So you've decided to set up cellular security cameras at a remote home without using the WiFi or internet? Maybe you have a remote barn or cabin to keep an eye on or a work site without utilities that you want to monitor.
If so, security cameras that don't require WiFi may be a good solution for you . . . especially if you have decent cellular service coverage.
This is a new trend in security cameras. We'll review how they work and with which services, the pros and cons of cellular security cameras, and the reasons why they are a handy solution if you don’t have internet access.
You'll also find a list of the best cellular cameras along with their reviews and features in case you decide to try one at home or to secure your remote property.
Here's what we'll cover:
Cellular Security Camera Comparison
|Arlo Go Outdoor Security Camera||3.0/5.0||$430.00|
|Reolink Go Security Camera||3.9/5.0||$249.99|
|Nubo LTE Security Camera||No reviews||$249.00|
|Utility Box Hidden Camera||No reviews||$1,149.99|
|Eye Trax Ranger Outdoor Security Camera||3.6/5.0||$3,950.00|
|Mobotix Cellular Security Camera||5.0/5.0||$5,000.00|
|Axis Network Outdoor Security Camera||3.9/5.0||$1,118.00|
WHAT IS A CELLULAR SECURITY CAMERA?
Can I have a security camera without WiFi?
Cellular security cameras are a handy solution if you don’t have access to internet connection, making them a perfect replacement for the traditional wireless security cameras that still require a network for monitoring. The only thing you need is mobile coverage in the area where you want to deploy the security camera.
Most of the time, the choice of cellular network is up to you.
If you’re new to home security and automation, maybe you haven’t heard about these cellular surveillance cameras yet. The most common wireless security cameras we see in the market are the ones that require internet access for data transfer to a cloud storage service for storing and analyzing video.
You can even use most of them with an app so you can simply monitor and control the camera’s view right on your smartphone.
But what if, for some reason, you can't use the WIFI for your home camera system but still want a security monitoring system?
Or, perhaps you live far away from the city where internet access is not available.
Or you want to monitor your barn, ranch or a remote property but there is no access to internet and electricity.
That's where cellular security cameras come in handy!
Since they don’t require traditional internet service and use a cellular network instead, these cameras offer a perfect replacement for the traditional wireless security cameras that still require access to a network for monitoring. The only thing you need is mobile coverage in the area where you want to deploy the cameras and monitor security.
HOW DO CELLULAR SECURITY CAMERAS WORK?
These cameras work like your mobile device. The camera comes with a cellular module in its control panel so that it can send video signals wirelessly to the nearest cellular sites. So, you have to make sure that the area where the cellular camera is installed has a 3G/4G LTE/5G network. Common carriers that offer this service include AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile.
What is a 4G Cellular Video Camera?
4G cameras or 4G LTE security cameras are wireless cameras that use the 4G LTE network (also known as 4G service) to send live video footage and alerts through your mobile device.
PROS AND CONS: Finding the Best Cellular Cameras
Despite the perks, all good things have flaws. Here are the things to look out for when shopping for a cellular security camera.
Pros of Security Cameras that Don’t Require wifi
The best thing about cellular security cameras is that they are very flexible - you can install it anywhere with or without any wifi or internet connection. And mobile networks are almost everywhere, so it is easier to do monitoring at almost any place. The cameras are ideal for outdoor security camera use, especially since most cellular cameras can be powered with batteries and even solar powered with solar panels.
So what are the other perks?
Security cameras without internet are safer from hackers in the sense that they don't have commonly exploited WiFi vulnerabilities (note that there are also wireless cameras that use P2P which also ensures a high level of security). Plus, these cameras offer easier installation and you can get a video live stream anywhere right on your smartphone without worrying about putting it in a spot with no WiFi coverage or access to internet service.
So what are the cons of a cellular home camera system?
If you do a quick search in the market right now, many of the cellular security cameras are pricey compared to their WiFi and wired counterparts. Patience and perseverance are the keys to find brands of these cameras that offer a good value. We've highlighted a few down below.
You might wonder about the quality of the video using a cellular data plan too. It generally depends on the brand you choose and the speed of cellular service in the area. Even the best quality camera is going to stream poor video footage over a slow connection or have too much lag to be useful in a live-viewing situation. On the other hand, it may be able to capture high-quality pictures of criminals, so you don’t want to ignore camera sensor, lens, and compression quality altogether when choosing the best security camera for you.
So What are THE BEST CELLULAR SECURITY CAMERAS?
I’ve done the research for you to find the best cellular security cameras and save you time in your search. Here are the best surveillance options:
The Arlo Go (there are mixed reviews for it) is a cellular enabled outdoor security camera capable of streaming live up to 720p resolution. It uses 4G LTE data plans. It has a wide-angle PIR motion sensor for motion detection and night vision which can illuminate objects up to 25 ft. away.
The recorded data can be stored on free cloud storage (up to 7 days of history) or on a local memory card in case the internet fails. Take a look at Arlo's plans if you want to be able to access the video recordings for longer.
The Arlo Go is rated for use outdoors (IP65 Certified Weather-Resistant) and can be mounted anywhere for surveillance, as long as there is cellular coverage.
An added feature is built-in two-way audio with a microphone and speaker so you can speak to your visitors or warn thieves. The rechargeable battery is pretty large at 3660 mAh, but as always, battery life depends on usage, temperature, and settings.
The downsides are it is bulky and there’s no back-up connectivity when the mobile data fails. But nonetheless, it’s a great camera!
Reolink Go (check current reviews on Amazon) comes with 1080p Full HD video, starlight night vision (for better clarity at night) and a two-way audio link.
It's also ideal as an outdoor security camera since it's enclosed in an IP65 weatherproof enclosure, so you don’t have to worry about using it in exposed locations outside. Just make sure it’s safe from thieves! Reolink Go also comes with a long lasting rechargeable battery and an optional solar panel accessory to achieve constant charging and solar powered recording.
The MSRP for this camera starts at $250 while the solar panel is sold at $30 at the time this was written. Use the link above to check the current prices on Amazon.
If you’re looking for a security camera that’s flexible for outdoor installation without spending a lot of money, then the Nubo LTE camera by Panasonic could be your option. I’ve mentioned flexible because the camera is both WiFi and 2G/3G/4G LTE enabled. So whether it’s convenient for you to connect your security camera to the internet or just use the cellular signal, connection shouldn't be an issue.
And, the night vision is advertised to work up to 30 ft. away from the camera.
Just like the other cellular cameras, you will need a SIM card to connect the camera without using the WiFi. The good thing is that it already comes free with the package. You also get to enjoy 3 months free of mobile data and cloud storage. From there, you will have to decide on a subscription to continue using the services.
As another option, the local SD card storage is a nice alternative to cloud storage options!
Nubo comes with 720p resolution video if you opt to use your cellular data for monitoring. That's a bit low though for modern cameras. Other features of the camera however include motion detection, live video feed, two-way talk, and night vision LEDs.
CAMSCURA WIFI B-LINK SECURE CELLULAR CAMERA SYSTEM
Another option is the B-Link secure camera, another low-cost cellular cameras that operates on 4G LTE network. The good thing about this camera is that you can expect less data throttling since the bandwidth is prioritized for video traffic, thus your videos are highly optimized. Your videos are also backed up in case of power or network failure via the 32GB microSD (you can even extend this for up to 64GB).
As with all the other wireless cameras, you can have the option to receive notifications when motion sensors are triggered for added security. You can also diversify your monitoring system since it can be easily integrated with other IP cameras. B-Link cameras cost $269.99 (that doesn’t include data plan and accessories, starting at $20 per month).
Brickhouse UTILITY BOX HIDDEN CAMERA WITH B-LINK ONBOARD
If you want to remotely monitor your properties without attracting thieves, then you could consider the Utility Box Hidden Camera. It comes with B-Link Secure Cellular WIFI Camera so you can conveniently watch live surveillance video or record remotely for viewing later on. The camera is cleverly designed in a utility box so others won’t notice that it’s actually a camera.
The camera boasts a 60-day battery life with the rechargeable battery and 720p HD video quality, making it good enough to view videos if high-resolution data doesn’t matter in your application. Price starts at $859.99, without a data subscription.
EYE TRAX RANGER FIXED WIRELESS CAMERA
The Eye Trax Ranger Fixed Wireless Camera allows you to monitor your area through motion detection activated pictures. It has thermal detection capability that can reach up to a 40 ft distance and night vision features up to 150 ft.
What makes it ideal also for outdoor installation is that it is designed to withstand any weather conditions without affecting the quality of the images through its weatherproof aluminum enclosure.
You have the option to retrieve live surveillance images night or day or get motion-activated notifications through your phone. With 24 hour operation, you can expect the rechargeable battery to last up to 10 days. It can also be solar-powered via an optional solar panel. The Eye Trax Ranger costs around $3,950.00, although pricing may vary since the product has a lot of varieties.
Price: $4000 to $5000
Perhaps one of the priciest cellular cameras in the market, another brand I’ve included in the list is the cellular security camera manufactured by Mobotix in Germany. What’s great about Mobotix is that it comes with a 6-megapixel moonlight day and night sensors, giving you high quality live streams at low light scenes or dark areas. You can also install the cameras outdoors without worry because of the constructions. The wireless solar powered system is built with robust solid state electronics for better reliability. And like the other competitor cameras, it also comes with a microphone, speaker, 256 GB microSD card, and PIR motion detector for a complete surveillance system. Mobotix cellular security cameras generally cost between $4000 to $5000, excluding the accessories and add-ons. Prices may vary depending on which model you want to purchase. It can be costly but depending on the value of the assets you’re protecting, it may be worth it. Just consider what you would pay to protect your most valuable possessions.
AXIS NETWORK CAMERAS
AXIS is one of the cellular security camera makers with the widest range of models to choose from. Depending on your preferences, you may have to consider the performance capabilities you want to be included to choose the best fit for your applications. As you know, some cameras might have overkill specs for your application so you really have to think about your surveillance needs.
The most common model is the AXIS P1448-LE 4K camera which comes with infrared lighting and an option for Exacq Edge video software to run on a 128GB SD card. You can also go for up to 33 megapixel image size for better details if resolution is a big thing for you. Cost starts at around $1118, depending on the resolution capabilities you want.
You can even partner your cameras with an outdoor door sensor for an extra layer of security.
If you have an indoor camera, you might want to check why a window mount security camera is useful.
And once you have one installed at home, make sure to keep spiders away from cameras to ensure your footage is always crystal clear!
Or if you’re on a budget, you can turn old phones into a security camera. There are several home security apps on the market that allow you to take your old smartphones and web cameras and turn them into security cameras! These apps give you the option to recycle older pieces of technology that you haven’t been using and turn them into a home security camera that you can use to monitor what goes on while you are away!
Hi, I’m Christy, and I’m an electronics engineer by profession. I have taught in a university for 2 years while pursuing my master’s degree in cognitive radio and worked for a company to develop wireless medical devices. Currently, I’m doing research for a doctorate degree in engineering using a wireless sensor network for smart agriculture. I’ve been active in our local IoT community, IoT Cebu, where I participate in conducting talks about Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and DIY home automation using Wi-Fi and ZigBee devices.