Before you unbox that fancy new security camera you bought at the big box store, you first want to make sure you bought the right equipment for the job. Use this quick blog to make sure that you won’t be wasting your time be hanging all those new cameras and finding out later that they were never designed to work the way you needed.

Are You Monitoring or Recording?

It is possible to simply install monitored cameras in your home, that can either display the feed on a single monitor in your home office or connect through the internet to be accessed over your smartphone. However, when the bad guys actually manage to break in while you are away, only a security recording device such as a DVR will help the police to nab the criminals.  When shopping for your DIY home security system, make sure that the cameras you are purchasing can be networked, provide a high-resolution picture, and will connect to any monitor or recorder you wish to use.

If you are recording, you will need to determine how large a hard drive you need to store up to 30 days of security video and decide if your system is only recording changing images or a continual stream.  A continual feed will eat up huge amounts of space without storing any useful images.

Wireless or Wired: What is the Difference?

You might think that opting for a wireless camera system means that you will be operating on battery power. That is not necessarily true. Most wireless systems refer to the networking involved, as the video signal has to get back to your monitoring station or DVR. Unless you specifically search for battery-operated cameras, it is likely that each camera will require an outlet nearby for power.  It is best to have an electrician install outlets where the cameras will be located to reduce the chance of disconnecting power accidentally. 

Your wireless cameras will transmit their video signal through your home WiFi network.  You will need a router that supports wireless networking to receive the signals and have it connected to your in-home network and the video monitor or recording equipment that you will be using in your home.

A wired camera setup will require that you run networking cable from each camera to your router or switch that is connected to your monitor and recording device. Unless you run the cables inside your walls, you will end up with a web of cables throughout your home.  

Where to Position Your Cameras

There are a few key places that every home should have monitored. Sgt. Wilson of the Sherwood Police Department says to make sure you have at least one shot of your street since, "The suspect is probably going to drive by so if we can catch them on video, that’ll give us another clue we can use.”  Other good spots include:

  • Front Door and Porch–exterior view if possible
  • Back Door–Not everybody comes to the front door
  • Garage Door–once inside your garage, nobody can see the intruder
  • Off-street Windows–these will most often be used by criminals to gain entry
  • Basement Stairs–cellar doors provide easy access to the home

Are you completely overwhelmed by the technical aspects of installing a home security system? When you contact a quality home security provider such as Protect America, you can benefit from their expertise and have your system installed correctly the first time. A security consultant can also help you purchase the cameras, monitors, and DVRs that will work together and with your home network.