The types of security cameras can be characterized according to different criteria such as mount type and shape, lens type, environmental conditions, and features. Even through the turmoil of COVID-19, advances in security systems remain unaffected, with newer and better designs coming out every month.
One of the main characterization criteria is that of connectivity, which gives birth to the wired vs. wireless security camera debate.
We understand that there can be a lot of confusion around these two types of security systems and we know there is a lot to consider when deciding on choosing the best system for the security of your property.
Read on below to learn more. We have broken down the wired vs. wireless camera types, describing the pros and cons for each, helping you make a more informed decision about your property’s safety and security.
WIRED SECURITY CAMERAS
Wired security systems, also known as a DVR (digital video recorder) security system, are a combination of cameras and a recording device and are the most traditional form of CCTV, connected to a power source and the internet using a cable.
The cameras can be powered in two ways; through a separate cord connecting the power and internet, or by using a Power over Ethernet (PoE) cable, requiring just one cable providing both power and internet connection.
PROS OF WIRED SECURITY CAMERAS
- Little to no network interference
- More secure
- Consistent video and streaming quality
- Supports large installations
The biggest possible advantage that wired security cameras provide is that of reliability. Due to the physical connection between the camera, recorder, and router through cables, the system is less susceptible to connectivity issues and interference from other devices.
The system also isn’t susceptible to bandwidth fluctuations due to the high-reliability factor, and the video quality remains great and consistent throughout. A 4K system will stream footage in 4K quality and will not fall to 720p due to poor reception – an important factor that guarantees high-quality surveillance.
Due to the system working on a closed network, it cannot be wirelessly hacked, which ensures that the data being recorded on the system will be secure and protected from hackers.
One thing to note here is that there is no guarantee of the system being 100% risk-free; there is a chance of the wires being cut by potential burglars and intruders, which is why it is ideal to completely conceal the wiring, hiding it from plain sight.
Wired security cameras are a great option if you have a large area to cover under surveillance. Since everything is hardwired, the system can be as expansive as need be, providing comprehensive coverage and the ability to support a large number of cameras to cover more space.
CONS OF WIRED SECURITY CAMERAS
- Installation time
- Invasive installation
- Less flexible
- Not portable
- Power outages
The installation process and the time it takes to carry it out is one of the biggest drawbacks of wired security cameras. Due to the usage of all the cables, setting up the system might take longer than a wireless system. It might even require drilling holes in walls, which can be an issue if the property is rented or on lease.
In addition to that, since wired security cameras require access to a power outlet and internet via cables, they are less flexible and cannot be mounted just anywhere. The availability of a power source and the internet is mandatory.
Portability is another issue faced by wired camera users. Due to all the hardwiring involved in the installation process, moving or relocating the system can be very challenging and it is usually better to just invest in a new one rather than going through the hassle of moving the existing system.
Since the system is dependent on power supplied through the mains system of your property, it makes it vulnerable to stop working during power outages. A great way to combat this issue is to use backup batteries, ensuring everything always stays up and running.
WIRELESS SECURITY CAMERAS
Wireless security cameras are connected to a power source via a cable and connected to the internet over Wi-Fi, uploading the video to a local storage device or the cloud.
The main difference between a wired and wireless security camera system is that the recorded footage in wireless systems is transmitted from the camera to the recorder wirelessly, whereas wired systems work entirely over cables. Both, however, require wired power.
PROS OF WIRELESS SECURITY CAMERAS
- Ease of installation
- Lower setup cost
- More flexible
Ease of installation is one of the main benefits of a wireless security camera, which is due to minimal cables involved, typically just one to connect the system to the power outlet to set up the system.
Since the time and effort required to carry out the task is less, the total charges for setting up a wireless security camera system are generally less than for a wired system.
They are also more flexible in terms of installation locations since they connect over Wi-Fi, requiring access to only a power source. However, they do need to be close enough to a router to maintain a strong internet connection.
Moving them around is relatively easier too since they tend to be lightweight and portable, and it is easier to add additional cameras to the system.
CONS OF WIRELESS SECURITY CAMERAS
- Less reliable
- Dependent on Wi-Fi strength
- Susceptible to interference
- Risk of being hacked
- Do not support large installations
For all those who have used Wi-Fi know how unreliable it can be at times unless you have a super-fast connection that gives uninterrupted connectivity.
The biggest drawback of a wireless camera system is that it is completely dependent on how strong your Wi-Fi connection is. Any disruptions or weak signals could mean you could lose connectivity to the system resulting in lost footage, possibly a crucial one.
The further away the system is from the router, the weaker the signals and the lesser the reliability factor, therefore, the system must be installed within Wi-Fi range or, to boost the connection, extenders could be used.
Another common disadvantage is that of interference from similar devices. This is of major concern for wireless security camera users since wireless and radio signals are all around us competing for signals, resulting in false alarms, or lost signals and video.
Just as with all wireless systems, wireless security cameras are at a risk of being hacked, which puts the data being recorded and the relevant information vulnerable to being used by unauthorized parties. Special care must be taken to ensure the CCTV data remains safe since the inability to safeguard data recorded on a CCTV camera can result in some serious legal action.
Wireless security systems are limited to the area they can cover. Wi-Fi signals don’t extend very far, restricting the size of the system. For this reason, they are not ideal for larger installations and are generally recommended for areas such as small residential properties.
WIRE-FREE SECURITY CAMERAS
Wire-free cameras are a variant of wireless security cameras that are connected to the internet via Wi-Fi and powered through batteries.
No cables are required at all, not even to connect the system to a power outlet. It is solely dependent on removable or rechargeable batteries.
They offer seamless installation and can be set up just about anywhere within Wi-Fi range, making the process easier and quicker. Due to the complete absence of wiring and any sort of drilling, they are the perfect choice for renters.
Unlike wired and wireless security cameras, wire-free systems are not vulnerable to power outages since they rely on independent batteries.
The batteries, however, need to be periodically recharged and replaced to keep the system up and running at all times. Luckily, the life on these batteries is pretty good and they don’t require charging or replacement too often since they are made to conserve battery and go into sleep or standby mode until they are triggered.
Certain drawbacks of the system are that, like wireless security cameras, they are dependent on how strong the Wi-Fi signals are. The weaker the signal, the less reliable the system can be. They are also susceptible to hacking and can be tampered with and moved easily since absolutely no cables are involved.
Due to this reason, it is recommended to use such wire-free security cameras as hidden deterrents where they aren’t easily visible to the general public.
WHICH ONE IS THE BEST?
Now that we have covered all the pros and cons related to the wired vs. wireless debate, which system is the best?
You can opt for a wired or wireless option depending solely on your needs and requirements. Certain aspects can make the decision easier for you. They are:
- Easy installation and flexibility
If your determining criteria are ease of installation and flexibility, the clear winner here is wireless or wire-free security cameras.
The process is easy, requiring no extensive labour, and can be installed just about anywhere with a good Wi-Fi signal.
They even work in areas where there is no power supply, such as secluded properties, since they work using rechargeable and replaceable batteries.
- Reliability and stability
If you’re looking for a CCTV system that is reliable and provides uninterrupted connectivity, wired security cameras are the way to go.
Since they are directly connected to the router via cables, there is no risk of loss of connectivity or interference.
- Large areas
For large areas such as big businesses and factories, it is best to have wired security cameras installed due to their ability to completely cover the premises.
Wireless systems are limited to the number of cameras they can support and also to the range that the Wi-Fi offers.
Since wired systems have a lot of cabling involved, there is drilling required at times, which can ruin the aesthetics of a place.
For people and places where aesthetics matter, such as tourist attractions, or even rented places where it is not allowed to alter the structure of a property, wire-free security cameras are the ideal choice.
BEST WIRED AND WIRELESS SECURITY CAMERAS
Our top picks for the best wired and wireless security cameras are the Hikvision Network Cameras.
Hikvision is a world leader in providing security solutions for domestic and commercial purposes, manufacturing a complete solution of comprehensive products for a broad market around the world.
It has invested a lot in its R&D, guaranteeing state-of-the-art security equipment for different industries including residential, banking, retail, education, traffic, and offices.
It also offers safe city solutions to take urban security to a whole new level. The different phases include basic city surveillance, intelligent video systems, and data fusion and sharing.
The Network series comprises of different product categories that include:
- DeepinView Series: Using Deep Learning technology, the cameras capture more faces in a single frame from much wider angles, detect and distinguish human beings and vehicles from other objects with higher accuracy, and recognize vehicle number plates at 98%+ accuracy.
- Panoramic Series: Providing detailed viewing, these all-in-one cameras capture excellent panoramic images as well as close-up images.
- Ultra-Series (SmartIP): Combining low-light surveillance and high-definition recognition, the Hikvision Ultra Series can easily meet the requirements of enterprise projects with surprisingly high performance.
- Pro Series (EasyIP): With a perfect balance of performance and value, Hikvision Pro Series network cameras aim to provide just the right components, including intelligent features that are affordable and easy to use.
- Value Series: Offers great performance and surveillance at reasonable prices.
- Wi-Fi Series Uses Wi-Fi to allow easy installation and provide high-quality footage.