Ring Floodlight Cam review: An excellent choice—if you’re living in Ring’s ecosystem
Ring built a better mousetrap and quickly became the king of video doorbells. Lots of competitors followed, but few have a truly better doorbell. Ring wasn’t the first to integrate a video camera into an outdoor light—Netatmo introduced one in late 2016, and Kuna had one earlier than that—but if you own one of Ring’s doorbells, you like it well enough to pay for a subscription, and you want to surveil more of your yard, you should add one of Ring’s other outdoor products. The Ring Floodlight Cam will make an excellent replacement for any existing floodlight.
Updated September 10, 2019 to add reporting on a couple of new features that Ring has released for customers with more than one Ring device. Linked Devices enables you to see the views from all of your Ring cameras in a single dashboard. You can also create links between devices, so that when one Ring device detects motion, it can trigger action on another Ring device (record video, for example, or turn on its light).
A new Audio Off Toggle feature enables you to disable and enable audio streaming on any or all of your Ring devices. This appeal of this feature wasn't immediately clear to me, but a Ring spokesperson explained that it will be valuable "for customers that want to be extra careful to avoid recording miscellaneous conversations or audio that does not pertain to their home security." And that makes a lot of sense. If you're entertaining guests on your patio, they would probably be more comfortable knowing that their every word isn't being recorded.
If you haven’t committed to the Ring ecosystem, you’ll want to explore your options before buying this product. That subscription I mentioned is the biggest reason why. While Ring emphasizes that subscriptions are optional, you’ll be restricted to real-time viewing of what the camera sees if you don’t opt in to one after your 30-day free trial. You’ll receive alerts when the camera detects motion, but you won’t be able to see the video that triggered the alert. All the other features (which I’ll get into in a moment), will work, but you won’t be able to download the video clips, either. If there’s a break-in, you won’t be able to provide the police with any forensic evidence the camera might have captured of the perpetrator.
Mentioned in this article
Ring offers two subscription plans, both of which include cloud storage and video review with sharing (you can view recorded clips, download them, and share them on social media directly from the app). The Ring Protect Basic plan costs $3 per month ($30 if paid annually) per camera. The Ring Protect Plus plan costs $10 per month ($100 if paid annually). It covers an unlimited number of cameras and extends the warranty from one year to the life of the product (and includes both damage and theft protection, so that if the camera breaks or someone has the temerity to steal it, Ring will replace it. Ring’s FAQ also mentions 24/7 professional monitoring, but that’s for the upcoming Ring Alarm.
Subscriptions: Get used to ‘em
Mentioned in this article
Subscription plans are becoming the norm with home security cameras, with Netatmo being an outlier. Its Presence camera has onboard storage in the form of a 16GB microSD memory card, and you can download recorded video to your smartphone via the app. It has no cloud storage option unless you link the app to your Dropbox account. Netgear’s indoor/outdoor Arlo Pro 2 is also unusually generous, providing seven days of storage for up to five cameras. The Maximus Camera Floodlight that I reviewed in earlier in 2018, which is based on Kuna’s technology, allows you to look back in time two hours and download up to three videos per month without a subscription. Its least-expensive plan costs $5 per month for one camera and provides a seven-day history with unlimited downloads. Costlier plans increase the number of cameras covered and extend the time you can look back at recorded events.
We previously reviewed the Ring Spotlight Cam, which is designed to be plugged into an outdoor outlet and has a single LED light. This review is of the Ring Floodlight Cam, which must be hardwired to your electrical wiring and is outfitted with two LED lights. Like the aforementioned Netatmo and Kuna products, most people will install the Floodlight Cam as a replacement for an existing outdoor light. That’s a whole lot easier than cutting a hole in your exterior wall, installing a junction box, and running Romex to it. Most people would want to hire an electrician to do all that. It’s relatively easy to replace an existing outdoor fixture, and Ring makes it even easier with excellent instructions and videos covering every step of the process that you can watch on your phone. They even provide a handy multi-tool.
As easy as the Floodlight Cam was to install, however, I prefer the elegant locking-ring mechanism that Maximus came up with. Ring’s device simply mounts to a pair of threaded screws that emerge from a brace attached to the junction box: You push these through two holes in the assembly’s chassis and then anchor it down with a pair of plastic-covered nuts.
Ring Floodlight Cam feature set
The Floodlight Cam has two LED floodlights mounted on articulated arms that can be moved independently of each other. These lights are rated to produce a combined 3,000 lumens of brightness, but to my eye, the dual floodlights on the Maximus covered more area. This could be due to the cone-shaped shades on the Ring product that focus the beams more tightly than the flat LED panels on the Maximus, which are rated to produce 2,400 lumens. And unlike that device, you can’t dim the Floodlight Cam’s brightness.
A box containing the camera is mounted below and between the floodlights, with a dome-shaped motion sensor emerging from the bottom of that. The camera, which has a 140-degree field of view—slightly narrower than the 155-degree field of view on the Maximus—captures video in 1080p resolution. There’s a microphone and a speaker onboard, so you can have two-way conversations with people on the other side of the connection. There are no pre-recorded messages that play in response to motion, and the camera itself doesn’t make any sounds that would draw an intruder to present their face to the camera when they set off the motion sensor. Those are features that I really like about the Maximus. Ring rates its product IPX5, which means it’s not rated for dust incursion, but it is protected from water sprayed from up to a 6.3mm nozzle.
The Floodlight Cam’s motion sensor detects movement over a 270-degree radius and can be fine-tuned to reduce or increase its sensitivity (you can, for example, set it to respond only to humans and ignore cars or four-legged visitors). You can also schedule the motion sensor so that it’s active only on certain days and/or within defined time windows. The Ring app provides an excellent tool for creating multiple irregularly shaped motion zones, so that you can prevent objects such as shrubs and trees from triggering the lights and camera. You can also fine-tune the area in which motion will trigger the lights to turn on. And if you don’t want the lights to come, for whatever reason, the camera has very good night vision (a feature the Maximus lacks).
Audio and video quality
The Ring Floodlight Cam records video with excellent quality, with just a little barrel distortion at the extremes of its field of view. The camera connects only via Wi-Fi, which can be a problem if you’re mounting it far from your home’s nearest access point. I didn’t find this to be a problem with the Linksys Velop mesh Wi-Fi system I use, since one of its mesh points is in a room close to the garage where I mounted the camera. It can connect only to 2.4GHz networks, which can be crowded with legacy devices and are more susceptible to interference than 5GHz networks. Ring attributes this limitation to the 2.4GHz frequency band’s superior range, but the fact that it’s equipped with an 802.11n adapter tells me the choice has more to do with bottom-line cost. The 802.11ac routers I’ve tested deliver excellent range on the 5GHz band, and you’ll find several outdoor cameras that operate on both bands, including the Maximus Camera Floodlight and the Nest Cam Outdoor and Nest Cam IQ Outdoor (neither of the Nest Cams have lights attached to them, though).
As with all products that upload video to the cloud, however, you’ll want broadband service with relatively fast uplink service. That’s something I can’t get in my rural location (the best I can buy is about 1Mbps up and 16Mbps down). As a result, it takes a bit of time to establish a connection to the camera’s live feed, and audio was choppy at best. You can also stream the camera’s live feed (audio and video) to an Amazon Echo Show or Echo Spot, but that’s dependent on having fast upload speed, too, so it takes several seconds for my Echo Show to establish a connection. Those aren’t Ring’s problems, of course, and the Maximus can’t stream to a display-equipped Echo at all, although the company tells me that’s in the works. On the other hand, you can use an Echo to turn the Maximus’s floodlight on and off, and you can’t do that with the Ring Floodlight Cam.
While you’re viewing the camera’s feed on your smartphone, you can push buttons to listen to the ambient sound, initiate a conversation with the person on the other side of the camera, turn the floodlights on and off, and sound an extremely loud—110dB—siren. You can share video clips with neighbors using Ring Neighborhoods, a high-tech video-based neighborhood watch system that can alert people to suspicious activity near their homes. This feature can be customized to cover as little or as much territory—up to a five-mile radius—as you’d like.
Should you buy a Ring Floodlight Cam?
The answer to that question is an easy “yes,” if you’ve already invested in other Ring products. You don’t want to deal with different apps with different user interfaces—and different subscription plans—to keep an eye on different areas of your property. The Ring Protect Plus plan covers an unlimited number of cameras, so you could put one of Ring’s doorbells at your front door and its Floodlight or Spotlight cams at every other door and anywhere else you have electrical power (or not, since some of its Spotlight cams run on battery power, and with optional solar-power recharging).
The buy-it/skip-it decision is harder if you’re not already vested in the Ring ecosystem. But here’s a conundrum for homeowners: Ring doesn’t currently offer any indoor cameras (neither does Maximus). Netatmo does, but its indoor camera is relatively weak (and its Presence costs $50 more than either the Ring Floodlight Cam or the Maximus Camera Floodlight). Nest has indoor cameras, too, but it doesn’t have any outdoor cameras with integrated lights (although it has strong hooks into smart home systems that would enable you to tie its cameras into smart lights or light switches).
If you don’t already own a Ring product, and don’t anticipate wanting the company’s upcoming home security system, Ring Alarm, I think the Maximus Camera Floodlight is the better choice. You’ll use voice commands to control lights far more often than you’ll call up a video feed on a smart speaker’s display. And while both floodlight cameras have optional subscription plans that aren’t all that optional in reality, the Maximus camera is much more useful without a subscription.
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The Ring Floodlight Cam is easy to recommend if you’re already vested in the Ring ecosystem. Your decision will be more complicated if you haven’t gone down that path.
- This product fits in well with the impressive ecosystem Ring is building out
- Excellent video quality
- Multiple user-defined motion zones
- Without a subscription, you can only monitor the camera in real time
- Operates only on 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks
- You can’t control the floodlight with voice commands
Michael covers the smart-home, home-entertainment, and home-networking beats, working in the smart home he built in 2007.
Before you go!
Power over Ethernet involves using the multiple wire strands within an Ethernet cable to send both data and electrical power. This allows the end device to be fully powered by the Ethernet cable, whilst also having full internet connectivity without the need for WiFi.
None of Nest’s cameras nor doorbells support power over Ethernet (without third party adapters that still require a WiFi connection), but the Ring Cam Elite and Ring Doorbell Elite are both fully power over Ethernet and work really well – albeit at a high price!
So what exactly is PoE (and how does it work)?
If you cut into an Ethernet cable, you’ll see that it contains multiple strands of insulated wire:
Because there’s eight wires (which are bundled together to make four bundled cables), power can be sent down some of these wires – with internet data being sent down other wires. This means that Ethernet cable can support both power and internet data.
This is different to normal electrical cable which has only a few wires, each with a specific electrical purpose, or phone wire which is usually just a single strand.
Whilst PoE isn’t the most popular at the moment (searching Google for “PoE” returns results for a game called Path of Exile, for example!), it’s used a lot in professional security installations. Heck, when Nest fans were talking about Nest’s cameras, one Google user said:
Couldn’t agree more. Nest really isn’t in the security business until they offer POE.Google user, Google Support Forums, 27th August 2019
PoE smart devices aren’t susceptible to wireless jamming or random WiFi issues, which is why serious smart home fans sometimes wonder whether Ring and Nest sell Power over Ethernet devices…
Ring and Nest cameras that support Power over Ethernet
As mentioned at the start, Nest currently do not sell any power over Ethernet devices. There are “Power over Ethernet adapters” from third party sources, which I explore more in the next section, but these still require a WiFi connection so aren’t really what PoE is all about.
On the other hand, any Ring device with “Elite” in its name does support PoE – currently meaning the Ring Stick-up Cam Elite and the Ring Doorbell Elite. The full list of Nest and Ring devices – and whether they support PoE or not – is below:
|Device||Supports Power over Ethernet?|
|Nest Hello doorbell||No|
|Nest Cam IQ Indoor||No|
|Nest Cam Indoor||No|
|Nest Cam IQ Outdoor||No|
|Nest Cam Outdoor||No|
|Ring Doorbell 1||No|
|Ring Doorbell 2||No|
|Ring Doorbell 3||No|
|Ring Doorbell 3 Plus||No|
|Ring Doorbell Elite||Yes|
|Ring Doorbell Pro||No|
|Ring Peephole Cam||No|
|Ring Floodlight Cam||No|
|Ring Spotlight Cam Battery||No|
|Ring Spotlight Cam Wired||No|
|Ring Indoor Cam||No|
|Ring Stick Up Cam Battery||No|
|Ring Stick Up Cam Plug-In||No|
|Ring Stick Up Cam Solar||No|
|Ring Stick Up Cam Elite||Yes|
As you can see, the vast majority of devices do not support PoE, but the two “Elite” cameras do.
Ring Doorbell Elite
This doorbell was released in 2017 and it currently costs $349.99 – a slight price reduction on recent years where it sold for more than $400. Whilst a hardwired doorbell will always be better than a battery powered one (as it can be ‘on’ more and hence offer better features/performance), the Elite is still pricey when you consider that the Pro can be picked up for under $200 when there’s a sale on (it’s usually $249, but is often at $189 or less).
Since it’s hardwired, it has many of the same features as the Ring Doorbell Pro – including better motion detection (than its battery powered rivals) and slightly longer, full-color video clips (compared to the ‘3 Plus’ model which has ‘pre-roll’ footage which is just low-res, black-and-white video).
Some people have found that their Ring devices don’t work well over WiFi, and so a PoE alternative would be a great solution – even at the relatively high price of $349.99 for a smart doorbell. Having said that, I have no issues at all with my Pro – it works great and it was easy to wire-up.
Ring Stick Up Cam Elite
Ring announced a range of new devices in 2019, including the Ring Stick Up Cam Elite. This is the first Ring camera to support power over Ethernet, and it currently retails at $199. This compares to the battery and plug-in versions which are $99.99 each (currently down to $84.99 in a sale).
Similarly to the doorbell, the Ring Stick Up Cam Elite is closest to the plug-in version in terms of features: since it’s hardwired, it doesn’t have to cut down on features or functionality to preserve battery power.
If you have a router or network switch nearby, it should be easy enough to install – either by introducing a “PoE injector” (which adds electrical power to an Ethernet cable) or just using a powered network switch (i.e. one that supports PoE).
You can use it indoors or outdoors, too.
Do Nest “Power over Ethernet” adapters work at all?
If I go on Amazon and search for “Nest PoE”, I get back some results for PoE splitters and adapters such as:
But what exactly do these products do? Can they suddenly turn the $100 Nest cam into a PoE device?
The answer is no, unfortunately.
These devices replace the existing Nest cam power adapter with their own power adapter, which itself is powered over Ethernet. But the end result is still a standard power cable going into the Nest cam.
These devices are useful if you find that the current Nest power adapter is too bulky and you want a smaller replacement instead. If you have a network switch nearby anyway, you may as well use a PoE adapter/splitter instead.
Alternatively if you’re installing your Nest cam in a place where there’s no wall socket available, using a PoE adapter could make sense in this case too.
However this just refers to the power of your Nest cam. The crucial thing to know is that your Nest cam’s internet will still be provided over WiFi – with all the unreliability that this may bring. This compares to a true PoE device whose power and internet comes through a single Ethernet cable, with no need for WiFi connections.
The benefits of PoE for smart cameras and doorbells
There are various benefits to using PoE for your smart cameras and doorbells. In no particular order:
- WiFi can be unreliable. Whilst modern routers have taken steps to improve this, having dozens of devices (per household) all speaking over WiFi is not a great way of guaranteeing a reliable connection for each of your security cameras.
If your WiFi plays up when there’s an attempted burglary (or the burglar uses a jamming device), you could lose all footage of this incident. PoE ensures a stable internet connection by relying on wire-to-wire physical connections throughout.
- PoE can be easier to install. If you’re installing a new indoor or outdoor camera/doorbell and you don’t have a power outlet nearby, you may have to spend a bunch of time finding a nearby outlet and spurring off this – if possible. Sometimes you can’t simply spur off the nearest connection point, however, due to how electrical circuits (and extending them) work.
As a result, you may need to perform a fair amount of electrical work before you can install your new camera/doorbell.
The alternative is to use Ethernet which is much easier to run and install because you don’t have to worry about whether you can spur off a specific point.
- Safer to install. In addition to being easier to install, PoE is low voltage: if often outputs 30 watts or less. This means that working with PoE is much safer: you don’t have to worry about accidentally being zapped with full mains voltage!
- Simpler smart home design. If you’re going all-out with your new smart home, it’s much easier to plan it out knowing that your devices will be powered with a single cable and that network range isn’t an issue.
Having to think “do I have electrical power there?” or “will my WiFi reach that far?” gets frustrating quickly, so being able to think “I have PoE there, so my power and internet needs are met” is much nicer.
Thanks for reading this article, I hope you found it useful. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel for all the latest smart home tips, tricks and updates.
Also be sure to check out the 13 smart home products that I most recommend to people. I’ve used and tested many smart products over the years, and these top 13 are quality products that are definitely worth checking out.Sours: https://www.smarthomepoint.com/ring-nest-poe/
Ring Security Cameras
Recent Update: 1 week ago
On September 28, 2021, Ring announced the Always Home Cam, a camera that flies around houses. Customers can request an invitation to try the camera out, but it’s not currently available for purchase or pre-order.
Among the startups that entered the home security scene in recent memory, Ring is one of the few that actually made it — and in a rather spectacular fashion. From being a former Shark Tank reject, Ring has become one of Amazon’s highest valued acquisitions worth over $1 billion.1 To those familiar with Ring, it wasn’t all too surprising; Ring has always attracted a lot of consumers thanks to its high-quality products, affordable subscriptions, and solid smartphone apps.
If you’re one of the folks considering buying Ring security cameras, we’ve put together an objective guide that details how much their security cameras cost, whether you should get a cloud storage subscription or avoid monthly fees, and how Ring compares with its most formidable rivals. Spoiler alert, Ring has one of the most affordable cloud-storage subscriptions, especially if you go with the annual plans. Let’s get started with Ring home security camera pricing.
|Ring Protect Basic||Ring Protect Plus|
|Covers 1 camera||Covers unlimited Ring cameras in one location|
|60-day cloud storage||60-day cloud storage|
Our Favorite Things About Ring Security Cameras
- 1080p resolution: All the Ring security cameras we tested recorded and streamed in 1080p. They captured crisp and clear videos without hogging too much of our network’s bandwidth.
- Smart features: All of Ring’s cameras were not created equal. Some have extra smart features, like built-in motion-triggered floodlights or spotlights, customizable activity zones, and AI-based person detection.
- Affordable cloud storage: Cloud storage plans start at only $3 per month for every camera or $10 per month to cover an unlimited number of cameras and video doorbells in one location. The latter is a great deal if you plan on getting multiple Ring products or want 24/7 professional monitoring.
- Flexible equipment options: Ring offers lots of security camera options. There are indoor and outdoor cameras, cameras with built-in smart lights, and even battery and solar-powered variants.
- Voice assistant integrations: As an Amazon-owned company, Ring’s products are well-connected to Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant. But if you prefer Google Assistant over Amazon, Ring offers useful integrations with Google Assistant as well.
Camera Comparison: Prices and Features
All in all, Ring offers 10 security camera options. That sounds like a lot, but in reality, some of those cameras are pretty similar; the only difference is the accessories they come with, which affect how they get power.
As an example, the Ring Stick Up Cam comes in a Wired, Battery, and Solar version. The Wired version was designed to be plugged in, the Battery version comes with a rechargeable battery and the Solar version comes with a solar panel. All three variants share the same hardware features (resolution, viewing angle, audio, etc.), but some features, like person detection, are only accessible when the camera is plugged in. Here’s some more brief information on each of Ring’s cameras:
- The Ring Indoor Cam is a simple indoor camera designed for wall, ceiling, or shelf placement. It has the same video quality as the other Ring cameras but a narrower field of vision.
- The Ring Stick Up Cam Wired and the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery are an indoor/outdoor model. They can be plugged in, battery-powered, or solar-powered with the right accessories, best placed on porches, patios, or sheds. Additionally, the cameras offer infrared night vision through the Ring app, although only the wired camera offers motion zones.
- The Ring Stick Up Cam Elite has the same capabilities as the Stick Up Cam but with uninterrupted power and internet connection thanks to its Power over Ethernet (PoE) adapter.
- The Ring Spotlight Cam is an outdoor camera with two built-in, motion-activated, smart LED spotlights that are effective thief deterrents.2 It can be plugged into a regular wall outlet or hardwired to replace existing spotlights. It can also run on batteries or solar power.
- The Ring Floodlight Cam is the centerpiece of Ring cameras. Like the Spotlight Cam, it has two smart, motion-activated lights, only brighter and has a wider coverage because each floodlight can be independently aimed. The Floodlight Cam is hardwired.
Breakdown of the Various Ring Cameras
|Ring Stick Up Cam Battery||Ring Stick Up Cam Wired||Ring Stick Up Cam Solar||Ring Stick Up Cam Elite||Ring Spotlight Cam Wired||Ring Spotlight Cam Battery||Ring Spotlight Cam Solar||Ring Spotlight Cam Mount||Ring Floodlight Cam||Ring Indoor Cam|
|Wireless or Plugged in||Wireless||Plug-In||Both; solar panel and backup battery pack||Plug-in||Plug-In||Wireless||Wireless||Hardwired||Hardwired||Plug-In|
|Video Quality||1080p HD||1080p HD||1080p HD||1080p HD||1080p HD||1080p HD||1080p HD||1080p||1080p HD||1080p HD|
|Video Field of View||130||130||130||150||140||140||140||140||140||115|
|Color Night Vision||No||No||No||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Infrared Night vision||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Two-Way Audio with Noise Cancellation?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cloud Storage||60 days with Ring Protect Plan||60 days with Ring Protect Plan||60 days with Ring Protect Plan||60 days with Ring Protect Plan||60 days with Ring Protect Plan||60 days with Ring Protect Plan||60 days with Ring Protect Plan||60 days with Ring Protect Plan||60 days with Ring Protect Plan||60 days with Ring Protect Plan|
|Smart Platform Integration||Alexa, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant||Alexa, Google Assistant|
|Artificial Intelligence||No||Person detection with Ring Protect Plan||No||No||Person detection with Ring Protect Plan||No||No||No||Person detection with Ring Protect Plan||No|
|Extras||Privacy zones, can disable motion recording, alerts and audio||Siren, up to three motion zones||Motion zones||Motion zones||Built-in LED light strips and siren||Built-in LED light strips and siren||Built-in LED light strips and siren||Built-in LED light strips and siren||Two LED floodlights, siren, motion zones, scheduling||Motion zones|
Buying Tip: The Stick Up Cam is now on its third generation, while the Stick Up Cam Elite is now on its second. When buying Ring cameras, be sure to purchase the most recent version to enjoy its latest features.
Aside from cameras, Ring sells accessories that make their cameras more flexible and convenient to use. For instance, when we went out of town, we purchased a solar panel for our Stick Up Cam Battery to make sure it never ran out of juice. The solar panel essentially turned our Stick Up Cam Battery into a Stick Up Cam Solar. Here are the other security camera accessories sold by Ring.
|Super Solar Panel||$99.00||Stick Up Cam Battery|
Spotlight Cam Battery
|Chime Pro||$49.99||All Ring cameras|
|Solar Panel||$49.99||Stick Up Cam Battery|
Spotlight Cam Battery
|Solar Security Sign||$49.99||All Ring cameras|
|Indoor/Outdoor Micro USB Power Adapter||$39.99||Stick Up Cam Wired|
Stick Up Cam Elite (2nd Gen)
|Indoor/Outdoor Barrel Plug Power Adapter||$39.99||Stick Up Cam Plug-In|
|Chime||$29.99||All Ring cameras|
|Quick Release Battery Pack||$29.99||Spotlight Cam Battery/Solar|
Stick Up Cam Battery
|Ceiling Mount||$19.99||Spotlight Cam Wired|
|Wall Mount||$19.99||Spotlight Cam Wired|
|Mount||$19.99||Stick Up Cam (2nd and 3rd Gen)|
|Security Yard Sign||$14.99||All Ring cameras|
|10 Feet Power Adapter||$12.99||Indoor Cam|
|Window Security Syckers (pack of four)||$4.99||All Ring cameras|
|Spare Parts (Floodlight Cam)||$1.99||Floodlight Cam|
|Spare Parts (Spotlight Cam Battery)||$1.99||Spotlight Cam Battery/Solar|
|Spare Parts (Spotlight Cam Wired)||$1.99||Spotlight Cam Wired|
Did You Know: Ring offers theft protection. If a Ring camera or video doorbell is stolen, Ring will replace the stolen item at no additional cost to you.3
Ring Protect: Free vs. Basic vs. Plus
We have good news and bad news for you. Bad news first: Ring cameras don’t support local recording and there is no free cloud storage, so a paid Ring Protect subscription is required to access recordings. But the good news is, the Ring Protect plans are affordable.
|Free||Protect Basic Plan||Protect Plus Plan|
|Coverage||No||One Ring Doorbell or Security Camera||All Ring devices at one address|
|Ring and Motion Alerts||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Custom motion detection||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Person only mode||No||Yes||Yes|
|Interact with visitors remotely||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Warranty||1 year||1 year||Extended warranty|
|Length of cloud storage (in days)||No||60||60|
|Review, share, and save Ring videos||No||Yes||Yes|
|Professional Monitoring for Ring Alarm||No||No||Yes|
|Exclusive discounts at ring.com||No||No||10% off Ring products|
Let’s break down the Ring Protect plans. Right out of the box, each Ring camera comes with the free version of Ring Protect that enables motion alerts, customizable motion detection, or activity zones, live streaming, and two-way audio. But without cloud storage, there’s no way for the camera to record footage so we could view it later. That might be a problem if we end up having an intrusion and need video evidence.
Ring Protect Basic adds video recording thanks to the 60-day cloud storage. This means recordings triggered by motion events remain in the cloud for 60 days, available for viewing, downloading, or sharing. After that, they are gone for good. However, Ring Protect Basic covers only one camera.
If you plan on getting multiple cameras, the $10 per month Ring Protect Plus plan makes more sense. You can add an unlimited number of cameras to your Ring account and they will all get 60 days of cloud storage. The only restriction is that they have to be installed under one roof. When we moved some of our Ring cameras to a friend’s house, for example, we were asked to purchase a separate subscription. Aside from cloud storage, the Ring Protect Plus plan gave us benefits like exclusive 10% discounts at Ring.com and professional monitoring for our Ring Alarm security system that we also tested as well as our Ring cameras and video doorbells.
Promo Alert: If you don’t mind committing, Ring offers one-year subscriptions to the Basic and Plus plans for $30 and $100, respectively. That’s like getting two months of free subscription as compared to the monthly rate.
What Works With Ring?
One of the many advantages of Ring is its ever-expanding list of integrations. Though most of the integrations were made for Ring Alarm, there are a few third-party smart home products that work directly with Ring cameras and video doorbells.
|Alexa commands with Ring cameras||Google Assistant commands with Ring cameras|
|Show live feeds||Start a new recording|
|Show latest motion event clips||Check battery health|
|Talk through two-way audio||Need the app for two-way audio|
|Announce movement or a person||Need the app for notifications|
Amazon owns Ring now, so it’s only fitting that Ring cameras work with Amazon’s voice assistant. We tried this integration when we tested Ring cameras and it worked flawlessly. We asked Alexa to show us live feeds and the latest motion event clip on our Echo Show. To make things easier, we named our cameras based on where we placed them so that we could simply say, “Alexa, show my backyard,” or “Alexa, show my front door.”
We also discovered that it’s possible to use two-way communication between Ring and our Alexa speaker. Using this feature, we answered our door conveniently without having to stop whatever we were doing on our phones. Lastly, we set our Echo Dot speakers to make an announcement when our Ring cameras detect movement or a person. Alexa even told us which camera detected movement or a person, keeping us up to speed completely hands-free.
Although we love our Alexa speakers, we like having options, so we also have Google Home speakers set up around our house. Ring also works with Google Assistant, the voice assistant of Google Home, but the integration didn’t offer us much in terms of features. We used it to trigger a recording (“OK Google, talk to Ring about starting a new recording.”) and to check the battery health of our battery and solar-powered cameras (“OK Google, talk to Ring about the health of my devices.”).
Ring vs. Other Brands
Now, if you’re considering getting Ring cameras, you probably also wonder how Ring compares to other brands, especially its fiercest rivals Nest, Arlo, and Canary.
Nest, as a company under Google’s umbrella, rivals Ring in terms of integrations. In fact, Nest works well with both Alexa and Google Assistant, not to mention all the other integrations with IoT brands like Philips Hue.
In terms of video quality, Arlo has the upper hand. Unlike Ring, Arlo offers security cameras with resolutions beyond 1080p. The Arlo Ultra, in particular, has a 4K resolution, twice the amount of pixels as 1080p HD. As for the cost, Canary has the cheapest cameras, with all three of their products selling below $200.
In comparison, most of Ring’s cameras are priced $200 or more, with the exception of the Ring Indoor Cam and all the Ring Stick Up Cam variants. Those cameras are within the $60 to $150 price range.
But while Ring cameras are inexpensive compared to Nest and Arlo cameras, they are not cheaply built. Second, Ring’s cloud storage plans are affordable. Ring Protect Plus offers 60 days of cloud storage for an unlimited number of cameras plus professional monitoring for only $10 per month or $100 per year. Arlo and Canary’s 30-day cloud storage options are feeble in comparison to Ring Protect.
And last but not least, Ring has the Neighbors App, a location-based virtual neighborhood watch feature that promotes safety not only within your property but also in your community. On the app, users share real-time community alerts, crime and safety-related recordings, and public safety notifications. Neither Nest, Arlo, nor Canary has a similar feature.
The Overall Value of Ring Cameras
In the end, only you can tell the overall value of Ring cameras to your home security and if Ring is the right security camera brand. However, we can give you some key pointers.
On the hardware side of things, Ring is solid. The company has spent years developing its products. Compared to what we saw a few years ago when we first tested Ring, its cameras are a lot better now yet the price didn’t increase that much.
Ring also offers plenty of options. Whether you’re looking for security cameras, video doorbells, security systems, or even smart accessories like lighting systems, Ring has something for you.
In terms of video storage, it’s unfortunate that Ring doesn’t have any local recording options, but with Ring Protect, you can store unlimited clips from unlimited cameras for cheap. It’s also worth noting that cloud videos last for 60 days while other companies usually offer 30 days.
Smart features like person detection and integrations with voice assistants made the experience even better. Overall, Ring is a promising brand that only gets better over the years. If you ask us, it’s a security camera system worth investing in.
Ring Security Camera Review
The Floodlight Cam Experience
Ring Floodlight Cam
Nestled firmly between two super-powerful LEDs, the Ring Floodlight Camera was the almost-perfect fixture to complement my outdoor decor. Aside from its slightly intimidating design, this camera is simply the best way to keep tabs on the exterior of your home and protect it from intruders.
Did You Know: Bright LED lights can serve as an effective crime deterrent. With this in mind, read about Ring’s most robust camera/light combo in my latest Ring Floodlight Cam review.
It’s important to note, though, that Ring is not the only company to make a floodlight camera. When it hit shelves in early 2020, the Arlo Floodlight Camera became a solid contender, but Arlo is battery-powered, while Ring’s floodlight camera is wired.
For my home, however, Ring’s hardwired setup worked best. It was the perfect opportunity to replace an old light fixture that was a little past its prime, with a shiny new floodlight-camera-in-one.
Installing the Ring Floodlight Cam
After thoroughly testing the Ring Floodlight Cam, I’m comfortable singing its praises, simply because it’s one of the strongest lines of defense you’ll have in your home security toolbox. You’re getting unprecedented range, a wide field of view, and a smooth two-way audio feature that can be used in tandem with motion-activated lighting to spook even the boldest of criminals – or just to say hi to a few unexpected visitors.
Ring Floodlight Cam Video Quality
There are a few more things you should know about this camera before making your final decision, though, starting with that previously mentioned audio feature:
When it comes to audio on the Floodlight Cam, all was well with the exception of some interference due to background noise, usually on the outdoor end of the conversation.
It’s not the first time I’ve encountered this issue. Ambient noise5 – you know, the kind that happens outside that you can’t control or predict – can make communication difficult at times. But frankly, the issue is minor, and it shouldn’t affect the overall performance.
Ring Floodlight Cam Box
Since it’s made for the outdoors, Ring has their floodlight camera locked down with plenty of weatherproof hardware and protection from the outdoors. During my own tests of the device, I watched it sail through an intense late-winter band of snowstorms (you know, just another Ohio “second winter”) without missing a beat. After all that, the Floodlight Cam performed seamlessly and did not incur any damage, which is good, because I’d already thrown out the old light fixture.
Using the Camera With Ring App
Ring App Homescreen
The best way to get acquainted with any wireless camera is to learn everything it can do through the mobile app. With Ring, you know that’s going to be easy – and it will also help you prepare for the unexpected.
Occasionally, you might find a few rare instances of delay between the time the camera captures motion and the time you receive an alert. Again, that is standard in cameras that work with Wi-Fi, and a bit more common in outdoor cameras than indoor ones. But with a stable Wi-Fi connection, you should have no problem securing your home with a Ring Floodlight.
Ring Floodlight Cam Motion Detection
After successful sales of Ring’s first-generation Floodlight Cam, the brand recently added Floodlight Cam Wired Plus and Floodlight Cam Wired Pro. The Pro, I learned, has a couple of advanced features over the original, like 3D motion detection and two-way talk with audio+, as well as a few subtle design upgrades. At $249, it’s Ring’s most expensive camera. But now, you have the option of the Floodlight Cam Wired Pro, which doesn’t include the advanced motion features but does ease the sticker shock somewhat with a $180 retail price.
Speaking of reliability, it’s worth mentioning that the Ring Floodlight camera is another one I’ve seen marked down frequently throughout the year. It regularly retails for $249 (you’ll see a bigger breakdown below), but it happens to be a very popular device to snag around Prime Day, too. Look for those and other huge savings in my complete Prime Day home security deals and discounts guide.
Cam poe floodlight ring
(plus lots of other Ring cam related information)
-- June 5, 2017 -- Version 5.1b (updated 2021/07/10)
Show more (obsolete) updates
The Ring Floodlight Cam Review: The Ring Floodlight Cam is a cloud-based security camera -- with floodlight, siren, and two-way talk.
Videos are uploaded to the 'cloud' LIVE via your internet connection and saved for 60 days (with a subscription plan).My testing: I installed and tested three Ring Floodlight Cams at three different homes in the summer of 2017. The first was installed on May 6, a second was installed on May 21, and a third was installed on May 22.
This review documents my first hand experience that I had with the Ring Floodlight Cams for over a month of extensive testing...
The Floodlight Cam 'mostly' works, but it is sure frustrating that the Cam does NOT produce "1080p HD video" out of the box, as is claimed. If Ring fixes all of the bugs disclosed in this review, the Floodlight Cam will in fact be a great product that I could then highly recommend to everyone.
On May 25, I noticed that I could no longer view recorded/cloud videos from all Cams. The 30-day trial for cloud video recording stopped working. The response from Ring was: "we have just been informed there is an issue with the recordings where some are recording and some aren't registering. However our engineers are working on the situation as we speak". As I was doing extensive testing, I could not wait -- I got off the trial and signed up (paying) for cloud recording (which fixed the problem). Not a good impression.
I've installed true high end 1080p security systems before. I know what video quality to expect from a "1080p" system.However, the reality is that the video quality of the Cam 'out of the box' is nowhere near "1080p HD video", and Ring tech support actually acknowledged that in writing! See further below.
The Ring videos ARE 'sized' to 1080p HD size (1920×1080), but the quality of the resulting videos are NOT HD (the bitrate is too low / compression is too high). Here is an example of the very poor quality I see -- notice the significant 'blocking' and ghosting (blue jeans leaves a blue trail):
650×440 crop from Ring video - notice bad blocking/ghosting - NOT 1080p HD quality
A great comparison: Watch this YouTube video fullscreen on a large 1080p HDTV (not your phone) -- but set the YouTube video quality to 144p, and that is around the video quality I got from my Ring Floodlight Cam! And the YouTube video at 480p is WAY better quality than what I see from Ring Floodlight Cam.
The gritty details: One 63 second MP4 from the Cam was 6.3 MB (or 868 kbps). The 480p YouTube video above uses 770 kbps. Now set the YouTube video to 1080p HD quality. The video now looks fantastic, but it also dramatically increases bandwidth to 2358 kbps (3 times more bandwidth)!Ring's problem: Ring states in product documentation 'in the box' that they only need 1 Mbps upload bandwidth for the Ring Floodlight Cam. 1 Mbps is 1000 kbps. But that 1 Mbps limit dramatically limits the quality of videos that the Cam will produce!
The result: 'blocking' and significant 'ghosting' on moving objects: Notice the significant 'blocking' in the first video frame (click on image to zoom in and see the blocking -- especially the palm trees in the background against the blue sky) -- But you must look at this frame on a 'large' PC (or even HDTV) screen and not on a small phone screen (where it is very hard to see detail):
Click to zoom in -- Ring Floodlight Cam 868 kbps quality -- notice significant 'blocking'
UPDATE: It turns out RING WAS WRONG. My cam RSSI was just fine. It turns out that Ring simply had set a bitrate for my cam that was WAY too low. Also, later (see below) Ring now claims that a RSSI around -60 is fine.
But a RSSI of -44 dBm means Ring requires a signal strength of 100% (5 out of 5 bars), which quite frankly, is not realistic! To actually obtain -44 dBm, I needed to be within 10 feet line-of-sight (no walls) to my Netgear R6250 access point.
My fix: Install wireless APs to dramatically improve RSSI: My quick fix to get past Ring support blaming my wifi was to install a wireless access point right next to the Floodlight Cams. Finally, with a great RSSI (-32 to -40), tech support would now FINALLY listen to me (and the quality of videos of course did not change with the great RSSI).
My prior RSSI was -66 and the Ring Floodlight cam was communicating with the wireless network just fine. It was just that the video quality was really poor. After I installed an access point 2 feet from the CAM, RSSI is now great, but the video quality from the Cam remains unchanged.Ring HIDES a video quality setting from end users! Long story short, with good wifi, I complained to Ring tech support that their video bitrate (less than 1Mbps) "is not high enough to support 1080p". The Ring tech's answer was "You're right, it's not"! This same tech admitted that the Floodlight Cam has an internal "auto/720p/1080p" video quality setting that was hidden from customers, but that it was a setting he could change (not me). So he changed it from 'auto' to '1080p' and the bitrate of videos increased immediately, but only slightly.
UPDATE 2018/01/11: I just confirmed (via Ring chat) that Ring support still can set the Cams to auto/720p/1080p.A slight jump in bitrate: Now 63 second MP4's from the Ring Floodlight Cam were around 8.4 MB (or 1118 kbps). This proves that (1) the poor video quality problem was NOT my wifi, and that (2) 'out of the box', the default 'auto' video quality is not 1080p! There was a slight increase in the quality of videos (click on image below to zoom in):
Click to zoom in -- Ring Floodlight Cam 1,118 kbps quality
Once in a great while, Ring video quality is MUCH better: Once in a great while, Ring Floodlight Cam MP4's are around 13.5 MB (or 1798 kbps). These videos look MUCH better (click on image below to zoom in):
Click to zoom in -- Ring Floodlight Cam 1,798 kbps quality
THIS is the video quality that I should be getting ALL of the time. My internet upload speed at the time was 3000 kbps. I upgraded it to 6000 kbps, but that made NO difference.UPDATE: I just discovered a 63 second Ring video from my Floodlight Cam that was 18.8 MB (or 2506 kbps)! Clearly the Ring Floodlight Cam is capable of higher bitrates, so why the Cam almost always uses a bitrate less than 1 Mbps on a 6 Mbps (up) internet connection is a serious problem for Ring to immediately fix!
New Feature: Ring should allow the upload bitrate of a Cam to be set by the end user. In many situations, a bitrate of around 2.5 Mbps would work great and result in really good video quality. But there ARE situations (lots of motion through frame) where a bitrate closer to 4 Mbps is required.My internet connection: And for the record, the internet connection at all three locations is fantastic. The speeds at each house (down/up) are: 120Mbps/6Mbps, 75Mbps/6Mbps, 75Mbps/6Mbps. I have been testing Internet speeds at each location a lot lately, and I never obtained a bad result. I always see full download/upload speeds from reliable speed test websites.
My Test Procedure: (1) Make sure no one else is using the Internet. (2) Run a speed test. (3) Cause the Ring Cam to capture a video. (4) Run another speed test. In all cases, both speed tests results are great (show 6 Mbps upload speeds), but the Ring Cam video is poor quality. I have even gone so far as to monitor the bytes transferred statistics in my router -- which verifies nothing else (besides the Ring Cam) is using the Internet.Problem verified with a third party: I contacted a friend with a Ring Floodlight Cam, and a 63 second Ring MP4 was 5.8 MB (or 771 kbps). They are having the same problem!
ISSUE: Ring's reliance on 2.4 GHz wifi ONLY was a mistake: The Ring product should have been dual band -- also supporting 5 GHz. The Ring website states that the reason the Cam does NOT support 5 GHz and only supports 2.4 GHz is because 2.4 GHz has more range. While that may be 'technically' true, in reality, that ignores MIMO, wider channels, and beamforming benefits in 5G, and Ring tech support requires such a ridiculously good RSSI (100% signal quality), that you actually can't get any 'increased' range -- And how close you need to be to the router (less than 10 feet for a Netgear R6250) anyway means that 5 GHz actually works MUCH better at 10 to 30 feet.
Wider channels: 802.11ac in 5 GHz supports 80 MHz channels, or 433 Mbps. Whereas 802.11n in 2.4 GHz only supports 72 Mbps. What this means is that a poor 802.11ac wifi signal would blow away (have much more usable bandwidth) than a perfect 100% 802.11n wifi signal. [source]ISSUE: The Cam fails as a security camera: Ring itself states"The world's only motion-activated HD security camera with built-in floodlights, a siren alarm and two-way talk." So, the Ring Floodlight Cam is firstly, a security camera. However, if your Internet connection is down for any reason, you will have NO record and NO video of the security incident -- because the Cam is NOT capable of buffering and uploading the video when the Internet comes back on. Failing to record a security incident is an outright FAIL for any security camera!It was a mistake for Ring to focus entirely on RSSI 'signal strength'. Because in the end, what really matters is 'actual usable bandwidth', not signal strength.
How I tested this: I disconnected the wireless AP from the Internet (so Floodlight cam was still connected to wireless AP, but not to the Internet), walked in front of the Ring Floodlight Cam, reconnected the AP to the Internet, and there was NO video recorded in the cloud. This is simply not acceptable for any true 'security' device. It is so easy to implement simple buffering of the video (store with no Internet and transmit once Internet comes back up), that this decision (to drop videos) shows that this Cam is NOT (currently) a true security camera.ISSUE: One Cam went offline and STAYED offline: One cam went 'offline' (as reported by the Ring app) and refused to provide live view or record motion events (from May 26 6:35pm until May 31 9:45pm). But the Cam was still connected to the wireless AP -- the Cam continued to obtain an IP address (via DHCP) from my router every single day, and the Cam provided 'device health' updates to the Ring cloud. I gave the Cam five days to see if it would recover on its own and it did not. Rebooting the AP did not resolve the issue. I had to eventually reboot (power off/on) the Cam, which instantly was reported by the Ring app as back online.
This 'manual power reset' is totally unacceptable for a security camera, and I think this demonstrates that Ring rushed the Floodlight Cam out the door -- with critical bugs. When I contacted Ring support, they replied: "Our latest firmware update 1.6.71 was actually a hotfix to improve the algorithm for reconnecting Floodlight Cameras that are offline." -- so Ring KNEW that there is an 'offline' problem with the Floodlight Cam!
UPDATE 2017/08/16: The same thing happened to another one of my Ring Floodlight cams. The cam 'locked up' for days and would not recover on its own until it was hard power reset.
UPDATE 2018/03/29: I did not notice this problem for months, so I assumed that Ring finally fixed this bug. However, a few days ago, I received an email from someone stating their cam was 'hung' and today, one of my cams 'hung' again! THIS BUG IS NOT YET FIXED!
Audio+Video: Ring's MP4's have a single video track and a two channel audio track. The audio tracks use the codec and results in an overhead of around 102.3 kbps. The remaining bits in the MP4 (minus a little overhead) effectively goes to the video track.
So just knowing the file size of a Ring MP4, and video length, you can quickly assume 102.3 kbps for audio, and the rest of the kbps to video (without using the analyzer above).Ring changed MP4 encoding parameters! Analyzing Ring MP4's from May 2017 vs recent MP4's in Jan 2018, it is clear that Ring changed MP4 encoding parameters. In May 2017, videos were encoded at 30fps with a keyframe every 250 frames, or 8.33 seconds. But now in Jan 2018, videos are encoded at 15fps with a keyframe still every 250 frames, but this is now every 16.66 seconds.
Video quality improved dramatically in late 2017: The combined effect of Ring (1) doubling the MP4 bitrate (1Mbps to 2Mbps) and (2) halving the frame rate (30 to 15) resulted in video quality improving dramatically!
When I first installed my Floodlight Cam, a MP4 from the Cam had a video bitrate of 636 kbps and an audio bitrate of 102 kbps. After getting Ring to change to Cam from 'auto' to '1080p', the video bitrate increased to around 950 kbps. In Jan 2018, the video bitrate was upwards of 1660 kbps.
WARNING/NOTE: The MP4's that we see are transcoded MP4's (produced by Ring in the cloud). What format Ring uses from the Cams to the cloud is not necessarily known.
Can you legally record audio? This legal situation is very well understood when you are one of the parties being recorded. Search Google for one-party vs two-party states. However, what if you are recording a third party, and you are not present (or do not answer the ring call on your phone), so you are not a party to what is being recorded?
Can you then (when you are not present) legally record audio? If the audio recording is not disclosed, then no, you absolutely can NOT legally record audio.
Implied consent: Audio recording in a 'security' setting seems to all come down to 'implied consent'. If your use of a video and audio recording device (Ring Cam) is prominent and obvious (so do NOT hide the Cam!), and it is disclosed that you are recording audio, then any third party that stays around to be audio recorded is deemed to have given 'implied consent' for you to record their audio.
Disclosure is key: So DISCLOSE that you are recording audio by using those Ring provided stickers (seen upper right) -- which provide notice and discloses that both audio and video surveillance is taking place!
UPDATE 2019/08/12: However, equally interesting is that Ring just changed their systems to allow audio recording for a camera to be turned OFF (new app setting seen upper right)!
Or, under Windows, go into a DOS command prompt and type to see similar information.
TIP: And make sure that you are looking at 2.4 GHz access points (channels 1 to 11) and not 5 GHz access points (channels 36 to 165). Also, the advantage of the phone app is that you can physically move your phone to the Ring Cam installation point -- like against a wall for a doorbell Cam, or up high for the FloodLight Cam, etc.Install a new WiFi Access Point: If RSSI is poor, you will need to move your existing wifi router closer to the Ring Cam. Or, if that is not possible, you will need to add another wifi access point closer to the Ring Cam installation point. If possible, always connect the access point to your main router via wired ethernet.
TIP: In most cases, regardless of RSSI, I install a new access point. This allows me to set/fix a wifi channel in the AP that is unique/different from the wifi in the rest of the house. In this way, the AP servicing the Ring Cam gets its own dedicated wifi channel, and is NOT impacted by heavy wifi use on other wifi channels at the house (but it could be impacted by neighbors)! I have been buying a new "wave 2" 5GHz router for the main house and then repurposing the old router as an access point for the Ring cam. I then move as many wifi devices in the house as possible onto the new 5 GHz band (and off the 2.4 GHz band).QoS: In my main router (not AP), I set up a 'Quality of Service' rule to give 'highest' priority to the MAC address of the Ring Cam. In this way, heavy wifi/wired internet use by a family member should NOT negatively impact the Ring Cam (because the router will give priority to the Ring Cam over the rest of the house, on conflicts).Ring Cams work best with a very strong wifi signal. Yes, they do work with an 'OK' wifi signal, but I use Ring Cams as a 'security' device, and I want to guarantee very strong (reliable) signal for the Cam.Extenders: I avoid wifi extenders at all cost. By definition, they consume wifi bandwidth to accomplish their task (receive a wifi signal and then retransmit that same wifi signal). It is for this reason that I would never use a Ring Chime Pro to 'extend' wifi range for a cam. Whenever possible, always run wired ethernet and add a new 'access point'.
THE KEY for Ring cam success: A great wifi signal. A great wifi signal. A great wifi signal. Get it? Ring cams require a GREAT wifi signal -- between the cam and your router / access point:
1) Ensure a strong wifi signal: Install a Wifi Analyzer on your phone, and place your phone at various Ring cam installation spots -- and select a spot with the best / strongest wifi signal (or move your router, or add an access point)! A "dBm" value of -40 or -50 (or better) is great. A dBm value of -60 is at the limit of being OK. But a dBm value of -70 (or worse) is not good (for Ring cams).Why Ring cams require a GREAT wifi signal: Ring cams use UDP (not TCP) to transmit MP4's to their servers. If a UDP packet is lost somewhere along the way, the UDP packet is GONE (whereas TCP will retransmit it). Because of this, Ring cams are incredibly sensitive to lost packets and clearly will work best when there are no (or very few) lost packets. So, ensure a strong wifi signal to greatly reduce the risk of lost packets.TIP: You can avoid all wifi issues by using a Ring cam that supports PoE. Currently, there are two such cams: (1) Video Doorbell Elite, and (2) Stick Up Cam Elite.2) Verify good Mbps throughput: There is a new troubleshooting section below that helps you to verify good Mbps throughput. This allows you to find where upload speeds are slow -- as slow upload speeds somewhere are a major cause of Ring cam quality problems.TIP: Ring says "Requires a minimum upload speed of 1Mbps, but 2 Mbps is recommended for optimal performance". BUT, Ring cams use around 2.5 Mbps upload bandwidth per cam NOW (July 2019), and in the future, will likely use 3+ Mbps per cam. So, budget 4+ Mbps upload bandwidth per Ring cam.3) Wait for firmware update:Do NOT immediately interact with the cam after installing and setting up the cam! It is very hard to not immediately play around, but WAIT (usually just only minutes) and give the cam time to update its software (firmware). Wait until the firmware version in the "device health" in the app shows "Up to date" -- and THEN start playing around.
The problem: Most Ring cam problems (choppy audio/video, unable to 'live view', etc) in my experience are caused by the cam experiencing slow upload (Mbps) speeds (which results in packet loss). So the key question is: Where is the upload speed slow? Is the upload speed slow (1) from your cam to your network, or (2) from your network to your ISP?
STEP ONE: Test Internet upload bandwidth: First, connect a PC wired (not wireless) to your router and run several different speed tests. Refer to the "Other HTML5 Speed Tests" section on cfspeed.com. I find that Google Fiber and Comcast often provide the best (most accurate) speed test results.
The goal is to have a reliable Internet UPLOAD speed of at least 4 Mbps per camera. And hopefully you will have actual upload speeds well above that. It is now very common to see ISP uploads speeds of at least 12 Mbps.
For example, on one of my Floodlight cams with a RSSI of -56, I saw a ping test result of 22ms, which means 1000/22 or 45 Mbps. Please note that this Mbps value is actual throughput. Actual throughput is around 55% to 75% PHY wireless speed -- so PHY wireless Mbps speed is around 133% to 181% of actual throughput Mbps. Understanding wifi speeds.STEP THREE: Test speeds to/from other points in the network: There are many other points in the network along the path to the internet, so use the ping test above to test to each one of these points. Some of these devices may not like large pings, so start with a normal sized ping and gradually work up to the largest size that works. In each of these tests, you should see solid times with no lost packets. These steps were written to work with most home internet connections (but your internet connection may be different):
A factory reset is a last resort, but at one location, it helped! A factory reset of the cable modem immediately caused Ring cam bitrates to dramatically improve.A final note: Contact us (below) if you are interested in running more extensive tests. We have developed a custom program that we use internally to test Ring cams.
You can contact the author of this review by using this contact form.
These technical sections have grown so much that they have been moved to their own post.
Ring's PoE cams: In October 2018, Ring released V2 of their Stick up Cam. A significant improvement is that the 'wired' version of this cam supports PoE (power over ethernet). The only other Ring cam that (currently) supports PoE is the Ring Elite doorbell cam. Hopefully this is a very good sign and indicates that Ring will continue to add PoE into their (wired) cams!
PoE's huge advantage:No wireless issues whatsoever! Both power and ethernet enter the cam via a single Cat5 cable. Hopefully Ring will add PoE/ethernet jacks into all future 'wired' cams.TIP:Avoid Ring's own PoE adapter because the adapter only supports a SINGLE cam. Because what if you have four Ring PoE cams? Do you really want four Ring PoE adapters (each one with an electrical plug) -- No! The solution is to just use ONE PoE+ switch (note: 802.3at, NOT 802.3af) that supports multiple PoE cams. In the past, I have successfully used a single BV-Tech PoE+ switch (seen right) to power multiple Ring cams, and it works great. Just make sure to buy a PoE+ switch with enough ports to meet your needs.
Warning: Do NOT get a 'passive' PoE injector. Instead you want a true ethernet network switch (802.3at standard) with 4 (or more) PoE+ ports.
1000 feet: I had a unique Ring PoE Cam installation requirement -- install the PoE cam over 1000 feet away from the router (at a security gate), but with NO electrical power available along the way nor at the destination (camera) end!
UPDATE: Some 10/100 PoE+ switches now come with an 'extend' switch, that when enabled, claim to support PoE up to 800 feet but only at 10 Mbps speeds. I was looking for a solution that could provide faster speeds at 1000 feet!Solution: I found a 'long reach ethernet' device that actually works great AND is able to power a PoE device (the Ring PoE cam) at the far end, and works over 3000 feet: Planet LRP-101C-KIT PoE Over Coax Extender Kit [Datasheet].
UPDATE: The first thing I did is TEST. I took the 1000' spool of coax, added coax ends, connected everything up, and the Ring cam worked right away (see photo right). I also ran a speed test and got the fast speeds I was looking for. After this successful test, I dug a trench from the house to the security gate, buried the coax in conduit, connected it all back up and everything has been running rock solid since November 2017.I then power everything (both Planet extender boxes and the Ring PoE cam at the far end) with a single 802.3at PoE+ switch (I used a AMPS5E4P-AT-65) at the source end (Note: 802.3at PoE+, not 802.3af PoE).
TIP: If you are only looking to power several PoE cams (not long distance), the NETGEAR 8-Port PoE Gigabit Managed Ethernet Switch GS108PEv3 is a GREAT value (around $43), with the added benefit of being managed!
My cams were installed in 2017. In mid 2018, Ring came out with a new hardware revision of the Ring Video Doorbell Pro cam. One way to tell which hardware revision you have is by looking at the FCC ID stamped on the cam label. The first hardware revision is 2AEUPBHALP011. The second hardware revision is 2AEUPBHALP021.Expected 25 channels: Ring says that their 'Video Doorbell Pro' DOES support 802.11n in 5 GHz. And since there are 25 channels in 5 GHz for 802.11n, support for all 25 channels was expected.
Ring FCC filings disclose the limitation: But according to documents Ring filed with the FCC for that cam, the cam only supports four lower channels (36,40,44,48) and five upper channels (149,153,157,161,165) -- leaving ALL 16 remaining channels in between unsupported. [all channels list]
But what is bizarre is that Ring technical supports says that the cam DOES support DFS channels (even though Ring chat says the cam does not) -- even insisting that internal testing at Ring shows the cam working on DFS channels. But this same tech person could NOT be my cam working on DFS channels.Testing confirms the problem: And first hand testing confirms the problem with the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. When I configured my AP to use DFS channels, the Ring cam refused to connect to it.
Why? Is this a cam problem? Is this a FCC filing problem? Or is it something else? We won't know until Ring figures this out.
UPDATE: 2019/10/03: I just replaced all of my V1 Doorbell pro cams with V2 versions (Ring did this for free). Here is my experience (yours may be different) using V2 cams: The cam initially connects to an AP using DFS channels, but as some random point in time, the cam goes offline and stays offline (and power cycling does not fix). The only way to get the cam back online is to change the channel in the AP to a non-DFS channel.
New Format: At some point the Serial Number format changed.Old format:
View all recent FCC filings by Ring LLC. Here are some of Ring's products:
Decoding Ring FCC ID's: All Ring FCC ID's start with the "2AEUP" prefix, as that means "Ring LLC". Next, "BHA" means "Bot Home Automation". Next is a five character code identifying the type of Ring camera.
Due to all of the 5 GHz wifi problems that I have had with Ring products, I decided to test Ring's new Stick Up Cam Wired via wifi -- and it seemed to work (just to test wifi, as I only use that cam with PoE). However, something was unexpected. The cam connected to my router, which uses a DFS channel.
But according to all the documents Ring has filed with the FCC, the Stick Up Cam Wired does NOT support DFS channels. I double checked, and sure enough, the cam had connected using a DFS channel. That implies that the Ring Stick Up Cam Wired is operating outside of FCC approved frequencies.
I notified Ring executives of the problem on July 25, 2019 and they said they would look into it.
Clearly, the long-term solution for Ring is to have their cams support all 5 GHz wifi channels, AND for Ring to file the appropriate paperwork with the FCC to use DFS channels/frequencies.
Only time will tell to see how this is resolved. UPDATE: The public FCC filings show that Ring in Mid December, 2019 filed new permissive changes that allow the cams to use DFS channels. Issue resolved.
If you installed a Ring Video Doorbell Pro before the Spring of 2018, you almost certainly installed V1 hardware. V1 hardware has an FCC ID of "2AEUPBHALP011". V2 hardware has an FCC ID of "2AEUPBHALP021".I have to ask because Ring has REPEATEDLY offered to upgrade my two Ring Video Doorbell Pro cams to the latest version (version 2 hardware) for FREE -- even though I am well past the one year warranty.
And I have repeatedly asked Ring for what exactly has changed between version 1 and version 2 hardware, and all I get is a non-answer answer. Because if the change was minor, why waste my time upgrading. However, given how insistent Ring has been at trying to get me to upgrade (for free, past my one year warranty), I have to assume that something is wrong with V1 hardware.
And even when I contact Ring to discuss a problem with a different cam, Ring offers to upgrade my other two Doorbell Pro cams for free.
Something is definitely going on.
While Ring has NOT publicly announced a recall for this cam (that I am aware of or seen), Ring's behavior to replace V1 cams for FREE with V2 hardware sure feels like an attempt to get all of those V1 cams back in-house and replaced with V2 hardware -- and that feels like a recall!
UPDATE: 2019/10/04: The V2 cam has a metal back with small ridges that sure looks an awful lot like a 'heatsink' (creates a small airgap between the back of the cam and the wall). The obvious question is: Did V1 hardware have a problem with heat? More info:A Reddit on this issue.
This bug has been fixed and no longer works. The ONLY way to transfer Ring cam ownership is for the prior owner to authorize the transfer.
Background: Today Aug 18, 2019 I received an email from someone describing a very distressing situation. This person caught an estranged spouse on camera standing on a vehicle, resetting a Ring camera, and all of a sudden, the Ring cam was GONE from their Ring account! And the spouse tried to do the same thing to a second cam, but failed. Clearly, somehow, the spouse had transferred the Ring cam to a new Ring account. When Ring was contacted for help, Ring refused to help (refused to get cam ownership back) because the cam was now 'owned' by someone else.
Shocking test results: So I decided to test this for myself. I created a new Ring account, and 'setup' a camera that was already owned (by me; the cam listed under a different Ring account). IT WORKED. The camera was GONE from my primary Ring account. BUT, most shocking, I contacted Ring asked them to restore my 'stolen' camera -- and Ring said that they could NOT change ownership of cams -- and that the only way to get the cam back was for ME to set the camera up again!
Given that I use Ring cams to primarily keep tabs on remote locations (that I am not at), Ring's attitude of 'oh well, just set the cam up again' does not work (since I am clearly not at the cam).The flaw: Ring's fatal flaw is that Ring allows ANYONE with physical access to a Ring camera -- to remove that camera from the owner's Ring account without the owner's authorization or permission.
How? Easy, just go to any Ring cam, open the Ring app on your phone, create a new dummy Ring account, click on "set up device", and just follow ALL of the directions in the app (the app tells you to perform a critical step that I am not disclosing here)! At the end, you will see the Ring cam in your Ring app/account (and the cam will be removed from the owner's Ring app/account) and as far as Ring is concerned, YOU now 'own' that Ring camera. Congratulations!Ring's response: When I contacted Ring about this security flaw (unauthorized camera ownership transfers), their response was "We have completed the work to resolve this and will be releasing it by the end of this week".
UPDATE 2019/08/22: Ring informed me that the fix for this issue has been pushed out, and that this technique (to 'take' someone else's camera) no longer works.
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Ring has announced a new floodlight with an integrated camera called the Floodlight Cam Wired Pro. As its name suggests, the Floodlight Cam Wired Pro borrows several features from the recently released Video Doorbell Pro 2, including 3D Motion Detection with radar and a top-down view of someone’s movements in front of the camera, which the company calls Bird’s Eye View. The Floodlight Cam Wired Pro, which I will refer to as the Floodlight Pro from here on out, is available for preorder in either white or black starting today, April 7th, for $249.99, with shipments starting on May 6th, 2021. Ring is also keeping the original Floodlight Cam in the lineup at a new $199.99 price.
Like the first Floodlight Cam, the Floodlight Pro is a motion-activated, 2,000-lumen LED floodlight with a camera mounted between its two articulating lights. It has a 110dB siren, supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi, records 1080p HDR video with color night vision, and has improved microphones and a speaker for better two-way audio communication. The new 3D Motion Detection uses a radar sensor to track movement across a certain threshold that you define in Ring’s app, which is then presented as an aerial map in the recorded video clip. The Floodlight Pro is hardwired and can be mounted on a standard round outdoor junction box. Given its name, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ring has a wireless version in the works, but the company isn’t announcing anything on that front right now.
In addition, Ring is announcing the new $199.99 Video Doorbell 4, which is the latest in its mainstream line of video doorbells that can be used in a standard wired installation or run off a battery. The new model upgrades the black and white pre-roll video that debuted on last year’s Video Doorbell 3 to full color, allowing you to see four seconds of motion in color before the doorbell is pressed. It also has a new Quick Replies feature that lets you have the doorbell automatically respond to visitors when you aren’t home or otherwise don’t want to be disturbed. You can use the Doorbell 4 with either 2.4GHz or 5GHz networks.
The Video Doorbell 4 records up to 1080p video, but it lacks the square aspect ratio that I found so useful in my review of the Video Doorbell Pro 2, instead sticking with the traditional wide 16:9 field of view. The 4 also doesn’t have the Pro 2’s more advanced Alexa integration to answer the door — though, based on my testing, I don’t think you’ll miss much there.
Ring says the Video Doorbell 3 and Video Doorbell 3 Plus will remain available, though I’m not sure why you’d buy those when the 4 is out and costs either the same or less. The Video Doorbell 4 is available for preorder starting today and will be shipping starting on April 28th.
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He left the next day. I am in a hurry to inform the bored reader that soon I, with my beloved Laura, had very curious things. That turned my whole life, but everything is in order.