In fact, there are a number of ways for security cameras to function without wifi, and many security cameras that don’t require an internet connection at all.
Find out all there is to know about the best security cameras without wifi, including 5G and 4G cameras, and even how you can turn your old phone into a security camera without wifi.
If you’re here for our recommendations on best wifi free cameras, feel free to jump to the last section where we share our top 5.
Is There A Security Camera That Works Without WiFi?
The search for a security camera will invariably lead you to options marketed as wifi-enabled. In fact, you might at first be hard-pressed to find ones that aren’t.
That’s because security cameras with built-in wifi make streaming and saving footage super convenient, in addition to providing a reliable way to receive push notifications and alerts should the camera detect motion.
Types Of Cameras That Are WiFi-Free
The term ‘analog’ simply refers to any camera that transmits video to a DVR. These might also be dubbed ‘HD-over-coax’, a term referring to cameras able to transmit totally uncompressed video (i.e. HD footage with a massive file size) through coaxial cables. Naturally, these are few and far between, because HD cameras rarely interface with coaxial cables. They can also be pretty expensive.
How can it work without Wi-Fi?
Like CCTV, analog cameras use wires to transmit data. An analog camera doesn’t possess any of the features associated with IP cameras, like push notifications, therefore not requiring any kind of internet connection to function.
The ‘IP’ in this camera’s name stands for ‘Internet Protocol’. It’s a digital video camera that sends and receives data via an IP network. Unlike traditional CCTV cameras, they don’t require any kind of local storage device. ‘IP cameras’ mostly refers to webcams.
How can it work without Wi-Fi?
Most IP cameras nowadays work solely through Wi-Fi, but some will possess multiple ways of connecting to the internet, including through mobile data (see below). There’s also a chance they can function via ethernet cables: think of these as wired internet connections.
An ethernet connection wouldn’t necessarily require a Wi-Fi hub to work, though this is rare nowadays, as it can connect directly to a broadband line. Ethernet cables make internet connections much speedier and more reliable.
How can it work without Wi-Fi?
You can purchase a mobile data plan from all reputable mobile network providers, which can then be then used to connect your camera to the internet. A mobile data plan has the added advantage of allowing you to move the camera around with you, which is particularly helpful if you travel frequently or need it positioned far from a Wi-Fi hub.
When And Why You Might Want A Security Camera Without WiFi
If wifi cameras are so great, when and why would you ever go without one? If any of the following applies to you, consider the alternative.
The only feasible way of intercepting a traditional security camera is for intruders to cut the wires, which, more often than not, will be hidden high up within or along walls anyway.
Higher Quality Footage
Assuming you have the storage capacity for it, some traditional analog cameras are able to transmit totally uncompressed footage to a DVR.
This results in significantly higher quality footage, since IP cameras and mobile devices will always compress footage in order to reduce the file size and make transmission faster.
Pros and Cons
|Feature rich||Higher quality|
|More easily hacked||Wires can be unaesthetic|
|Prone to signal dropouts||Less choice of cameras|
Our Picks | Top 5 Best Security Cameras Without WiFi
Available on Reolink. From $179.99
The Reolink Go is a popular wireless IP camera. Yes, it’s a wireless camera, but you don’t need wifi to operate it.
The Reolink Go uses 4G and 3G Mobile LTE networks, meaning you just need a mobile data plan for it to work. Since it’s wireless and rechargeable, it’s a great option for those who might need a camera that will be subject to plenty of travel, particularly in places with limited or no wifi.
You can even connect it to a Reolink solar panel, making it a great outdoor security camera without wifi for more unusual locations, like construction sites and boats.
Since it requires no additional hardware, AlfredCamera can function solely through your mobile data package, allowing you to stream and save footage via 4G and 5G; if a wifi network should become available, you are free to switch as and when you please.
Available on Amazon. From £339.99/€340.89
The identical product name should be something of a hint that the Arlo Go is rather similar to the Reolink Go. The Arlo Go is a cube-shaped IP camera that works solely through a 4G mobile plan, requiring a SIM card to function.
ANNKE 5MP Lite Wired Security Camera System
Available on Amazon. From $259.99
The cameras can record up to 1080p and interface with the eight channel DVR, which comes with a 1TB harddrive. 60ft cables are included with each camera, so distance shouldn’t be a problem.
SANSCO 8CH 1080p Security Camera System
Available on Amazon. From $189.99
Much like the ANNKE security camera system, SANSCO also offers an eight camera system complete with eight channel DVR to record up to 1TB of footage. The 2MP cameras support 1080p footage, are weatherproof and also feature up to 65ft ranged night vision.
Even without wifi, you can connect the DVR to SANSCO’s app in order to view the security system on your mobile device or computer. Unlike the ANNKE system, cables are 20 meters, which makes them about 5 foot longer. Perhaps owing to the lesser quality of the cameras, the price is also markedly cheaper.
Do any outdoor security cameras work without wifi?
Most of our top picks, including the Reolink Go and Arlo Go, are weatherproof. The Reolink Go and Arlo Go both function through mobile LTE data.
Can wireless cameras work without the Internet?
While most wireless cameras on the market will require an internet connection, this isn’t always the case. For example, many of Reolink’s cameras, including the Reolink Go, don’t necessarily require the internet to function. IP cameras with SD cards can simply store footage there and then be connected to a computer thereafter to view it.
It’s worth noting also that ‘wireless’ isn’t necessarily the same as ‘wire-free’; a wireless camera that interfaces with a DVR will still have cables connecting it to the DVR, even if it’s rechargeable and portable. However, if there is no internet connection, wifi or otherwise, you will not be able to access features like live streaming to smart devices and push notifications.
Do wired security cameras need wifi?
No. If a wired security camera is connected to a DVR or other storage device, then it does not need a wifi connection to function. Additionally, many cameras support mobile LTE data, so this can be used as an alternative to wifi so long as you have a mobile data plan.
How can I use an IP camera without the internet?
Make sure your camera’s IP address is set to the same one as your computer. Then, plug the camera into your computer via its supplied cable to access the footage it saved. Alternatively, if it supports an SD card, you can simply insert the SD card into the computer and view footage saved directly onto it.
Can I connect my security camera to my phone?
Most modern security cameras support cross-functionality with other smart devices and computers. All of the cameras mentioned in our top 5 picks are able to connect to a phone through their respective apps.
Though the market is saturated with wireless cameras, security cameras without wifi are still very much in existence.
Whether it’s suspicions about hacking, a lack of a wifi connection, or just a preference for the old school ways, there are numerous security camera systems that still support internet-free functionality through a DVR, as well as many options for using mobile LTE data as opposed to wifi.