Firstly decide where you want to place the CCTV kit, mainly the wireless security cameras. Cameras are typically designed for indoor or outdoor use. It is important to decide where you want an outdoor camera or indoor camera to be placed. This will help you decide on the CCTV camera kit that you need. Some of the systems available will enable you to add indoor and outdoor cameras – so worth checking before you make a decision on what brand or CCTV kit to invest in. Check the IP rating of your camera to determine how suitable it is for outdoor use. IP stands for Ingress Protection and is a rating to describe how resistant to dust and water a device’s enclosure is.
HD CCTV System
When you are looking at a HD CCTV system you are ideally looking at the number of mega pixels provided which is usually 1080P. It will give you a high-resolution image making it easier to view and see what is happening on a live image as well as ensuring any recordings made are easy to view and watch. Afterall, having a home CCTV installation is about checking what is going on at your home whether you are in or out and ensuring that you have a good image to view is essential.
The higher your camera resolution though, the faster your local storage will fill up and the more data that will have to be transferred to your cloud storage via your internet connection. You may also find that high resolution cameras decrease your battery life.
It is extremely beneficial if you can get a wireless CCTV system which includes night vision wireless security cameras. They are vital to enable you to monitor your home around the clock. The night vision technology allows the outdoor camera to capture clear images in very low or no light conditions. This helps to ensure you know what is happening when it goes dark and in the night when you are asleep or away. They don’t flash at all to capture any image, so an intruder wouldn’t be alerted to the presence of your outdoor security camera.
One of the most important benefits of night vision with any CCTV cameras is that it allows for 24-hour surveillance. This is especially useful in areas with high crime rates, or for businesses looking to protect their premises from potential intruders. With a night vision security system, you can monitor your property day and night, and rest assured knowing that your property is secure. Bear in mind that night vision uses invisible infra-red light to illuminate the scene, leading to a black and white video output. You can’t get colour night vision.
These days many cameras have night vision built in, but if this feature is important to you, then it’s worth confirming before purchasing.
Field of View
Not only is it important to place your outdoor and indoor cameras in the best place to protect your home, you need to consider the camera’s field of view that is available to the cameras in your chosen position. You ideally need to aim for a field of view of about 130 degrees and for a video doorbell, about 160 degrees – this will help you to see who is standing at your door or if any parcels have been left on your doorstep.
The field of view is set by the camera lens which on some devices can be changed, but most consumer CCTV cameras have a fixed lens.
This is a great option where you don’t have to opt for a paid cloud storage solution of recordings, which usually come with a subscription fee. Within a wireless CCTV security system, you will find the ability to add a micro-SD card, simply put, a memory card to store footage for later recovery. This is a vital piece of technology for your wireless security cameras, as they record what the camera sees, which could prove very useful at some point. Therefore, it is important to make sure images recorded are clear and clean to view.
The first thing to consider is the capacity, some recommendations may come with the model of outdoor camera that you have purchased. Also think how you will use your outdoor camera – will you use it to record continuously or only be triggered after motion detection. Then check out the camera’s resolution, full HD as previously mentioned have at least 1080P, so always check compatibility with the micro-SD card you decided to purchase.
Look out, ideally for a micro-SD card that is designed specifically for use with outdoor security camera. Most SD cards are designed for phones and cameras which require a shorter recording time – versus the continuous recording you would want with your CCTV security system. Specific cards for your outdoor cameras, will have been tested for endurance which would be supported by the warranty. They will have better resistance to temperature with being outdoors, rain, dust and will give you a better peace of mind in knowing your recordings are safe.
Some cameras have local storage as well as a micro SD card, so it’s worth checking before you buy.
When choosing your outdoor camera, be aware of the different camera resolutions available. The last think you want is a poor image and picture that you can’t see or is of little help to you. All images are made up of pixels, the minimum you should be looking for is 1080P if you want decent video quality. This quality or higher, will ensure you can see and record a clear image for both and day and night and can be achieved in an affordable budget.
In comparison, traditional CCTV systems have lower resolutions, which can be as low as 320 by 240 pixels.
When looking for your CCTV security system, you will see references to DNR, which simply means Digital Noise Reduction. Inevitably, recording day or night, there will be an element of noise interference. It will interfere with the image or recording which you will see as mainly black and white spots and will make the image grainy. To combat this, wireless CCTV cameras come equipped with different types of DNR, either 2D or 3D. Opting for a security camera with 3D will give you a better result, the 2D option will still help you get the result you want. On some high-end cameras, you will see a combination of 2D and 3D DNR which will give you the best result but may push you out of your budget.
If you haven’t already heard of them, Ring is a home and smart security company owned by Amazon. They are one of the top smart home platforms, who manufacture and sell products for home security and surveillance, cameras for both indoor and outdoor use and a smart doorbell. As you would expect, fully compatible and operational with the Amazon Alexa. One of their main product lines is indoor security cameras.
If you care considering using their products, it is worth looking at the their CCTV security system packs. They come with keypad which you can use to operate the system and there are different packs where you can opt for indoor and outdoor cameras, add on a doorbell – all different packs to accommodate how many cameras you would need for your security system and whether you want to opt for additional sirens and free-standing stick cameras.
This is an additional service provided by Ring, offered via 2 plans to help you get the most out of their products. There is Protect Basic and Protect Plus.
Simple plan for one doorbell or ring indoor cam with one flat price. Enables you to activate video recording for each individual devices to see – you can save and share videos. The cost is £3.49/month per device.
Provides more coverage and a better experience, covering all your Ring doorbells and cameras in your home for £8/month. Same service as the basic plan but a better coverage.
You can see the full list of benefits on their website.
Google Nest Cam
These are included in the smart security products and services provided by Google. They have a full range in addition to the Google Nest cam for smart security that include thermostats, smoke detectors and a lot more. Their aim is to help you build your smart and connected home.
The Google nest cam comes in a variety of different models, indoor and outdoor, battery, wired and wireless. You can also opt for one with a floodlight. They all require the Google Home app and are similar in their specification but worth checking out their website to find out the full details. The motion detection feature on Google Nest cameras is very good too.
Home CCTV Installation
There are many CCTV security systems out there, which are aimed at you being able to install yourself. A CCTV kit includes things like the camera, power adapter, any network cable or wifi aerial, window stickers, instruction manual and maybe a CD with software. Basic security camera systems are easy to do and certainly the Ring and Google Nest products are designed for home installation, although Ring now provide access to professional installers. We would always recommend consulting an experienced home CCTV installation expert. They will be able to help guide you to decide what you need, the products available and the pros and cons of different options. They are best placed to know where your wireless security cameras should be placed to give you the best coverage and also the products which you will find the easiest to operate.
For even better coverage, you cam place multiple cameras in multiple locations around your property to deter would-be burglars. With the advent of WiFi, this is easier than ever before.
Battery powered camera options are available which avoid having to call an electrician to install mains power cables. The downside to battery powered cameras compared to wired cameras is the battery life. Most cameras have an internal rechargeable battery that has to be charged every month or two. If you don’t want to deal with charging devices or monitoring battery life, then stick to wired cameras.
Before you make a decision on whether you want to install a security system yourself, consult an experienced professional to get some guidance and a cost to have your CCTV security system installed.