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Do Security Cameras Work Without Internet?

While shopping around for a security camera, you may have noticed that a lot of them offer remote viewing functionality. This allows you to view the cameras on your smartphone even while away from home; however, this function requires the internet.

So, what happens if you don’t have internet? Will your cameras still work? Does it affect the recording ability, or notifications?

You can watch the video below or scroll down to continue reading this article. Both contain the same information, so choose the option you prefer.

Types of Systems – Cloud or NVR based?

There are two types of security cameras that are commonly available today. We have cloud-based systems where the analytics and footage are stored in the cloud. They are cheap to purchase, however you may need to pay a monthly subscription for extra storage or AI features.

We also have NVR based systems where everything is stored locally – these are usually more expensive upfront since they require a video recorder and hard drives. However, you can save money in the long run since you don’t need to pay a subscription fee.

Cloud-Based Security Systems

Cloud cameras rely completely on the internet for connectivity and operation. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Footage is uploaded to the company’s servers before viewing or playback.
  • Recording failures can arise in areas with poor connectivity or high internet usage.
  • Interruptions in internet service may compromise security.
  • Subscription fees for video storage can add to the cost.

These cloud cameras – which include Nest and Wyze – must stream the video to the company’s cloud servers before you can view it. Any interruption with the internet will prevent the device from recording. This also introduces a few seconds of delay to the system, which is annoying if you’re trying to watch the cameras in real-time.

If you live in an area with poor connectivity, such as a farm out in the country, or you have many people using the internet at the same time, then your camera is going to be at the mercy of your internet connection. This could leave you unprotected during crucial moments, which is not ideal when you’re trying to keep your home secure.

To make matters worse, a lot of cloud cameras require a subscription fee to store video recordings. So, not only are you paying a monthly fee, but the device may also experience connectivity issues when you least expect it.

Three Wyze V4 cameras with a neon cloud icon in the background
Cloud-based systems offer convenience but are heavily reliant on internet connectivity.

Video-Recorder-Based Systems

Unlike cloud-based systems, these cameras operate differently:

  • Footage is recorded directly onto a hard drive for local storage.
  • Accessing and downloading footage is possible even without internet connectivity.
  • Core functionality remains intact without internet access.
  • Remote access becomes available once the internet connection is restored.

Video-recorder-based systems such as Uniview record the footage directly to hard drive for local storage. This means you can still view the cameras and download the footage without an internet connection.

With an internet connection, you can access the cameras remotely from any location – even if you’re out of the country.

So, having an internet connection with an NVR is helpful, but even if the internet goes down you don’t have to worry. Your footage is still being recorded and can be accessed locally, or remotely when the internet comes back.

Three Uniview turret cameras with a purple line connecting them to a video recorder
NVR/DVR based systems provide reliable surveillance with a direct connection from camera to recorder.

Which System Do We Recommend?

Among video-recorder-based systems, Uniview stands out as an excellent option for consumers and commercial buyers here are three reasons we like it:

  • They have excellent quality footage even in poor light conditions.
  • All Uniview systems are NVR based.
  • It’s easy to watch the cameras using your phone or laptop.

If you’re shopping for a security system today, our recommendation is the Uniview brand. Their systems are all NVR based and most of their cameras have a microSD card slot for redundant storage – so even if the NVR is stolen or damaged you still have footage on the camera.

TA bullet and turret security camera against a night cityscape background with the text Guardian at night protection on site
Uniview offers a comprehensive solution with robust features for continuous surveillance and data security.

Final Thoughts

While internet connectivity can enhance accessibility, it’s not necessary for basic functionality. Opting for a video-recorder-based system like Uniview ensures uninterrupted surveillance and peace of mind, regardless of internet availability.

Jaeden Wiens

Jaeden Wiens has been working in the CCTV industry since 2018. He started with technical support, then quickly moved into sales and marketing. When he's not writing articles or optimizing the performance of his website, you can find him listening to music or practicing piano at home. You can follow him on LinkedIn.