Security for your Security System Network - WIFI vs. Ethernet
  • I have a general question about how one sets up their security system - curious what people with more experience think...

    I've noticed many "outdoor" cameras that are Ethernet only, and it raises the question of physically exposing your network to the outside of your building (exposed ethernet cable outside the building): Ethernet vs. WIFI. I know there are other considerations besides security (speed, wiring, POE, etc) but strictly from a network security perspective, is one better than the other?
  • Good point - Ethernet wires poking out of the house could be a security risk, though it would be difficult for someone to exploit this covertly (the camera would have to be disconnected for a nefarious device to be connected to the cable).

    Many cameras allow you to mount them directly on the hole where the cable comes through the wall, so in this case the cable isn't visible and can't be easily accessed.

    Or, you could set up an entirely separate network just for your cameras. You just need the Mac running SecuritySpy to have two network interfaces: one for the camera network and one for the main network (for Internet access etc.). This also has the advantage of pushing camera traffic off your main network.

    In general, Ethernet is always going to be faster and more reliable than WiFi, especially for external cameras, as external walls of buildings tend to significantly attenuate WiFi signals.
  • Thanks for the reply Ben. I guess your only real defense in this situation is that the system would capture the attack (even if attacker is masked) - so you would know that all your cameras on the network (assuming they are on their own network/VLAN) may be compromised.

    I understand that the WIFI is less reliable and slower with it's connection, but I guess I'm wondering if a WIFI password is more secure than an exposed ethernet cable (even if only exposed after removing camera).
  • If your external wires are exposed you may well run into a number of problems before someone climbs up the wall of your house, unmounts your camera and plugs in their AttackPi. Rodents, including the charming Squirrel, may well chew your ethernet cable. Your cable may rapidly degrade from UV. the blowing wind will create stresses in your camera's ethernet jack.
    You can get cameras which are hardwired into your security system and detect tampering.
  • Agree with Ben, If some one want to destroy your ethernet cable which is attached at out side camera then he can do it easily buy if its attached with wi-fi then is too hard to destroy it.
  • Thanks for replies guys. @caseyd, do you have any examples/links of the cameras you're referring to? @SFCable, I think we read Ben's message differently. I got the impression that @Ben was endorsing ethernet over WIFI. Maybe I misunderstood.

    many axis cameras have additional input ports ( which SSpy can read ) where you could put a magnetic sensor.

    I glue my cameras to my security system via a mess of node.js, which is monitoring camera state via on-camera triggers

    some more:
  • Thanks @caseyd. I'll look into it. Just curious, have you ever used nodered?

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