There are so many systems available now, it can get confusing as to which is best & why it’s best. Let’s sort out some of the differences, advantages and disadvantages, and shed light as to real requirements of any system.
Cloud-based systems, such as Ring or Blink… Cameras can be wired (plugged into an electric socket) or battery-powered. They’re easy to set up, you install it, then get it connected to WiFi using the App on your smartphone. When they sense an event that needs to get recorded, they begin “recording” by streaming the event via WiFi in your router to their server (cloud-based). That server sends you the notification to your device(s), like your smartphone or tablet that the camera recorded an event. Providing you get the notification quick enough, you can react with the subject of the event (person or object detected by the camera).
Local storage systems, such as Swan, Lorex… These systems have cameras wired to a central storage controller, called a DVR or NVR, that is located in you home. The recordings are stored on a hard drive in this controller. The NVR version can connect to your router to share its recordings over the Internet to your mobile devices. These are more difficult to set up, as you need to get the wire/cable from the camera to the controller. If the controller is not in the same room as the router, and you want remote access to the controller, you need to get a network cable from the controller to the router. When they sense an event (if not set for full-time recording), they simply record to the controller. Remote notification and access still requires sending the info through your router to your device.
The advantage of the cloud-based system is that the recordings are stored remotely. If the cameras are stolen, the recordings are in some secure building somewhere in the US. The disadvantage of the cloud-based system is that there is lag between the time the camera senses an event, the event starts recording, the recording gets to the server (through your router & internet service), the server sends the notification, and you receive the notification. The advantage of battery-powered cameras is that if the power dips the camera doesn’t turn off & have to reboot & reconnect to your WiFi, providing your WiFi router didn’t lose power. The disadvantage of battery power is that the batteries need to get charged or swapped with charged batteries. The cycle of a battery could be from a week or 2 to over a month, depending on the settings and activity in front of the camera. A wired camera can be plugged in & forgotten, no biweekly-monthly maintenance. If the power goes out, no event monitoring until the power comes back on.
The advantage of a local storage/controller system is that the events are immediately recorded. The cameras (usually) get their power from the controller. No batteries to charge or swap, no tying up electric sockets for cameras. The disadvantages of local storage systems is that if the controller is damaged or stolen, the recordings go with it, getting the controller to notify you can vary time-wise, and installing the system can be very challenging. Even though the local controller stores your events, it needs to be connected to the router for remote access.
Both systems have a few common requirements. Electricity is the most important requirement. The cameras and/or NVR/DVR, the WiFi router, and the equipment that provides the internet service to the router all need electricity. If any one of these devices has no power, you have no surveillance. I highly recommend Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) on each device in your system, even if you have a generator with an auto-transfer switch. Depending on how many devices & their locations in your home, you may need anywhere from 1 to 5 or 6 UPS units. If you agree with me & buy them, prepare for “the beep”. Some units can disable the alarm.
Internet service is another important requirement. Cloud-based systems won’t work without it. NVR/DVR systems will work, but won’t have any remote access to your mobile devices. Be aware that with Cloud-based camera systems, your upload speed is just as important as your download speed, as the camera streams the video up to the server.
I have 2 camera systems in my home, 1 NVR system and a cloud-based. If someone breaks in & steals my NVR, the cloud-based will capture video that I can view. the NVR system seems to see everything, all the time. As for power, I have 8 UPS units in my home. The dog & I ignore “the beep”, but my wife still hates it. If my power dips or goes out completely, my surveillance will stay active on battery power for well over an hour, possibly over 6-8 hours.