On average, a single home security camera, recording at 1080p around the clock, can use up to 45GB to 90GB per month. However, motion-triggered cameras consume far less data as they record shorter clips whenever motion is detected.
These numbers are not set in stone. For example, an outdoor 4K PTZ camera recording and uploading 24/7 will consume a lot more data compared to a lower-quality camera.
Key Things to Know
- A regular 1080p home security camera recording 24/7 can take up around 1.5 to 3GB per day or 45-90GB per month.
- Motion-triggered cameras use up a lot less since they record short clips only when they detect motion.
- Other factors that affect data consumption include resolution, frame rate, codecs, bitrate, and the number of cameras in your system.
- To ensure your camera has enough data, you can extend your current plans and set up a new Wi-Fi connection or 4G cellular network.
- Adjusting camera settings and prioritizing local storage options, such as local NVRs and MicroSD cards, can help save on internet data.
Factors That Can Affect the Data Consumption in a Security Camera/System
45-90GB per month is only a ballpark value for a single 1080p HD camera. This can change based on several factors such as:
- Video Resolution: Higher-resolution cameras, that record in resolutions such as 4K, provide more detailed images but at the cost of increased data usage.
- Frame Rate: The more frames per second (FPS) the camera captures, the smoother the video. However, more data is consumed.
- Number of Cameras in your System: This can also substantially impact your data consumption with each camera adding to the total amount of data used.
- Bitrate and Compression Technology: These help reduce bandwidth and data consumption rates at the slight cost of video quality. Newer technologies consume less data without compromising the footage.
- Uploading Footage: If you upload all, or specific pieces of footage to the cloud or transfer it via the internet, it will use up more data.
4 Ways to Reduce Data Consumption of Your Security Cameras
You can drastically reduce the amount of data consumed by your security camera (or system) by switching hardware or tweaking a few software settings.
So here are some of the most common approaches:
1. Change Bitrate and Compression Technologies/Codecs
Compression technologies shrink data, saving storage and bandwidth, while also allowing for longer video retention and cost savings.
Modern codecs, such as H.265+ can be 50% more efficient than their predecessors. So switching over to one that uses less bandwidth (and storage space) will help you save more data in the long run.
However, not all devices will offer the option to switch codecs, and the ones that do are more expensive up front since they need higher computing power.
Additionally, you can also try reducing the bitrate to achieve the same effect.
2. Tone Down the Framerate and Resolution
High resolutions and framerates keep the camera footage detailed and easy to decipher.
That said, recording in 4K and 30FPS can be overkill in certain situations. Instead, you could lower the video resolution or frame rate if your system allows it.
This can significantly decrease the amount of data used without necessarily sacrificing the effectiveness of your security surveillance.
3. Reduce the Number of Cameras in Your System
Taking down unnecessary cameras from your security system can help you cut back on bandwidth and data consumption.
Alternatively, you can replace two cameras in one spot using a wide-angle or PTZ security camera.
All this depends on your situation, so ensure you don’t compromise security.
4. Reduce Recording, Uploading, and Streaming
Minimizing the amount of footage you upload to cloud servers (via the internet) and managing your storage and monitoring with on-site options can also help you minimize data consumption.
For this, you can:
- Prioritize setting up cameras that store data locally on a microSD card or a Network Video Recorder (NVR)
- Disable continuous recording and opt for periodic recording or motion-activated recording
- Consider setting up wired security cameras or connecting your wireless IP cameras using ethernet cables
- Monitor your cameras locally or customize a zero channel to minimize bandwidth and data usage
Not sure about the different types of local and remote storage options for your security cameras? Check out ways to store security camera footage to learn more.
How to Dedicate Internet Data To Your Security Cameras/Systems?
If you have a regular security camera, you may need to set aside 45-90GB of data per month. To do this, you have several options:
- Extend your current Wi-Fi internet data plan to unlimited or the next tier of available data plans (that covers an additional 45-90GB)
- Set up a separate Wi-Fi network (possibly with a separate router) that provides unlimited data or 45-90GB monthly
- For 4G cameras or systems relying on hotspots: size up an appropriate cellular data plan (tends to be more expensive than Wi-Fi).
Want to learn more? Check out this guide on outdoor 4G/LTE cellular security cameras for remote locations.
The amount of data a security camera takes up is influenced by factors such as resolution, frame rate, and compression technologies, with typical consumption ranging from 1.5 to 3GB a day for 24/7 continuous recording.
However, there are multiple strategies to reduce this. A few of these include toning down the recording video quality, utilizing motion detection features, and considering alternative on-site storage options.
By setting these up you can tailor your security system to be more efficient and data-friendly without compromising your security needs.