Everything you need to know to set up a security camera system in your home.
Professional security camera systems come at a hefty price. If your home security budget is limited, a DIY approach using wireless IP (internet protocol) cameras can provide peace of mind.
A downside is that these cameras aren’t likely to lower your home insurance premiums, as most insurers require a security system to be professionally installed and monitored.
IP cameras are the evolution of CCTV (closed-circuit television). Where CCTV is a closed network with cameras wired directly to monitors, IP cameras use your home WiFi network.
When the camera detects motion, it alerts you by email or a notification on your smartphone. You can view a live feed from an app on any Android or iOS device, and most also provide access through a website. You can remotely pan and tilt some cameras.
Wireless IP cameras can be bought individually or in a kit. One camera is enough if you need to monitor a single room or area, such as a car parked in the driveway. If you want to protect your whole home, make sure the kit you buy has enough cameras and sensors. There are usually multiple cameras, a control hub, window and door sensors and motion detectors.
Most wireless cameras let you store your recordings locally on a microSD card, via a slot on the camera or hub. But the camera companies really expect to upload your video and photos to cloud storage – remote access to footage can’t work when it’s locked up on a physical drive.
Remote storage isn’t free, though, so if you’re regularly saving video to the cloud to review later, you might need to pay for the privilege. Be aware that when you buy a security camera, you’re likely signing up for a regular subscription cost as well. They can cost anywhere from $4.50/month for one device to $24/month for 4K video storage on several cameras.
Most of the time, all you need to install a wireless IP camera is a wireless router, a ladder and a drill.
Tip: Try using the app and web access before you mount the camera. It’s much easier to fix problems when the camera isn’t two metres up the wall.
Since you’re sending images of your home over the internet, it’s important to ensure everything is as secure as possible.
For more information on keeping your data and devices safe, check out our article about online privacy.