When shopping for smart security cameras, you’ve most likely focused on the flashy things like camera resolution, app features, and cloud capabilities. Here’s why you should also consider your Internet connection.

Smart security cameras need bandwidth and data

If you’re looking for a crash course on choosing security cameras for your home, we’ve got you covered. We also have a few favorites to share with you if you just want to dive into the best security options on the market.

But before you jump into buying a set of fancy smart security cameras with all the bells and whistles, it’s important to consider whether or not your home internet connection can adequately support them.

Whether you’re considering a fully cloud-based system like Google Nest cameras or a hybrid system like the Arlo platform that includes local and cloud storage, your internet connection plays a role in how well (if at all) does) the system will work. your.

How does bandwidth affect camera performance?

A black Arlo camera mounted on the outside of a house.

Let’s start by looking at the effect of internet speed on the performance of smart security cameras, as this aspect affects the most people – not everyone has a data limit while everyone has a maximum internet speed.

There are two aspects of your Internet connection speed that affect the performance of the camera, upload and download speed. For the vast majority of people, the limiting factor will be the loading speed.

Download speed affects live views

Your connection speed in terms of download speed mainly affects your experience when viewing live streaming or cloud recordings from your smart security cameras.

Streaming security camera footage to your computer or phone through your home Internet connection is very similar to streaming video such as TV shows, and the download speed requirements are similar.

You’ll need at least 3 Mbps download speed to stream a single HD camera stream from the cloud to your home for viewing on your devices.

When you’re crunching the numbers on how much download speed you need, be sure to take into account how actively you use your smart cameras. If you watch live view all day, you’ll want enough download speed to do so.

Loading speed affects overall functionality

While download speed affects the smoothness of your viewing and playback experience, upload speed affects more aspects of how your smart security cameras work.

Cloud-based systems like Nest and Ring cameras require a lot of upload speed to maintain high-resolution streams. Even the lowest settings on older cameras will use at least 1Mbps per camera during live streaming or cloud recording. Newer cameras will use 4 Mbps or more per camera to upload HD video.

If your internet connection doesn’t support that, you’ll end up having to downgrade the video quality or suffer stutters, a dropped connection, or both.

So when calculating how much charging speed you need to keep your home running smoothly, be sure to consider how many cameras you have and what their demands are.

For example, if you had 3 security cameras that required 4 Mbps each to live record your property 24/7, you would need at least 12 Mbps of upload bandwidth on top of the rest of your regular home use to suit peak demand.

And don’t think this issue only matters for out-of-home streaming, like checking your doorbell camera when you’re at work. Since most big-name cloud-based systems like Nest and Ring stream to the cloud and then to your home, even when you’re home with the cameras, upload speed matters. A slow charge affects your experience wherever you are.

How does data usage affect camera performance?

A Google Nest camera placed on a mantle.

If the bandwidth is similar to the speed at which a car is going, the data is similar to the amount of gasoline used in the process. While having little available bandwidth will hamper the real-time operations of your smart security cameras (ultra HD security camera streaming and a rural DSL connection are not a perfect match), overall data usage can also affect the performance.

The problem is that a cloud-based smart security camera system can quickly eat up your data limit. Viewing cameras not only consumes data, but upload data also counts towards data caps, meaning any system with live recording will quickly use a staggering amount of data in the background.

So while you may only see your cameras through the app from time to time, if they’re constantly communicating with the cloud, you can easily upload hundreds of GB of data a month. A single Nest Cam IQ, for example, can use between 100 and 400 GB of bandwidth per month.

Once you exceed your data limit, you’re stuck with both paying additional fees and reducing your video quality to avoid going over them again. If you have a home full of people streaming, gaming, and downloading large files, any kind of smart security camera system that uses a lot of data each month might not be a good fit for your home.

With that in mind, it’s worth considering not only the fun features like fantastic night vision or 4K resolution, but also the less glamorous aspects of using smart security cameras, like internet connection requirements and the average number of data that will be consumed by usage.