Ask a CCTV Expert: How to reduce Wireless Interference
This is the first in a series of posts where our Tech Support gurus help to answer some of the more frequent questions from our customers. This week, we delve into the world of Wireless signals and interference…
Q: Help! I recently purchased a wireless night vision camera, and the picture quality initially looked great. But now that I have it in place I am getting a lot of horizontal white strips flicker across the image. I think there might be a fault with the camera!
A: First things first- Don’t Panic! The chances are that the camera itself is fine, as this type of picture breakdown is almost always caused by Wireless interference from other devices nearby. To explain this we first need a quick bit of background. Here in the UK, all wireless devices must conform to strict regulations laid out by OFCOM to make sure they don’t disrupt important equipment such as that used for GPS and Communications. As a result, most gadgets will operate within a very limited frequency range, known as the “2.4GHz band”. Because so many devices work within this range, it can be quite easy for them the cause problems and knock each other out when several are used close together.
If you suspect your camera is being affected by interference, the very first thing to do is to try changing the camera’s wireless channel. All of our analogue wireless cameras will have some way of doing this, often via a set of small dip switches on the rear (check your camera’s instructions for further details). This will move the camera to a slightly different frequency, and is often a very quick way of solving transmission issues. Just make sure you change the corresponding channel on your receiver, too! For minor interference, you can also try physically moving the camera and receiver- sometimes only few inches can make a difference. If this doesn’t solve the problem, then you may have to narrow down what is causing the interference.
These days, the prevalence of WiFi networks means that they are by far the most common cause of this issue. Luckily, there is an extremely easy way to test if your WiFi network is causing the interference. Simply leave your camera on, and then unplug your Wireless router. If the picture improves then this will confirm the network was the source of problem, and with a quick phone call we can talk you through switching your router to a different channel. It is often worth checking for WiFi networks in the location before buying- if there are more than 4 visible, then we recommend a wired camera!
Other possible sources of interference can include Bluetooth devices, Baby monitors, Cordless Telephones, and even Microwaves, so try and avoid setting up either the camera or receiver near to such devices.
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