A Wired Video Doorbell? Sign Me up!

Tod Caflisch
6 min readMar 21, 2023

March 21, 2023

If you’ve read much of my posts here you know I’m a HUGE proponent of wiring everything you possibly can in your smart home. And as Debbie and I will be building from scratch that’s our plan. I’m sure many of you are thinking ‘I have an existing home, I can’t wire anything.’ Well, you’d be surprised.

If you’re handy at all or have any home DIY experience you can run your own wiring. If I can do it with a teenager working in an attic during a San Antonio summer, so can you. You can get the details on how by checking out my previous post ‘What Do I Need to Install My Own Ethernet Cabling?’ Another option if your home has coaxial cabling for TVs is to use that wiring. My post ‘Want To Network Your Smart Home But All You Have Is Coax?’ will explain how.

Obviously some places are going to be impossible to get to and will have to be serviced by WiFi.

So why all the fuss about cabling your home? I’ve run across a video doorbell that can be networked that I’m a little excited about. The Reolink Smart 2K+ WiFi Video Doorbell with Chime has a long list of features and great video quality. This smart video doorbell produces high-quality images and comes with options not found on many competing products.

The camera has 180-degree field of view and a 5-megapixel image sensor that delivers resolution of 2560 x 1920 pixels. That’s about twice that of a standard high-definition sensor. Video bandwidth, and thus image quality for streaming, can be set at three levels. Reolink’s video doorbell features local storage recorded to a microSD Card in the doorbell itself which gives you the option whether you want a cloud storage subscription or not (cards up to 256GB capacity are supported).

The local storage option is possibly one of the doorbell’s best features because it frees you from having to pay for a subscription for video storage in the cloud. You also don’t need a subscription to unlock any of the doorbell’s other features. Those fees add up quickly and can often double or triple your total investment in the product over its lifetime.

If you do want the cloud option, Reolink offers cloud storage if you want or need to store video outside your home. The basic plan is free and offers 1GB of storage but limits you to a single camera and video storage only up to seven days. Paid plans start at $6.99 per month for up to five cameras and include a 30-day history with up to 80GB of storage. For those with security concerns, unfortunately Reolink relies on HTTPS versus end-to-end encryption for video streaming although video stored in the cloud is encrypted. All other types are data are encrypted in transit as well as at rest.

If you have or plan to (as we might) use Reolink cameras around the exterior of your home for security, you also have the option of using one of the Reolink’s network video recorders (NVR). Reolink’s RLN36 NVR costs about $212 on Amazon and can host up to 36 cameras. For most home security needs this is more than enough capacity to capture your front door and camera footage around your house. It can store up to 48TB of recordings, but you’ll need to provide your own hard drives — this will impact the overall cost of the NVR. This is another benefit of having that home network.

Recordings can be triggered by movement or by pressing a button on the app interface. For detection-based monitoring, a six-second video buffer lets you review anything that happened before the triggering event.

Several settings are available to hone the detection algorithm and reduce false alerts. Smart detection filters movement based on how close it appears to a human, while motion detection adjusts the amount of movement required to trigger the camera. Objects can also be filtered by size from small to large, and there are threshold settings for how long something must be in motion before the alarm is triggered. Detection zones can also be established so motion inside those zones is ignored. This can be useful if you have a sidewalk or street in the camera’s field of view that could get triggered every time someone walks their dog or a car drives by.

The video quality tends to be very good and as good or better than many competitors. It’s clear enough to view license plates which isn’t always possible with other doorbell cameras. And video compression doesn’t result in poor image quality which can be common in video doorbells.

Getting back to the video doorbell itself, the Reolink Smart 2K+ Wired WiFi Video Doorbell offers unusual network connectivity options I’m pretty fired up about. Due to the lack of or difficulty in getting Ethernet cabling to the doorbell location, most people will take advantage of its dual-band WiFi (2.4GHz and 5GHz) connectivity. This is an outstanding option as many security cameras can only connect on the 2.4GHz band. But as I mentioned above, I’m excited about the option to set up a hardwired Ethernet connection. Using Ethernet cabling eliminates any concerns about wireless range or congestion and reduces congestion on your WiFi network.

If you have existing 12–24-volt wiring in place from an existing doorbell, the doorbell can utilize that for power. If you don’t or don’t want to install a transformer and pull wires to the doorbell, Reolink provides a 24-volt DC power adapter that you can simply plug into an outlet. Another incredible option if you have Ethernet cabling to the doorbell is that Reolink offers a different model of this doorbell that supports power-over-ethernet (PoE). This is where electrical power is carried over the same Ethernet cable that’s used for data. With that model, you’ll need either an Ethernet switch with PoE features, or a PoE power injector.

The doorbell comes packaged with an indoor chime. The unit plugs straight into a wall outlet and connects over a proprietary radio link rather than WiFi. When someone comes to your door and presses the bell, the indoor unit will sounds a chime to alert you of their presence. Additionally, you can see them in live video in the app and chat to them. All Reolink cameras use the same app and are very easy to use.

Reolink supports both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can stream video from the doorbell to a smart display based on either of those technologies. Unfortunately there is currently no support for Apple HomeKit.

The biggest downside of the Reolink Smart 2K+ WiFi Video Doorbell with Chime, at least for people who don’t have doorbell wiring already in place, is that there’s no option for battery power. Including an AC adapter is great, but you’ll still need to pull wire to the doorbell. Apple smart-home fans will also be disappointed by the absence of HomeKit support.

To break it all down …

Pros

  • Sharp 2K video image
  • Remote chime included
  • Local video storage
  • Dual-band WiFi support
  • Hardwired ethernet option

ConsNo battery-power option

  • Video streams secured by HTTPS, not end-to-end encryption.
  • No Apple HomeKit support

If you’re looking for other options, I’ve covered other models in a previous post ‘What’s the Best Video Doorbell for Your Smart Home?’ Check here for other solutions to match your need by technology, infrastructure, integrations or budget.

What do you think about the flexibility of the Reolink Smart 2K+ WiFi Video Doorbell with Chime? I’d love to hear your feedback if you already have it. Do you have a different model video doorbell? How do you like it? How’s the video quality? How easy was it to install? Would you do anything different?

Let Debbie and I know in the comments, DMs and emails what you think. Thanks again to all those following Debbie and I through our home building journey. It’s great to hear your success stories and suggestions as we move through the process. And if you like the content I’m posting each week, don’t forget to ‘Like’ and ‘Follow.’

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In full disclosure, I’m not an affiliate marketer with links to any online retailer on my website. When people read what I’ve written about a particular product and then click on those links and buy something from the retailer, I earn nothing from the retailer. The links are strictly a convenience for my readers.

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Tod Caflisch

Smart Home technology visionary with passion for out of the box solutions for home technology integrations, focusing on efficiency, safety and sustainability.