LTE Home Security Cameras when WiFi isn’t Available

LTE Home Security Cameras when WiFi isn't AvailableThe expansion of LTE connectivity will have profound effects on how you connect to the internet.  Hopefully, consumers will benefit from greater competition in the internet connectivity space.  More competition will hopefully mean better connectivity, faster speeds and lower prices.  No longer will you be held to a monopoly controlled ISP space.  Cellular companies like Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile will be able to compete with companies like Comcast, Time Warner and Charter Communications.

For LTE to be fully mainstream for home connectivity, home LTE modems will be in place the same way a cable modem exists today.  You will also have much larger, or even non existent data caps.  Until that happens, an LTE connected home security camera will have the connectivity side built into the device.  So instead of connecting to WiFi, the camera will connect to LTE.

It shouldn’t surprise us that several home security camera manufacturers have capitalized on LTE connectivity.  Right now, it’s more of a niche space.  Not all home security cameras support direct LTE connectivity.  In fact, only a few do.  We will take a look at an established well known brand that has an LTE product and one newcomer to the space.

LTE Home Security Camera Things to Consider

A few important things to consider before diving into these devices.  An LTE connected home security camera is most appropriate in situations where WiFi isn’t available.  It could be a rural area where there is no cable TV provider.  Perhaps, the camera needs to be located in a remote section of the property beyond where a Wi-Fi signal can reach.  In cases where there is no WiFi connection available, there’s probably no electrical outlet.  That’s why most of the cameras in this space are also battery operated.

You will need a data plan and a good carrier.  Recent speed tests show Verizon or T-Mobile to typically lead the pack in connectivity speed.  Verizon has been at the top for a long time but T-Mobile is investing lots of money in building out their network and in some areas, have caught up and surpassed Verizon.  Be sure to select a carrier that has a solid signal and won’t break the bank in terms of monthly fees.

Be aware of data limits and the cost for exceeding them.  Monitor the first few months of use to determine how much data will be consumed.  Usage will vary depending upon factors such as access frequency and motion detection settings.

Established Players

We have been very complimentary of the Arlo WiFi entries, especially in the battery operated space.  Great battery life, coupled with good hardware specifications and a solid app make these cameras easy to use.  Our Arlo Pro review was published over a year ago and is still a great entry in the WiFi battery operated space.

There’s only one established player in the LTE space and that’s Arlo.  For those unfamiliar with Arlo, it’s the security camera division from Netgear, the same guys that make modems and routers.  They put out solid products that typically work reliably and quickly right out of the box.

A photo of the Arlo Go accompanies this article.  It supports 3G and 4G-LTE connectivity with plans starting at about $5 monthly.  They have partnered with several carriers to bring connectivity to this line of cameras.  The solid HD video is stored on a very generous (and free) cloud plan for viewing historical footage.  The Arlo Go has excellent night vision and a 130 degree wide angle lens.

The Arlo app is the same one used for their other cameras meaning there’s no need to install yet another app with yet another password on your phone.  The Arlo Pro handles extreme temperatures and are made to be used outdoors.

New Players

We recently were introduced to a new company called Reolink that makes some innovative cameras for indoor and outdoor use.  We reviewed the Reolink Argus and Reolink Keen and were fairly impressed.  They recently announced the Reolink Go.

The Reolink Go is a home security camera that will connect to a 4G network.  Of special interest is that the camera can be solar powered.  Since it’s likely that most LTE cameras will be in remote locations potentially challenging to access, a solar powered feature is a mighty good idea.  The camera will also have a long lasting rechargeable battery in case solar power isn’t possible.

This looks like a well thought out camera.  Other unique features beyond the solar panel include on-board storage via a micro SD slot and a 1080p wide angle lens.  It’s not available yet but you can read more about it in their press release.

The Future of LTE Home Security Cameras

The future of LTE is exciting.  The rapid expansion of additional capacity will allow home connectivity and potentially replace traditional cable and DSL modems.  On the subject of LTE cameras, these are still cutting edge as evidenced by the lack of selection.  Lower bandwidth prices and better availability will hopefully spur some of the major players to come out with additional products.

All of these articles are written by someone (me) that figured out how to do this stuff the hard way.  I have owned and tested dozens of cameras.  Manufacturer support varies.  There are a few good companies that provide timely answers when you have questions.  There are several that sell you the camera and seem to have little interest in post sales support (which leads me to finding out stuff the hard way).