Wireless security cameras have a lot of benefits but there are a few drawbacks too. They are easy to install, use and maintain; and some models you can even carry with you when you travel. They do not cost a fortune.
The Wi-Fi security cameras have a lot to offer. If it’s in your house, the technology lets you observe firsthand what’s going on in your property even if you’re hundreds of miles away. As they rely on existing Wi-Fi connections in your home and may need cloud storage to store the recordings, they accrue some power and data cost over time.
Why do Wi-Fi Security cameras need data?
Wi-Fi cameras send and receive data via your Wi-Fi network, therefore the name! In addition to this, if you’re using your phone to access the content of your camera then it will consume data as well. Your Wi-Fi Camera will use data whenever there is some motion detection. In addition to this, if you have a cloud storage option turned on, it will use the data to upload the content to the cloud server.
The connection that needs to be established between your security camera and your mobile device is done through your data. Any two-way communication through the camera, let’s say with a delivery person, is a data expense as well.
Apart from this, if you have linked your Wi-Fi security in combination with Google Assistant or Alexa, then voice commands will also consume some data. And finally, if you decide to remotely take a live peek through your camera, the live feed is also carried through your Wi-Fi network.
Based on this, you can see that the amount of data that is being used will greatly depend on how you’re using your Wi-Fi security camera. The overall cost of your Wi-Fi camera security setup is going to depend on several things.
First, it will depend on how many cameras you have connected at a single time. Then, it will depend on what features the camera has. Most recent models send you a quick notification when someone is at the door, or when they register some movement.
This means that they stay connected, and therefore consume some data over Wi-Fi. Some security cameras are completely offline, and they store their recordings locally, this would not cost you any data.
Let’s take a typical case. You receive a motion notification from your camera. And then, you decide to peek from your smartphone. Now, how long you look at the Live feed from the camera is really up to you. It could be a quick 30-second view, or you might want to look at the live feed for a good 3 to 5 minutes until the person, or whatever triggered the camera, is gone.
Naturally, the longer you use it the more data it will consume. This consumption happens on both ends, one on your camera’s end, and the other on your smartphone. If your viewing is longer than a few minutes, you will end up consuming a good amount of data. If your Wi-Fi camera is set to high sensitivity, and Full HD resolution then you will end up using more data.
Using the security camera app on your phone can be tempting, as you would receive a push notification, and then you instantly want to see the recording. However, data on a phone is a lot more expensive than data over Wi-Fi.
If you have a data plan with a monthly cap, you might end up using your monthly data allowance, while looking at a delivery person leaving a package on your front door in Full HD. Not ideal to say the least.
When we are looking to buy Wi-Fi Security Cameras, we look at the latest and the best specifications, and it is great to be able to look outside into your property, or your kid’s room in Full HD.
However, the video resolution is a real drainer when it comes to data usage in security cameras. If you are looking to control your data usage video resolution is something you should adjust—if applicable—to 720p, so long as that resolution is effective.
Overall, determining the exact amount of data consumption from a Wi-Fi security camera is not easy. But what we know is that resolution, motion detection, and HD settings require more data. If you are looking for a way to minimize data usage, you will have to work with minimal settings and fewer live visits.
Most Wi-Fi security cameras require high-speed Wi-Fi to function properly. Slow Wi-fi speed would result in you getting a delayed notification or seeing videos with a considerable lag. Lowering the setting will help your service get a little faster.
So how much data are we talking about? Security Camera Data Usage
In general, a Wi-Fi security camera may use somewhere between 50 to 300 GB/month. If you have a maximum spend limit of your data plan, then this might become an issue, and frequent consumption of data may lead to overshooting your limit and you will be charged more for the additional data usage.
Let’s say you have a Wi-Fi camera like a Zumimall Cam set up at your front door. 10 minutes of activity on the camera would amount to a little over 1 GB of data. Remember, the actual use will depend on the settings of the camera and the details of use. The more often your camera is active, the more data is used.
Most homes have at least a few cameras connected to their system, and on average if they actively use their system for 10-15 minutes a day, it will easily add up to 100 GB per month.
The cloud storage on the other hand would actually not consume a lot of data as the video that the camera would upload is fairly compressed video. If you have around 60 instances of motion recordings in a month, it would probably be less than 5GB.
The more alerts you receive on your phone, the more 1080p HD video content you end up streaming on your device. The longer the event preview or longer the live peek, the more you consume. If you know the actual setting of the camera and want to get a more accurate estimate of your usage, try this calculator.