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: power outages, loss of internet, or failure of the camera's components (broken parts or wires). Knowing some quick troubleshooting tips will help you get your camera back up and running in no-time.

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

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 from 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.

If your camera uses a wireless internet network and it's connected to your smartphone via an app, 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

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 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. In the case that none of these work, it would be wise to hire a trained professional who can dive into the precise reason why it's not working. Regardless, you should be able to get it back online by following the three steps below.

Troubleshooting Tips

Disconnect the Camera from the Power Source and Power Cycle it

The very first thing to try in order to get your camera back online is to disconnect it from the power source.  Unplug the camera and let it sit for a few minutes and after a few minutes have passed, plug the camera back in. If it doesn't work the first time, go ahead and try it a few more times before moving on to the next tip. Power cycling the device like this should rest any software hiccups, and can fix an overheating problem.

Restart Your Wireless Router and Modem

If the camera's power source isn't the problem, there could be an issue with your wireless internet connection. To troubleshoot this issue, first, turn the power off on your camera.  Next, power down both your wireless router and modem.  Wait one minute, and then power on the modem first. After 30 seconds, turn the router back on.  Wait 30 more seconds before then turning the power on to your camera once more. 

Perform a Factory Reset on Your Camera

The next thing you can do is to perform a factory reset on your camera.  Find the instruction manual that came with it.  If you do not have the manual, most instruction manuals for modern products can be found online on the manufacturer's website. Once you have the manual in front of you, follow the instructions for camera set-up again so that you can reset your camera to factory settings.

Seek Professional Help

Chances are, if you follow the three troubleshooting steps above, your camera will come back online.  If you have followed all of these steps above and your camera is still offline, then there is a larger underlying issue.  Your camera will need to be looked at by a professional, or someone who can walk you through more advanced troubleshooting steps over the phone.   

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