Baby monitors that use your Wi-Fi connection to function are basically ubiquitous these days. And it’s little wonder why; Wi-Fi itself is considered the norm, and nearly every household that can afford it has a working Wi-Fi network, so why not make use of that for something like a baby monitor?
Of course, there can be problems with this approach. For one, what do you do when the internet’s out? If you rely on a baby monitor to monitor your infant when they’re asleep, you need it to work all the time, not just when the internet’s on.
So if you’re worried about any of this, and wondering if Wi-Fi is essential for baby monitors, then keep reading, because that’s exactly what we’re looking at today.
Here’s If Baby Monitors Need Wi-Fi:
Most baby monitors require a Wi-Fi connection to work. But there are some that don’t need a Wi-Fi connection to function, but rather use the 2G/3G network to transmit data. But these are not very popular and are quite expensive when compared to ones that require only wi-fi.
Do All Baby Monitors Require Wi-Fi?
In a word: no. While Wi-Fi baby monitors are incredibly common these days, this wasn’t always the case, and nor is it the exclusive reality today.
While many manufacturers make baby monitors with Wi-Fi in mind, there are also dozens of Wi-Fi-free options that use simpler technologies to help you stay abreast of your baby’s comfort, safety, and happiness.
Which type of baby monitor is right for you—or if you even need one at all—is a highly personal decision that depends on you and your child’s needs, your specific circumstances, and your budget.
With that in mind, keep reading and we’ll do our best to inform you of the options and let you make that important decision for yourself, armed with as much knowledge as possible. After all, what’s more important than your child’s wellbeing?
Can Baby Monitors Use an Ethernet Cable for Internet?
Just like using Wi-Fi vs. other wireless communication technologies, the ability to plug your Baby Monitor into an ethernet port for an internet connection is something that definitely exists but depends entirely upon which monitor you choose.
Just as there are Wi-Fi monitors out there, and non-Wi-Fi wireless options as well, there are also a variety of hard-wired models on the market, some of which use ethernet cables to communicate with each other through your local network.
There are a few advantages to this approach that lead to some parents choosing it over wireless options. While it can be somewhat less convenient to have to figure out a wiring solution, hard-wiring the connection can effectively eliminate interference and signal loss issues.
How Fast An Internet Connection Do Baby Monitors Need?
The internet speed required for Wi-Fi and ethernet baby monitors depends entirely on the specific model of monitor we’re talking about.
Specifically, monitors that feature a high-definition (often 720 or 1080p) camera feed can struggle to function on most home internet connections, whereas audio-only or standard- to low-definition camera models will work just fine.
So unless you’re paying for top-of-the-line internet speeds and are confident in your ISP’s ability to consistently provide them, it might be best to stay away from high-definition camera models, as appealing as the feature may sound.
If a camera feed is important to you, though, just opt for something lower-definition. An HD camera is not really necessary in any case and standard definition is more than sufficient to check on how your child is doing at any given moment.
Read our article about can someone slow down my wi-fi?
What Happens If My Wi-Fi Falls Out?
In theory, as long as both ends of the baby monitor setup are set up properly on your home network, the monitor should continue to work over your Local Area Network (LAN) connection even if the internet goes out.
If you’ve ever had the internet go out at the office but you could still send documents to the printer or share files with co-workers on the local network, it’s the same principle here. The monitor still has a signal from the receiver and vice-versa through your LAN.
That being said, we say “in theory” because this is one of those things we can’t verify for you 100% simply due to the fact that there are countless models out there and without personally testing them all, we can’t say for sure if every Wi-Fi or ethernet baby monitor would keep working when the internet went out.
Why Do People Choose Non-Wi-Fi Baby Monitors?
Baby monitors that don’t use the internet at all actually used to be the norm. Using a Wi-Fi or ethernet connection for baby monitors is a relatively recent idea, and while it certainly has its advantages, there are many reasons parents might opt for more traditional options.
For one, if you want to be absolutely sure that your baby monitor will always work whether you have internet or not, sticking with a standard radio model (using the same kind of technology as walkie-talkies) is a solid bet.
While internet-based models should theoretically work over your LAN even if the internet goes out, many parents don’t want to take that chance and opt to sidestep the issue altogether by not using the internet for their monitor in the first place.
Furthermore, as absurdly villainous as this might sound, Wi-Fi baby monitors are vulnerable to hacking attempts.
While we’re not entirely sure who would do such a heinous thing as to listen in on someone else’s baby monitor, do you want to take that chance? Many parents don’t, and choose internet-less baby monitors for this reason.
Finally, Wi-Fi monitors are subject to non-malicious interference as well, and general network issues that crop up with all networked devices from time to time. Understandably, many parents would prefer not to have to troubleshoot their baby monitor’s connection every time the network experiences some silly error.
5 Baby Monitors That Don’t Need Wi-Fi
With all this in mind, you may be wondering where you can find a Wi-Fi-free baby monitor, and which ones are any good. To help you out in making this assessment, we’ve compiled a short list of some solid options, though do note that this is far from exhaustive.
- VAVA Baby Monitor 5″ HD: Remember when we said high-definition camera feeds would slow down your internet? Well, since this model uses its own frequency and not your Wi-Fi, you can have your cake and eat it too with a 5″ 720p screen. It even has a two-way talk feature so your baby can hear you too!
- DXR-8 Infant Optics: This model is compact and highly portable without sacrificing the ability to check on your child at any time with both audio and video. And of course, it doesn’t use an internet connection of any kind.
- Summer Infant Pixel Zoom HD: This non-Wi-Fi baby monitor actually allows you to control the camera angle and zoom remotely, and even notifies you if your baby moves outside a specified area.
- Babysense Compact Video: Babysense offers a variety of solid products, and this one offers similar features to many of the above options (including two-way talking!) at a lower price point if you’re on a budget.
- Vtech Audio Baby Monitors: Speaking of budget-friendly options, if you’re not sold on the necessity of a camera, you can get audio-only monitors like these options from Vtech for even less without sacrificing quality. Audio-only used to be the standard for baby monitors, and there’s no reason it can’t still work today.
As you can see, there’s no shortage of alternative options to Wi-Fi baby monitors. After all, Wi-Fi baby monitors are a relatively new thing. The original options on the market didn’t need Wi-Fi, and there are still plenty of options today that don’t either.
These 5 options are only a small sampling of what’s available, too, so we hope that they help give you a jumping-off point and enable you to find the best baby monitor suited to you and your child’s unique needs and situation.
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