Blink cameras are a popular option for affordable, easy-to-use home security cameras. Many models, like the Blink Mini and Blink Outdoor, are completely wireless and operate on battery power, making them very convenient to install anywhere around your home.
However, Blink cameras rely on WiFi to stream video and send alerts.
So a common question for users is whether the cameras will still work if you only have a mobile hotspot for internet access instead of a traditional WiFi router.
Below are the factors determining whether Blink cameras are compatible with a mobile hotspot.
Blink cameras connect to your home’s WiFi network to be accessed remotely via the Blink Home Monitor app on your smartphone or tablet.
The app lets you view live streams from the cameras, receive motion alerts, and save video clips to the cloud.
Without a WiFi connection, the cameras cannot send data back to Blink’s servers in the cloud. They must be connected to your phone’s local network to pair with the Blink app.
So to work with a mobile hotspot, the hotspot would need to create a WiFi network that your phone and Blink cameras can all connect to.
Streaming live video from security cameras can use a significant amount of data.
Blink states that each camera can use between 200 and 900MB of monthly data, depending on motion frequency and video settings.
Mobile hotspots tend to have much lower data limits than a home broadband or cable internet connection.
For example, a mobile hotspot on an unlimited data plan may be capped at 30GB per month.
With just two or three Blink cameras streaming regularly, you could hit that 30GB cap within a week or two.
So bandwidth is an essential consideration if relying solely on a mobile hotspot.
You’ll need an unthrottled hotspot with unlimited high-speed data to support multiple Blink cams. Throttled speeds could disrupt the video feeds.
When placing Blink cameras around your property, the range of your mobile hotspot’s WiFi signal must also be evaluated.
Blink states its cameras can operate up to 40 feet from the WiFi router or access point. However, walls, obstacles, interference from other devices, and construction materials can all impact signal strength.
If you want cameras at the far edges of your home’s lot, the hotspot must be centrally placed to reach them. You may need WiFi range-extending accessories to get full coverage. Outdoor cameras placed too far from the hotspot’s broadcast point will need help to maintain a consistent connection. Placement is key when relying on a mobile hotspot’s inherently limited wireless range.
One other consideration with mobile hotspots is that most have a limit on the number of devices that can connect simultaneously. Entry-level hotspot devices may only support 5-10 WiFi connections at once.
If you want to set up several Blink cameras in different positions around your home, make sure your hotspot can handle that many concurrent connections. Cheaper hotspots might choke with more than a couple of cameras streaming and pinging the network continuously.
For a decent Blink camera setup, a higher-tier hotspot that can handle at least 10 connected devices would be recommended.
Reliability and Uptime Issue Of a Mobile Hotspot
With security cameras, you generally want continuous 24/7 operation and recording. Relying solely on a mobile hotspot likely means occasional disruptions in internet connectivity and camera streaming will occur.
For example, 4G LTE coverage can be spotty in rural locations. Hotspots rely on cellular towers, which can go offline due to power failures, technical issues, or network congestion. There are more failure points than a hardwired home internet connection.
Ensure you have reasonable expectations around uptime and reliability when using a mobile hotspot. There will likely be occasional offline periods in which your cameras will miss recording. Pair the hotspot with a backup WiFi router connected to your internet modem or another hotspot on a different cellular network for higher reliability.
With careful planning, Blink cameras can functionally operate on a mobile hotspot network. The hotspot needs unlimited high-speed data, sufficient wireless range for your camera placement, and support for multiple device connections.However, there will always be some inherent trade-offs versus using a traditional wired home internet connection. Expect occasional disruptions in connectivity and footage with a hotspot-only setup.If reliability is critical or you need many cameras, running ethernet cable or installing permanent WiFi routers may be better than relying solely on a mobile hotspot. But a quality hotspot can provide adequate connectivity for essential home monitoring with a few Blink cams in many circumstances.