Cellular Security Camera Features To Evaluate
For owners of remote or rural properties, a cellular security camera has emerged as a great solution to safeguarding homes, properties, and loved ones. Unlike traditional Wi-Fi cameras that rely on a stable internet connection, cellular security cameras operate independently, tapping into cellular networks to provide surveillance. This technology has made it possible to monitor and protect properties in a way not possible in the past.
However, choosing the right cellular security camera is no simple task. These devices are not cheap, and a poorly-performing model can provide owners with a false sense of security; failing when it is most needed. In this article, we go over key features to evaluate before you add a cellular security camera to your property’s defenses.
Whether you’re looking to safeguard your home, monitor remote properties, or keep an eye on a construction site, this article is your guide to understanding how to purchase a cellular security camera that will best protect your property.
The Basics Of Cellular Security Cameras
A cellular security camera is a type of security camera that distinguishes itself by utilizing cellular network connectivity for data transmission, in contrast to the reliance on a Wi-Fi network or closed-circuit camera system. Unlike traditional security cameras that require a local Wi-Fi network or physical cables for connectivity, cellular cameras come equipped with a SIM card, much like those found in mobile phones. This feature enables them to operate independently of Wi-Fi infrastructure, making them exceptionally versatile. Cellular security cameras can be strategically placed in remote or off-grid locations where Wi-Fi signals are weak or non-existent, making them ideal for monitoring properties, construction sites, rural areas, and places lacking traditional internet access.
A significant advantage of cellular security cameras is their ability to provide remote monitoring capabilities. Users can access live footage from these cameras using a mobile app or web interface, regardless of their physical location, as long as cellular coverage is available. This real-time surveillance capability enhances peace of mind, allowing users to stay connected and informed even when they are far away from the camera’s installation site.
Cellular cameras can also offer uninterrupted connectivity since they are less susceptible to issues like Wi-Fi signal interference or hacking attempts due to their operation on a separate network. Installation is usually straightforward, as there is no need for complex network configurations, and users can frequently set up these cameras themselves, reducing the reliance on professional installation services.
Additionally, cellular security camera systems tend to be more scalable than traditional closed-circuit systems, making it easier to expand security coverage when needed. You can also monitor multiple properties from the same “command station” (your phone) which is a huge benefit for property owners who own multiple tracts.
The Best Cellular Security Cameras Key Features
When shopping for a cellular security system, there are many factors to keep in mind. Network compatibility, video resolution, motion sensitivity, night vision capability, data storage, battery life, and user-friendliness are all crucial. Failure to consider these factors can leave you stuck with a camera that either doesn’t capture usable footage or is frustrating to use. To make sure that you end up with a camera that protects your property, consider the following before purchasing.
Cellular Network Compatibility
This is often confusing for first-time buyers, who may inadvertently assume that they need a device that is on the same cellular network as their cell phone provider. It’s an understandable mistake, but just like your T-Mobile phone has no problem making a call to a Verizon one, any camera should be able to send images to any phone. Provided, just like with a cell phone, that it is getting reception where it is installed.
It’s critical that you select a model that uses whichever network gets the best signal where you intend to install it. A poor signal can result in lengthy delays between the time a photo is taken and the time you receive a notification, and in worst-case scenarios, the transmission can fail entirely. In the event that you have an issue on your property, the sooner you know about it, the better. The better the signal strength your camera has, the faster it can notify you if it detects something.
Video Quality and Image Resolution
At a bare minimum, you want enough resolution to have an identifiable face if your camera detects an intruder. Ideally, you want enough resolution to also capture fine details such as license plate numbers. The higher the resolution, the more detail you’ll capture, but the larger the image file. Larger images require more time to send, take up more storage space, and burn more battery life, so it’s up to you to determine the “sweet spot” between detail and file size. Some cameras allow you to select between a range of image resolutions, which can allow you to tailor your selections based on factors such as how large of an area you’re monitoring, how much detail you need, and how often you can maintain the camera.
Motion Detection Range and Sensitivity
The sensitivity and range capability of your security camera is equally as important as its image quality. It doesn’t matter how good of a picture your camera takes if it never “wakes up” and takes one when it needs to. On the flip side, if the camera is too sensitive, you’ll quickly be overwhelmed with a barrage of images whenever the neighborhood stray dog decides to saunter by your camera.
When shopping for a cellular security camera, look for a camera with an adequate detection range for your application, and ideally with the capacity to adjust both sensitivity and detection area. The latter is particularly handy if you only want notifications if motion is detected in a specific part of the camera’s image frame, such as a door or gate.
A neat feature that you find more and more often in security cameras is AI that can detect various trigger types and quickly let you know what caused an activation. Barn Owl Security Cameras, for example, use “Barn Owl AI” which can detect the difference between people, vehicles, and animals. Technology like this is incredibly useful to be able to tell at a quick glance whether the alert you’re receiving is a human intruder or just a cat making his regular rounds.
Night Vision Capability
General scientific consensus is that it is dark outside roughly as often as it is well lit, so a good security camera needs to be capable of taking good night time images. In all seriousness, how your camera performs after dark is arguably more important than how it performs in the daytime, especially if you’re concerned with catching trespassers, poachers, thieves, or vandals.
Mobile App Quality
It’s easy to forget about this component, since you don’t “see” it when shopping, but when you buy a security camera you’re not just buying the hardware…you’re buying software too. Your cell camera is only as good as the app you use to program and monitor it, and a clunky user interface that hides key features behind unintuitive menus can be a real deal-breaker. The app is how you’ll receive notifications and view footage and images, so it needs to be easy to use and well-optimized.
Remote Access and Control
This is a function of the app, but it’s important enough to merit its own section. One of the biggest advantages of a cellular security camera is the ability to monitor a property remotely. While all cell cameras let you monitor your property remotely, some go a step further and let you monitor the camera itself. This allows you to check battery levels, delete pictures from on-board storage, turn cameras off and on, turn on live-feed, or program the device to take a picture at certain times of the day.
Battery Life and Power Options
Battery life is a huge quality-of-life factor. The longer a camera can stay powered, the less often you have to go out and change a battery. Companies that offer solar-powered options have a big leg up over competitors that rely solely on battery power.
Final Thoughts On Cellular Security Cameras
As technology advances and security becomes increasingly important, cellular security cameras have become not just a convenience but a necessity. By taking the time to choose a camera with the right features, you’re investing in a powerful tool that can provide peace of mind no matter where you are. Whether you’re securing your home, monitoring a remote property, or keeping an eye on a valuable asset, the right cellular security camera can be your trusted ally in the quest for enhanced security and awareness.