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Why Security Cameras Go Offline and How to Fix It

If you’re the owner of a security camera, either for your business or for your home, then you know there is always a chance your camera may go offline at various times over the course of its life. Murphy’s Law states that if something can go wrong, it will, and this seems to be the case, especially for technology. With a security camera like one from Nest (on Amazon), it is vital that even when it does go offline, it comes back online as soon as possible.

Security cameras go offline for three main reasons: loss of internet, power outages, or failure of the camera’s components. First, restart the camera, and, if wireless, consider if it has strong enough Wi-Fi. Next, confirm the camera and any other equipment (NVR/DVR) is up to date.

Because of the potential for your security system to go offline, you, as the owner of the security camera, need to be familiar with how to troubleshoot problems to get your camera back online.  If you can’t do basic troubleshooting for your security system, then you’ll be stuck calling a professional every single time your camera goes offline.  This can be time-consuming and extremely expensive.

Why Your Security Cameras Might Go Offline

Mounted Exterior Simplisafe Camera

Regardless of your security system’s quality, there will be times when it goes offline. It’s impossible to avoid, especially when using cameras that are connected via wireless internet networks like the Hisseau 8 Chan (on Amazon).

Even with larger security camera systems that have been connected to a company’s server, there can still be outages and disruptions in service.

These disruptions can happen for a few reasons.  First, if your power goes out, whether it is due to a storm or a scheduled outage, your camera system will not function. 

If your camera runs on batteries, you will need to check their charge frequently to make sure you do not lose power at a crucial or unexpected time.

This is more likely in the case of a baby monitor or other battery-operated camera. Most security cameras are wired to power so this can be less of an issue, additionally, wired cameras can be turned into wireless units which we’ve explained before.

If your camera uses a wireless internet network and it’s connected to your smartphone via an app, like a Ring Camera, your camera may go offline if you lose internet service. 

As advanced as it is, internet service cuts out frequently.  Outages happen after big storms, or when the internet provider has to do maintenance work. If you can’t figure out why your internet is down, you may want to check to make sure you paid your last bill on time.

Since the camera is reliant on the internet, it’s worth noting that a power outage can take out your cameras by bringing down either the camera or the modem, or both!

To protect against this, you can run both your cameras and router/modem equipment off an uninterrupted power supply like the CyberPower CP1500AVRLCD (on Amazon) which will allow your security system to keep functioning for limited amounts of time when the power goes out.

Lastly, your camera may go offline because there is something wrong with it Thousands of tiny machine parts need to work together perfectly in order for your security camera to work properly.

A malfunction of the technology inside the security camera will cause it to go offline.  If this is the reason that your camera stops working, then the manufacturer of the camera will likely have to look at it to fix or replace it.

How to Get Your Cameras Back Online (Step-By-Step)

Nest Camera

If you own a security camera or system that is operated by a third-party company, then troubleshooting and getting your cameras back online will be their job to do. The monthly fee that you pay for these cameras covers this type of assistance.

However, if you own a security camera that utilizes your Wi-Fi network – whether on an NVR or DVR system (our guide) – and is controlled by an app on your phone, troubleshooting will be left up to you.

There are a number of troubleshooting steps to take if your camera system has gone offline, so, let’s start working them!

1. Check the power and cables One of the most common reasons why security cameras go offline is because of power or cable issues. Check to make sure that your cameras are plugged in and that the cables are securely connected. If you’re using PoE (Power over Ethernet) cameras, make sure that the switch or injector is working properly.

2. Restart the cameras and recorder Another simple solution to try is to restart your cameras and recorder. Turn off the power to your cameras and recorder, wait a few seconds, and then turn them back on. This can help reset any issues that may be causing your cameras to go offline.

3. Check the network connection If your cameras are connected to a network, check to make sure that the network connection is working properly. If you’re using a wired connection, make sure that the Ethernet cable is securely connected and that the network switch or router is working properly. If you’re using a wireless connection, make sure that your cameras are within range of the network and that the Wi-Fi signal is strong.

4. Update the software If your cameras are still offline, it may be because the software needs to be updated. Check the manufacturer’s website for any available software updates and follow the instructions to update your cameras and recorder.

5. Consider local interferance form other devices in your house. Anything that generates wireless or electromagnetic signals can interfere with your camera, so, if you moved it or installed it recently, try experimenting with other locations to diagnose if wireless interference is causing your issue. If you have a wired camera, obviously this shouldn’t be an issue!

6. Contact technical support If you’ve tried all of these solutions and your cameras are still offline, it may be time to contact technical support. The manufacturer’s support team can help diagnose the issue and provide additional solutions to get your cameras back online.

Number 5 might not seem like a big deal here, but some users (forum link) have reported that specifically Nest cameras will go offline spradically even if their Wi-Fi is only somewhat weak. This is because Wi-Fi isn’t super strong all of the time (for instance, in a storm). I personally have Nest cameras at home and can confirm that they sporadically go offline even when they usually have an “OK” Wi-Fi connection.

Advanced Troubleshooting

If that didn’t work, you’re off the deep end as far as figuring out your problem and fixing it. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, but it will be more complicated.

If you’re using a DVR, consider this conversation (forum link) about ensuring the camera, NVR, and DVR are all updated to the most updated software, and also that your IP/gateway/mask settings are configured properly (check your settings on your devices to figure out how they should be set).