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A great tip for helping set up your Wifi IP cameras

This week, we revisit our semi-regular “ask a CCTV expert” series, looking into simple answers for those irritating questions that you can’t seem to find an answer to. This time, Simon from our tech support department has suggested this great tip for helping ease the occasionally stressful process of setting up Wifi IP cameras…

WiFi hotspot sign in a snowy field
image via

 “I am completely at my wits end. I have been trying to install a series of wireless IP cameras throughout my office building using a Wifi network, but am getting very frustrated by signal issues. Naturally, I want to make sure that the cameras will have signal where they are being installed, so I have been checking the wifi reception at each location using the bars on my phone. Naturally in some there wasnt quite full signal, but still pretty good. Low and behold, once I have gone through the rigmarole of installing the cameras and setting them up on my network, I log in to see….a patchy stream which keeps cutting out! How can this happen when I checked the signal beforehand?!?”
– Joe from Derby

This is an all-too-easy situation to find yourself in with these types of cameras. Whilst the wifi indicators on smartphones and similar devices are generally good measures of Wifi strength, the amount of bandwidth required for streaming HD video from the IP camera is significantly higher than most things would need. Because of this, the only way to accurately judge whether the wifi in the area is strong enough to use is by checking it with something equally demanding.

720p HD WiFi Dome IP Security Camera, ONVIF with 10m IR & SD Storage
Our Wifi IP cameras are ideal for office or home security

But what can you use that has similar requirements without having to first install the camera? Well the answer is actually incredibly simple- video streaming! Streaming sites such as Youtube and Netflix use similar amounts of data when they are streaming full resolution HD video, and what’s more they can be accessed directly from your phone. So the trick is, hold your smartphone up in the position where the camera will be, and then connect to youtube over the wifi network you want to use, then try and watch an HD video in full resolution. If you get a nice, smooth video at the highest settings, then your IP camera is likely to get very similar results. However, if the video stream is choppy or low quality, then it may be the case that you will have to rethink the camera’s location, or possibly connect a high gain antenna to the camera, placed in a different location.

Of course, the important thing to remember is that this only works with cameras that connect over Wifi, not with traditional wireless or digital wireless CCTV. This is because the latter type of cameras transmit their own signal, instead of using the existing network.

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