How Much Data Does My Wi-Fi-Enabled Security Camera Use?

Security camera data usage is becoming more of an issue as the internet becomes increasingly crowded.
How Much Data Does My Wi-Fi-Enabled Security Camera Use?

Your Wi-Fi-enabled security camera system can consume up to 400 GB of data each month. This number depends on camera resolution, the number of cameras, the frames-per-second capture rate, and whether you’re using a network video recorder to distribute the data. If the camera triggers only when a security parameter is met, you could use as little as 60 GB a month. However, if the security camera is always on, that number goes up.

This could be a problem for some security-conscious businesses. Many internet service providers (ISPs) have begun throttling or otherwise limiting their data plans for residential service. While this currently isn’t an issue with most business internet subscriptions, that could change at any time. This makes the question of “how much data do security cameras use” an important one.

What Factors Influence How Much Data is Used by Your Wi-Fi Security Camera?

Five key questions influence Wi-Fi camera data usage.

1) What is the camera resolution?

What is the camera resolution?

Camera resolution matters if you’re trying to spot criminal activity. Today’s smart Wi-Fi enabled cameras offer clear HD video. However, this higher quality camera image requires more bandwidth. The best security cameras offer a resolution of 1080p. The difference is that these cameras capture images in difficult conditions. Outdoor images or footage captured in low-light conditions require higher resolution. Higher resolution cameras consume more data—it’s just that simple.

For the best of both worlds, you can invest in smart cameras. These cameras know when something important is happening and switch to HD resolution. When nothing is going on, the camera goes back down to SD, saving data for when it matters most.

2) What are the frames per second?

via Gfycat

The frames-per-second rate dictates the frequency of image capture. If your security camera captures 30 frames per second (FPS) that means it captures 30 frames in a single second of video transmission. Higher FPS means smoother, clearer video images. If you have a security camera capturing low FPS, the images will appear choppy and might hard to discern. A good security camera system for business offers an FPS rate of 25 or higher. However, like better resolution does, a higher FPS affects your Wi-Fi data camera usage. 

3) How many cameras do you have on the network?

Wi-Fi security cameras

It’s just common sense that the more cameras on your network, the greater the bandwidth pull. But the benefits of Wi-Fi security cameras always outweigh this concern. A Wi-Fi security network of mobile cameras can cover a vast property but won’t require expensive wiring. You can literally place these systems anywhere; solar cameras even alleviate the need for electricity lines. These systems can send data straight to the cloud. That alleviates the concern that a criminal will steal your onsite DVR. However, uploading data to the cloud also uses bandwidth that you must account for. 

4) Do you use an NVR?

NVR network video recorder security cameras

An NVR (or a network video recorder) takes data from your security cameras and stores it on a secure server rather than sending it to the cloud. This can reduce security camera data usage. It’s important to point out that an NVR isn’t like a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) or even a PC-based recording solution. NVRs are fairly easy to deploy and are built specifically to house video security footage. The technology has embedded custom-designed software for video surveillance recording and storage. This makes them a good option if you’re worried about Wi-Fi camera data usage. 

5) Are your cameras “always on” or “trigger specific”?

motion detection video surveillance

Always-on Wi-Fi security cameras provide 24/7/265 protection. However, if you’re worried about Wi-Fi camera data usage, you could also consider motion detection video surveillance. A good security camera network makes use of all the options available. In most businesses, some locations are more secure than others. Should you consider replacing your always-on surveillance with a camera that wakes up only when triggered by motion? The answer is as unique as your business. But a motion-triggered security camera will reduce your data usage considerably.

Security camera data usage is becoming more of an issue as the internet becomes increasingly crowded. Wireless security cameras don’t require the cabling necessary for traditional CCTV, which makes them attractive to even the smallest business. However, a data cap could unintentionally thwart your efforts to protect your business with Wi-Fi cameras or run up costly overage charges.

Today, most business plans offer unlimited data, but check with your provider to be sure.

Here is a current list of ISPs with data caps.

To avoid the concern about “how much data does a security camera network use,” you could isolate your video surveillance cameras on a separate network. For example, you could have two separate routers. One could handle just the Wi-Fi security cameras and the other could handle regular and necessary business traffic. You could even have two separate internet accounts to handle this traffic. Typically, however, we’ve not seen this as a necessary step as long as your Wi-Fi camera network is designed correctly.

Wired Versus Wi-Fi: Are Wi-Fi Cameras Worth the Data Usage?

Increasingly, businesses of all sizes are turning to Wi-Fi video surveillance. There are several key benefits over traditional wired video surveillance:

  • Wi-Fi cameras require less overhead to set them up

    You completely avoid costly wiring and infrastructure changes to run these units. They are less invasive and costly than traditional wired cameras.

  • Wi-Fi cameras can store data in the cloud or on-site

    Depending on your bandwidth requirements and your goals.

  • You can access Wi-Fi camera footage from your personal digital device

    These systems can trigger a text or email alert when there’s a problem. You can log in from your phone and see your property from anywhere.

  • You can place a solar Wi-Fi camera just about anywhere

    These units are powered by the sun and store that energy in a built-in battery.

For all of these reasons, Wi-Fi security cameras are replacing older wired units. They offer lowered costs and greater convenience for businesses seeking greater security.

Here’s How to Solve the Problem of Security Camera Data Usage

The best way to truly understand how much data your Wi-Fi security system uses is to consult with the experts at Pro-Vigil. We design wired and Wi-Fi security cameras for businesses of all sizes and in every industry. The assessment process of designing the appropriate video security network for your business is individualized and precise. If you’re worried about Wi-Fi camera data usage and its impact on protecting your business, we can help. Contact us today.

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