Wired vs. Wireless security cameras: What’s the difference?

Wired vs. Wireless Security Cameras: What’s the Difference?

August 10, 2023 by

When it comes to protecting your home or business, security camera systems are one key element in the bigger picture. However, what’s the difference between wired and wireless security cameras?

Obviously, wired cameras have wires, and wireless ones don’t, but there is more to it than that. Both camera types have features special to each. These include security features designed to allow them to function as they should.

Understanding how each camera type offers the protection you need and want will lead to better and improved overall security for your home or business.

Wired Cameras

Even when today almost everything is wireless and connected to the internet in one form or another, there is still a place for wired cameras.

As one of the top choices for businesses, they continue to work effectively in both home and work locations. However, they tend to be better suited for a business due to the length and amount of cables that they require to operate.

For a typical wired system, a minimum of four cameras are set up to ensure you get the coverage you need. You can also have as many cameras as you need depending on the size of the property that you need to secure.

Being a NVR style system—meaning the recordings are stored on a network video recorder onsite—your videos are available immediately and can be replayed onsite. Newer camera systems also have the option for cloud storage to store data on both an onsite hard drive and the cloud.

The networking and power cables can be a trip hazard, so it’s best to run them through the walls, crawl spaces, attics. and even through the ceiling. This is the biggest reason for them to be found more typically in business locations. However, they can be beneficial in residences, too.

Wireless Cameras

These days, wireless security cameras in our homes and places of work are quite common. Though there is typically a small cable to get power to the camera, they usually work on Wi-Fi connectivity.

With recording in real-time and instant and constant upload to the cloud, you and your security team will have everything you need very quickly.

Easier and quicker to install than wired cameras, they seem like the only logical option. They are not flawless systems, though. Despite being more convenient and with strong security measures in place, without a stable internet connection, these cameras can become faulty.

The Pros and Cons of Wired and Wireless Cameras

Both systems have their place and can give the coverage you need where and when you need it. Still, what are the advantages and disadvantages of these two camera types?

The Pros of the Hardwired Option

  • Stability: You get a stable connection 100% of the time. Being wired directly into an NVR device, your cameras will continue to record even if your internet is down.

  • Better visuals and sound: Being hardwired directly to the NVR means that the images and sound can use this stable connection to be clearer. Images are less blurry, and sound quality is improved.

  • Hack prevention: Although there are limited exposed wires, these devices are harder to hack as they don’t have a Wi-Fi signal. Data may be uploaded from the NVR device, but not from the cameras themselves, so you have increased protection.

  • Constant recording for longer periods of time: Wired cameras record to your NVR’s hard drive. You can increase the amount of storage your NVR has by upgrading the hard drive. With a hardwired camera setup you can have your cameras record 24/7 or motion only.

The Cons of the Hardwired Option

  • Cables: In order to function and reach the NVR from their location, there are many lengthy cables involved. Usually, these cables run through walls, crawl spaces, attics, and the ceiling.

  • Time: With the cables in mind, it can take a lot longer to set up the system than it does with the wireless option.

  • The number of cameras: If you have a small space, then this may not be a concern. For larger spaces, though, you are limited in the number of cameras you can have depending on the NVR system you choose. You can always upgrade to an NVR with room for additional cameras OR purchase a second NVR.

    When first installing a wired camera system it is recommended to ensure you purchase an NVR that can handle more cameras than you think you need just in case you want to add more cameras in the future.

    NVR’s can be purchased in 4-channel, 8-channel, 16-channel, 32-channel, and 64-channel versions. If you are looking to install 6 cameras you would need an 8-channel NVR which allows for up to 8 cameras.

  • Permanent feature: Once in place, the system will be there for the life of the business or premises. The cameras will become a permanent fixture.

The Pros of the Wireless Option

  • Clean and quick: With very few holes and in some cases no holes to drill or screws to put in place, installation is cleaner and, therefore quicker to do, saving you time and money.

    Wireless cameras tend to be cheaper in cost than wired cameras although they normally have a monthly fee for cloud storage of the clips.

  • Flexible and mobile: Some cameras can be used as table top cameras which means that you can easily reposition the cameras when needed. Wireless cameras can also easily move with you, should you move to a new home or business location.

  • No camera number restrictions: Not being hindered by the number of ports in a NVR system, you can have as many cameras as you want or need. Although if you are considering installing a large number of cameras a hardwired system would still be the better choice.

  • Physically hack-proof: Cameras with no wires means that there is nothing for anyone to cut. Hackers will thus have a hard time cutting the power or feed. Although most wireless camera options currently do have one wire that plugs into the closest outlet.

The Cons of the Wireless Option

  • Range limitations: The Wi-Fi signal can only go so far. While you are not limited in the number of cameras, there will be a limit to how spread out they can be.

  • Interference and outages: Hackers can use tricks to block Wi-Fi signals, but other devices you have may also cause interference. Each device should have its own unique IP address.

  • Batteries: Wireless means batteries. These will need to be checked and changed regularly to prevent failure. Changing or charging batteries on a camera every month or two can be a nuisance which is why the majority of wireless cameras still have one wire run to power the camera.

  • Clip-Based Recording: Most wireless cameras can only record short clips anytime motion is detected. For many short video clips of all the events that occurred throughout the day is all they need. If you are looking to record 24/7 than wired cameras would be the better option.

Differences Can Be a Good Thing

Ultimately, the differences between the two camera systems is a good thing, as it allows for more choice in how you want to provide protection and deterrents.

Wired cameras are great for larger locations, harder to hack, and provide more stable images, but are time-consuming to install and are more expensive. A wireless system allows for unlimited cameras, but can have connection issues.

For more information on which system is better suited for you, contact the experts at Canadian Security Professionals. You can call us at 1-877-494-9911 or contact us online.

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