Guide to Wireless Security Cameras

in Security

The use of wireless security cameras has become increasingly popular over recent years. This surge in interest is due to many reasons. Some people use wireless security cameras for their ease of installation. Other people use them because running wires is impossible or not cost effective. Whatever the reason may be, wireless security cameras are quickly becoming the preferred method of surveillance for many people.

Wireless security cameras are so popular because users can literally put them anywhere added protection is needed -- and the user doesn't have to worry about wires. The placement of a security system is very flexible and easy to install, as long as the installer does his or her homework. Wireless security cameras have a very high failure rate on initial install if precautions are not taken.

What sort of failure? Say you install the camera and give it power, but there is no signal picking up on the receiver side. Luckily, this problem can be solved with some due diligence. And when you are thinking about installing wireless security cameras (whether on your own or with some assistance), there are three frequencies that are on the market for the general public.

Choosing a Security System: 900MHz, 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz

The lower the frequency number, the more walls/objects your security system can pass through (except for concrete and metal).

  • 900MHz wireless security cameras can be used in installs where the signal has to go through trees or dry wall in order to reach the wireless receiver. This bandwidth doesn't have that much interference from other devices, and as a result, the signal can be relatively strong. The drawback is that right now there are only two channels available on this frequency, making its use very limited.
  • 2.4GHz wireless security cameras are the most common on the market. So are 2.4GHz phones, wireless routers, keyboards, and mice that we all use. Basically, if you see something wireless on the market, there is a good chance it is on a 2.4GHz frequency. As a result, a lot of the wireless 2.4GHz security cameras fail. There are up to 12 channels available on 2.4GHz frequency that you can select for transmission, but the reality is that if you live in a city like New York or Los Angeles you won't find a single channel that is not occupied by a wireless device.

To fix this issue, some manufacturers have started using 5.8GHz transmitters and receivers in their wireless security cameras. The 5.8GHz frequency is relatively clean, and subsequently, the successful wireless camera installation rate is higher. You can have up to eight analog wireless security cameras on 5.8GHz frequency. But the 5.8GHz frequency has an issue. It does not go through walls as effectively as the 900MHz or 2.4GHz frequency. This is a huge disadvantage.

So right now, we have 900MHz, where you can only have two cameras on it (not very practical), and 2.4GHz, which has almost every device known to man on it, and 5.8GHz, which is relatively clean, but fails when you try to send the signal through walls. To resolve this issue, some security camera manufacturers have started placing high power 5.8GHz transmitters and better quality antennas in their wireless cameras. As a result of this addition, 5.8GHz wireless security cameras can now send a camera signal through a wall.

If you find a 5.8GHz camera and receiver on the market for under $200, chances are it has a 10 milliwatt transmitter in it, which is the lowest power transmitter on the market. In ideal conditions with line of sight, you can stretch it to 300 feet (in theory). In reality though, that is never the case. The signal strength is reduced by interference and walls. If you are looking for a camera that can transmit video up to 500 feet away, you need a camera with at least a 100mw transmitter. For a distance greater than that, let's say 1,000 feet to 2,000 feet, you need a system with a one watt transmitter.

These are very general numbers and can change based on the distance, weather, and availability of a clear line of sight. A good way to increase the odds of success is to put the security camera and receiver antenna as high as possible so that they have a clear line of sight. Before making any purchases however, ensure that you identify your own specific needs for a security system so that you receive the proper protection for your home or business. And if you still need a little help selecting the right system, don't be afraid to ask the professionals!

Author Box
Chris Pappas has 1 articles online

Chris Pappas is the Security and Network Manager for 247 Security Cameras, an online store offering the latest selection of affordably priced office and home security cameras and accessories. Chris got his start in the security field working in the information technology department of a major financial software provider on Wall Street, where he received hands on training from IT experts in the industry. While employed there, Chris was introduced to video surveillance and was called upon to design and install a number of video security measures after 9/11. Since 2005, Chris, whose expertise includes all types of security cameras, point-to-point communications, network architecture design, security, and installation, has focused exclusively on security and surveillance for office and home owners.

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Guide to Wireless Security Cameras

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This article was published on 2010/03/30