Ring produce a wide range of cameras and doorbells which can protect all parts of your property – inside and out. This is great, other than the fact that your house’s WiFi network may not reach far enough for all your Ring devices (especially outdoors ones) to reliably connect to it. In this case, are you able to connect to multiple home networks?
Yes, Ring’s cameras and doorbells can be connected to different home networks within your Ring app. You can also connect some devices to your WiFi network(s), and others to your Ring Chime Pro – it’s up to you. However there are some downsides to ‘mixing and matching’ WiFi networks.
Why you may want your Ring devices on different networks
Ring produce a wide range of smart cameras and doorbells: some are designed to work exclusively outdoors (such as the Ring Floodlight, and the Ring Doorbell range), some work exclusively indoors (such as the Ring Indoor Cam), whilst others can work indoors or outdoors – such as the Ring Stick Up Cam range.
What this means is that your Ring devices may be positioned throughout your property – outside your front door, inside your garage, in your hallway (for example to detect motion only when you’re out) and overlooking your backyard.
This will work fine if you have brilliant WiFi coverage throughout your whole property, but this is fairly rare. The reality for most people is that they have a single internet router, and their internet ‘signal strength’ gets weaker once they’re more than a few rooms away from the router.
This can especially be true when you step outside or go to your car, and realize that your WiFi is flicking between “no signal” and “very weak signal”. In terms of signal strength, there’s a few ways you can check this and it’s important that you do before purchasing loads of Ring cameras (since if you install one in an area with poor WiFi, you may not get any recordings from that camera).
Checking your WiFi signal strength
The number of WiFi bars you see on your smartphone is a good indicator – in the example below, I have a full signal strength from my wireless network:
If I walk around my property (both inside and outside), I can see the number of WiFi bars change – and this can help me determine WiFi deadspots around my property.
For more detail than looking at the WiFi bars, you can also download free apps on your phone’s app store which help to determine the best (and worst) places in your home for a WiFi signal.
Finally, many smart cameras and doorbells will show you the WiFi signal strength within the app. For example, with Ring you can go to a camera, click on “Device Health” and see the following:
In Ring’s case, an RSSI value of between 0 and -50 is good, whereas anything from -75 to -100 is bad. In other words, a value closer to 0 is good and a value closer to -100 is bad – confusing, I know!
It’s important to understand more about your house’s WiFi network deadspots, because installing a Ring camera here will either lead to poor quality recordings, or simply skipped recordings because your Ring camera couldn’t upload them to the internet.
One solution to this problem is to have multiple WiFi devices that extend (or “boost” your house’s WiFi coverage) – a process called WiFi extending or WiFi repeating.
How they can be on different networks
If you find that your WiFi signal is poor in some areas, you can purchase extra routers or WiFi devices that boost your house’s WiFi coverage. These devices are often marketed in a variety of different ways, but look out for terms such as:
- WiFi extender
- WiFi repeaters
- WiFi range extender
- WiFi range booster
- Whole house WiFi coverage
- WiFi signal booster
Despite the variety of terms used, most of these products fall into two main categories, WiFi extenders and WiFi repeaters. I talk about this in the first part of a recent YouTube video:
But the gist here is that a WiFi repeater is like a radio relay tower, it actually takes your WiFi signal and re-broadcasts it – with a different WiFi network name. On the other hard, a WiFi extender just takes the existing WiFi signal and makes it ‘reach further’, keeping the existing WiFi name.
But in general, they’re both very similar technologies. The main thing to know is that if you purchase a WiFi extender or repeater, you’re able to use this fine with your Ring device – whether or not you end up with a new WiFi network name or not.
In terms of how to set up a Ring device on a new network, I cover this in a separate video I recently done but the gist is that as part of the setup process, it’ll ask if you which WiFi network to connect to. Just make sure you choose the new one if the Ring camera is closer to that new WiFi network.
If you already have a Ring device setup, Ring may ask you whether you want to connect to that other device’s WiFi network:
In my case above, I knew that my new Ring camera was out of reach of my BT-9XA5GC network, so I clicked “No” and chose one of the other listed WiFi networks behind it.
As you can see, it’s fairly straightforward to have multiple Ring cameras on different WiFI networks. Your Ring cameras, and the Ring app, deal with this really well. This is the exact setup I have and I’ve had no issues at all.
Alternatives to having multiple home networks
Whilst connecting Ring cameras to different WiFi networks works fine, if you have a big property you might end up with 4-5 different WiFi networks – and this can be frustrating to manage at times (“I’m in my garage, what’s the WiFi password for the garage router again?!”).
Thankfully there are some alternatives to using WiFi extenders (or “WiFi boosters”), and they result in you only having one WiFi network to connect to no matter where you are in your house.
A few of the best methods available to you are:
- Use a Ring Chime Pro. The Chime and Chime Pro plug into a wall socket and they make a ringing sound when your Ring Doorbell is pressed. This is a great product for ensuring that you hear the doorbell go wherever you are in the house.
I have a Ring Chime by my backdoor so I can hear my doorbell even when I’m in my backyard.
One of the benefits of the Ring Chime Pro (over the Ring Chime) is that you can connect your Ring devices to it, allowing you to easily extend your WiFi reach with minimal effort.
As it turns out, the Chime Pro is actually a WiFi extender under the hood, but you don’t need to worry about this – it’s super easy to connect your Ring devices to during the setup process, and you don’t need to remember loads of new WiFi passwords with the Chime Pro. The app takes care of all the setup process for you.
- Use Google WiFi or a similar whole-house mesh WiFi product. The way these devices work is that they use a technology called WiFi mesh to extend the reach of your WiFi network without the need for multiple WiFi networks.
You simply plug some WiFi extension points into your wall sockets, and the mesh WiFi technology takes care of the rest. This leads to more stable internet connections than the WiFi extender/repeater technologies that I mentioned earlier, since each mesh WiFi point will strengthen the overall reliability of your WiFi network (a bit like a spider’s web gets stronger as more and more parts of the web are spun).
- Run Ethernet to your devices. I’ve spoken before about power over Ethernet and this continues to be a favorite of mine.
It’s been long proven that a hardwired link (Ethernet) will always be more reliable than a bunch of 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz radio waves floating around (WiFi).
By running powered Ethernet to compatible Ring devices, you can do away with the need for WiFi extenders/boosters completely – and you don’t need separate power cords either. Both the Ring Doorbell Elite and the Ring Stickup Cam Elite support power over Ethernet, and this solution guarantees that you won’t have any issues with WiFi deadspots.