The 9 differences between CCTV and Wireless Cameras

The 9 differences between CCTV and Wireless Cameras

Camera networks have changed dramatically over the last 20 years.

Not so long ago, when someone said CCTV, you probably thought of giant cuboid objects bolted to the side of a building in an urban area.

As time’s ticked by, technology’s changed.

Cameras got smaller, sleeker, and far less imposing. Not to mention they cost far less.

This meant more businesses and properties could afford to get security systems installed around their premises.

More recently, wireless cameras have seen a huge boom in the camera market.

Which raises the question, what’s the difference between CCTV and Wireless Cameras?


In essence, they’re very similar. They’re both a type of camera you’d used for video surveillance.

Yet, there are several key differences meaning they’ll appeal to different types of property.

  • Transmission Method
  • Installation
  • Flexibility
  • Range & Interference
  • Scalability
  • Maintenance & Upkeep
  • Security
  • Cost
  • Remote Access & Monitoring

Once you understand both positives and negatives, you can get the most suitable camera system for your needs.


Transmission Method

When you’re considering CCTV or wireless cameras one of the big differences is in the name.

CCTV cameras use wired connections to transmit video signals, whereas your wireless cameras use wireless video signals to connect to a designated device.

CCTV is typically connected to a central recording or monitoring system via cables.

The footage captured by CCTV cameras is sent directly to the recording device through these cables.

When it comes to wireless cameras, their recordings and functions can be accessed remotely through the internet.

Without the need for any extra equipment.



Probably the greatest difference between CCTV and wireless cameras is their installation.

If you install CCTV around your property, you’ll need an abundance of cables as it requires a physical wired connection to the recording or monitoring system.

This would make installing cameras around your premises time-consuming, and you’d need professional assistance.

Wireless cameras are easier to install since they can be placed anywhere within the range of a wireless network.

However, they will still require a power source to work unless you've chosen a battery-powered option.



When you install a security system, you’ll want to install your cameras where you want.

The amount of cabling needed by CCTV cameras limits where they can be physically placed.

And once they’re installed, their positions are fixed unless you want to spend money rerouting the cables,

Alternatively, wireless cameras give you a more flexible option.

Without the need for cables and solar powering options, you can put your camera where you want.

And if you change your mind about where you want to put it they can be easily moved, as long as they’re within range of the wireless network.

This allows for more adaptable surveillance setups and the ability to monitor different areas as needed.


Range and Interference

In the modern world, we expect speed and reliability.

Your camera system is no exception.

If you can’t dial into your camera from elsewhere, or when you do it’s unreliable and slow, you’ll end up getting frustrated.

CCTV camera systems can transmit signals over longer distances without experiencing signal degradation or interference since they rely on wired connections.

Wireless cameras are more susceptible to interference from other electronic devices.

Signal strength around your camera and where you are will affect how quickly you can interact with it.

In some scenarios, interference from other electronic devices can affect the reliability of a wireless camera.

So if you’ve got a generator running nearby or live near power lines, there’s a chance your wireless cameras won’t perform as expected.



In this area, there’s very little to choose between wireless cameras and CCTV.

The way they’re set up allows cameras to be added or removed freely.

As CCTV cameras are connected to a centralised system, they can handle large-scale installations and additional cameras can be integrated into the infrastructure.

As with installation, you’ll find it easier to integrate wireless cameras into your network as they operate independently.

However, it’s important to remember the strength of the network surrounding your cameras.

If you’ve got too many devices on the network for it to handle, you will affect the speed.


Maintenance and Upkeep

One inevitability about all your possessions is, one day, they’ll need a bit of TLC.

And your security system is no exception.

If you install a CCTV system, they generally need less maintenance as they don’t use networks that are susceptible to interference.

However, periodic checks and maintenance of cables, connectors, and other devices is still necessary.

The wireless cameras themselves require next to no maintenance.

Whilst moving around and using your phone, you’ll notice how intermittent a wireless network can be.

Optimising the network your cameras use is important for getting the best performance from your camera.

Updating the apps that run the camera is something you should also bear in mind. If an app isn’t properly updated your cameras may disappear from the app until it is.



This might be the most important aspect depending on what you’re using your camera for.

Like any electronic device, cameras are susceptible to security breaches and hacking.

CCTV systems with wired connections are generally considered more secure.

Since the video signals are transmitted through physical cables, it’s more challenging for unauthorized individuals to intercept your footage.

Wireless camera systems are more vulnerable to hacking.

That said, strong passwords and keeping your software up to date will help mitigate security risks.



At the end of the day, the decision you make will depend on the budget you have.

A CCTV system will require a big upfront cost.

This is due to the equipment you need and the cost of labour to get the cameras installed.

The price will vary depending on the number of cameras, and additional equipment required.

As we’ve already mentioned wireless camera systems are more cost-effective, especially with installation.

There’s no need for expensive wiring, and many cameras are designed for self-installation.

Which will save you a packet on labour costs.



Remote Access and Monitoring

When you’re away from home, you’ll want to know what’s going on when you’re not there.

With modern CCTV systems, it is possible to remotely monitor it.

The setup for remote viewing needs more configuration and network setup.

Compared to wireless camera systems, accessing CCTV footage remotely requires a more complex setup.

Wireless camera systems come with built-in remote access, so you can view the live video feed or footage using a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Wireless cameras are more convenient for remote monitoring and accessing footage from anywhere with an internet connection.

So, while you’re away on holiday, you can dial into your cameras if you’re feeling homesick.


In the end, you have to consider what’s more important to you.

If it’s cost, security, or reliability you will end up going down a different camera route.

When you understand the core differences, you can make an executive decision:

  1. CCTV cameras transmit data through wire connections.
  2. Installation of wireless cameras is an easier, more cost-effective process.
  3. Wireless cameras are more flexible in where they can be placed.
  4. CCTV is less susceptible to interference.
  5. It’s slightly easier to add wireless cameras to an existing network.
  6. CCTV requires very little maintenance.
  7. CCTV systems are typically more secure.
  8. Wireless systems are considerably more affordable.
  9. Wireless systems have inbuilt systems to allow remote monitoring.


Deciding between the two isn’t easy.

There are areas where it simply isn’t possible to install CCTV. They’re heavily dependent on hardwired connection and power.

On the other hand, if you’re dealing with security-sensitive subjects, wireless cameras won’t guarantee your system is secure.

For the general public, this won’t be an issue.

And when the common denominator is cost, a wireless system will end up being the better option.

Get started with your security system and give us a call.


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