Quick answer: No, the Essential line of Arlo products do not require a base station. Buyers can connect to their Arlo Essential device using an existing Wi-Fi router with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. However, Arlo recommends using one.
Arlo’s smart security systems are innovative and budget-friendly. Their Essential line of devices consists of wired and wireless doorbells and security cameras that are easy for beginners to install and use. In fact, the Arlo Essential Doorbell snagged the top spot over the other best smart doorbell cameras out there. While other devices from Arlo require a base station, smart hubs are optional for Essential devices.
What are base stations and smart hubs?
Base stations and smart hubs are devices from Arlo and other security companies connected directly to your home router. They create their own network providing storage of recorded video. Base stations have internal storage or the ability to connect external storage, so they don’t rely on cloud services for video playback. Cameras used with a base station are wirelessly connected to it versus each camera being directly connected to your home’s Wi-Fi network — as would be the case if you didn’t have a base station.
In addition, Arlo notes that having cameras connected to a base station means the devices use a separate frequency to communicate with each other. This can be helpful if you are using a shared Wi-Fi network.
Do Arlo Essential devices need a base station?
Arlo’s Essential devices do not require a base station or smart hub, which is great for anyone just dipping their toes into the smart home pool. Some of Arlo’s other higher-end security cameras, like the Arlo Wire-Free or Arlo Pro Wire-Free camera models, do require a base station, which can create a bit of confusion.
Regardless of need, Arlo recommends using a base station for these budget-friendly products under the Essential line, which includes wired and wireless indoor and outdoor security cameras, and video doorbells, like the Arlo Essential Wireless Video doorbell.
The primary benefit of using an optional base station with an Essential camera or doorbell is the ability to save audio and video locally. While all Arlo video recordings can be stored in the cloud, you can use a base station to store your recorded video as a second location. They can also be used as primary storage if you don’t have an Arlo Secure subscription. If your cameras are connected to a base station, and your internet goes out, recordings are stored locally and not in the cloud. This can prevent any interruption of recordings if your internet connection is lost.
What are the potential downsides of an optional base station?
The main downside of using an optional base station is the added cost to the entire system. Base stations and smart hubs can add a hundred dollars or more to the cost of the whole system. If you don’t use the Arlo Secure subscription, it will still take you several months to recoup the cost of purchasing the base station.
So when it comes down to it, the choice is really up to you. While the Essential line doesn’t require a hub, it may be worth grabbing one if you want to avoid paying. Of course, your options aren’t limited to Arlo, but if you don’t want to be tied down to a hub, you’re in luck here.
Arlo Essential Wired Video Doorbell
No hub necessary
A budget-friendly security option
The Arlo Essential Wired Doorbell features an impressively wide 180-degree viewing angle presenting video in full HD for maximum clarity. The doorbell has two-way audio capabilities to talk directly to someone at your door.