10 Tips From The Security Experts On Setting Up Your Home Security Cameras

Setting up a security camera system for your home can be a great way of discouraging break-ins, but it's equally good for monitoring a baby or keeping track of who's raiding the kitchen after dark. There are some ground rules you should follow whenever you're setting up a new camera system, so here's a bit of light reading for you.

Security camera image via Shutterstock

We talked to Netgear, maker of the Arlo wireless security camera, and a couple of different Australian home security installers, to get the low-down on the best tips for installing your new home security networking gear. We've aggregated the answers, so here are 10 things to keep in mind when you're buying and setting up a new home security system of any brand.

Setup And Placement

Security camera image via Shutterstock

Move Your Cameras Around If You Need To

Netgear's Arlo wireless cameras can be moved around with ease. Sleeping baby? Place one over the cot. Going away for the weekend? Move the camera to the front door. In each kit you get double the amount of magnetic mounts (the two-cam kit has four mounts). Place the mounts in different discreet locations around your house, and you can easily move your camera as required. The cameras have a flat base so can also sit on book shelves or side tables.

Use Monitoring Software To Name Your Cameras Appropriately

Since you'll have multiple security cameras set up, they'll be in different parts of your house. Avoid confusion by naming each camera. Log in to your account or camera monitoring software, find the appropriate menu, and then click on the camera of your choice. Give each camera a unique name that reflects its location — for example, you might have a camera at the back door or in the baby’s room. This will make your system even easier to manage and view.

Place Your Cameras A Long Way Away, If You Need To

You can place most wireless security cameras up to 100 metres away from your home network base station, either inside or out. In a typical home, that means it doesn’t matter where your cameras go. And it’s why a wireless security system is perfect for watching yards, sheds, and other far-flung indoor or outdoor locations. You'll also be able to buy kits for outdoor mounting to trees or ceiling mounts for inside.

Usage And Monitoring

Security camera image via Shutterstock

There's A Best Practice For Aiming Cameras For Tracking Motion

Maximize your security camera's motion detection — we’ve found that placing your cameras about seven feet high and pointed slightly down produces the best detection results.

Cameras that can track motion will do a better job when they're up high, angled down over a wide field of view. Motion tracking is usually especially good at the edge of a camera's frame where it'll notice a big difference.

Tweak Your Software To Operate Correctly

Fine tune your security camera's performance with modes & rules — you can customise Arlo so it works just the way you want it to. Create “Modes” for different situations and set “Rules” that tell Arlo what to do in each Mode. For example, you can set up “Away” that activates motion detection and auto alerts while “Home and Awake” shuts them off to avoid false alarms when everyone’s home. This will also help with your battery life on each camera.

Share Your Cameras Over The 'Net

If you have a decent security camera, and it's connected to your home network, then it's also connected to the Internet. You may as well put the two together, right? Viewing your cameras from the Internet on a Web-connected PC at work or on holiday gives you a bit of extra peace of mind.

Netgear's Arlo lets you share live video over the internet with family and friends. Your “guests” can simply watch your camera views, or you can give them access to camera controls. Or download and save any recordings for viewing and sharing later.

Maintenance And Software

Security camera image via Shutterstock

Save Power By Switching Cameras Off When You Don't Need Them

Optimize your battery life for each camera by setting up the appropriate modes and rules for your motion detection scheduling. For example, you don’t need it on when everyone’s home.

There's no point running the security cameras inside your house if you're at home, especially if they're wireless — they'll just be watching you move around. This can also be a little unsettling for visitors and amorous couples. Set timers or a software switch to disable them whenever you don't need them.

Make Best Use Of Any Included Software Or Apps

Security cameras aren't any good unless they're saving footage somewhere. If you have good 'net, upload data to a cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive regularly — this also stops theives from stealing the network hard drive your security cameras record to in the first place.

Whether you're using a smartphone, tablet or computer, there'll be a way that you can best monitor your home security system. On a smartphone, for example, you can receive push notifications when movement is detected, or send emails to any of your devices — so a click or two is all you’ll ever need to check in at home.

Subscribe To An Online Monitoring Service To Check In On The Go

Any security camera worth its salt will be able to broadcast online and let you track exactly what's going on in your home and wherever you're monitoring.

All Arlo kits come with a basic subscription plan that includes support for up to five cameras, seven days of cloud recording and up to 1GB of cloud storage. Upgrade anytime to Premier or Elite Service Plan, and you’ll enjoy more support for more cameras (up to 15 cameras & 3 base stations) up to 60 days of cloud recording, plus other great features.

Talk To The People Who Know Best

Unless your security camera system is entirely plug and play, chances are you'll need an expert to do at least some of the heavy lifting. We know exactly what we're doing — we've installed cabling and hardware before, and we understand the software side of things better as well. It never hurts to ask for help.

Arlo offers an online community of fellow users sharing great camera advice and security ideas. Join the conversation today and explore all the possibilities. Like Arlo itself, it’s easy to do — just log in using your Arlo credentials and start talking.

Got any tips of your own or any questions about setting up home security cameras, or any tips about home security or network video cameras in general? Let us know in the comments field below.


Comments

    any advice on some inexpensive camera setup?

      Check out Homeboy, Dropcam, Arlo -- all those consumer-grade wireless systems are pretty great considering how cheap they are. If you have a NAS already, see what network cameras it supports out of the box.

        Anything cheaper than those that are any good? They all seem to be around $500 - $800 for 4 cameras.

      Whirlpool recommends Hikvision DS-2CD2332-I from Aliexpress.

        I've got 3 in that model, great camera. Not wireless but if I need to run power it's easier to run POE.

        Also wifi is great but it's not nearly as stable as POE. My cameras have been set and forget for over a year. I have not done anything past the initial setup and the picture quality is awesome.

    Consider using the (probably unused) FTP space your ISP likely gives you to upload images to. Most cameras support that if they don't come with a cloud recording bundle.
    After all, is no good having nice clear images of a burglar written to your NAS if he's walked off with your NAS...

    We use mangocam recording for our stores and at home. It's cloud based and Aust company. Have a mix of Axis, Foscam and Dlinks.

    How much storage should you expect to use if you want video that doesn't look like it was taken from a potato? Ala, every servo, McDonalds and night club camera in the country.

    I work for a CCTV Manufacturer, Please take a look at these recommendations from the Australia New Zealand Policing Advisory Agency (ANZPAA):
    https://www.anzpaa.org.au/upload/Corporate%20News%20and%20Publications/ANZPAA%20Publications/Police%20Recommendations%20for%20CCTV%20Systems.pdf

    Common sense stuff that is commonly overlooked like check your system is actually recording more than once a decade! (It happens... Wayyy too often....)

    You can also review the Canary camera (http://canary.is/) that was on kickstarter a year and a half ago. I just received mine and it is great!

    I can easily understand CCTV for businesses. And even for those running businesses from home where there is cash and/or stock to protect.

    Otherwise, I worry that cameras around a house are just an advert. It either implies you expect to be broken into or you have something of high value/desirability there.

    The only houses in our area that have CCTV belong to members of the two-wheeled fraternities. And I'd rather not have our home mistaken for one of theirs.

    I've been thinking about putting a surveillance camera by my front door, so that I can keep track of who comes and enters and who rings the doorbell. My porch is quite small, so I wasn't sure how to best angle the camera to see everything, so thank you for explaining that about 7 feet high and slightly angled down is the best way to catch everything. If I put in a camera, I will be sure to use this trick. Do you have any advice on where to put it if I would like to see a whole patio area?

    I did extensive research and purchased a Yale wireless alarm system online - alas it didnt work and couldnt get any help from the seller (they were interstate and only refunded my money after I threatened legal action) -- Then bought one from a company that trade from a shop (locally) and they were extremely helpful and I have to say the alarm is everything I could have hoped for.

    I have teenagers and I use the system to tell me when they disarm and occasionally log in and make sure they are doing their homework lol. I found there were only 3 smartphone alarm systems and I would definitely recommend the Yale one.

    I found a review online that I think is a fair representation of this product ......

    http://www.kgbsecurity.com.au/advice-tips/yale-wireless-alarm-review-australia.php

    After long research of the market of smart home security cameras/systems I came to conclusion that you can get decent camera for under $50 http://www.zorook.com/shop/xiaomi-ants-xiaoyi-smart-camera/ and simply connect it with your smartphone app, this way you have an instant notification when something strange or suspicious is happening and can contact the police yourself. First, you'll save a lot of money on the security systems and security companies and second you can use this camera as a 2-way communication device not only as a security camera.

    Campbell, that's pretty cool to know about these updated surveillance cameras. I wonder though, can you monitor these cameras from a closed circuit television? If so, then it would be something for me to share to my uncle since he's going to be away from his wife and kids for a few days. http://www.videotecsecurity.com/commercial/video.html

    The security camera installed in my home is the easy-to-install one and it covers a wide range in my place. Certainly, this gadget is a necessity nowadays!

      Except for the false alarms everything else seems to be positive. It gives one a sense of security and rest assured the safety of our loved ones. But be alert against your home security company becoming your greatest risk. So it is always advisable to select a particular brand which is reliable. Check for review sites like Good Alarm Bad Alarm which guarantees good security solutions( http://www.goodalarmbadalarm.com/alarm-companies/ ). Often people are ignorant about the repercussions of choosing incompetent brands for their security solutions.
      Check this blog for how risky your homes are at the hands of your home security companies.
      http://www.techspot.com/community/topics/can-anyone-recommend-a-good-alarm-system.180506/

    I recently had a security system installed at my house. So far, the system appears to be working great and it’s easy to use and provides real peace of mind. I hope it continues the same way. I have a 3 year old daughter, who can now open all of the doors. Its voice activated sensors tell me when my doors are being opened. From anywhere in the house I can hear the warning. I have a pool in the backyard and the warning bell sounds when the patio door or the front door is being opened. My Security Protection gives me 24 hour photo-electric smoke detector even though I also have additional ones on every level of my home. It also includes life safety monitoring. I feel secured at night with my doors, windows and motion detectors on for a low monthly fee. I now feel perfectly safe in my own home. This is a must in every home for your peace of mind and protection so I recommend everyone to buy http://cspalarms.ca
    . It is the best choice.

    Last edited 26/08/16 4:14 pm

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