Do Video Doorbells Use Data?

I’ve had my Ring Video Doorbell for a few years now, and thinking back, a lot of the technology and usage was just implied. For example, do video doorbells use data?

To answer the question, yes, video doorbells use your internet connection to send and receive information to and from the server. This bi-directional communication happens any time your doorbell records an event, including motion detection and ring events.

Continue reading as I discuss all of the ways video doorbells use data while keeping you protected. I will discuss the data that the doorbell uses, and the data you use when watching a live or recorded event.

Video Doorbell Data Usage – Explained

As I mentioned, your video doorbell uses your WIFI connection when sending and receiving information from the server. Did you know that your mobile device also uses data when connecting with your video doorbell?

In this section, I will discuss data usage from the video doorbell and by you, the user. I will discuss which events trigger data usage from the video doorbell and the user.

Data Usage by the Video Doorbell

Your video doorbell will use your Internet connection in the situations: when motion is detected when someone rings your doorbell, and when you enter live viewing mode. Motion detection is a feature on most video doorbells that sends a notification to your mobile device and begins recording.

A ring event occurs when someone rings your doorbell. When this happens, like motion detection, sends a push notification and begins recording.

Live viewing occurs when you open the mobile app and look through the lens of your camera. This mode is still recorded, but it isn’t triggered on an actual event.

When is Data is Used?

Depending on your doorbell, data is consumed in one of two ways. The first is triggered by an event (motion or ring), and then the doorbell connects with the manufacture’s server. This connection occurs so the event can be saved to the cloud.

The second option only differed from the first in where the connection is made. Instead of connecting to the server, the video doorbell connections directly to the mobile device.

How Much Data is Used?

The amount of data used is a little difficult to truly know for a few reasons. First, the amount of data consumed will depend on what happens during the event.

For example, the Ring has a standard recording length for motion events of 30 seconds. However, if I open the app and join the event live, your video doorbell will consume data until I end the event.

The same holds true for the other types of events.

Also, the amount of data consumed will change based on the audio and video used during an event. Some of the video doorbells include two-way audio, or the ability of the homeowner to communicate with the guest via the video doorbell and app.

The amount of data used will vary if there is no audio, one-way audio, or two-way audio.

Now that we’ve discussed when the video doorbell uses data, let’s discuss the user. When does the user use data, and the type of data that is used?

Data Used by the Homeowner

The video doorbell owner uses data in three main ways: push notifications, viewing motion events, and watching recorded events. Let’s briefly discuss each of these ways.

When is Data is Used?

Push notifications are drop downs that occur when an event occurs at the video doorbell. This feature provides a quick way to stay up to date on what’s happening in and around your house. Usually, push notifications occur when motion is detected or when someone rings your doorbell.

The second way that the user consumes data is when they view an event. The homeowner can view an event by clicking on the push notification, or by navigating to the mobile app. From the time the mobile app opens, and the connection is made, the user consumes data.

The third way a user can consume data is by watching recorded events. Assuming your video doorbell uses cloud storage, you will use data when you view past events. Because saved events are stored in the cloud, you will need to connect to a server on the internet to view the events.

How to Find Out How Much Data is Used?

Like the video doorbell, it is a bit difficult to determined how much data is being used because many of the same reasons. The amount of data used will vary based on the event length, if audio and video are used, and the amount of time spent on the mobile app.

In addition, the amount of data will vary based on how sensitive you set the motion detection. The more sensitive (more alerts) the video doorbell, the more events will be recorded and the more data that will be used on a monthly basis.

Another factor that will change the amount of data used will be the resolution. Most video doorbells record in high definition, but some record in 720P while others record in 1080P. The difference between the two can be significant.

Types of Data Used

Another interesting component in this situation is the type of data that is used. We know that the video doorbell uses a home WIFI network, but what about the mobile device? In this section, I will discuss the connection types and the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Home WIFI

A large part of your time will be spent on your home network. This is the same network that your video doorbell is using to connect to the internet. Some of the benefits of this connection are:

  • Fewer users
  • Constant connection
  • Internet isn’t ‘constrained’

In addition, there are a few drawbacks as well. Those drawbacks include:

  • You will use upload and download at the same time
  • The video doorbell still has to go to the server, which takes time
  • Possible data overages
  • Sharing data with bandwidth hogs like YouTube and video games
  • Sharing bandwidth with neighbors on the same node/ headend

Office WIFI

The second most common place to use the Internet is the WIFI at your office/ place of work. The office WIFI has several benefits including:

  • More/ higher bandwidth
  • Higher security
  • You’re not sharing bandwidth with the video doorbell

In addition to the benefits, there are a few concerns you should be aware of including:

  • Many more users than home
  • Security levels may make connecting to your device a challenge
  • Your internet habits maybe monitored by IT/ management

Cellular Connection

The third and final connection type is a cellular connection. These connections are private connections between you and your phone service provider. The cellular connection is the least favorable of the three options. Below are some benefits of using a cellular connection

  • Private connection
  • Less constraints than home and work connections
  • Possibly faster than home network

While there are a few benefits, there are many more drawbacks to using a cellular connection. These drawbacks include:

  • Slower speeds
  • Data limits with huge overages
  • Dead zones
  • Throttling by the provider
  • Share bandwidth with people on the same tower

Of the three options, the home WIFI next work is the most preferred because there are no bandwidth limits (this may vary by location), my Internet connection is stable, and there aren’t too many devices on this connection

If you’re using a PC, follow the below directions to track data usage (note this works for Windows 7):

  • Click start
  • Type “performance monitor” in the search bar
  • Hit enter
  • Once in the performance monitor window, click green the green button or plus sign
  • Scroll to “Network” and select “Bytes received/ sec”
  • Then click “add” followed by “ok”

Following these steps will create a graph with your internet usage.

Mac users will find something similar. Start by searching “Activity monitor” in the spotlight search bar. Next, click on network. This will provide a list of items that is consuming data. Once you’ve opened the activity monitor, wait for a push notification and observe the results.

How Much Data is Used?

The monthly amount of data used will vary based on camera, features, and a few other factors. For example, one user on Reddit claimed that his Ring Doorbell used 350MB download and 2.8GB upload over the span of two months.

Another user claims that his video doorbell consumed 57.5MB download and 12.29MB upload over a two-week period.

How to Determine the Amount of Data being Used?

There are a few different options for tracking amount of data your video doorbell is consuming. The first option is to contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Most ISPs track the amount of data you are consuming on a monthly basis. You could attempt to match doorbell events with increases in your internet usage.

Conclusion

To conclude, yes your video doorbell uses data. The data used is data via your WIFI connection and your home internet. The amount of data used will vary based on a number of factors including:

  • Length if events
  • If audio is included
  • The camera resolution
  • If the event is a live or triggered event

In addition, your mobile devices also uses data when in the following ways:

  • Watching previous events stored in the cloud
  • Connecting to your doorbell for live viewing or triggered events
  • Receiving push notifications

While there are ways to track data usage, most are going to estimate and not provide the exact total. You should be able to see total data usage for your internet by logging into your online account. You also have the ability to monitor data usage regardless of the computer you use.

We also covered the different types of connections your mobile device will need when it attempts to connect to your video doorbell.

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