Will Blink Cameras Work With A Hotspot?

Blink is a security camera company owned by Amazon that is targeted at providing a viable smart home monitoring solution for consumers on a budget.

If you’ve been dabbling in the idea of integrating smart security tech in your home, this is a solid choice to start with.

A Blink security camera is a unique option thanks to the fact that its batteries are power-efficient and able to run for up to two years while using just two AA Li-Ion batteries.

Its efficiency is further showcased by the option for local storage.

This way, you’ll never really need to constantly micromanage for it to work well.

There’s no need to pay for a cloud subscription service, and its video and audio capture are pretty feature packed as well. Evidently, there’s a lot to love about Blink Cameras.

Blink outdoor cameras are actually pretty simple with how they operate. As a wireless and weather resistant device, it can be used indoors and outdoors. If you’re looking to get one, here are a few things you should know:

  • If you opt to install your camera outdoors, you’ll still need to plug in the required Blink Sync Module 2 device indoors. 
  • Your Blink Outdoor Camera will communicate with this Blink Sync module in order to operate effectively. 
  • With the included batteries and Wi-Fi, it sends alerts and records video clips from 5 to 60 seconds when triggered by motion.

Featuring 1080p full HD video quality at a 110-degree field of view, two-way audio alongside night vision, there’s barely anything that’s bound to avoid detection and subsequent capture when the motion is triggered.

According to some Blink Camera users and trusted stores selling the security cameras, this is possible. If you opt to use a mobile Hotspot with your Blink security camera, you’ll also need to be aware of the fact that possible delays should be accounted for. These delays are usually between 20 to 30 seconds before your phone receives a notification.

Although the Blink Camera system can work with a cellular network connection, it is not recommended as hotspots usually experience variable speeds and are heavily reliant on your current location and the signal strength. This level of unpredictability could jeopardize the intended level of security behind the use of Blink Cameras.

To run the Blink Camera mobile application:

  • You’ll need an iOS mobile device with version 12.5 or higher
  • An Android device running version 5.0 or higher

A non-cellular 2.4 GHz password protected Wi-Fi network and high speed internet connect (Fiber, Cable, DSL) with a minimum of 2 Mbit/sec upload speed. 

This is a pretty helpful recommendation as it gives an estimate for anyone wondering “how much WiFi does a Blink Camera use?” “how fast is the Internet on my  cell phone?”

So let’s see what the average user might get if they are in the US..

Firstly on 4G networks

What is the average speed of a 4G network in the US?

And how does that compare to the 2 Mbit upload speed?

According to research statistics from Lifewire, the 4G network speed of popular Mobile Carriers are pretty suitable for the Blink Camera software. Here are some stats for the upload and download speeds that you can use as a reference in Mbps (Megabits per second):

Verizon – 36 Mbps download, 15 Mbps upload

T-Mobile – 23 Mbps download, 16 Mbps upload

AT&T – 25 Mbps download, 11 Mbps upload

Sprint – 12 – 30 Mbps download, 7 – 8 Mbps upload

Not bad eh?

 These upload speeds are bound to be more than enough for an average user with a Blink Camera.

But what about 5G?

What is the average speed of a 5G network in the US?

And how does that compare to the 2 Mbit upload speed?

5G technology in America is still in its infancy, so the speeds seen across the carriers today are only going to get better with time.

Verizon – 67.1 Mbps download

T-Mobile – 71 Mbps download

AT&T – 75.6 Mbps download

Sprint – 70 Mbps download

That’s even better.

And so taken together most people’s experience using their Blink camera with a personal hotspot should be more than adequate. 

But most of us are tied to plans with limited amounts of data.

And so, how much data might your Blink camera use?

Blink Cameras are a great option if you’re looking to enjoy the perks of a smart home with low data consumption. 

With Blink, you’ll only ever consume 750-KB of data for every 5-second clip. Depending on how much motion is recorded, the Blink camera will store that data until you opt to delete it, or after a 60-day period.

The retrigger time lies between 10 – 60 seconds, and you can customize the exact time within the settings app. If you have a lot of pets at home, the camera is likely to get triggered more often than in a home without any unintended triggers for the motion detector.

At the highest, you’ll probably observe 1.6 GB of data usage in a day. This figure is likely to be below 500 MB for a typical household without pets though.

Unfortunately, no Blink camera will work without an active wifi connection. 

That goes for the older Blink cameras or the latest models. 

And if you are thinking, as I was, that version 2 of the Sync Module changes this then you are sadly wrong.

The main difference between Sync Module 1 and Sync Module 2 is that the latest version provides the ability to save any footage to an attached USB drive.

But you still need a working Internet connection in order to view the videos that are stored on the USB drive. 

It’s a complete bummer but there is just no way around it.

But this begs another question. 

So we have established that an ancient or modern Blink camera won’t be able to send clips or notifications without an active wi-fi…

My over-active brain needs to know if the camera will continue to record clips when the wi-fi is down and will then send them when the connection has been re-established.

And the answer to this would be a resounding “no”.

Blink cameras don’t continue to record without wi-fi because the cameras do not have any storage within them. 

If at this point, you are scratching your heads, in the next section I will briefly look at the role of the sync module.

What is a Sync Module and how does it work?

For those optimists out there who thought that the whole point of a sync module (first or second generation) was to provide some functionality when there was no Internet, I bring only bad news.

It seems that the main role of the Sync Module is to act as a go between between a Blink camera and the wi-fi (and beyond that to the Blink servers.)

The genius of the module is that it does most of the “heavy” communication and processing between the camera, wi-fi and servers so that the camera itself doesn’t have to.

With the upside being that the battery life of the camera is massively increased.

And you can tell that the Sync Module is a hard worker because it needs to be plugged directly into one of your electrical sockets- and never turned off!