We get asked quite frequently about "wireless" cameras. This is a valid question as a large portion of the cost of a surveillance system is the labor and materials to run the cables.

Wireless cameras are a rarity in commercial grade systems for a couple reasons.

  1. Wireless is not as reliable and secure as wired, that's just a fact.
  2. Until they invent wireless electricity, the cameras still need to be powered, preferably from a central common power supply.
    Ok... there are battery operated wireless cameras like NetGear's Arlo, but those are certainly not commercial grade, and we don't consider running cameras with AA batteries a realistic option, ...at least not yet.

Wireless cameras include a "wall wart" type power supply to plug into 120 VAC house current. Typically these power supplies only leave you 6' of wire to get from the power outlet to the camera, which is rarely adequate. That leaves you with two options, run an extension cord (unsightly and a bad idea outdoors or in your attic), or extend the factory wire with weather tight splices so that you can place the power supplies in a sensible location. Hopefully now you can see that "wireless" is not really wireless at all.

So, if wires need run to power the cameras, why not just run them a little further and use the same cable run to transmit the video signal too?

IP cameras can be powered over the same network cable that they use to transmit the video signal using POE (Power over Ethernet). Many IP NVR's have POE ports built into them already. Power over Coax is new to analog cameras and has not been widely adopted yet. Until then, an 18/2 wire nees run with the coax for power.

Wireless technology does have its place however in the form or wireless networking. IP cameras have an advantage in this regard over analog or coax based cameras in that a remote group of IP cameras can be connected to a POE (Power Over Ethernet) switch, then a single Cat5/6 cable, or coax cable or fiber (for longer runs), or a wireless network bridge (for even longer distances), can be used to connect the remote switch to the network and NVR.