I want to purchase three WyzeCams with the simple goal to create a “snapshot” view of my interior cabin, furnace, and entranceway. I have NO INTERNET, cable or fiber in the area so I must use a WiFi HOTSPOT. My question is, can I ONLY activate the camera(s) for, say, 20 seconds two or three times a day so I do not use data? If so, I was hoping that I could view/snapshot capture, all three cameras at once on my app. I want the motion, etc to be turned off. Therefore, I do not believe I even require a SIM card, correct? Is this even possible? With that said, I noticed on the Community Support that an individual had NO LUCK connecting to the HOTSPOT; however, it used the HOTSPOT and connected fine with their mobile Wyze app … so, once a person departs the location without a true internet, will the cameras respond via the app? … I’m asking for anyone on this site to confirm: Can I or can’t I do what I intend? Thank you in advance.
Simple answer is No WiFi (Internet) No Service.
You can in fact use the cameras without the Internet. The rest of the story is that the cameras will work fine and be accessible by the app as long as they start on the Internet and then do not lose power or get rebooted. The hotspot can have its 3G turned off and leave WiFi on.
So your hotspot idea (assuming a 3G cellular modem/router like a Jetpack) should work fine under certain circumstances…of course you can’t expect the cameras to record anything to *the cloud" but you can get away with continuous recording and live monitoring… for a while.
The hotspot should work fine as long as it provides Internet to the cameras and app - and you need to be on the same network as the cameras when you first set them up.
The Jetpack you speak of is from Versizon. I am with T-Mobile and they have the Alcatel Linkzone 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot. You are correct about the cloud; I do not care about storying information there since I will only be “looking in” 2 or 3 times a day to see my current status of the door, window and furnace/Temperatures. So, if I understand each of your statements above correctly then:
- I need to set up the two Wyzecams using my T-Mobile Android phone, the new 4G LTE Alcatel Hotspot while I am still at my home…thus, using the same T-Mobile Network.
- Validate the cameras and Wyzecams talk to my app and all is good.
- Drive to the cabin, plug in Alcatel Hotspot, use my t-mobile android phone app, plug my two cameras in and let the cameras find my Alcatel Hotspot.Upon departure, turn off my 4G on the Alcatel but leave the Network on.
- This will be so, when I am at home, I use my Android app… NOT ON MY HOME WIFI BUT ON THE T-MOBILE DATA NETWORK, to call on my Cabin Network that will call on my cameras, to send images. Is this correct?
- When the Cabin Network calls on the cameras, the cameras will call on the 4GLTE to activate but then turn off after my Home App is closed?? This is where I do not understand the technology capabilities.
- As for losing power…that part of your comment. I am hoping the battery unit in the Alcatel will have a “smooth” transition in the case of a power outage, however, the cameras are AC operated soooo, i may be able to find an ac/ battery backup.
No hold on, once you kill the 4G on the Alcatel the cameras will not be reachable remotely, period. There is no way to tell the hot spot to turn on if you can’t reach it…
I thought you were talking about using the cameras on the same hot spot provided WiFi while you stayed there. You can’t reach the cameras remotely if they have no Internet connectivity.
However… as long as you do NOT have the cameras recording events to the “cloud” they should use relatively little bandwidth. Others here might be able to tell you how much. Then you could leave the hot spot there with 4G on and be able to reach them remotely.
I’d have to look but I think one of the scripts with Automagic is to turn on/off data with text messages. I leverage home automation via text messages to my cabin. https://automagic4android.com/
EDIT: Yep… you could do that… wasn’t sure because I have a phone that doesn’t have data but use it solely for actions via SMS.
OK. Now it/you make sense and I am 99.9% positive you are correct. Your response last night made me do research (THANK YOU!); my technical competency on this electronic stuff is low…as you probably now are well aware. The Alcatel 4G Linkzone will/should keep a WiFi connection open, with little data use, and will/should inform the Wyzecam to take a 20 second view on my app command. T-mobile also said that it will work but will take the unit back if unsuccessful.
As a note, their (T-mobile) NEST Outdoor Cam, has a back-up cellular chip in the event the WiFi stops. They told me that the Alcatel Hotspot, if the power goes off, should make an uninterrupted transition to battery back up. With that said, the Wyzecam does not have that feature but, of course, is 8 times cheaper
You could also buttress it all with a $50 to $500 UPS to keep things alive during brief power outages. Still, I wouldn’t count on this technique for anything really important; too much that can go wrong.
However @Simple’s idea above is very intriguing. I never heard of that service before, but usually plain text SMS does work even when 3G/4G mobile data is off. That sounds like a great way to accomplish what you want. Thanks, @Simple.
Edit: even better it’s just a free app, not a service.
Looks like Automagic is free now. I bought years ago… cost is now based on your phone’s SMS plan.
As an example… send a text message to do a ping to any device and then it will text you if device is online or not. Really flexible… you can make it do anything and if devices support URL calling a bonus. It also works well with Automation Manager which supports lots of IOT devices as well.
Only flaw in this plan is that these hotspot devices may not run Android at all. My Jetpack doesn’t seem to. He might have to leave a phone there instead.
My scenario wouldn’t use a hotspot at all. One would use whatever Wifi router was necessary at site and a dedicated phone left at remote site (there are some cheap burner models) with SMS that would connect to that Wifi. The phone would be the gateway to the outside world. Just some options to make everyone think what is possible. Once Starlink is fully live many of these stopgap solutions will disappear like the modem.
If phone is data capable make it the gateway for Wifi router and use SMS to turn the data connection on and off.
My reality for the last 5 years or so.
Wow. Pretty nice idea especially reading that the Alcatel Linkzone should not be plugged in full time or it may harm/fail the unit. With that said, I believe there are many simple “burner” phones that I could find that gives me a selection of data plans (talking/text, only). My concern now is will having the phone plugged in full time also cause “unit issues”? In the meantime, I like this idea and will look at phone options to leave on at the cabin and is compatible with my home Android phone
You could always put the phone on a physical outlet timer to toggle charging power on/off or use Automation Manager with a supported IOT plug to turn charging on/off on a scheduled basis.
If your scenario does not use a Hotspot (at your cabin) then how would me leaving behind a burner phone generate the connection required for my WyzeCams? I thought these cameras require a WiFi signal to link up / talk unlike a true “cellular” camera, correct??
I ask because I just returned from my cabin and I brought two android phones with me to validate your recommendations. I set up my two Wyzecams, turned on my T-Mobile Hotspot via my android s9 galaxy phone, and entered the “android wifi network / password” provided to me by my phone network connection, Once I did this, I was able to set up the Wyze app on my Galaxy S9 and my Galaxy 4 note (older one!) phones and was able to view both cameras perfectly. I then drove away from my cabin, leaving behind my S9 cell phone, which was still connected to the WiFi-hotspot that I generated, and then about 1/2 mile down the road, I activated the Wyzecam app on my Galaxy 4 Note cell phone. The connection was slow, but once connected, I was able to view my cabin cameras while in my car away from my cabin … success. However, in this scenario, there was WiFi that was generated via my cell phone hotspot. So, again, I am not understanding what you mean by “not using a hotspot at all”. I thought this was necessary unless you purchased a Cellular Camera like a Reolink, Arlo or even a Trail camera.
So, now that I am back home, I checked with the Alcatel Linkzone T-Mobile hotspot, and it does have SMS capability, but I do not think (but I am NOT a computer wiz😎) it can use the Automation app you spoke of, https://automagic4android.com/download_en.html. So I believe I will go with your “burner phone” idea. Not sure what the best phone would be to purchase, but I assume I need to make sure my current Galaxy S9 and the Burner Phone will both accept the Automagic app you recommended. In addition, I also liked your idea of the IOT outlet and it to be programmed, via the Automagic SMS, to charge when the battery is X%.
I am leaving for my cabin again in a few weeks and will need to select a LOW cost burner phone so I can have T-mobile set up a SIM for me to use. All that I need to understand/learn is if the Automagic app comes with “selections” (e.g., turn on / off data, set charger time, etc) , or if I need to be the programmer. I was reading the link you sent to me and it talks about how one requires a “root access”… again, I am clueless … at least for now, but I am confident I can learn it. I just need to do so before I depart for the cabin.
Any advice is greatly appreciated on what type of burner phone to purchase? if the Automagic app is easy for novices? and can I make the burner phone work without setting up the android wifi network/password that I did on my initial test?
Sorry for all of these questions
You could either
- leave one burner phone at your cabin with cams attached to it and then use Automagic via SMS to turn ON/OFF the data connection
- attach the cameras to a standalone wifi router at cabin with your phone defined as the gateway assuming it supports acting as a NAT gateway from LAN-Wifi-to Cell.
Sorry… not sure these days on what phones to recommend. I’m using some that are 3 or 4 years old and probably reaching replacement age.
I will look this weekend and show a sample code to get it going… it’s pretty easy to use… if this then than kind of thing.
In your first recommendation, you are saying to purchase / leave behind a burner phone as my cell connection to the outside world where the data transmission can be turned on or off using the Automagic; As I said earlier, I really like this idea. My question is, per your statement above of “with cams attached to it”, are you referring to leaving the burner phone hotspot/wifi signal on so the WyzeCam apps are connected or an actual USB cable for each camera to be physically attached to the one burner phone??
Also, when I turn the data off, via SMS, I did not think the cabin cameras/hotspot would still stay connected or isn’t this required. Maybe I am thinking too much into this setup.
In your second recommendation, it sounds like what I was initially discussing with you and Customer with respect to the Alceltal Linkzone T-Mobile hotspot/router but now adding a burner phone; this part threw me off a bit. Again, my technical competence, for now, is, as you can tell, is really bad. Either way, I am hoping to stick with the first option; I want to purchase a burner phone in the next week or so,
I would still like to pursue the “burner phone only at the cabin” plan but, as you can see above, I have some learning.
As for the “sample code” to be used in the Automagic, I greatly appreciate your time!
Burner Phone in a Wifi share mode or hotspot mode… the same
Burner Mode with Wifi turned on and shared out <-------> WYZE cams connect directly to the phone
- I am not sure how Wyze cams deal with no cloud connectivity and no wifi for extended periods of time. That is an unknown to me that could derail the scenario.
You will want to familiarize yourself with Automagic and perhaps do some simple tasks you can perform via SMS first. In this flow example as a test… a text message with 1234 turns on WIFI. There is a curve here and you will want to play with Automagic some.
You would probably need root access on phone to turn data on/off but Wifi on/off should work with non-rooted phone.
Example 2 and this one is harder to talk through but will throw out as an example
Burner Phone <—> Wifi Router (any store bought model) <----> Wyze cameras attached
(If you can get Burner phone attached to Wifi router and external gateway is defined as Burner Phone for devices). Let’s just put this example on back-burner as it requires more advanced setup.
Thank you for this detailed information. I will download Automajic on my Android S9 and run through these SMS commands on my older Android S4 Note. I found a tutorial on youtube to allow me Root access —> https://youtu.be/u4TljSE6P24. I will attempt this on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Just thinking, which is usually dangerous for me, but what if I:
- Leave my burning phone at the cabin
- Keep a mechanical “light” timer on my phone to charge it for, say, one hour everyday.
- Keep the Android Hotspot/WiFi ALWAYS ON
- Keep the WyzeCams, via the App, on OFF to keep all data to zero as the burner phone sits at my cabin.
- Back at home, open my WyzeCam App and press the ON button for each camera, view what I want, and then turn the Cameras back to OFF.
I tried this today by using only my Android Hotspot, turned my home WiFi OFF and even simulated a power outage and rebooted the “burner phone”. After it rebooted, it took about 20 seconds to find the two cameras to connect back up to the Android Hotspot WiFi. Except for what you said previously, not knowing how the Wyzecams will behave over the long-term without the cloud, I think this may work. Especially if one of the concerns of having the WiFi off for a long period will no longer be an issue since the WiFi Hotspot will always be on. I checked my data usage and it went to zero when I left the WiFI / Hotspot ON but the cameras to OFF.
Does this seen like a feasible solution or did I really overlook something and waste my morning😳?
You may want to time how long phone will run without being charged unless your phone will come back on after the power is re-applied from a dead state. You may need to do a couple charge cycles during the day. Just something to test.
Sounds like you have a workable solution… there should be a small amount of data usage even with cameras off but likely negligible.
Another remote phone option that works well is free version of TeamViewer to remotely control options on phone.
I use that to remotely manage around 10 Android phones used for various IOT operations.
Good suggestion. I’ll keep the hotspot on, with the cameras off, to see the rate of battery drop. If there is a large drain then it would be easy to program a few charges per day, Also, I found that the Android WiFi hotspot has five “timeout” settings ranging from 5 to 60 minutes but also has a “never timeout”. So I set it on that to make sure it does stay on,
I’ll keep you update on the progress and, hopefully, I do not find a snag, In the meantime, I 'll educate myself on the Automgic and the TeamViewer.
Thanks again for all you ideas and fast response times.