Given the way that prices on quality security cameras are falling all the time, it’s getting harder and harder to justify not setting up a basic security system to protect yourself. Thanks to the number of reliable wireless security cameras being sold now, you can create an effective system without running wires, buying add-ons, or paying pricey recurring fees.
Note that while setting up a wireless security system is easy, that doesn’t mean that it’s foolproof. There are definitely mistakes waiting to be made during the planning and installation process. Below you’ll find some of the most common errors committed by first-timers when they set up wireless security cameras.
1) Relying On Too Few Cameras
The pricing on wireless security cameras has gotten so cheap that you really don’t need to splurge to assemble a system with multiple cameras. A fancy PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) camera can do a great job of bringing in a wide field of view, but the odds are good that you won’t get full coverage for home or site security with one camera no matter how feature-packed it is. Relying too much on zoom can leave you with unsatisfactory image quality, too. Rather than squinting at pixelated blow-ups and straining to catch activity recorded at the corner of the frame, invest in extra cameras to expand your coverage areas indoors and outdoors. Note that multiple cameras are especially important for a self-monitored surveillance system. The more cameras you have, the more likely you are to catch a good recording of what you want to view.
2) Badly-Positioned Cameras
Recording surveillance video is just like taking snapshots with your phone: A little extra effort spent on positioning the camera properly will dramatically improve the quality of your images. Think carefully about potential obstructions, don’t point your cameras too low, and double-check light levels after placing your cameras. You don’t want your videos to be washed-out and useless. Reliable wifi reception is also critically important for wireless cameras.
There are an awful lot of people who err by placing their wireless cameras too far from a strong wifi source. The results are connection drops and choppy video. For critical camera sites, it’s worth the trouble of testing wifi reception using a mobile device and a suitable speed testing app or website.
Where necessary, use a wifi extender to boost the signal to your camera if it’s in a trouble spot. Some wireless security cameras even come with built-in extenders, though these will, of course, be more expensive.
3) Forgetting About Power
Wireless security cameras free you from having to physically tie your cameras together with a computer and DVR via Ethernet wiring. Cameras still require power! This is pretty obvious, but a surprising number of consumers interpret “wireless” a little too literally.
While there are some battery-operated wireless cameras out there, this is not a good solution for permanent surveillance set-ups unless you’re willing to invest ongoing maintenance time in changing batteries. For a long-term solution, double-check to make sure your chosen camera sites have convenient outlets nearby.
4) Neglecting Password Security
We live in an age of passwords. When you set up wireless security cameras, you need to accept the necessity of adding at least two more passwords to your list.
Wifi camera setup requires a network password to allow the camera to locate your network. You should select secure cameras that have device-specific passwords as well. Though cameras often come pre-configured with their own passwords, for added security you need to come up with a complex and unique signifier for each camera. Each password needs to include a variety of characters, including both letters and numbers.
5) Forgetting About Remote Access Options
Although the ability to access your cameras’ video feeds remotely is starting to become the rule rather than the exception, it is by no means a guarantee with all wireless security cameras. Make sure you double-check your equipment before purchasing to verify that it’s capable of providing remote access. If you want to check live video via web browser, you should make sure that your cameras support that ability. For direct device-to-device access, check the mobile devices that your cameras are designed to support. Some work with Android, iOS, or both. Note that support for BlackBery and Windows Phones is less common, so be prepared to shop around if that type of compatibility is a priority for you.