The whole point of the wireless camera by surveillance solution companies like Arlo is for you, the homeowner, to be able to record security footage 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Arlo wireless cameras from Pro to Ultra are all capable of this exactly because they’re capable of connecting to the Internet.
An Internet connection allows the device to upload the footage it records on cloud servers that you can access via your smartphone app or through your laptop/desktop PC for viewing or download. This saves you the hassle of filling in a storage device to capacity since that could be damaged (especially if the camera is placed outdoors).
Further reading: Arlo Home Security Cameras Review: Protect What You Love Most
Do you absolutely need the Internet in order to make a wireless camera from Arlo work?
Can Wireless Cameras Work without Internet?
Some can and some can’t. More on this later. Suffice it to say that some smart cameras from Arlo are capable of functioning and recording without Wi-Fi, but others absolutely require it. There are Arlo cams available that use a local SD card to store footage instead of uploading it in the cloud. You won’t be able to view these recordings through your app for obvious reasons.
You’ll need to eject and put the SD card into your computer or laptop in order to view them. You can also restore Internet connectivity, but the footage you’re recorded via SD card can only be accessed by SD card. Some Arlo cameras work this way or have some partial functionality when the Internet is down, like allowing you to live viewing.
However, for the most part, most Arlo cameras require an active Wi-Fi connection. Their systems and cameras hinge on being always online to upload footage through a cloud-based system of recording. On that note, there are some SD-Card, SmartHub, and local methods of recording possible in certain cameras. However, some cameras absolutely cannot function without the Internet. Arlo Go, however, doesn’t need Wi-Fi.
Arlo Cameras That Definitely Won’t Work without an Internet
There’s a diverse range of choices when it comes to Arlo cameras. These include the Arlo Security Camera, Arlo Essential Spotlight, Arlo Essential, Arlo Pro, Arlo Pro 2, Arlo Pro 3, Arlo Pro 3 Floodlight, Arlo Ultra, Arlo Go, Arlo Q, Arlo Q Plus, and Arlo Baby Cam. Some of these require the Internet because they don’t have on-board storage or the ability to expand their storage through SD cards.
With that said, did you know that the only camera that isn’t usable without a working Wi-Fi connection to the Internet is the Arlo Baby Cam? That’s right. The rest of the cameras, from the Arlo Security Camera to the Arlo Q Plus, all have the ability to either get hooked up to the SmartHub and then link to an SD card for expandable storage purposes or have a direct SD card slot on the devices themselves.
Arlo Cameras That Sort of Work without an Internet
There are several wireless cameras from Arlo that support expandable storage for footage. Every battery-powered camera mentioned above except Arlo Baby fits that description.
- SmartHub SD Card Feature: If you use some of these models with the SmartHub, you can use its SD card feature. If the SmartHub failed to connect via the Internet, you can still keep the recordings going by saving them on a micro SD card provided by a slot on the SmartHub device.
- Local Recordings Aren’t Substitutes: Arlo specified that SD and micro SD card solutions for local recordings cannot serve as substitutes for cloud storage of uploaded cam footage. An Internet connection remains a must and their cameras are designed to prioritize a cloud-based surveillance system.
- Are Recordings Available for the App? Only the recordings done while the Internet is on are accessible through the app directly. The ones stored in the micro SD card can only be retrieved from the card itself. The cameras don’t go out of the way to access non-Wi-Fi footage. It’s strictly cloud-based in that regard.
- SD Cards Can Serve as Backup: Local storage for Arlo cameras work like this. If a camera is hooked up to your Wi-Fi and has an SD card or SmartHub micro SD card attached, all the recordings will be recorded on both the cloud and on the cards. The tangible storage options are mainly for backup.
- If The Wi-Fi Connection Fails: If you were to lose the Internet, all the footage recorded on your SmartHub micro SD card or direct SD card connection won’t be reuploaded to the cloud, even if the Internet were to return again. The cards are at least handy in keeping you recording even when there’s no Internet at the least so you don’t miss a minute of footage.
Is Arlo Go the Solution If You Don’t Have Internet Access?
The Arlo Go is a camera you can use on the go and doesn’t require Internet access by your Wi-Fi or any other means. This is a wireless device powered by a rechargeable battery or via your electrical socket when it’s plugged in. Moreover, it has its own SD card storage system handy. It uploads your data to the cloud, not through an ordinary Wi-Fi Internet connection but instead through a cellular plan or mobile data.
In the U.S., you have to be an AT&T subscriber in order to avail of the Arlo Go cellular plan and mobile-data-based cloud uploads. What’s more, the plans available for Arlo Go Wi-Fi-free uploads aren’t cheap. You’ll have to pay $4.99 for 15 minutes’ worth of HD footage monthly. It’s way cheaper to use your Wi-Fi Internet to upload HD footage up to Arlo cloud servers. At the very least, it’s more cost-effective and you’ll get more bang for your buck.
The Final Verdict
The long and short of it is that most Arlo cameras depend on an online, cloud-based system to function. They’re supposed to upload all their footage on the cloud on a rotational basis (a month’s or week’s worth of footage is uploaded at a time then it’s overwritten every week or month, so it’s prudent to download important footage you wish to have in the permanent archive. With that said, aside from Arlo Baby, most of these Arlo cameras can accept an SD card and record footage there in lieu of a Wi-Fi connection. Arlo Go, meanwhile, doesn’t require Internet access at all.
- “Arlo Go Mobile HD Security Camera“, Arlo.com, Retrieved December 8, 2020
- Tristan Perry, “Can Arlo Cameras Work Without The Internet/WiFi?“, September 1, 2020