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Ring Doorbells Can Be Jammed (& How You Can Prevent This)

Ring Doorbells are a great idea: just install them, then they will send any video to the cloud via simple WiFi. Right? Well, this is true – but it’s also true that wireless signals can be unreliable. And they can be especially unreliable when a simple WiFi jammer is used!

WiFi jammers can cost less than $10 and they can be used to stop your Ring Doorbell communicating wirelessly to your internet router, stopping any video capture (potentially of burglars) from being sent to Ring for you to view.

What is a wireless jammer?

Wireless (also called WiFi) is a great invention, offering the ability to easily access the internet without a physical Ethernet connection. This is used by phones and laptops when out and about, and also by dozens of devices around the home.

TP-Link internet router
TP-Link internet router

However WiFi – which is just radio waves either at 2.4 Ghz or 5 Ghz frequencies – relies on a fairly clear path between the device (such as a phone or smart home device) and the receiver (such as an internet router). In normal circumstances, walls and buildings will reduce the signal strength, but you should still be able to use WiFi over 150-300 feet.

But if there’s suddenly a lot of ‘noise’ in a local area, there is no longer a clear path. Now it’s worth clarifying that I mean a lot of radio noise. Since WiFi is just radio waves, if there’s suddenly loads of extra ‘traffic’ on the 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz bands, there will be no way for the wireless signal to effectively get from the device to the receiver.

And that’s exactly what a wireless jamming device is. They basically ‘shout’ loads of (radio) noise out, just like if you stood behind a radio commentator and shouted into their microphone, no-one listening at home would be able to understand anything. A detailed study in January 2021 by Michigan State University found that Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Bluetooth and cellular data can all be jammed fairly easily with various jamming attacks:

Despite the significant advancement of wireless communication and networking technologies in the past decades, realworld wireless communication systems (e.g., Wi-Fi, cellular, Bluetooth, ZigBee, and GPS) are still vulnerable to malicious jamming attacks.

January 2021, Michigan State University

It is worth noting that Wi-Fi jamming attacks are highly illegal and regularly investigated by the FCC, but they are sometimes used by organized crime to help breaking into properties by blocking wireless signals (such as from ‘smart’ WiFi cameras) so their theft won’t be recorded.

As a result, I wanted to write this article to discuss WiFi jammers more. I obviously won’t be talking about specific jamming devices or how you can use/buy them – this article is purely to help you understand the risks and how to avoid them so that your Ring Doorbell install (which is as much as security device as a convenience device) isn’t useless when you most need it.

How Ring Doorbells work

There are currently nine Ring Doorbell models (prices quoted at their full price, but they’re often on sale):

ModelInternet ConnectionPrice
Ring Doorbell 12.4 Ghz WiFi<$100
Ring Doorbell 22.4 Ghz WiFi$150-$200
Ring Doorbell Wired2.4 Ghz WiFi$60
Ring Doorbell Pro2.4 Ghz or 5 Ghz WiFi$170
Ring Doorbell Pro 22.4 Ghz or 5 Ghz WiFi$250
Ring Doorbell EliteEthernet$350
Ring Doorbell 32.4 Ghz or 5 Ghz WiFi$179
Ring Doorbell 3 Plus2.4 Ghz or 5 Ghz WiFi$199
Ring Doorbell 42.4 Ghz or 5 Ghz WiFi$199
Three Ring doorbells side-by-side in a store.
Three Ring doorbells side-by-side in a store.

As you can see from the table, all but the relatively expensive ‘Elite’ model (which is Power over Ethernet) use wireless.

This means that the Ring Doorbell captures video when someone walks to your door (motion activated) or clicks your doorbell, and then this video footage is sent over WiFi to your internet router.

From here, the video footage is sent to Ring’s servers ‘in the cloud’. They will then notify you via your mobile phone and/or your Echo devices, and you can answer straight away (e.g. if someone is at the door) or view the footage later (if it’s just some recorded motion footage which has piqued your interest).

Ring doorbells do not have any local storage, meaning that all recorded video must be sent straight to Ring’s servers – otherwise it will simply be lost.

Can you guess what the potential problem is yet..?

How WiFi jammers can block Ring Doorbells

The key point in the above section is that Ring doorbells do not have local storage, meaning that the video capture must be sent wirelessly onto Ring’s servers as soon as it is captured.

Ring doorbell wifi error on app
Ring doorbell WiFi error in the app.

If there’s any interruption to this process (such as someone using a wireless jammer!), that video footage is lost. It is a bit like a WhatsApp video call – if you try having a video call with someone and your internet connection isn’t working well, the video call will fail.

This is therefore a clear design flaw with any security system (or security doorbell) which only uses wireless, as c|net agree.

Whilst 41% of burglaries are unplanned, at least 12% are definitely planned whilst 37% are mixed (maybe thought about a little). This means that there’s probably a decent chunk of burglars in your state who have the foresight to go out and buy a wireless jammer.

Therefore if you have a WiFi-only smart doorbell and no other security device at home, a burglar who plans ahead could easily block your doorbell from recording video and then break in – without any way of you being able to identify the burglar.

How to guard your Ring Doorbell against jammers

Option #1: Have a non-wireless device

Two people standing under lots of bullet CCTV cameras
The solution: install a couple of extra (hundred) cameras. Just kidding!

As you can guess, running an all-wireless household security system has a fundamental – and scary – flaw: the wireless signal can be jammed. Heck, it also could just drop because WiFi isn’t the most reliable in general.

The Ring Doorbell Elite uses Power over Ethernet for both its power and internet connectivity needs, and hence it’s super reliable. It’s also immune to wireless jamming. Yes it’s very expensive (2-3x the price of the Ring Pro), but if your Ring Doorbell is your number 1 security device at home, you might want to consider the Elite if your budget allows.

Assuming this isn’t an option for you, when companies and the military plan out their security systems, they will always have redundancy in mind when things go wrong:

  • Have backups: no, not in the “I copied my presentation to a USB stick” kind of way. A backup device – meaning that if a primary security device fails, there’s another security device available.
  • Have fallbacks: a pro-grade device which mainly uses WiFi could have Bluetooth, if the WiFi ever failed.

How’s this helpful in our case? Well obviously a Ring Doorbell only supports one form of internet connection (either wireless, or ethernet) so ‘having a fallback’ is not really an option.

But having a backup device is an option. You should ideally have a separate, hardwired smart/CCTV camera at home to complement your Ring doorbell. Then if a burglar jams your Ring doorbell, they will still be recorded – and hopefully caught – due to your CCTV camera.

Of course, this other camera should be professional grade and thus should have an Ethernet (not WiFi) connection – otherwise this could be jammed as well.

The benefit of this approach is that an Ethernet-supporting camera can cost $100-150, meaning that such a camera plus a Ring Doorbell 1/2 will end up costing less than a single Ring Doorbell Elite.

Option #2: enable 802.11w Protected Management Frames

If your internet router supports 802.11w, you should be able to enable ‘Protected Management Frames’ in your router. This protection can help prevent a wireless device from dropping from your network.

Therefore enabling this protection might help prevent some WiFi jammers. More expensive jamming devices will still (unfortunately) work, but ones that rely on disassociation attacks will no longer succeed in blocking your Ring doorbell footage from being sent to Ring’s servers.

Option #3: monitor your network with Fingbox

Fingbox is an awesome home network monitoring tool that can enhance your network’s security in general, along with monitoring devices which drop off the network. Whilst it can’t block WiFi jamming, it can recognize these attempts and warn you accordingly.

This can therefore be a useful tool in your home security arsenal, because if you see that your Ring doorbell has been jammed, you can potentially look outside for any suspicious people or vehicles that might be the culprit.

WiFi jamming is highly illegal and can be reported to the FCC, so a Fingbox report of jamming – along with other security footage of any potential culprits – can be key in the fight to protect your home’s security.

Plus ‘knowledge is power’: if your home devices are jammed (or potentially jammed) fairly frequently, knowing this can be crucial and spur you into switching over to more Ethernet-powered security systems.

Otherwise you might just see that your Ring doorbell got disconnected overnight and not think anything more of it – something which won’t protect you if/when your house is targeted by a well-prepared burglar.

20 thoughts on “Ring Doorbells Can Be Jammed (& How You Can Prevent This)”

  1. Thank you, I have been having this problem with a particular delivery service. I now feel more informed regarding this sleazy practice and will take action.

  2. Thank you. This was great info. My mail carrier and one other delivery service seem to have the ability to be invisible. Now I know why.

  3. Thank you for the information. I know who has been jamming my Ring and Vivint systems but I now can explain it better. This person has been doing this over a year and has stolen jewelry, clothes and other items. The local police said they could not do anything about it without proof. I explained what was happening and the officer scoffed and said it was not his field of expertise.

    • Sorry to hear it Courtney, that’s concerning for sure! Yes, if your home’s WiFi starts going a little ‘crazy’ and most of your WiFi devices struggle to connect, it does sound like WiFi jamming for sure.

  4. We put up security cameras due to issues with a neighbor making false police reports. Sheriff’s office said to “put up security cameras” so we did. Neighbor doesn’t like the cameras so his he buys a jammer and begins jamming our wireless cameras. We know this because everyone but him shows up on our cameras and I have seen him pointing a black device towards our house when he drive by. I’m sure he will say it was his garage door opener but he doesn’t use his garage to park his vehicles.
    I researched the internet and found the Fingbox. I just got the system set up and am anxious to see if it will alert during his attempts to jam our cameras.
    If it does I will have the proof I need to go to the sheriff and the FCC.

  5. I just came across this article since we had our wifi jammed and cars broken into. we have an actual home security system. However, I purchased a ring elite, we had the video pro 3, to only have a ring rep tell me the elite is also dependent on wifi. But I thought it was not. I’ve actually had 2 reps say it is wifi dependent. And I’ve sent it back. Now to read it is immune to jamming I’m wondering if I should repurchase??

    • It sounds like the reps got it wrong, to be honest. The Ring Elite is definitely Power over Ethernet, providing both power and internet connectivity. One caveat to this is that you can – in theory – just plug the Ring Elite in to a power source, and then connect it over WiFi instead. But if you plan on doing this, you may as well get the cheaper Ring Pro or Ring Wired. In short, the reps are almost certainly wrong – you don’t need to rely on WiFi for the Ring Elite.

  6. I wonder if this is what is happening with my ring doorbell camera. Lately it’s been showing that there’s a video in history but I’m unable to view it, and it only happens a few times a day. Today I happened to be home and I get a person alert and go to see live view but it came up as unable to connect and the video is showing up in history but I’m unable to view it. Not sure if it’s coincidence but a neighbor we’ve had issues with in the past just happened to be leaving at the time.

    • Hey Rick, sorry to hear this. Unfortunately it wouldn’t surprise me if this was the case – Ring’s Wi-Fi antennas aren’t the best, and many general purpose Wi-Fi jammers could impact them fairly easily IMO.

  7. I’m pleased I read your article, we are victim’s of Hate crime & had a management move to safety, so security is priority.
    My friends & family have now installed WiFi video doorbells & say they will never have a problem.
    I’m glad I investigated the claims these are faultless you’re knowledge and advise has helped to decide what to install.
    Thankyou very much



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