More than ever, our world is heavily dependent on the internet. It’s to the point that most smart home devices manufactured today rely on Wi-Fi and the internet in order to operate properly.
Ring devices are one such example of smart devices that rely heavily on Wi-Fi and the internet. While there are a couple of Ring products – such as the Ring Alarm and Smart Lighting- that use rival wireless connection protocols such as LoRa and Z-Wave, the majority need the Internet and Wi-Fi in order to function.
At a time when we’re so reliant on our devices to provide our homes with security, a couple of questions come to the fore; are Ring devices completely dependent on the internet? What happens if the Wi-Fi or Internet goes out?
Ring Doorbells & Cameras: An Overview
For almost a decade, Ring has provided smart home devices to the homes and businesses of many. Their line of products includes indoor cameras, outdoor cameras, doorbells, as well as chimes to go along with these doorbells.
Ring’s Indoor security cameras are typically wired, needing to be plugged into an outlet in order to function. In contrast, the Outdoor Stick-Up cams operate using an included rechargeable battery. You can purchase extra batteries so that you can charge one battery, while the other is in use. This gives you the ability to always have a charged battery ready to go.
Ring Video Doorbells (2nd generation and newer) also have removable rechargeable batteries. When it comes to the 2020 release of the Ring Video Doorbell, however, the built-in rechargeable battery cannot be removed. In this case, when the battery is low or dies, these doorbells have to be dismounted and charged on the provided charging cord.
Most Ring devices – namely the cameras and doorbells – need a Wi-Fi connection in order to function. The exception to this rule is the Ring Doorbell Elite and the Ring Stick-up Cam Elite.
How The Ring Elite Models Work Without Wi-Fi
Unlike most of the Ring cameras and doorbells, the Ring Doorbell Elite and the Ring Stick-Up Cam Elite, use PoE (Power over Ethernet) so they do not require Wi-Fi. The Ethernet cord they’re connected with delivers both power and internet to the unit. Because these devices are connected to the internet with cables as opposed to wirelessly, the connections achieved are often more stable and faster.
However without the internet connection that the Ethernet cable connection provides, the Ring Elite Camera and doorbell cannot be set up, nor would they be able to function. They still need a connection to the internet in order to be able to communicate with the Ring app, as well as upload recorded security video to the cloud.
The Ring Doorbell Elite either requires networking knowledge or installation by a qualified professional, as it has to be hardwired into the house with the use of the Ethernet cable.
Even though they can operate without a wireless internet connection, these smart devices still require access to the internet in order to perform their various functions.
What happens to your Ring Doorbells and Cameras when the Wi-Fi is off?
Essentially – nothing!
Without access to the internet in some form or fashion, Ring Doorbells and Cameras cannot detect nor record motion. Your Ring doorbell may still ring – but it will only be heard outside from the actual device. Nothing else will be activated – not the Ring Plug-in Chime nor your alerts on your phone, nor smart home devices such as the Amazon Echo.
In order to communicate with each other, Ring devices make use of SIP technology. SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol. SIP is a signaling protocol that connects two points on an IP (Internet Protocol) network – a bit like a WhatsApp or Zoom call.
However, in order for the two points to be connected, just as the term Internet Protocol indicates, there needs to be an internet connection of some sort. Without that, the two endpoints on the network cannot communicate, and will not work.
Do Ring Doorbells & Cameras automatically recover when Wi-Fi comes back?
For the most part, yes they do.
Depending on the speed of your internet connection, and the reason it went out to begin with, it may take a few minutes before everything is back up and running at optimal speed. In general, the overall function and alert systems will be back online rather quickly and your Ring devices can connect and begin uploading back to the cloud again
Unfortunately any recordings made right before the internet went out (or during the outage) will be lost, however an hour or two’s worth of snapshot captures will be stored and uploaded to the cloud once the internet is back.
It’s worth noting however that many internet routers offer both 2.4 Ghz and 5 GHz connectivity. If your Ring device auto-connects back to a 5 GHz connection, it may be a little slower (or have a weaker signal strength) than it did before. This is because 5 GHz connections can sometimes have a poorer range, so if your devices are performing much worse than before, double check your router’s admin panel.
This should show whether your Ring camera is now connected over 5 GHz. There’s then often an option to change this back to a 2.4 GHz connection, although the method of doing this varies depending on your router model.
Does the Ring Chime ring if the Wi-Fi is off?
No, the Ring Plug-in Chime will not ring when the Wi-Fi is out. The Ring Chime requires an internet connection in order for communication to flow between the Chime and the Ring doorbell.
The Ring doorbell itself will Ring when someone pushes the button, and any hardwired mechanical chimes (such as your old doorbell unit) will continue to chime – assuming you have a Ring Doorbell that supports this feature (such as the Ring Doorbell Pro 1 and Pro 2). Besides that, no other notifications will activate.
If your Wi-Fi experiences an outage, especially for an extended period of time, you may need to develop an alternate way to check if someone is at the door, as you will not get an alert.
Can you setup your Ring Doorbell or Camera without Wi-Fi?
Unfortunately, without a Wi-Fi connection, initial set up cannot take place either.
In order to set up your new Ring devices, you need to use the Ring app. Without an internet connection to connect your device to the Ring app, the two will not be able to communicate, and therefore cannot be set up.
Do Ring Doorbells and Cameras have cellular backup?
Unfortunately no, Ring does not allow you to have a cellular backup on your doorbells and cameras. If your internet or Wi-Fi goes out, they will not be able to operate without an internet connection – and there is no option to replace said connection with a cellular backup.
The Ring Alarm system, however, does have their Protect Plus plan that enables cellular backup in the case of an internet failure – but this is solely for the Ring Alarm System.
If need be, it is possible to set up a mobile hotspot and have your Ring doorbells and cameras connect to it. This method, however, would require you to set up your Ring devices all over again, as they’d be connecting to an entirely different internet source.
If you’re only experiencing a temporary interruption of internet service, this may be a lot more hassle than it’s worth – or is even necessary. Once the internet is restored you would have to set everything up all over again in order to connect back to your Wi-Fi.
Using a mobile hotspot is also not a good long-term solution as the internet speeds are far less than traditional Wi-Fi, and depending on your service, may incur significant charges from your mobile service provider.
Can Ring Doorbells and Cameras record locally (to a NAS or SD card instead)?
Ring doorbells and cameras are entirely cloud-dependent. Because of this, they do not support local storage of any kind – not even SD cards and NAS (Network Attached Storage).
While the devices are offline, they also won’t be recording or saving video. However, whatever data you do have already saved on the cloud will not be lost.
Once your Wi-Fi or Internet connection is restored, recording and uploading to the cloud will begin once again.
Ring’s services are solely cloud-based and require an active internet connection – whether wired or wireless, in order to operate. Because of this, if you have a temporary interruption of service, your Ring devices would, unfortunately, be unusable during that time.
Once your internet is restored, however, your devices will operate normally and be able to record and upload video to the cloud again.