Tech Tips: Video In Sight

Sept. 3, 2019
Wireless video surveillance cameras depend on a strong WiFi connection to transmit footage

Video surveillance is a rapidly emerging technology that is becoming an essential tool in any security management plan.

The ads for doorbell cameras are ubiquitous, and although the underlying technology they use is pretty reliable, I find the concept of protecting a premises with a camera installed next to the front door and scaring away porch pirates contrary to security practices that have been in practice since the dawn of home security.

Last week a group of recordings from several doorbell cameras in a particular neighborhood attempted to track the movements of a gang of porch pirates who moved it up a notch to stage a deadly home invasion. The video failed to reveal any information that was useful towards apprehending the felons.

While it is great that the availability of these doorbells has raised the public’s awareness of the value of video surveillance cameras, professional security providers (such as locksmiths), should council their clients on the advisability of installing a more comprehensive security solution in their homes.

There are so many types of cameras out there that you should be able to find one with the features you need at a price point that fits the budget, and new enhanced features offered can greatly increase the security value of the installation to the client and their children.

The video surveillance market is very competitive, and cameras are available to the public from many sources so the profit margins may be extremely tight.

The residential side of video is being propelled by home automation, security and healthcare/babycams. However, on the professional side of the market where individuals are serious about life and safety, you stand a better chance of providing equipment where you can be profitable on both the mark up and your labor.

Wireless  vs  Wirefree

“Wireless” cameras are proving very popular among modern security consumers due to their low installation costs and flexible mounting options. In addition to the ease of use and convenience of access, wireless security cameras allow users to leverage broadband wireless internet to provide seamless video streaming over the internet.

“Wireless” security cameras are closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras that transmit a video and audio signal to a wireless receiver through a radio band.

Many wireless security cameras require at least one cable or wire for power; the word "wireless" refers to the transmission of video/audio.

As you probably know, the video surveillance industry has transitioned away from analog to IT. IT is used in both wired and wireless cameras, and power for wired IT cameras is very often run on the same CAT cable the carries the image data. This is referred to a PoE (Power over Internet).

Until they figure out how to transmit electrical power without wires, we will have to learn to live with wall receptacles, electric meters line cords, and wired appliances, including in many cases, wired cameras.

But wireless is alluring and some wireless security cameras are battery-powered and they are referred to as “wire free.”

Although technology has made impressive strides, there are constraints with wire free technology that you or your customers may find unacceptable.

All wireless cameras suffer from limitations of their transmission range. It is the nature of the beast that wifi signals can be blocked and attenuated, sometimes in unexpected ways and will vary under different conditions.

Since streaming has grown in popularity, and mobile devices are permanently attached to many peoples’ hands and ears, solutions also known as workarounds are readily available.

Using a wifi analyzer app can help you ensure a reliable installation. However, you cannot move the front door or the entry gate if you are unable to achieve a reliable signal.

Off the shelf range extenders can help to extend the range of wi-fi.

Wirefree cameras will eventually need the batteries to be replaced, although there are solar powered units becoming available.

Unlike a gate operator or night security light, a camera is ostensibly monitoring for movement all the time and transmitting images when necessary.

So you may need to augment your daily routine;

  • Walk the dog
  • Get the newspaper and mail
  • Change the batteries on the camera
  • Check for hackers

I don’t know if this is fake news, but I did see a report that some of these wi-fi cameras have code imbedded in them which enables certain foreign entities to monitor (hack) these cameras. Although these cameras use your wi-fi network, they also put video out onto the Internet when you log in to the camera’s app. This is what makes these cameras so handy; you can sneak a peek form wherever you are.  Unfortunately, if the rumor is accurate, you have no way of knowing who else is sneaking peeks.

On one of my commercial installations a few years ago, part of the system design incorporated wireless CB/AP (client bridge/access point) units to link the main system to a remote site and parking lot cameras.

It was necessary to locate the units and mount the units at sufficient height to achieve line of sight between the units to capture a reliable link.

I’ve tried out wireless wifi cameras in the past, and the first two brands didn’t cut it. Now I am evaluating a product called Wyze Cam.

The setup is very easy; they are supplied with enough accessories to install them, the image produced is 1080p HD (which is nice), and the free app works well.

Wyze has several other home automation products

A wirefree camera available now from distribution (ADI Distribution) is the Vosker Outdoor Security Camera., available in 4G and LTE models.

Vosker V100 4G Outdoor Security Camera (Wireless)

Weatherproof Protection

No Wi-Fi Required

Battery Operated

Invisible Night Vision IR Surveillance Camera

Free Data Plan Available

Vosker V200 LTE Outdoor Security Camera (Wireless)

Built-in Solar Panel

Outdoor Weatherproof

No Wi-Fi Required

Motion Activated HD Surveillance Camera

Mobile Phone Push Notifications

The outdoor security camera is ideal for country houses or construction sites These Mobile LTE surveillance cameras don’t require Wi-Fi or wired connections to transmit photos.

Each Vosker cordless surveillance camera sets up in just five minutes and comes with a 1 month complementary plan for unlimited viewing and use.

Designed with a high-definition camera that captures photography in premium detail, you’ll be able to protect your area with the best A.I. recognition technology of its kind.

Backed by a two-year limited warranty required parts or manufacturer’s defects. Contact Vosker with any questions or concerns for quick support.

EnGenius  Wireless Access Point & Client Bridge

The EnGenius EOC-5610 Wireless Access Point & Client Bridge is a long range outdoor wireless Access Point / Client Bridge that operates in both 5GHz and 2.4GHz frequency.

It provides high bandwidth up to 108Mbps with Super Mode (SuperA/G) and features high transmitted output power as well as superior sensitivity. EOC-5610 extends radio coverage, avoids unnecessary roaming between Access Points and ensures a stable wireless connection while reduces the number of required equipment.

EOC-5610 provides user friendly interface including user friendly distance control ranges from 1KM up to 30KM and RSSI LED indicator offering real time signal status. It comes with PoE injector for convenient outdoor installation.

EnGenius OEMs their products and may carry other brand names if you happen to purchase them bundled with a video surveillance system. I was very pleased with how this device installed and performed.

More Info:

Netgear AC750 WIFI Range Extender

Here is a handy device that you may enjoy working with, and may help you learn more about wifi. It worked for me and added two additional available networks to my list.

There is a very cool NETGEAR Wifi Analytics App available to help you better visualize and comprehend what’s going on.

Essentials Edition boosts your existing network range, delivering AC dual band WiFi up to 750Mbps.

It works with any standard WiFi router & is ideal for HD video streaming & gaming.

Get the connectivity you need for iPads® , smartphones, laptops & more.

Dual band WiFi up to 750Mbps

Supports new 802.11ac & b/g/n WiFi devices

External antennas for better performance

Convenient wall-plug design

Boost AC750 WiFi Improve the range of your existing AC750 WiFi network.

Two WiFi Modes:  Extend existing WiFi connection or create a new WiFi access point.

Ethernet Port Connect a wired device like a game console or a smart TV to your WiFi network.

Simultaneous Dual Band WiFi Extend 2.4 & 5GHz WiFi up to 750Mbps & reduce interference.

External Antennas For better WiFi coverage.

FastLane™ Technology Use both WiFi bands to establish one super high-speed connection; ideal for HD streaming & gaming.

About the Author

Tim O'Leary

Tim O'Leary is a security consultant, trainer and technician who has also been writing articles on all areas of locksmithing & physical security for many years.