To WiFi or not to WiFi?
WiFi really is a glorious thing. It shatters the tether we have to a desk, and lets us live free and proud to roam the house with our technology.
But... wired is still better. And for some devices in some locations, it’s a lot better. Here are some of the reasons:
Setup. It’s faster and less painful to configure network devices when they’re hardwired
Reliability. WiFi can still get interrupted, weather affected, and is overall not as reliable as wired
Speed. WiFi networks have become so much faster, and for much of the stuff we do on our WiFi devices, it’s plenty fast enough. But a wired network will still be faster.
Security. Wired is still more secure. At the very least, someone can’t hack into your wired network from the street.
But in the world of Doorbird, there are 2 more reasons why wired is better.
1) The Boundary Effect - If you mount your Doorbird to a concrete or brick surface, it can significantly reduce the WiFi signal due to the boundary effect. It will often work with your smartphone as well. Hold it 1m away from the wall and check your signal level, then hold it up against the wall for 2 minutes then check again.
2) Faraday cage - If you have a flush mount Doorbird and install it inside a metal post, it will barely register a WiFi signal. In fact, mounting it inside a concrete post or brick wall will have the same effect. These materials almost completely block most WiFi signals.
Therefore if you are flush mounting your Doorbird, it really should be hardwired. The chances of optimal performance on WiFi for a flush-mounted device are extremely low. The result with surface mounted models will be better, but performance can still be affected depending on the type of surface it is mounted to, and the quality and quantity of the WiFi signal.
It’s also worth noting, that not all Doorbird models support WiFi. Typically the models designed for flush mounting do not have WiFi as an option, they need to be hardwired. Please check the features/specs/datasheet for the model you are considering.
Should I WiFi?
For Doorbird devices, due to the location and way they are mounted, probably not. However, there is no way to get around the fact that in some scenarios, a cable cannot be run.
Therefore WiFi may be the only option. Many active Doorbirds in the world are successfully connected via WiFi, but there are a few things you need to consider if you want optimal performance. See below for how to get the best performance if you need to connect your Doorbird via WiFi.
What should I do if I have to WiFi?
There are a number of things you can do to improve the WiFi performance.
- Invest in a good router and WiFi access points to get quality coverage all around your home. A good brand router with supporting access points will work 10x better than your ISP provided modem/router on its own. We like Ubiquiti as a brand for network equipment. www.ubnt.com
- If you don’t want to invest in a new WiFi network, add a signal booster (or multiple) to amplify the WiFi signal around your home. Some boosters are more trouble than they’re worth, but there are some that are effective and simple. Look at the TP-LINK TL-WA850RE.
- A great Pro Tip is to set up your WiFi Doorbird next to your router before installing. If you run the initial wizard, pair to your phone, and do any firmware updates on the bench next to your router; you will ensure successful set up prior to installing it at its location. Then if you install and have difficulty connecting, it is much more likely to be related to WiFi signal than a problem with the first time connection.
- If you’re a bit more techy, also try separating your 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz networks into 2 separate SSID’s. Doorbirds work on 2.4Ghz and are known to be more reliable when that signal isn’t mixed with a 5Ghz broadcast.
What about Doorbird accessories?
Doorbird make 2 x popular accessories that are fine to be on WiFi, the A1101 Indoor Station, and the A1061 IP Chime.
That’s Hypocrosy! Why are they OK when the Door Stations aren’t?… I hear you say. There’s a few good reasons for that:
1) They are INSIDE the house, not outside. So much more likely to have better quality more consistent WiFi signal.
2) They are usually benchtop mounted or wall mounted to a Gyprock wall rather than a concrete or brick one. Much less chance of the material blocking WiFi signals.
3) Less data. The IP Chime uses very little data and the Indoor station is only streaming video when the call button is pressed. The Door Station is sending a lot more data more often than the accessories.
Having said that, all Doorbird accessories can be hardwired and will prefer it. It’s just less likely to hinder performance if they are on WiFi though, compared to the Door Stations.
So the bottom line is, if you can run a cable, do it. If you can’t, make sure you choose a surface mount model that has WiFi, and follow our tips above to maximise your Doorbird experience.