Everyone wants to stay on top of what goes on inside and outside their property, but, occasionally, internet security cameras go offline.
The longer the security camera stays disconnected, the more vulnerable users are likely to feel about their home security. Not to mention, repeatedly being unable to view security cameras online is super frustrating.
So, why do internet cameras disconnect, and what should you do about it? Find out below.
What Does ‘Camera Offline’ Mean?
‘Camera offline’ means that the security camera is unable to connect to the internet network it is paired to. This usually indicates that the Wi-Fi router is experiencing problems rather than the camera itself, but if it is happening repeatedly despite other devices having no connection problems, it may be caused by the camera.
AlfredCamera has a ‘Connection Report’ feature that can be accessed at any time via the app. It offers an overview of the week’s connection strength, as well as suggestions to help improve it.
If the issue is the Wi-Fi itself, the Connection Report will make that pretty obvious. Data updates every 2-4 hours, allowing users to get a clear understanding of how well their connection is holding up across the entire day.
Why Can’t I View My Security Cameras Online? 7 Common Reasons Security Cameras Go Offline
If a security camera can’t be viewed online, it’s usually caused by one of two factors: the camera is too far away from the router, or there is insufficient bandwidth.
But there are many other factors that can contribute to security camera connection problems. Find out about them below.
1. Weak Wireless Internet Signal
Wireless security cameras rely on WiFi radio signals sent by a wireless internet router. Routers connect to the internet via cables or fiber optic wires.
The router forms the bridge between internet-connected devices (e.g. security cameras) and the internet.
Radio waves weaken as they spread out while traveling through space. The farther a device is from the radio signal source, the worse the signal strength will get.
For example, placing the security camera 30 feet from the router makes it far more likely to go offline than if it were within 10 feet of the router.
How can I extend my wireless security camera signal?
Extending wireless security camera signals largely comes down to better placement. Radio waves not only weaken as the device is moved farther from the router—they also struggle to penetrate certain materials. Plaster, concrete, and metal cause the greatest level of interference, while wood and glass cause minimal issues.Other logical ways to extend the wireless security camera signal include introducing a Wi-Fi extender or additional router. After all, wireless frequencies only have a certain range.
Recommended reading: Do I Need a Router for Security Cameras?
2. Low Bandwidth
Bandwidth refers to the system’s maximum data transmission capacity, including download and upload.
Security cameras upload live streaming data to the internet to give updates on events at home, while the linked smartphone downloads this data from the internet.
Internet-connected devices share the bandwidth provided by a single router. Setting the security camera to the highest video resolution requires a higher upload bandwidth.
3. Outdated Firmware and Software
Tech firms, including AlfredCamera, continuously refine their software to improve compatibility, prevent security issues, and offer more robust program features.
Periodic software and firmware updates are provided to keep devices up to speed with technological developments.
When a wireless security camera’s firmware is out of date, it leads to instabilities and inconsistencies in device-system communication.
It’s one of the reasons a security cam might disconnect more frequently than usual.
4. Problems with Networking Equipment
An overlooked reason as to why wireless cameras disconnect frequently is an inherent problem in the networking equipment, such as the router, Ethernet cables, and network switches.
Routers connect to the internet via cables, the quality of which can vary widely. The speed of transmission is inherently limited by the cable’s design, and cheap, poorly made cables are unlikely to be able to provide high transmission speeds. Not to mention, they can get broken or sustain damage over time that can cause them to stop functioning entirely.
Low-quality routers might have poor signal transmission capabilities or be unable to accommodate the internet service’s bandwidth. Network switches might fail over time, causing issues in signal stability.
5. Issues with the IP Camera Power Source
People can expect security cameras to go offline during or after a severe storm. Other natural or manmade disasters cause electricity sources to be destroyed or cut off momentarily.
That being said, battery-powered security cameras may still operate during an outage, provided that the batteries have sufficient charge until power restoration.
But unless the camera supports multiple types of connectivity, like mobile data, users won’t see the images on their viewing devices if there’s no electricity powering the router.
Security cams with local storage can store the videos to be viewed later.
How long do wireless security cameras last?
The lifespan of a camera is not limited by any specific timeframe. While the possibility of the machine breaking down is always present, the main reason for a camera becoming obsolete is the rapid pace of technological advancement.
After 3-5 years, the camera that currently meets your needs may not be able to keep up due to the constant iteration of chips and advancements in software. For instance, older camera models may not have the capability to support the latest AI technology. As a result, newer and better software must be used in combination with the latest camera models to ensure optimal performance.
6. Internet Service Disruptions
Problems with the internet service provider can make the security camera go offline. Like power outages, internet service disruptions can occur after severe weather.
Sometimes, companies disconnect the internet service because of nonpayment of bills.
Maintenance work at internet service networks will also disrupt communication between routers and internet-connected devices, such as wireless security cameras.
Providers usually notify their customers of any expected disruptions so users can anticipate the outage.
7. Wireless Interference
What interferes with wireless cameras? Microwaves, phones, video game consoles, computers, Bluetooth headphones, garage doors, satellite dishes, just to name a few. In other words, virtually every wireless device in the home.
All wireless devices in the home that operate on a 2.4GHz or 5GHz wireless frequency are operating on the same frequency as IP security cameras, meaning that specific causes of wireless interference can be very hard to pin down.
A great number of wireless devices operating at the same time in a small space will cause interference.
5 Ways to Get Your Security Cameras Back Online
Knowing what might cause a wireless security camera to go offline ensures continued family and property safety because it lays the foundation for fixing such problems. Find out more about fixing common issues with Wi-Fi below.
1. Reposition the security camera next to the Wi-Fi router
One of the easiest solutions to wireless security camera connection issues is to relocate the camera closer to the Wi-Fi router.
If neither moving the camera nor the router is impossible, consider buying a Wi-Fi extender, such as the NETGEAR EX6120 or TP-Link N300.
Wi-Fi extenders boost the router’s signals, allowing wireless security cameras to retain their position while strengthening their data transmission.
Hardwiring the security camera to the router with a Power over Ethernet (PoE) will also strengthen and stabilize data transmission signals.
2. Upgrade bandwidth
Use SpeedTest or similar apps to check your internet’s bandwidth. Install bandwidth monitoring tools to analyze network traffic and help you determine which devices are consuming the most bandwidth.
If it’s clear that the devices are eating up bandwidth, it might be worth requesting an upgrade for the internet service provider, so long as increased monthly bills aren’t an issue.
For tighter budgets, consider reducing the security camera’s video image quality to minimize bandwidth usage.
3. Modify the security camera’s wireless channel
Wireless devices use either 2.4GHz or 5GHz wireless channels, with the former transmitting data over longer distances and penetrating objects more efficiently than 5GHz systems.
On the other hand, the 5GHz channel offers faster data transmission speeds and stronger radio signals.
Check all wireless devices to determine which channel they use, and choose the least used channel for the security camera.
For example, in a household that has ten 5GHz devices and only two 2.4GHz gadgets, one could tweak the security camera to work with the 2.4GHz frequency. On that note, most security cameras work with 2.4GHz, not 5GHz.
‘My whole house including IoT devices are all on 5GHz, besides the G4 Doorbell which is on 2.4GHz. So, there is no interference. Lock your devices to 2.4, high transmit power, and move everything else to 5GHz.’ –busydoinnothin (Reddit user).
Also make sure that the two networks have different names. If they share a name, devices may struggle to connect, or connect to the incorrect network.
‘… it was fixed by giving my 2.4G and 5G networks different names. When they shared a name it must have confused the cams and they would disconnect and never reconnect automatically.’Sethjustseth (Reddit user)
4. Update the security camera’s firmware
Modern tech companies roll out products faster than ever before. The software on the security camera you just bought might already be obsolete in a month.
However, there’s no need to ditch old security cams because firmware updates allow it to remain competitive and address any potential performance issues.
AlfredCam, the first hardware security camera designed for the AlfredCamera app, automatically prompts users when they need to make a firmware update.
5. Consider installing the camera’s “Client Solution”
Here’s an overlooked trick from Reddit user, SnoShark, who had issues keeping their Reolink security camera connected to the internet.
“I was able to fix it by installing the ReoLink Client for Windows. Once I connected to the camera with that, I switched it from DHCP to Static and set the IP address to what is [sic] was at the moment. I then reserved that IP on my router. It hasn’t dropped the connection once now with continuous recording enabled.”
Although SnoShark’s fix is specific to the Reolink device, other brands have similar solutions.
The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) allows the system to automatically assign an IP host, address, and other configuration information to any device connected to the internet.
Hence, the DHCP provides another IP configuration if the security camera disconnects from the internet. The IP address might be different.
Turning the client-server protocol to “Static” prevents the system from automatically assigning internet configuration to the wireless security camera. Instead, the unique IP address stays the same.
Why does my security camera keep losing signal?
A security camera will keep losing signal if it is too far from the router, the bandwidth cannot accommodate all internet-connected devices, or there are issues with the networking equipment (e.g. ethernet cables).
What interferes with WiFi cameras?
Most household wireless devices—from phones to microwave ovens—interfere with Wi-Fi cameras because they operate on the same frequency (2.4 or 5 GHz).
Radio transmission towers, local wireless networks, radar systems, and medical systems also use radio frequencies to connect with source technologies, causing Wi-Fi cameras to disconnect or struggle to maintain signal.
Why does my IP camera lose connection?
Poor internet connection is the most common reason why an IP camera loses connection. It’s also possible to lose connection as a result of changes to the IP address settings, firewall, and bandwidth.
Will a 2.4GHz camera work on 5GHz?
No, a 2.4GHz security camera will not work on a 5GHz wireless internet system unless it has dual-band functionality. A dual-band device operates on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio frequencies, allowing the camera to switch between either automatically as and when required.
Can wireless cameras work without the internet?
Yes, wireless cameras work without the internet. However, most won’t exhibit the optimal level of functionality without Wi-Fi. Wireless security cameras need the internet to upload video data to viewing devices and download user-initiated controls from connected gadgets, such as smartphones, PCs, and tablets. It can record videos and store them on SD cards.
Recommended reading: Security Cameras Without WiFi? It’s Possible
A weak internet signal and exceptionally low bandwidth can disconnect wireless security cameras more frequently than necessary. Other factors might also come into play, but knowledge of the causes should determine the best course of action, while the tips above will help fix the problem.
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