People are always asking if security cameras work without Internet since it's so common to have IP cameras in today’s age and time. They are everywhere!
You can find them on buildings, homes, business establishments, and even on the streets, most of the are recording at a local device and not using Internet at all.
So, the quick answer for the question is: YES, security cameras can work without an Internet connection and it's up to you decide if you want to keep that way or plug them in a router to watch them remotely from the Internet.
How to install security cameras without Internet
There are different ways to install and use a security camera without Internet.
Now you have the chance to understand how to connect the cameras using devices that can power the camera directly or using a power supply. You will also learn how to use a device to record the footage so you can watch it later.
You can use an analog or digital (IP) system, but don't worry too much about those terms now. Either way, you can have the security cameras working with or without Internet. Let's start talking first about the IP cameras...
Here's an example of an IP camera connected to a PoE injector and to a laptop.
The IP camera is powered by the PoE injector which is just a power supply that can send power over the network cable. The laptop shows the video from the camera.
PoE stands for Power Over Ethernet, a technology that allows a device to receive power over the network cable (which runs power and data at the same time).
You can also make a security camera work without Internet by simply connecting it to its power supply and to a computer/laptop using a network (UTP) cable.
The only difference here (compared to the first picture) is that now, the power goes directly to the camera and the PoE is not used anymore. See the picture below.
Either way, you can have a piece of software installed on your computer/laptop recording everything, that's why you purchased a security camera, right ?
Alright, you can have your camera connected directly to your computer or laptop, but can I remove my laptop from this diagram and still have my security system recording my pet or my crazy neighbor? Yes, it's possible, just keep reading...
Recording security cameras without Internet
Let's say you have your security camera installed and want to record everything, but you can't leave your laptop sitting there all the time. What can you do then?
Easy, you just need to use a device between the camera and the computer/laptop.
It's easier than you think and I bet you already have such a device.
I'm talking about your Internet router which has extra ports to connect the cables that come from your computer/laptop and the security camera...
And now you have your camera connected to your router and it can work with or without Internet, is up to you to decide, as long the Internet link is available.
Perhaps you are looking at the diagram and asking "What the heck is an NVR ?"
NVR stands for Network Video Recorder and it's the device that can record the footage from your IP security cameras. Easy, isn't it ?
Now, you can take your laptop and leave your home while the NVR keeps recording everything that happens in front of your camera. How cool is that, huh ?
Using traditional analog cameras and DVRs
OK, perhaps you don't have modern IP cameras and NVRs and just want to use a basic security system with analog cameras and still work without Internet.
That's also easy, you just need to hook up the analog cameras to the recorder, also known as DVR (Digital Video Recorder) to start recording the camera footage.
See the following diagram that shows the analog cameras connected to a DVR which is connected to a router and to a laptop, using the Internet is optional.
This diagram shows two types of cables, the blue ones used between the laptop, router and DVR are the network cables. The yellow ones are coaxial cables that connect the analog cameras to the Digital Video Recorder.
==> Traditional analog cameras are still cheaper than IP cameras but are don't have advanced features. If you didn't decide yet which system to buy, I recommend you to read the article: What are the IP camera advantages?
Security cameras with Internet
Because of advancement in technology, security cameras can now function without an Internet connection, and even without electric power supply. This is not “magic”, but the wonder of technology!
Today, there are such things as cellular security cameras. These types run on 3G/4G/5G cellular connections. They do not need Internet or WiFi access at all.
And, its most convenient feature is, it is powered by rechargeable battery or solar power. Very convenient, indeed!
Comparing the security camera with and without Internet
Although there are security cameras which work even without Internet, the traditional “with Internet” security camera systems are pretty popular.
Hence, the public cannot help but compare them. Let's take a look at the differences and similarities of the two, so you can have a better decision before expending some extra dollars in your security camera system.
Security cameras with Internet
- These types can offer remote and local access at the same time. In other words, you can get remote and local live streaming regardless of your location. In addition, it can be made possible through your Android, iPhone, and other mobile devices even when you are away, in the office or traveling.
- They send push notification in cases where motion events are present. Alerts to notify you of motion events are sent to your mobile devices or smartphones. Meaning, because of motion detectors, once, movement is detected, it automatically alerts you through push notifications.
- Security cameras can back up videos to the cloud and to an FTP server if it works with Internet connection. The file transfer protocol (FTP) and the Cloud may be used to transfer and store data. Hence making saving and uploading images and videos possible. This is a cost-efficient way of storing videos from your security cameras.
- They can get NTP clock synchronization. In other words, clock accuracy is provided by synchronizing it with Network Time Protocol (NTP). This is most helpful in cases of crime investigation and such things.
==> To learn more about camera cloud recording, read the article: CCTV camera cloud recording: Using online IP camera storage
CCTV Cameras without Internet
- 24/7 live viewing of videos is possible with a connected monitor.
- Security camera footage may be saved on-site to an SD card or an NVR. Videos may be saved in the NVR/DVR.
- It can function even on remote location because it uses battery cellular security cameras in off-grid areas. This is possible with the use of cellular security cameras. These type function with the use of 3G/4G cellular network. Meaning, no need for any WiFi or Internet connection.
Connecting IP Cameras to Your PC without Internet Connection
To connect your IP cameras to your PC without Internet connection, there are several steps to follow:
- First, you must charge your PC and security cameras;
- A network cable is needed to connect your camera to the computer;
- Find out what the security camera address is on your computer;
- Change the IP address of the PC to the same network prefix of the camera.
- Open a web browser and type the IP address of the camera to view the video.
At first those 5 steps are very simple, but usually, you are going to need more details, especially if you don't have any technical skills, so I highly recommend you to read the other articles available in this blog. See the links below.
==> To learn more about connecting cameras to a PC, read the articles:
Play-and-Go security cameras and systems with or without Internet access
There are a lot of security cameras which can work effectively even without Internet connection. And also, even without the availability of an electric power source. Here are a few examples of these type.
The Wyze Cam V2 is a small wireless security camera that can record video in high- resolution (Full HD) video, with motion and sound detection, night vision, two-way audio, and time-lapse.
The camera works using 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks, can record onto an SD card and send live video streaming to a mobile device using a specific App.
The camera can be installed indoors or outdoors (must purchase a housing).
Netgear Arlo Go is a wireless security camera easy to use and even works with cellular communication. It can be used to monitor your home, office.
The camera has 720p HD resolution that is good for capturing high-quality video that can be recorded locally in the micro SD memory card and in the cloud.
It's possible to integrate this camera with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can use your voice to ask the camera to show live feed on your TV.
Reolink Argus 2
Reolink Argus 2 is said to be the best value battery-powered WiFi security camera.
It comes with a built-in SD card slot, therefore making local storage for motion detecting recording possible. In other words, storing videos will not call for paying for monthly fees. Hence, making saving on cost possible, as compared with security cameras with a cloud subscription.
Most importantly, it is always best to bear in mind that with security cameras with Internet, video live streaming and uploading, and likewise app push notification will not be possible without Internet access.
In cases where there are no WiFi or routers available, simply connect the battery security camera to the hotspot on your smartphone.
Its features are: Rechargeable Battery and Solar Powered; Outdoor/Indoor Protection; 1080 Full HD; Starlight Night Vision; 2-Way Audio; Live View Anytime Anywhere.
Reolink Go is a security camera that does not require Internet.
It is one of the best security camera available in the market for your home and business, without Internet and power cords.
Remote viewing is possible through your smartphones. Therefore, you can check the activities on your property even without Internet connection.
Another feature of the Reolink Go is the two-way audio which it is equipped with. This will give you the option of shouting at any intruder and scare them off.
Its features are: No WiFi and Power Needed; Rechargeable Battery or Solar Powered; 1080p Full HD; Starlight Night Vision; 2-Way Audio; Live View Anytime Anywhere.
The Reolink Go is the best among security cameras which run without Internet connection. So if you decide on this one, you must definitely have made the right choice!
Reolink Go RLK8-410B4
RLK8-410B4 is a standalone security system that works with and without internet.
It is a PoE camera and installing it is quite easy. This is among the best choices if you want 24/7 recording, but your area does not have any Internet connection.
The proprietary network connects the recording NVR and the cameras. Hence, 24/7 surveillance on your property is made possible by connecting the NVR to a monitor. This may be done through a VGA or HDMI cable.
Its features include: 4 pcs 5MP/4MP Security Cameras; 2TB HDD 8-Channel NVR for 24/7 Reliable Recording; Plug and Play; 2 Network Solutions.
F.A.Q. security cameras work with/without Internet
Can Wireless IP Cameras Work Without Internet?
This is a common question when talking about security cameras. In fact it is one of the frequently asked questions when it comes to this topic. And the answer to this question is, “yes, indeed”.
Usually, or traditionally, PoE and wireless surveillance cameras work by connecting them to your home Internet router. Therefore allowing you to get remote live streaming and motion alerts. And also other cool and smart functions.
However, they can also function, even without Internet connection, and can still record activities on-site with SD cards. Hence, important moments captured by the security camera will not be missed.
Moreover, cellular security cameras function via 3G/4G/5G cellular network. Hence, enabling you to check remote areas, even without the benefit of Internet access.
Can security cameras work without electricity?
Commonly, wireless security cameras stop working once the power is out.
However, battery or solar-powered surveillance/ security cameras do not need to be connected to power outlets to function. Hence, making them work properly even when the power supply is not available.
Therefore, if you want to monitor and keep an eye on your property, for example, barns, farm, and other remote places where there is no electricity, then the solar and battery-powered cameras are the best choices.
Does network video recorder (NVR) stop recording if the WiFi or Internet connection is turned off?
To answer these questions, NVR can function even without WiFi or Internet access. Just make sure that it is always connected with the cameras. If so, you will not have any problem with the NVR, even without Internet or WiFi connection.
As mentioned, Internet access is not necessary to make the NVR work with security cameras. The IP address will be assigned by the NVR to the cameras in the same package. Making local video recording accessible and available after turning the power on.
The data transmitted from the cameras and store the videos to the hard drive is picked up by the NVR, even without Internet connection.
Summing It Up
Security cameras and/or systems are one of the most important things to have in today’s time. With a lot of crimes happening, from petty burglary to big-time robbery. Not only that but other crimes as well.
This is precisely the reason why installing security and surveillance cameras in your home and other properties are necessary.
However, several problems and questions come up, especially about the functionality of the said devices.
Most traditional security cameras function with the help of the Internet or WiFi access. However, because of the geniuses behind the technology, there are security cameras/systems available in the market which can function even without WiFi or Internet access. And, furthermore, they can function properly even without electric power, as well.
Thanks to technology and the brains behind it, we can now feel safe and secure even if we are in a remote area as long as we utilize the services of cellular security cameras which run on battery or solar power supply. And, does not require WiFi or Internet connection at all.
Want to learn more ?
If you want to become a professional CCTV installer or designer, take a look at the material available in the blog. Just click the links below:
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Claudemir Martins is a former Samsung Engineer with 16+ experience in the surveillance industry. He has been traveling around 17 different countries to teach people how to design, and install CCTV systems.