How WiFi Cameras Work

How to Use WiFi Cameras

WiFi camera setup can vary depending on your camera's manufacturer. Two steps exist on all models for all models: setting up access to your home WiFi and setting up the location you want your pictures to go.

Most WiFi cameras will guide you through this process in their instructions or on the screen itself. Certain cameras have photo sharing Web sites set up already, meaning you'll just need to go online to pick a username and password, and you'll be done. Others may require you to first connect the camera to the computer, where you'll set up the same features using your keyboard instead of an onscreen interface on the camera itself. You set up WiFi-enabled SD cards in this way as well, by first connecting the card to your computer before inserting it in the camera.

Your WiFi camera should have a switch to enable the wireless local area network (WLAN), which gives the camera access to the network and allows you to send the pictures off to wherever you've chosen them to go. Different cameras are going to function differently depending on their own features and how you set them up. Some will require the push of a button to upload pictures while others will do so automatically when a WiFi hotspot is located. It's also important to keep in mind some public WiFi access spots require a sign-in or an acceptance of a terms of service agreement, so you may need to accept these or type your password in before the camera will upload your pictures. If you're using the Eye-Fi memory card in a situation like this, you'll need to first set up the networks' log-in passwords while installing the card in your computer, that way it will automatically log in when it locates secure networks.

For now, WiFi-equipped cameras still include a USB cable and connection so you can hook it up to your computer if you choose. Likewise, most of these cameras still use a memory card for storage, so card readers will continue to be useful and necessary for direct connection to a computer.

Your camera may come with a CD featuring programs for photo editing or for camera setup. Not all cameras come with this software, nor is it generally required unless your camera needs to interface with your computer for WiFi setup before you can use it.

It might sound like a lot of work to set up a new WiFi-equipped camera, so we'll look at the benefits as well as the downsides in the next section.