Here at spytech.com, we have recently introduced a few cameras with WiFi, mainly due to customer demand. The reason we have been resisting this feature is simply because there seem to be a few misconceptions out there about how WiFi cameras operate. In this blog I will explain the basic functions of these cameras as well as debunk a few myths that seem to be confusing people I have talked to. If you are not sure what WiFi cameras actually do, please read on and learn, before purchasing any of these products.
The Different Meanings of "WiFi Camera"
Generally you will find there are three major ways that a "WiFi Camera" could operate:
Camera connects to a local phone or tablet but not to the internet
The first type of camera has the advantage of a private local connection, which can only be accessed within a few feet, which makes it quite secure only because of its own limitations. Of course it cannot be viewed over the internet which is the feature most people are looking for.
Camera connects to a DVR and the DVR is connected to the internet
Ever since the DVR replaced the VCR in the surveillance industry, it has been possible to connect it to the internet. Whether you have hard-wired cameras from the 80s, or modern IP cameras that connect to a DVR through a wireless network, you could always have online access to those cameras because the DVR has always had the functionality of a video router. These surveillance systems work great if you are covering a building with several cameras, but they may be overkill if you just want to monitor one room on your phone.
Camera connects to your WiFi router and then it is on the internet
These are the WiFi cameras we prefer. You can put one camera in one location and see it on your phone along with controlling any other features it may have. The location needs to have some kind of wireless internet service for the camera to broadcast to. Obviously, you cannot put these cameras in a location without having complete access to the WiFi there. There should be no additional charges to use your camera if you just use your own WiFi, except whatever your high speed internet plan might charge for bandwidth usage, if you aren't on some kind of unlimited plan.
Memory for Recording
Again there are many ways that a WiFi camera can be recorded. Some cameras record to an online "Cloud" memory which conveniently requires you to pay monthly fees to access. Others have to record on a local computer hard drive. Some cameras have no recording ability and just act as a streaming video device. The cameras we carry will record onto a SD memory card which you can physically take out and store anywhere you want. This way you will not have to pay a monthly fee for memory because you could permanently own all the memory you want, in the form of SD cards, even if you just want to use one card and keep erasing it whenever it fills up.
Since there are hundreds of different WiFi capable cameras on the market, you can probably find just as much variety when it comes to features. There are bigger cameras that have pan and tilt motors to move around. There are cameras with 2-way voice communication through the internet. Some cutting edge cameras now use facial recognition software to identify family members and strangers. All of these fancy features can be convenient for the right application, but may only add unnecessary functions to a device that is already quite complex. Of course in today's market, anyone looking for even the most unusual feature, would still find a handful of cameras on the market that do what they want.
The features our cameras have are the ones that would be associated with a "Spytech" theme. We sell small sized or hidden WiFi cameras instead of large bulky cameras. They have a motion activation record feature. They generally have some kind of "push notification" to warn the user whenever the motion activation is triggered so they can log in and take a look at the video stream. There should be a way to access the SD card online and view any recordings that may have happened while your phone was off. These features and others will vary from one product to another, so it is better to actually read the specific details of one particular WiFi camera instead of a vague summary of all of them.
What Does the User Provide?
Indeed, these cameras don't just appear on your mobile device through magic. As I mentioned before, there may be all kinds of other charges to use a WiFi camera, but let us focus on the cameras we carry at spytech.com to keep things simple:
High speed wireless internet for the camera
I'm not sure why anyone would be shopping for a WiFi camera if they don't already have this. So let's say, as a point of reference, your current internet should work well if you can watch online videos without a lot of interruptions. If you can't watch online videos very well, you probably need to upgrade your internet in order to watch your camera. You might have a monthly bandwidth cap, which can become an issue once you add a camera that provides high definition streaming video. Of course, this all depends on how much time you plan to spend watching your cameras over the internet.
High speed internet and some kind of mobile device for the user
Your mobile device would need to have an internet connection to connect to the camera. Whether you want to use your costly "data plan" on video streaming, or simply connect to the free WiFi inside your favorite coffee shop, you will need some kind of internet access to use the camera app.
SD cards are sold separately. Our cameras don't require any kind of cloud storage subscription.
Well, as you can see from the product pages, some of these cameras just work as soon as you plug them into a power outlet, while other models need to be mounted on a wall or ceiling. The amount of installation required is pretty much up to you. All of them will require you to download a free app (available in Android or IOS) on your mobile device, which allows you to control and view the camera. You will have to figure out how to access your own WiFi and what the password is in order to connect the camera to the internet. If you have ever had to connect a tablet, or smartphone to your WiFi, then this process will be pretty familiar.
So all of these requirements are pretty much part of the average urban household these days. However, if you are thinking of using a WiFi camera in some place like a cottage, or other isolated areas, please make sure you actually have access to the type of internet service described above before purchasing a device like this. In more populated areas, you can likely use one of these cameras with your current wireless internet without adding any kind of new monthly fee to your stable of bills.
Safety and privacy
The WiFi cameras we carry do have a secure connection and offer password protection in order to access them. Please be sure to change the default password to something unique once you have set up your camera because the default password can be easily hacked. If you really want to ensure your privacy, you can increase your router security and disconnect all your WiFi cameras (and webcams for that matter), any time you are not using them. If you do take all these steps, then the WiFi cameras will be more secure than any other part of your local network.
Did we forget anything? Do you need more detailed information? If you have further questions please feel free to contact spytech.com at:
(416)482-8588 - Spytech Toronto location