Getting the Best Range from your Wireless Cameras

One of the most common reason people get in contact with us, is because they’re not getting the wireless range they expected, or the wireless range we advertised.

When wireless range is quoted this is based on best case scenarios, with little to no interference, and a clear unobstructed line of site between camera and receiver. This is because there are so many different variables that can reduce the range, so it is near impossible to say for sure, what the maximum range will be where you are using the system.

There’s also a handy video at the bottom with Chris explaining some common issues and fixes.

Think of wireless like this

Say we have a camera that’s been quoted as having a 200 metre range. The best way to think of your wireless camera is like a speaker playing a song. If you have a speaker playing the other side of an empty field, you might be able to hear it clearly 200 metres away.

Range…
If you then move it so it’s 300 metres away, you may not be able to hear it as well, if at all. 

Obstructions…
If you then move it closer so it’s only 100 metres away, and put some trees in front of it and build your house around you, you again probably won’t hear it. 

Interference…
Now imagine your neighbours all start playing music, and you turn on a few more speakers around the house, it would make it even harder for you to hear the original song. This is the sort effect other wireless devices, such as WiFi routers, cordless phones, laptops all have on your cameras wireless signal.

So what can I do to get the best out of my system?

Interference…
Try and keep other wireless sources as far away as possible, from both the camera and receiver, and from the path between the two. If you have your WiFi router in the same room as your receiver, or just the other side of the wall from the camera, it’s probably going to have a negative effect on the range you can achieve. Below is a list of things around the house to be aware of;

Wireless Routers (WiFi) Alarm Fobs
AV Senders (such as Slingbox) Bluetooth
Baby Monitors Car Key Fobs
Computers (laptops, tablets etc included) Cordless Keyboards / Mice
Microwave ovens (when in use) Mobile Phones 
Radio Controlled Things (Planes, Boats, Cars etc)  

Obstructions…
Try to have as few obstructions between the camera and receiver as possible. You may be surprised to learn that in some cases, a double glassed window will reduce the signal more than a brick wall. Also think about how the obstructions might change throughout the year, for example; you might set the system up in the winter and it works fantastically, but the in the spring when those bushes between the camera and receiver grow their leaves back, you start having signal issues. If the camera or transmitter you are using has a removeable antenna, you may be able to purchase an uprated antenna with an extension cable, allowing you to position the camera around or above possible obstructions. If this is the case get in touch.

Below is a few common obstructions and a rough estimation of the amount they could reduce the signal range by. Please bear in mind this is a rough estimation, and will depend on things like composition of the materials, any extra insulation and size and density of foliage.

Solid wooden door 50%
Hollow wooden door 25%
 Interior wall 25-50%
Exterior brick Wall 50%
Steel roller shutters 75%
Single pane window 25-50%
Double glazed window 50-75%
3′ stone wall 90%

As you can see, some obstructions can have a massive impact on signal strength, and the effects are cumulative. So say you had a system that lists 200 metre range. If you were going through a exterior brick wall, that range would be reduced by around 50% down to 100 metres, then if you went through a solid wooden door, it would be reduced a further 50% down to 50 metres.

If you’re still having trouble, we have a range of support videos on our YouTube channel, or alternatively, you can get in touch with our technical department. Links for both are available at the bottom of this webpage. 

 

Header image by Paul Hermans via Wikimedia Commons