A Beginner's Guide To Setting Up Netgear's New Arlo Home Security Cameras

Security cameras are, for the most part, a hassle to install -- lots of wires running through walls, fiddly networking procedures, expensive and bulky storage systems. The Netgear Arlo, though, is completely wire-free, which means you can have it up and running in a fraction of the time. Here's what you get, and how to set it up.

Netgear's Arlo security cameras are, by all accounts, pretty nifty pieces of technology. They're entirely wireless -- not even a power cable. These little security cameras run on a set of lithium-ion batteries, four to a cam, and that means you can put them pretty much anywhere. You'll get about six months of battery life from each camera, too, so you shouldn't have to shell out for replacement batteries straight away -- and you can put them in hard-to-reach places for peace of mind.

What You Get In The Box

In the standard, run-of-the-mill box for Arlo -- the two-camera kit that I reckon the average user will buy -- this is what you'll get:

  • Two HD, 100 per cent wire-free, indoor/outdoor cameras with night vision
  • One smart home base station with power adapter
  • One Ethernet cable
  • Four magnetic camera mounts
  • Four mounting screws
  • Eight batteries
  • One quick start guide
  • One window decal

If you shell out for the four-camera kit, though, you also get a secure outdoor camera mount that'll let you hook Arlo up securely to a tree, the eaves of your house, or a brick wall -- as long as you can find a place to drill a couple of screw holes.

This kit will give you the ability to cover the entry-way and the main living space of an apartment, for example, or the front and back door of a larger standalone home. Each kit is entirely expandable, too, so your Arlo security system will grow over time if you need it to.

The central Arlo base station, which hooks into your home Internet router or modem, will work with eight cameras at a time over Wi-Fi, so it'll handle even a significant upgrade to your security monitoring capabilities.

Your Choice Of Arlo Camera Mounts

The Arlo camera mounts that you'll be using most are the magnetic ones, which work with a matching magnet on the rear of each security camera. These mounts include a single mounting screw, which you'll need to secure against the surface you're intending to connect the camera itself to. Once the mount is secure, the camera holds on magnetically and can be removed equally easily.

Arlo also works with more permanent outdoor camera mounts that can be secured with more screws into a more permanent surface. If you want to mount an Arlo camera high up on your exterior wall

Of course, you can also just put an Arlo camera on any flat horizontal surface, too. If you have a picture rail running around your living room, that's the perfect use for it. Up the top of bookcases, on top of your TV, up on high window-sills -- anywhere on the edge of a room that you want to monitor makes sense.

Setting Up Arlo Networking

The base station is the brains of the entire Arlo operation, and it's the one thing you have to hook up with a power cable and an Ethernet network cable to the rest of the networking gear in your house. If you have a wireless router, that'll be where you place the Arlo base station, but even if you just have a simple modem that'll do fine as well.

Once you have the Arlo base station all wired up and each camera powered on, you'll have to run through the software side of things. With everything running, the simplest way to get yourself started is to download and install and run the Arlo app for Android or iOS -- it'll work on phones and tablets alike.

That'll take you through the setup procedure, create you an Arlo account, and show you around. From that point, you'll find it easy to switch on more advanced features like motion detection to cut down on power usage, and optimise your network setup to conserve battery life wherever possible.

Arlo Cloud Monitoring

You can use the Arlo app for iOS or Android to monitor each and all of your wireless camera feeds live, and if you're recording to the cloud you can rewind and see anything you might have missed. You're also able to log in directly from any computer through the security system's Web interface and keep tabs on what's going on.

Each Netgear Arlo kit comes with 200MB of free cloud storage, which should equate to about 400 clips and about a fortnight of smartly trimmed, motion-captured footage. If that doesn't sound like enough, you can obviously upgrade to a more capacious plan and store a larger backlog or more complete recordings.