Do wireless doorbells need WiFi? Here's what you need to know
Getting a video doorbell and want to know if doorbells need WiFi? Here, our expert breaks it down
Knowing if doorbells need WiFi or not is an important point when upgrading to a video doorbell. It's all very well checking out the best wireless doorbells and finding one you love, but without a connection to the internet, it may not work for you.
The great thing about video doorbells is that you can see who is at your door. This is great when you're at home, acting like a digital peephole, but it's even useful when you're away. From unexpected visitors to delivery people, being able to speak to your front door caller when you're not home is invaluable. It can mean not missing an important package that would otherwise be taken away again.
The key is to have a connection to the internet so your doorbell feed can be accessed from your smartphone, wherever you are. This means the doorbell will need WiFi to get online. But do all wireless doorbells have WiFi and do they all require it all the time?
Do wireless doorbells need WiFi?
The reason for having a wireless doorbell could be the deciding factor in requiring WiFi or not. If you simply want your doorbell to record a video of who is there, and set off a chime so you can be alerted when someone is outside, then you may not need WiFi at all. In those cases the chime can be directly connected to the doorbell, using radio signals, and if there is storage onboard the doorbell, it can record video for you to watch off that memory card when you need.
In reality, nearly every wireless doorbell you can buy today will come with some form of WiFi. Because, realistically, who is going to remove a memory card and scan through video footage after the fact? The real use of these devices is in seeing, live, who is at your door as part of your front door security. For that you need a WiFi connection so you can be alerted on your phone then see who is at your door, live.
So, yes, in most cases your wireless doorbell will need WiFi and will likely come with that onboard. But what kind do you need specifically?
Are there different kinds of WiFi doorbells?
Your automated home may already be smart but adding that doorbell to the mix extends this smart control to outside the front door too. That not only means a better door answering record but it can enhance your home's security also. Presuming the WiFi works well.
There are two basic kinds of WiFi: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The first has a longer range but won't go as fast, while the later has a higher top speed but can't stretch that signal as far. Lots of gadgets now come with both, balancing the mix to get the best of both worlds. Video doorbells, until relatively recently, have only had one type but now you'll see more with both. These often have you pick one, based on your doorbell distance to your WiFi router, and stick with that.
This is worth looking out for when buying, especially if your door is far from your router, as it will mean easier setup and a faster response and alerts when using your doorbell.
How can I best use my WiFi with my wireless doorbell?
It's important to make sure you have the best possible WiFi connection to your wireless doorbell. This means the time between a visitor pressing that doorbell and you seeing the video feed on your phone is as short as possible. In the case of doorbells that send you movement-based alerts for security, this is also super important.
In some cases you can buy WiFi boosters which can be placed between your video doorbell and your WiFi router to help bridge that signal, if it's a long way. These are also, often, chimes that helpfully make a noise to alert you to visitors – some even come with auto downlighting to make them an attractive feature in your wall socket.
You can also buy third-party WiFi extenders, which are often easy to set up and simply plug into a socket, allowing you to extend your WiFi range to get the best performance from your video doorbell.
Can I plug my video doorbell into the internet?
A wired internet connection is certainly the fastest and most stable. You can plug in an Ethernet cable into your TV, console, computer and more but that's not the case with most video doorbells. Since these are mounted outside, most manufacturers likely assume you won't be running an internet cable to the unit and so don't make them with that option.
A workaround could be to run a cable to a WiFi booster, as mentioned above, which will get you the best connection to that booster, so the WiFi coming from there will be as stable and high-speed as possible.
Luke is a veteran journalist and editor of over two decades where he has written about everything but specialises is technology, science, health and fitness, smart homes and health. He contributes to Real Homes, T3, Tom's Guide and TechRadar, among many other titles. As a father of two, any spare time he gets is enjoyed surfing, reading, hiking, camping and generally getting out in nature.
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