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AgSnap

Technology in Agriculture, Simplified

The Internet Connected Security Camera Conundrum

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I’ve been researching IP (internet protocol) security cameras lately, and I’ve arrived at the conclusion that a perfect one does not exist. I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise with any piece of technology, but it’s especially prevalent in the fast evolving home security sector. Here’s some ideas of what I have been researching and some common sense tips. Let me know what you think / what experiences you’ve had.

Things I’ve looked at..

Ring Stick Up Camera
Most portable camera I’ve found.. wireless and battery / solar panel powered, but questionable video quality no local video recording option. Questionably new company yet.. Keep that in mind with anything internet connected device.. it could stop working at any moment

Arlo
Super portable and wireless / battery powered. Better quality than Ring and somewhat of a local recording option. But $$$ and generally crap battery life. Don’t bother with the older generation of this hardware. From what I’ve read they can’t deal with cold temps

Unifi Video from Ubiquiti
From the same company I use for all my wifi and networking equipment. Great performace for the price and quality. Works well in cold weather. But nowhere near as flexible with location. $$ adds up when you factor in the lack of wifi. More complicated setup but better relability

Lorex
Having great luck with a couple wired systems I have running. Nice, complete, single manufactuer packages for reasonable money. Fairly easy to setup. Tend to have generous local storage options and capacity. Not always the greatest quality picture. I don’t have experience with their wireless cameras

Nest
Awesome quaity stuff, but forget about it unless you have fiber internet with lots of upload bandwidth

Kuna
Neat idea adding cameras to existing light fixtures, but a pretty new company and no local recording

D-Link .. other misc electronics manufacturers
Several major electronics manufacturers made a big push at secruity cameras a few years ago, but seem to have all but abandoned the area since. Many of these were of mediocre picture quality, had software bugs that will never be fixed, and might stop working at any time just due to software or cloud storage being shut off. Many of these have tons of bad reviews like this Samsung system.

Do’s

  • Research manufacturers, models, specs (ex: viewing angle), and software capabilities
  • Start simple.. maybe just one camera or simple system even
  • Learn wired and wireless networking yourself or find someone else
  • Expect to be frustrated and do some form of constant maintenance — firmware, software settings, electricity, replacements etc
  • Find someone local to help.. it’s worth the money and saving your time to at least have someone experienced come take a look at what you want to accomplish

Don’ts

  • Don’t buy cheap Chinese junk — unless you want to learn to read Chinese and code software.. lots of knockoffs on Amazon and eBay
  • Don’t mix and match brands — only makes things more complicated
  • Don’t buy something that takes more internet upload bandwidth than you have available — example: most anything that records to the cloud, unless your’re lucky enough to have super fast upload speeds like a fiber or digital cable connection
  • Don’t expect anything wireless to be as good as wired
  • Don’t buy a system that takes odd wiring instead of standard Ethernet internet cable
  • Don’t expect to do anything fancy without spending many hundreds of dollars
  • Watch out for companies slapping their brand sticker on someone else’s equipment and marking it up.. or at least ask and be aware

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