mattbrunt's profile

Fri, Mar 4, 2022 2:02 AM

Why are these cameras so wildly unreliable?

I researched a lot of companies before settling on SimpliSafe. Ultimately, I'll say that I chose SimpliSafe because the price was right; I was shopping on a budget. The problem, of course, is that shopping on a budget means that you often get budget products.

My cameras are constantly disconnecting from my system, to the point that I have every confidence that if there WERE some incident at my house, I would have no footage to provide authorities.

SimpliSafe will suggest that it's got something to do with the camera's proximity to the base station or the base stations proximity to the router. Except... My house is 940 sq ft. It's about 50 ft at it's widest points. The way the rooms are structured, none of my SimpliSafe products are more than 20ft apart, and separated by at most 2 walls. If the antennae in these cheap products is too weak for THAT setup, I'd suggest the company stop making wifi-enabled products, altogether.

I'm currently trying to re-setup one of my cameras, which mysteriously disabled and reset itself. I'm literally sitting about 24" from the router, in the same room with both the router and base station, and the camera can't connect to wifi.

That has been the gist of my entire experience with SimpliSafe. Customer service's solution to the janky camera problem?

Send me a free janky camera.

Thanks, SimpliSafe for making me and my household feel so... Safe. 

Official Solution

Community Admin

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2.9K Messages

5分前

Hi Matt,

I'm really sorry to hear about your experience, and I really hope we can get this figured out soon. It could still be something to do with your WiFi setup - if not a matter of range, then perhaps your router's security settings, or the bandwidth available from your internet provider.

The latter is the more common issue, especially for those like yourself with multiple cameras. You want to make sure that you have from 1.5 to 2 mbps upload for each camera - on top of what your other devices are using.

I've gone ahead and created a Ticket with our Specialist team to reach out and get this figured out. Please keep an eye out for that call!

5 Messages

@davey_d

Thanks, Davey!

I'm on 300mbps fiber from AT&T with a Gigabit router (only relevant because the router itself certainly isn't the bottleneck). Of course, this means symmetrical 300 up and 300 down. At the most, I've got a laptop, 2 cell phones, and a TV occupying bandwidth at any given time—in addition to my base station and 3 cameras. I'll confess: I'm not in IT, and I'm not a networking specialist. Nonetheless, I suspect my bandwidth should be sufficient to handle the load fairly easily, especially since upstream bandwidth loads are so much lighter than downstream.

I appreciate you contacting the specialist. I'll wait for the call and try to remember to keep you posted on progress!

Matt

5 Messages

5分前

I researched a lot of companies before settling on SimpliSafe. Ultimately, I'll say that I chose SimpliSafe because the price was right; I was shopping on a budget. The problem, of course, is that shopping on a budget means that you often get budget products.

My cameras are constantly disconnecting from my system, to the point that I have every confidence that if there WERE some incident at my house, I would have no footage to provide authorities. I just don't have any confidence in the system's connectivity, at all. I'm paying for monitoring, and I don't even activate my system, because I've now unreasonably convinced myself that this unreliable system is going to trip over nothing, and I'm going to have an unwarranted law enforcement situation on my hands.

SimpliSafe will suggest that it's got something to do with the cameras' proximity to the base station or the base station's proximity to the router. Except... My house is 940 sq ft. It's about 50 ft at its widest points. The way the rooms are structured, none of my SimpliSafe products are more than 20ft apart, and separated by at most 2 walls. If the antennae in these cheap products are too weak for THAT setup, I'd suggest the company stop making wifi-enabled products, altogether.

I'm currently trying to re-setup one of my cameras, which mysteriously disabled and reset itself. I'm literally sitting about 24" from the router, in the same room with both the router and base station, and the camera can't connect to wifi.

That has been the gist of my entire experience with SimpliSafe. Customer service's solution to the janky camera problem?

Send me a free janky camera.

Thanks, SimpliSafe for making me and my household feel so... Safe. 

Note: This comment was created from a merged conversation originally titled Why are these cameras so wildly unreliable?

Captain

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4.7K Messages

5分前

@mattbrunt On the other side of the coin, the 30+ systems I have recommended and placed over the years. Let's be conservative and say 30; all are in operation and work fine. How do I know? At least a dozen are at the homes of family and close friends. If they hiccup, including cameras, I hear about it. Over the past 10 years, there have been 4 out of those systems (30) that I have been asked to get personally involved in where SS came up short from a support sense. One was a smoke detector that was replaced 3 times, two were Simplicams and one, the most recent, was a doorbell. In all instances, once I was in touch with a supervisor or manager, it was promptly addressed. Yeah, not batting a 1000, SS did come through each and every time. So 26 systems, no issues. Period.

Yes, I know none of this means anything to you because truth is actual experience, yours. I do suggest that you contact SS, ask the support agent to review your account history and to be called back by a specialist. Either you have incredibly bad luck with defective products (remember my smoke sensor example - a SS associated tested it himself prior to mailing it to my friend's son's house) or you run into an associate who can use more training.  I believe if you follow this process you will get you back to feeling safe.

To SS: someone should be monitoring these forums to promptly see posts like this and to proactively call the customer to address these issues. Sending more equipment and doing nothing else and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

Please post your outcome here if you have the time to see how SS did with this approach. Good luck.

(edited)

5 Messages

@captain11​ 
I'm certainly glad that you've had a lot of success. Seriously.

I did finally get the camera set up last night—updates downloaded, etc. 30 minutes later, another disconnection notice. It seemed to work for the rest of the night, however. Still no explanation for why it was suddenly necessary to treat it as a new unit. This is the one that SS sent me 6 months ago or so.

I will say that my front-door camera (I don't have the doorbell camera, just a SimpliCam angled down catching the front door and front yard) has been consistently reliable. So... 1 of 4 cameras has been stable.


I've had I suppose 3 support calls with SimpliSafe, and as there was literally no variation in their troubleshooting approaches, recommendations or solutions, I'm not entirely convinced that another call is going to produce a much more encouraging result. That being said, having read your response, I'm willing to give support another try.

Just this morning, working in my home office, I thought I'd pull up the backdoor camera to check on the dog in the backyard...

The frequency of this problem is infuriating enough, but what really sets me off is the explanatory text when I select "Troubleshoot": It's either my network is the problem, my internet provider is the problem, or there's no power. For the record, none of those has ever been the case when I've lost my camera feed. If it had been due to either of the first two, I'd of course have lost all of my camera feeds simultaneously. I feel like there should be a 4th explanation—something like, "Sometimes, our products are unstable and not terribly reliable. Eventually, the unit should be accessible, again. Just wait for it. If this persists, call us, and we'll send you another. And if it happens with that one, we'll do it again until we get it right." Now I'm being a little snarky.


Unfortunately, I don't know anyone else who uses SimpliSafe. So in the absence of real-life examples of functional, reliable systems, I've kind of convinced myself that though there is an awful lot of positive press and loads of decent-looking marketing material floating around online, SimpliSafe must be kind of a fringe product that's not widely known for a reason. I appreciate hearing about your positive experiences.

Matt

(edited)

Captain

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4.7K Messages

@mattbrunt​ Good morning Matt. Glad you got at least 1 more camera up.  I sent you a private message with a few more suggestions. Later in the day I sent out an email to about a dozen of my "Simplisafe rat pack" and several of them did mention the hassle of long updates with the firmware depending on when the simplicam was purchased and what was the current version.  On one of my replacements (bad memory chip) it did take about 5 minutes for it to update the firmware.  As it was not my first rodeo, I always wait a minimum of 10 minutes before abandoning an install attempt and trying again. Limit is 2 tries, and then I call support.  Again, the connection check tool is very valuable in diagnosing and confirming the quality of your signal connection, in terms of speed and strength. Without it, the outdoor camera is indeed a bit challenging.  Also, I must add, both of my outdoor cameras use the optional AC cable. Over the years I have never, ever liked being dependent on batteries, whether its my cell phone, laptop, tablet or any other device.  While the AC adapter is a bit pricey, it is incredibly well built (maybe a bit overly) and living in Chicagoland, I don't have to worry about climbing a ladder in 8 degree weather (- something wind chill) to replace a battery. :-)  Unfortunately, I know only one person with the solar panel but so far, it has worked as advertised for them.  If you can, please message me with an update of how your experience turns out.

Thanks and have a good weekend.

(edited)

1 Message

I agree completely and can relate to Matt's frustration. I have 2 cameras including a doorbell. The disconnecting issue is a huge annoyance. What's even more frustrating is customer support telling me I need to reset/resync all of the components to get this to work. Unfortunately for me I got these cameras professionally installed which means that i have to jump on an 8 ft later and reset them each time. It's getting to the point where I might start looking at other solutions. I guess it all comes down to if I can't depend on the components of a security system - what's the point of having this one?

Community Admin

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2.9K Messages

Hi drewc711,

Resetting the camera is certainly one possible tool for getting it connected. But since you have multiple, it seems more likely that the issue is either with the connection to your WiFi router, or how your router is handling that connection. I'm requesting a call from a senior agent to continue the troubleshooting with you.