Wired security camera systems are nice and far more reliable than Wi-Fi cameras, but there are a handful of things you should be aware of before you go out and buy a wired camera system.
We’ve discussed the differences between a wired security camera system and a simple Wi-Fi cam in the past (for those who might’ve been deciding between the two), but if you’ve already made up your mind to go the wired route, it’s good to know what exactly you’re getting into.
You’ll Need a Monitor, Mouse, & Keyboard
Security camera systems come with a DVR box and a handful of cameras (and sometimes the necessary cables), but they probably won’t come with a monitor, mouse, and keyboard—all of which are required to manage the system and view the feeds from the cameras.
Some security camera systems come with a mouse, but most systems won’t come with a monitor, and that’s perhaps the most crucial part of the whole setup.
Unless you have these three items already sitting around, be sure to factor in the cost of those when you go to buy your camera system. The only exception is if you were to connect the cameras to a NAS that is already managed from your computer. Then you’d be good to go.
Come Up with a Plan to Route All the Cables
Since the cameras need to be directly connected to the DVR box, you’ll need to figure out exactly how you’re going to route the cables across your home.
You’ll likely have to get creative depending on where you want your cameras mounted and where you’ll plant the DVR box. It’s easily possible that you’ll have to feed cables up two stories inside walls and through places you probably didn’t even know existed.
Because of that, make a plan and know the exact layout of your house. Find out if anything’s in between your walls (like insulation or fire blocks) that could hinder cable runs, and know which route you’ll take your cables on before you start the process.
With that said, you’ll also need the proper tools, like a power drill and steel fish tape. Be sure to check out our how-to guide on installing a camera system for the details on how to do something like this yourself.
Prepare to Get Your Hands Dirty
Unless you pay someone to do the work for you, installing a wired security camera system will probably require you to crawl through attics or crawlspaces running cables. It’s not an easy job.
If you’re lucky, it could be as easy as just running the cables down through the floor, across the basement, and up through the floor on the other side of the house, but that’s a best-case scenario.
More than likely you’ll need to go through a crawlspace or an attic, which won’t be pleasant. So be prepared to not only get your hands dirty but everything else as well. Oh, and do your knees a favor with some good knee pads.
Connect It to the Network or Not?
One huge benefit of having a wired security camera system is that you don’t need to connect it to the internet to use it—unlike most Wi-Fi cams, which require an internet connection to do anything.
The downside to an off-the-grid camera system, however, is that you won’t be able to access it remotely from your phone if you’re away from home. Instead, you can only view and manage your camera system from the DVR box and the connected monitor and peripherals.
This probably isn’t a huge deal for most people, and there’s an argument to be made that it’s safer keeping it off the internet anyway. However, if you want to be able to view the feeds remotely, you’ll want to connect it to your network.