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Expect 4G Security Camera Cellular Data Use in Different Situations

Expect 4G Security Camera Cellular Data Use in Different Situations

4G security cameras are a versatile and reliable solution for many surveillance needs. They offer the advantage of being able to operate in locations without Wi-Fi access, making them ideal for remote areas and we have discussed when should choose it in 4 Situations Should Choose Cellular Security Camera Over WiFi Camera. However, a common concern for users is the data consumption associated with these cameras. This blog aims to explain how 4G cellular security cameras use data and what to expect in different usage scenarios.

Why 4G Security Cameras Consume Data

4G security cameras consume data for several reasons, even when they are not actively being monitored. Understanding these reasons can help users manage their data usage more effectively and choose the data plan with sim card most suit for them without wasting any money.

Standby State: Heartbeat Data Consumption

When a 4G security camera is in standby mode, which means not remote monitor by APP and not video upload to cloud server for storage, it still consumes a small amount of data to maintain communication with the cloud server. This communication is known as the “heartbeat” signal. The purpose of the heartbeat is to ensure that the camera can quickly connect to the app when needed, providing real-time access without delay. This constant connection also helps avoid the waste of channel and network resources caused by repeated connections over short periods.

The data consumed by the heartbeat signal is minimal, typically around 5MB per day. This small amount of data ensures the camera remains responsive and ready for immediate access.

Data Generate by Remote Previewing the Camera

When you access your 4G security camera remotely via an app, the amount of data consumed depends on the camera’s bitrate. The bitrate, which is the amount of data processed per unit of time, can vary based on whether you are viewing in high definition (HD) or standard definition (SD).

For a 2-megapixel (1080P, H.265 encoding) security camera:

HD Mode: the HD bitrate is approximately 2Mbps. Watching the camera in HD mode for one hour consumes about 0.9GB of data (2Mbps ÷ 8 × 60 × 60 = 0.9GB).

SD Mode: In SD mode, the bitrate is about 1Mbps, which results in data consumption of around 0.45GB per hour (1Mbps ÷ 8 × 60 × 60 = 0.45GB).

Cloud Storage: Recording Data

Enabling cloud storage on a 4G security camera means that the camera will upload recorded footage to the cloud, consuming data in the process. The data usage for cloud storage is similar to remote previewing since it depends on the bitrate of the uploaded video.

For instance, if a camera records at 1Mbps, the standard definition(SD), it is also most default transfer bitrate in cloud storage.

1 Hour of Recording: Consumes about 0.45GB of data.

24 Hours of Recording: Consumes approximately 10.5GB of data.

Local Storage Playback: Accessing Recorded Footage

When you use the app to remotely view footage stored on the camera’s local storage (e.g., a TF card), data is consumed as the footage is streamed to your device. The data usage in this scenario depends on the bitrate of the recorded video, which is typically higher than the bitrate used for cloud storage.

For a 2-megapixel camera with a bitrate of 2Mbps:

  • 1 Hour of Playback: Uses about 0.9GB of data.
  • 24 Hours of Playback: Uses approximately 21GB of data.

It is important to note that if you are viewing footage stored in the cloud, it does not consume the camera’s 4G data because the footage is already stored remotely.

Quick Summary of Data Consumption

To summarize, here is a detailed breakdown of data consumption for a 2-megapixel, H.265 encoded 4G security camera under different scenarios:

ApplicationBitrateTimeData Consumption
Standby State≈0Mbps1 day5MB
Occasional Preview (SD)1Mbps1 hour0.25GB – 0.45GB
Continuous Preview (SD)1Mbps24 hours5GB – 10.5GB
Remote Playback (Local Storage)2Mbps1 hour0.5GB – 0.9GB
Remote Playback (Local Storage)2Mbps24 hours10GB – 21GB
Cloud Storage Recording1Mbps1 hour0.25GB – 0.45GB
Cloud Storage Recording1Mbps24 hours5GB – 10.5GB


Understanding how 4G security cameras use data in different scenarios can help users better manage their data plans and ensure their surveillance needs are met efficiently. By considering factors such as standby data consumption, remote previewing, cloud storage, and local playback, users can make informed decisions about their data usage and choose the best options for their specific requirements.