A wireless trail camera is simply a game camera that sends pictures to your phone in one of two ways. They may utilize Wi-Fi, the same technology that allows you to surf the internet without plugging in an ethernet cable. Other wireless game cams use the same cellular networks that help our cell phones function.
Wireless game cameras can be convenient tools for monitoring the comings and goings on your property, but they are not without their issues. Ultimately, the type that will work best for you will depend as much or more on how you intend to use your camera as your budget. The cheapest wireless camera available may outperform the most expensive one if it is better suited for its user.
Because they utilize the same network of cellular towers that enable cell phones to work, cellular trail cameras can send photos over vast distances. It does not matter how inaccessible the camera is; if cellular service is available in its location, it can transmit images. This ability has potential benefits for both hunters and homeowners, neither of whom normally place their expensive game cameras in easily accessible locations.
A game cam that sends pictures to your phone should instantly appeal to deer hunters. Whether you lease or own your hunting property, image retrieval can be a hindrance. Using a cell trail camera eliminates the need to travel. As long as there is cell service in the camera’s location, you can receive your photos across any distance.
The unlimited range of cellular camera traps can also appeal to homeowners who use their cameras for security and surveillance. It is always a wise decision to place your wireless trail cam in a location that makes it difficult to see and steal. Unfortunately for the user, this also makes the SD card difficult to retrieve. A cellular trail camera lets you view your images from anywhere, even if you are away on vacation or monitoring your vacation home.
One of the most attractive functions of a cellular trail camera for many users is its ability to email a photo to its owner instantly. So you do not have to travel to access your photos, but you do not have to wait to review them either. Property owners become instantly aware of anything that is occurring on their property. This function has obvious benefits for deer hunters, but it can also be useful to homeowners.
Traveling out to the wilderness to monitor game movement keeps most hunters from checking their cameras regularly. The more distant the camera is or the more difficult the terrain, the less often it can feasibly be accessed. When a hunter returns to examine the photos a wireless deer camera captures, the trails may have gone cold. Deer can and will alter their routes from bedding to foraging for any number of reasons, but a cellular deer camera makes it possible to track their movements in real time.
The instant notification that cellular camera traps make possible is a huge benefit for the homeowner. If you can only access your camera occasionally, any trespassers it records may be long gone when you see the photos. A cellular camera trap can send pictures to your phone instantly, allowing you to notify the authorities while the offender is still on the property.
Of course, no technology is without its faults. One of the main detractions of cellular game cameras is that they require cell service to function. Typically, that service costs approximately the same amount that you would pay to add a line to your current phone service. Unlike game cameras without wireless functionality, wireless trail cams are open-ended commitments. A monthly service charge is an inevitable expense, though the data-only plans that they require are usually much cheaper than unlimited-data cell phone plans.
If you’ve tried to use your cell phone and discovered that you were in an area with poor service, you understand the limitations of cellular technology. Lack of service isn’t quite the problem it was years ago, and it is improving all the time. Still, some areas do not quite have the cellular signal that others do, which can be a bigger problem for hunters than homeowners. Before purchasing their cameras, many cellular game camera manufacturers suggest checking for service first. Your location may require at least three bars to send pictures wirelessly.
3G vs. 4G
There are two options when purchasing a cellular game camera: 3G or 4G. The “G” in this case stands for generation, so a “3G” cellular device is the third generation and “4G” is the fourth generation. Both types use the same cellular networks, but a 4G device is up to 10 times faster than a third-generation one.
Other than the previously mentioned concerns, cellular trail cams tend to work flawlessly. However, there is an impending issue that potential buyers should consider. Fifth-generation cellular devices are already coming to market, and it likely won’t be long before they take over the industry. Even when that occurs, a 3G and 4G trail camera will continue functioning. Estimates suggest that a 5G device will be around 10 times faster than 4G in real-world applications, meaning they should work instantaneously.