Do Wireless Security Cameras Need the Internet?

Technically, a wireless camera can operate without an internet connection, especially if it has local storage. Still, it will limit its capability, so to use it fully, you will have to provide it with an internet connection. In particular, internet connectivity allows for remote and live viewing, instant notifications, and remote backup, which are impossible without it.

This article gives more detailed information about whether wireless cameras need the internet and related information.

Wireless Cameras

  • Mostly, they rely on being connected to the internet.
  • Some, particularly if able to save to local storage, are perfectly capable of being used without being connected to the internet.

How Good is a Wireless Camera without the Internet?

Knowing that a wireless camera can work without the internet, another concern might be to know if they are just as effective as when using the internet.

Whether a wireless camera uses the internet or not, it is still a security camera. It can function as a security camera in either case. All of them serve the same general purpose: to make an audio/video recording at the target area.

However, by not using the internet, you will be limiting its capabilities and be unable to utilize all the features for which it is designed.

To know whether you should use it with or without the internet, consider both scenarios and what you want to get from using it.

Using a Wireless Camera without the Internet

Using a wireless camera without the internet will limit its capability. However, you might prefer using a wireless camera without the internet if:

  1. You don’t need to access the camera remotely.
  2. You don’t need to view live coverage.
  3. You don’t need instant notifications.
  4. You only want to save to local storage.

An internet-free wireless camera is particularly suitable if you use a hidden wireless camera that needs to avoid being detected by a wifi scanner. By being completely free of requiring internet connectivity, it would also be unaffected by an internet outage.

Suppose you are in a place where an internet connection is unavailable or of variable quality. You can still use a wireless camera without it as long as it allows internal data storage.

Wireless Cameras that Save to Local Storage

A wireless camera may also come with local storage, as in the sample below.

Notice the internal memory card slot. Only this type of wireless camera can be used without the internet. So wireless cameras are still useful without the internet because of their ability to save to local storage.

a hidden wireless camera with local storage

Since a wireless camera can work without the internet, it is most likely not to be accessed remotely if it is being used. The storage device, typically a removable memory card, maybe inside it.

The camera owner will have to access the camera frequently to charge it and retrieve its memory card. If the wireless camera is a hidden one discovered by someone, they can easily extract the memory card from it, so this risk will have to be considered if relying on local storage.

Pros and Cons of Using a Wireless Camera with and without the Internet

In more detail, we shall go through the pros and cons of using a wireless camera with and without the internet.

You can see its difference and decide how best to use your wireless camera.

Pros of Using a Wireless Camera WITH InternetCons of Using a Wireless Camera WITH Internet
    • Utilization of all features
    • Remote access
    • Watch live
    • Instant notifications
    • No need for local storage
    • The battery will drain quicker
    • Chance of getting hacked
    • Fees for cloud storage
    • Will not last as long during a power outage
    • Consumes internet bandwidth
Cons of Using a Wireless Camera WITHOUT InternetPros of Using a Wireless Camera WITHOUT Internet 
    • No chance of getting hacked
    • No fees for cloud storage
    • Remains on for longer during a power outage
    • No effect on internet bandwidth
    • Limited features
    • No remote access
    • Cannot watch live
    • No instant notifications
    • Relies on local storage
    • The battery will last longer

Using an Internet – Connected Wireless Camera

After considering the above differences in using a wireless camera with and without being connected to the internet, you might be convinced it is better to keep it internet-connected.

An internet-connected wireless camera utilizes the full capabilities of wireless cameras.

Wireless Cameras

Wireless functionality makes wireless cameras convenient.

They tend to be easier to use than wired cameras and usually come with useful extra features. Examples of such features are the ability to watch and control them remotely, watch a live recording, receive alerts and notifications, and have cloud backup.

However, you can only use the features mentioned above if you keep the wireless camera connected to the internet.

Special Features

Let’s look at the special features you can use if connecting a wireless camera to the internet.

remote access icon
Remote Access
instant notification icon
Instant Notification
cloud backup icon
Cloud Backup

Remote Access – The wireless camera must be given an active internet connection if you need to monitor the camera view remotely. This feature allows you to see what is happening while not at the site.

Notifications – Receiving instant notifications enables you to act quickly in case of an emergency, such as an intruder.

Remote Backup – Local storage can easily be retrieved by any person at the site. Remote backup allows you to retain a copy of the data irrespective of what happens to the camera, i.e., in case it is stolen.

In Comparison to Wired Cameras

Whether you use a wireless camera with or without connecting it to the internet, you have some additional advantages of being wire-free compared to wired cameras.

Wireless cameras are typically easier to install because you don’t have to worry about placing and connecting wires.

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About John Fox

ebbb364ee14268bd3b77496cab3d1d78?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: Certified Alarm Technician (CAT)
Education: Denver Security Academy
Lives In: Denver Colorado

John Fox has worked as a security consultant in Denver for over 20 years.
With Safe Now, he's taken those two decades of experience and decided to share it to help people online make the right security decisions for their businesses and families.

John writes security tips and guides, product recommendations, and prevention guides.

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