What is a Wireless Camera?
Security Cameras are just standard cameras that have a built-in transmitter
and antenna. When power is applied the cameras' video (and audio is so equipped)
is sent wirelessly by radio waves to a receiver. It should be noted that even a
wireless camera will need power either in the form of a battery or power supply
plugged into a standard electrical outlet. So the term wireless is not totally
correct since it just means you do not need to run a video or audio cable from
the camera to the receiver. The receiver as its name implies will receive this
radio wave signal and turn it back into a standard composite video signal that
will then be plugged into a monitor (which could be a standard TV) or some form
of recording device like a digital
How Far Can Wireless Signals Transmit?
The range of the signals is usually stated based
on line of sight. True line of sight means more than just the antenna of the
transmitter can see the antenna of the receiver. The wireless signals will
need about a 30 ft. diameter clearing between antennas for maximum range. So to
get the maximum distance the transmitter and receiver antennas will need to be
at least 15 feet off the ground otherwise the ground itself will attenuate the
signal. This doesn't mean that the transmitter or receiver can't be on a 3 feet
high shelf in your house but the lower it is placed and the more obstructions
such as trees, bushes and buildings the less distance you can achieve. Metal and
concrete are the hardest for the signals to penetrate. Through normal house
construction of wood and drywall you will probably loose 15 to 20% through each
wall the signal must pass for 2.4 GHz equipment.
What Can be Done to Get More Distance?
If you find you are getting a signal but it has
lines or fades in and out try placing the receiver by a window or closer to an
exterior wall and run a cable to your monitor or recording device. Also if your
receiver has a detachable antenna you can buy extension cable and mount the
antenna outside your building and run the cable through a hole much like is done
for cable TV or through a window. This will eliminate the walls giving you
better line of sight and greater signal distance. To keep signal loss at a
minimum the shorter the antenna cable the better try not to exceed 15 to 25 feet.
Greater signal distance can also be achieved by the use of high gain directional
antennas. The antennas that normally come with most wireless cameras are
omni-directional which are good for receiving signals from any direction. By
using a high gain directional antenna the signal distance can be doubled or more
depending on the dB gain. The drawback is that the antennas are larger, more
expensive and must be pointed directly at each other and on the same axis
(horizontal, vertical). However if wireless is the only way to get the signal
the extra cost and size may be worth the investment.
Another factor that will affect distance is the frequency of the transmitter.
The lower the frequency the greater penetrating ability. It is similar to
standing outside a house or car with a stereo on, you can more easily hear the
drum or bass sounds than the other instruments. For true line of sight with
analog transmitters of the same power or amplitude signal the lower frequency
will still have greater signal distance using the standard dipole antennas.
Will Other Wireless Devices Interfere with the Cameras?
When using wireless cameras that operate in the 2.4
GHz range there can be interference problems from devices such as cordless
phones, wireless internet routers and microwave ovens. Many devices like
cordless phones and wireless routers allow you to select different frequencies
for them to operate on that may not interfere with the cameras. Unfortunately
anytime you have a number of devices operating wirelessly at the same time
interference is possible. Another option that can help is to use directional antennas
on both the transmitter and receiver since there signals are then confined to a
small area directly between them. The 1.2 GHz transmitters are less prone to
interference since most common wireless devices do not operate on those
Can I Make Any Camera Wireless?
Many times its hard to find the right camera that is also wireless with a
built-in transmitter. For these situations you may want to consider using a
separate transmitter and receiver set. The advantage is that you can use any camera
so you can and plug it into a transmitter to make it wireless. This allows you
to choose just the right camera and if your needs change in the future you can
just plug a different camera into the transmitter. If the cameras you want to
use will be located outside most transmitters are not weatherproof on there own.
There are a couple of ways to still use them outside, one is to place the
transmitter next to the camera in a weatherproof enclosure with the antenna
sticking out for best performance. The second way is to place the camera where
you want it such as on the front of you house and the transmitter in your garage
or an enclosed porch. Then run a video/power cable to the camera from an outlet in the garage, it provides
the needed power to the camera and brings the video back to the transmitter.
From there the transmitter will send the signal wirelessly to the receiver