Ring Floodlight Cam Review|
duckware.com/ring -- June 5, 2017 -- Version 3.1a (updated July 17, 2018)
UPDATE April 6, 2018: I now recommend Ring cams for most people. Yes, the
cams still do have some minor annoying remaining issues, but I have seen steady improvements over the
last year as the video bitrate has been significantly increased (from 0.75 Mbps to now to around 2.5 Mbps)
and as firmware continues to get updated, and as newer revision hardware
Most of the cam problems found in this review have been fixed by Ring.
Please DO give Ring products a
try (I now have thirteen Ring products installed in various places) -- BUT purchase Ring from
a retailer that has a "no hassle" return policy (like Home Depot, etc) -- just in case you run
into a show stopper problem (or you don't like the resulting quality).
TIP: Make sure you purchase an unopened box (security seal
not broken) -- as I once made the mistake of not noticing I had purchased an 'open box'
(returned) item (that was missing minor items)!
THE KEY FOR RING CAM SUCCESS: Ring cams require a GREAT wifi signal -- between the cam
and your router / access point:
1) Strong wifi signal:
Install a Wifi Analyzer
on your phone, and place your phone at various Ring cam installation spots -- and select a spot
with the best / strongest wifi signal! A "dBm" value of -40 or -50 (or better) is great. A dBm
value of -60 is at the limit of being OK. But a dBm value of -70 (or worse) is not good
(for Ring cams).
2) Good Mbps throughput: There is a new troubleshooting section
below that helps you to verify good Mbps throughput (from the Ring cam to your wifi network).
This allows you to find where upload speeds are slow -- as slow upload speeds somewhere
are a major cause of Ring cam quality problems.
The Ring Floodlight Cam Review: The
Ring Floodlight Cam
is a cloud-based security camera -- with floodlight, siren, and two-way talk.
Ring Floodlight Cam press photo
Videos are uploaded to the 'cloud' LIVE via your internet connection
and saved for 60 days (with a subscription plan).
I installed and tested three Ring Floodlight Cams at three different homes in the summer of 2017.
The first was installed on May 6, a second was installed on May 21, and a third was installed on May 22.
This review documents my first hand experience that I had with
the Ring Floodlight Cams for over a month of extensive testing...
The bottom line: The Ring Floodlight Cam is a great product idea
and has a TON of potential, but
the Cam is NOT ready for prime time due to (1) poor video quality,
(2) significant reliability problems, and (3) the numerous other bugs encountered.
UPDATE: Ring has resolved most of the video quality issues (by significantly increasing
the video bitrate).
The Floodlight Cam 'mostly' works, but it is sure frustrating that the Cam does NOT
produce "1080p HD video" out of the box, as is claimed.
If Ring fixes all of the bugs disclosed in this review,
the Floodlight Cam will in fact be a great product that I could then highly
recommend to everyone.
On May 25, I noticed that I could no longer view recorded/cloud videos from all Cams.
The 30-day trial for cloud video recording stopped working.
The response from Ring was: "we have just been informed there is an issue with the recordings
where some are recording and some aren't registering. However our engineers are working on the
situation as we speak". As I was doing extensive testing, I could not wait -- I got off
the trial and signed up (paying) for cloud recording (which fixed the problem). Not a good impression.
Hey, this is NOT "1080p HD video" quality! What sold me on the idea of this product was that the Cam
was advertised (see product box right) as a security camera that takes "1080p HD video".
Ring Product Box promises "1080p HD Video"
I've installed true high end 1080p security systems before. I know what video quality
to expect from a "1080p" system.
However, the reality is that the video quality of the Cam 'out of the box' is nowhere near
"1080p HD video", and Ring tech support actually acknowledged that in writing! See further below.
The Ring videos ARE 'sized' to 1080p HD size (1920×1080), but
the quality of the resulting videos are NOT HD (the bitrate is too low / compression
is too high). Here is an example of the very poor quality I see -- notice the significant
'blocking' and ghosting (blue jeans leaves a blue trail):
650×440 crop from Ring video - notice bad blocking/ghosting - NOT 1080p HD quality
A great comparison: Watch
this YouTube video
fullscreen on a large 1080p HDTV (not your phone) --
but set the YouTube video quality to 144p,
and that is around the video quality I got from my Ring Floodlight Cam!
And the YouTube video at 480p is WAY better quality than what I see from Ring Floodlight Cam.
The gritty details: One 63 second MP4 from the Cam was 6.3 MB (or 868 kbps).
The 480p YouTube video above uses 770 kbps. Now set the YouTube video to 1080p HD quality.
The video now looks fantastic, but it also dramatically increases bandwidth to
2358 kbps (3 times more bandwidth)!
Ring's problem: Ring states in product documentation 'in the box' that they only need 1 Mbps
upload bandwidth for the Ring Floodlight Cam. 1 Mbps is 1000 kbps. But that 1 Mbps limit
dramatically limits the quality of videos that the Cam will produce!
Just think about it. If what Ring claimed were actually true -- "1080p HD Video" in under 1 Mbps --
that blows away what Netflix or YouTube can do by a LOT. But we know that Ring videos use
H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, which is a well known industry standard -- So, no, not true.
How YOU can calculate Ring MP4 bitrates: Download a Ring video, multiply the file size
(in bytes) by 8 and divide that by the number of seconds in the video to obtain 'bps'.
Divide the answer by 1000 to get 'kbps'. Or divide the answer by 1000000 by get 'mbps'.
Note that this results in a combined audio+video bitrate.
The result: 'blocking' and significant 'ghosting' on moving objects:
Notice the significant 'blocking' in the first video frame
(click on image to zoom in and see the blocking -- especially the palm trees in the background against
the blue sky) -- But you must look at this frame on a 'large' PC (or even HDTV)
screen and not on a small phone screen (where it is very hard to see detail):
Click to zoom in -- Ring Floodlight Cam 868 kbps quality -- notice significant 'blocking'
Ring tech support blames wifi (RSSI) for the bad video quality:
Ring technical support is both amazing -- for being available 24x7 via phone
and chat (which I prefer so I have a written record) --
and sometimes amazingly wrong.
When I contacted Ring support about the poor video quality, they blamed wifi RSSI for the poor video
quality and asked for the RSSI (wifi Received Signal Strength Indicator) value in the
"device health" screen, and stated "RSSI needs to be at a level of -44 for the device to function"
(RSSI has a scale from 0/best to -100/worst; see table right).
Source: Netgear app
UPDATE: It turns out Ring was wrong. My cam RSSI was just fine. It turns out that
Ring simply had set a bitrate for my cam that was WAY too low.
But a RSSI of -44 dBm means Ring requires a signal strength of 100% (5 out of 5 bars),
which quite frankly, is not realistic! To actually obtain -44 dBm, I needed to be within 10 feet line-of-sight (no walls)
to my Netgear
R6250 access point.
[Source: "Netgear WiFi Analytics" app; a great tool in this regard; see table
right generated from this tool; also this resource]
Ring sent me a "Chime Pro" (a wifi extender) for free, but when I tried to set it up,
all I got was a cryptic "Setup didn't complete" error message. Even Ring tech support
could not get the Chime Pro set up and working!
UPDATE: Ring admits that their own internal (daily!) 'iperf' performance tests
from my Cams to their servers shows a 6 Mbps upload path to the Internet (and that the
Cam should be using a bitrate nearer to 2 Mbps, not the 1 Mbps that is seen. Ring
My fix: Install wireless APs to dramatically improve RSSI: My quick fix to get past Ring support blaming my wifi was
to install a wireless access point right next to the Floodlight Cams. Finally, with
a great RSSI (-32 to -40), tech support would now FINALLY listen to me (and the quality of videos of course
did not change with the great RSSI).
My prior RSSI was -66 and the Ring Floodlight cam was communicating with the wireless network just
fine. It was just that the video quality was really poor. After I installed an access point 2 feet
from the CAM, RSSI is now great, but the video quality from the Cam remains unchanged.
Ring HIDES a video quality setting from end users! Long story short, with good wifi, I complained
to Ring tech support that their video bitrate (less than 1Mbps) "is not high enough to support 1080p". The Ring tech's answer
was "You're right, it's not"! This same tech
admitted that the Floodlight Cam has an internal "auto/720p/1080p" video quality setting that
was hidden from customers, but that it was a setting he could change (not me). So he
changed it from 'auto' to '1080p' and the bitrate of videos increased immediately, but only
UPDATE 2018/01/11: I just confirmed (via Ring chat) that Ring support still can
set the Cams to auto/720p/1080p.
A slight jump in bitrate: Now 63 second MP4's from the Ring Floodlight Cam were around
8.4 MB (or 1118 kbps).
This proves that (1) the poor video quality problem was NOT my wifi, and that
(2) 'out of the box', the default 'auto' video quality is not 1080p!
There was a slight increase in the
quality of videos (click on image below to zoom in):
Click to zoom in -- Ring Floodlight Cam 1,118 kbps quality
Once in a great while, Ring video quality is MUCH better: Once in a great while, Ring Floodlight Cam
MP4's are around 13.5 MB (or 1798 kbps). These videos look MUCH better
(click on image below to zoom in):
Click to zoom in -- Ring Floodlight Cam 1,798 kbps quality
THIS is the video quality that I should be getting ALL of the time. My internet upload
speed at the time was 3000 kbps. I upgraded it to 6000 kbps, but that made NO difference.
UPDATE: I just discovered a 63 second Ring video from my Floodlight Cam that was 18.8 MB
(or 2506 kbps)!
Clearly the Ring Floodlight Cam is capable of higher bitrates, so
why the Cam almost always uses a bitrate less than 1 Mbps on a 6 Mbps (up) internet
connection is a serious problem for Ring to immediately fix!
New Feature: Ring should allow the upload bitrate of a Cam to be set by the end user.
In many situations, a bitrate of around 2.5 Mbps would work great and result in really
good video quality.
But there ARE situations
(lots of motion through frame) where a bitrate closer to 4 Mbps is required.
My internet connection: And for the record, the internet connection at all three
locations is fantastic. The speeds at each house (down/up) are: 120Mbps/6Mbps, 75Mbps/6Mbps, 75Mbps/6Mbps.
I have been testing Internet speeds at each location a lot lately, and I never obtained a bad result.
I always see full download/upload speeds from reliable speed test websites.
My Test Procedure: (1) Make sure no one else is using the Internet. (2) Run a speed test.
(3) Cause the Ring Cam to capture a video. (4) Run another speed test. In all cases, both speed
tests results are great (show 6 Mbps upload speeds), but the Ring Cam video is poor quality.
I have even gone so far as to monitor the bytes transferred statistics in my router -- which verifies
nothing else (besides the Ring Cam) is using the Internet.
Problem verified with a third party: I contacted a friend with a Ring Floodlight Cam, and
a 63 second Ring MP4 was 5.8 MB (or 771 kbps). They are having the same problem!
BITRATE UPDATE 2018/07/10: Ring cams now use an 'adaptive' bitrate algorithm. Ring told me "Streaming bitrate is
managed by adaptive bitrate algorithm based on network connection quality and wifi condition
and depends on input video picture type (static scene or motion, light condition, day/night,
etc.) ... Usually bitrate does not go higher than 2.5 Mbps in current production firmware."
ISSUE: Ring's reliance on 2.4 GHz wifi ONLY was a mistake:
The Ring product should have been dual band -- also supporting 5 GHz.
The Ring website states that
the reason the Cam does NOT support 5 GHz and only supports 2.4 GHz is because 2.4 GHz
has more range. While that may be 'technically' true, in reality, that ignores MIMO
and beamforming benefits in 5G, and Ring tech support requires
such a ridiculously good RSSI (100% signal quality), that you actually can't get
any 'increased' range -- And how close you need to be to the router (less than 10 feet for a
Netgear R6250) anyway means that 5 GHz actually works MUCH better at 10 to 30 feet.
ISSUE: The Cam fails as a security camera:
"The world's only motion-activated HD security
camera with built-in floodlights, a siren alarm and two-way talk."
So, the Ring Floodlight Cam is firstly, a security camera. However, if your Internet connection
is down for any reason, you will have NO record and NO video of the security incident
-- because the Cam is NOT capable of buffering and uploading the video
when the Internet comes back on. Failing to record a security incident is an outright FAIL
for any security camera!
MIMO: And range is only half the story. The other half of the story is actual
usable bandwidth. Because MIMO and channel bonding is very common in the 5 GHz band, actual
usable bandwidth in 5 GHz with MIMO (and low signal strength) can be MUCH better than
2.4 without MIMO (and high signal strength).
My laptop at 30 feet connects to my Netgear R6250 at over 500 Mbps with a
RSSI of -60 (88% signal strength) and works great -- at over 500 Mbps!
5 GHz has much better speeds
Beamforming: This 5G technology increases wifi range.
5 GHz capacity: In the US, 2.4 GHz has only 3 non-overlapping
20Mhz channels whereas 5 GHz has 25 non-overlapping 20Mhz channels (see full details far below)!
The 2.4 GHz band is quite simply way too crowded. [source]
2.4 GHz range is a HUGE disadvantage if you live close to neighbors:
There are just too many devices using 2.4 GHz, and with close neighbors (condos and townhomes),
increased range is actually a huge disadvantage, because you see all of
your neighbors wifi devices -- and you all must SHARE the same 2.4 GHz band!
At one summer vacation townhouse, I see 30 wifi radios/BSSID in the 2.4
GHz band. It does not matter if 2.4 GHz has increased range, because in the middle
of summer, the 2.4 band is so crazy busy, you can't get bandwidth to actually
transmit a MP4 wirelessly to your router (and then to the cloud) fast enough.
2.4 GHz is plagued by non-wifi interference: And worse of all, 2.4 GHz is is
plagued by non-wifi interference. Just using a microwave can kill the 2.4 wireless band.
In one house this happens to me, but in another house it does not -- so this issue is
How I tested this: I disconnected the wireless AP from the Internet (so Floodlight cam
was still connected to wireless AP, but not to the Internet), walked in front of the Ring Floodlight
Cam, reconnected the AP to the Internet, and there was NO video recorded in the cloud.
This is simply not acceptable for any true 'security' device. It is so easy to implement
simple buffering of the video (store with no Internet and transmit once Internet comes back up),
that this decision (to drop videos) shows that this Cam is NOT (currently) a true security camera.
ISSUE: One Cam went offline and STAYED offline: One cam went
'offline' (as reported by the Ring app) and refused to provide live view or record
motion events (from May 26 6:35pm until May 31 9:45pm).
But the Cam was still connected to the wireless AP -- the Cam continued
to obtain an IP address (via DHCP) from my router every single day, and the Cam provided 'device health'
updates to the Ring cloud.
I gave the Cam five days to see if it would recover on its own and it did not.
Rebooting the AP did not resolve the issue.
I had to eventually reboot (power off/on) the Cam, which instantly was reported
by the Ring app as back online.
The Ring Floodlight Cam IS a great 'tool', but it is NOT a 'security' camera -- because
it can easily miss and not record security incidents.
Ring cams must buffer video when the internet is down.
I was told by a Ring executive that Ring would like to do this at some point
in the future. Ring must make this a priority -- since a true 'security' camera must ALWAYS
(eventually) record a security event, period.
This 'manual power reset' is totally unacceptable for a security camera, and I think this
demonstrates that Ring rushed the Floodlight Cam out the door -- with critical bugs.
When I contacted Ring support, they replied: "Our latest firmware update 1.6.71 was actually a
hotfix to improve the algorithm for reconnecting Floodlight Cameras that are offline."
-- so Ring KNEW that there is an 'offline' problem with the Floodlight Cam!
UPDATE 2017/08/16: The same thing happened to another one of my Ring Floodlight cams. The cam 'locked up' for days
and would not recover on its own until it was hard power reset.
UPDATE 2018/03/29: I did not notice this problem for months, so I assumed that Ring finally
fixed this bug. However, a few days ago, I received an email from someone stating their
cam was 'hung' and today, one of my cams 'hung' again! THIS BUG IS NOT YET FIXED!
- NEW 2018/06/21: With ambient light, the cam thinks nighttime is daytime:
The lights on the Ring Floodlight cam do NOT come on with
motion/recordings. The problem appears to be (update: confirmed) that the light sensor
on the front of the Floodlight cam (seen below right) is tricked by the ambient light in the scene into thinking it is
'daytime', when in fact, it is clearly nighttime. If the IR LED's on the front of your
Floodlight cam are OFF at night (very visible red dots), you have replicated this problem! As a result, on
motion/recordings, the lights on the Ring Floodlight cam will NOT come on.
Here is an example of the Ring Floodlight cam thinking it is daytime:
Click to zoom in -- Ring Floodlight cam thinks this is 'daytime'
- UPDATE 2018/01/02: The lights on my Floodlight Cam 'strobe' in very cold weather:
I suspect that in some (early?) revisions of the Ring Floodlight Cam, the lights on the
Cam 'strobe' (or flash/pulse) in very cold weather (like 9°F), even though the Cam
is technically rated
for -22°F to 120°F. This first time this happened, chat support asked
me to power reset the Cam. After multiple resets, the issue want away, but I
now believe that was just a coincidence due to warming temperatures at the time. The next day, just as
temperatures went down again to 9°F, the Cam started strobing, again. Chat support
now blamed 'low voltage' (it measured normal/fine), even though the Cam is rated
to work at 100-240V. A Google search reveals that other people are seeing this
(a YouTube video),
so this sure seems like a hardware component problem with the Cam (relay
that turns lights on)?
UPDATE 2018/01/05: This appears to be almost certainly a temperature issue
with the Cam. This morning, as temperatures dropped again to 10°F, the
problem cam back, and more importantly, went away as temperatures warmed up!
This behavior was replicated again due to cold temperatures on 2018/01/06
and on 2018/01/07 -- and was not replicated on 2018/01/08 when
temperatures were not cold enough. For me, this verifies a temperature
At the problem location, I also have a brand new (later revision) Floodlight cam
(on the same wiring) that does NOT have the strobing problem in cold temps. My
guess is that Ring knows about this issue and has fixed it in later revisions
of the floodlight (or that a component supplier briefly supplied a bad component)?
Ring Floodlight Cam fails to capture car leaving driveway
- The Ring Floodlight Cam OFTEN fails to record motion!
At one house, the Cam overlooks a driveway
(with motion triggering on virtually the entire visible frame). I see
the Cam record two people walking and getting into the car (right). The 63 second video ends, and there are
NO other recorded videos -- even though the car then leaves, the Cam fails to capture the car leaving!
I then go into a 'live view' and the car is gone!
UPDATE: This bug now actually happens very frequently, after Ring changed the default
recording time from 60 seconds to 30 seconds. I often see a video of people
approaching a car in the driveway (to leave), but then there is often NO video of
the car actually leaving the driveway.
UPDATE: This bug now happens less frequently after Ring changed the 30 second videos
back to 60 second videos.
- Some 'security' incidents are simply NOT recorded at all:
As a test, I turned on motion alerts and ordered Pizza. The Ring app on my phone never
alerted me when the pizza was delivered to my front door and there was NO VIDEO RECORDING
OF THE PIZZA DELIVERY IN THE RING CLOUD! Strangly, the Cam did record the delivery guy leaving.
UPDATE: This still happens once in a while. I suspect the ring cam is 'hung up' and clears itself
later. There is still room for improvement here.
- Two way talk did not work at all:
This feature not working is not something that I care about that much (if there is a security
incident, I want the videos to go back to), but when I did
test it out over several days, it did not work. Voice from app to Cam worked, but there
was no voice from Cam to app (same result at all locations and tested on multiple phones).
UPDATE: This now appears to be fixed -- so this was clearly a bug (software problem)
that Ring fixed (and not a hardware problem).
- Sound in videos is VERY problematic:
Sometimes there is NO sound at all for an entire 63 second
video. Other times, the first few (4-5) seconds of the video has no sound. I can find no video
with sound in the first couple of seconds of the video.
UPDATE 2018/01/04: The first several (4) seconds of videos never have sound for me. And then
after that, you do get sound, but the sound is NOT synchronized to the video -- it is
'time shifted'. Ring needs to make this a priority to fix. There is no reason that audio+video
can not be perfectly synchronized.
UPDATE 2018/03/07: I noticed that most of my cams now have sound starting immediately. It appears
Ring is pushing updates out that fix this issue.
- Inability to set house address:
During install, the app auto-detects your house address. It is impossible to change this
auto-detected address. The app provides a way to set/change the address, but it does not work
AT ALL (not during install, nor after the fact).
UPDATE: This bug appears to be fixed.
Ring Floodlight Cam fails to record videos to the cloud
- Cloud Recording Failure:
All of a sudden, 47 days after signing up for
cloud video recording (and 7 days after charging my credit card for service for 30 days),
on July 11, 2017, cloud video recording for all three cams FAILED
(see right). And worst of all is that Ring's status.ring.com
did NOT show any problems -- which indicates that Ring's 'status' website is not accurate.
This problem went away one day later.
UPDATE: I have not seen this happen since.
- Blank videos V1:
There are Floodlight Cam videos recorded in the cloud that are 100% black (strangely,
for exactly 40 seconds). Why? What failed? Ring technical support told me to just
be patient and that the videos would eventually appear. I checked a week later and
the videos are still black. I then checked back 38 days later and the videos are still
UPDATE: This still happens one in a great while, but a LOT less frequently.
- Blank videos V2:
There are videos recorded in the cloud that are 100% white. There is sound, but NO video.
UPDATE: I have NOT seen a repeat of this issue, so I assume Ring fixed this bug.
- Blank videos V3:
There are Floodlight Cam videos recorded in the cloud that have 25 seconds of no
motion. I can see a person walking, and then that person freezes in mid stride for
25 seconds (the MP4 progress bar continues to advance), and then after 25 seconds,
the person instantly vanishes. Why?
UPDATE: I have NOT seen a repeat of this issue, so I assume Ring fixed this bug.
- Live view has issues:
Multiple times "live view" failed (app complained that it
could not connect to the Cam), only to later find that the 'live' video was recorded
and exists in the cloud.
UPDATE: Live view now almost always works right away, but once in a while
there are still problems.
Clearly behind the scenes Ring must know WHERE the problem is. Be much more customer
friendly and disclose to the end user what went wrong. I would rather see an accurate
error message rather than a blank black screen.
Ring Floodlight Cam Favorites Failure
- 'Favorite's via web browser do not work -- at all:
The Ring interface has the ability to
mark videos as a 'favorite'. One day I selected favorites and saw them all.
The next day, I clicked on favorites and not a single video showed up!
Ring instead displayed a "You don't have any favorites. To add a
favorite click the star icon next to an event." This bug was with the web interface,
not the phone app.
UPDATE: This is still a bug and is NOT FIXED.
Ring Web Interface is not formatted properly
- Web Interface formatting:
There are major formatting (too much white space; video too small) problems in the
web interface used to review captured videos. To the right is an example of what
I see in my web browser on a Dell notebook PC with a 1920×1080 display.
UPDATE: This is long-standing bug that is still NOT FIXED.
- Power outage problem:
After a power outage, the lights turn on and STAY on. You must MANUALLY turn off
the lights via the Ring app. Very annoying! Apparently this is a 'feature' for
people who want to hook up the cam to a real light switch (turning the lights and
recording on/off at will) -- but this ignores the most common use of the cam
(a 'security' product that is ALWAYS ON).
Honestly, how many people buy an expensive 'security' Cam just so they can turn the lights
on the cam on and off with a light switch? Ring needs to make this a configurable setting
in the app (after a power failure, turn lights on: yes/no).
- Motion Zones are NOT accurate:
Configure motion zones on a phone with a 2220×1080 screen and then review the zones
on a phone with a 2560×1440 screen -- and the motion zones have MOVED. Because
the zones 'move' depending upon the aspect ratio of the phone screen being used, who knows
what motion zones the Ring Cam actually uses! Below is the SAME motion zone on two different
phones. So is the motion zone (that the Cam uses) to the edge of the video frame or past
the edge of the video frame -- who knows?
UPDATE 2018/06/25: I just noticed that this issue appears fixed. Not sure when the fix was implemented.
- The Ring cams require a GREAT Wifi signal:
The cams don't work at a distance that my notebook computer still works great. The
Ring cams apparently require a GREAT Wifi signal (70% signal strength or better)
in order to work properly.
Ring should consider adding wired ethernet to all of its 'wired' (plugged into
electricity) devices. Second best would be to add 5 GHz support to ALL cams.
- Zoom: You can 'zoom' into 'live view' video on the phone app, but if you playback
any previously captured video, you can NOT zoom in. Annoying.
UPDATE 2018/01/22: I noticed today that I can now zoom into video playback!
MP4 Analyzer: Use
this online web based MP4 analyzer
to analyze Ring MP4 vidoes.
The missing ethernet jack:
Quite simply, the Ring Floodlight Cam is missing an ethernet jack.
Tech support would not listen to my 'video quality' concerns until the RSSI on my Cam was at
least -44 (or better).
The only way I could obtain this RSSI was to install a wireless access point right next to (just feet away)
the Cam. Which meant I had to run ethernet cable to the Cam. So I now have the Cam outside, and a
wireless AP inside, less than two foot away from the Cam. That is crazy. Just provide an ethernet
jack on the Floodlight Cam at that point!
Speed Test Problems:
The Ring phone app sends people to bandwidthplace.com to test Internet connection speeds. But
something is very wrong with that site -- as the site reported I had a download speed of 3 Mbps,
whereas two other speed test sites reported a correct 120 Mbps.
I was told by Ring that bandwidthplace.com is known to be inaccurate, but Ring is still
using that site. I personally use
because Comcast has tons of bandwidth (they are the biggest broadband company in the US),
and their speed test has always (so far) provide me with accurate speed test results,
even on mobile devices.
- Pulsing in Videos:
When Floodlight Cam videos are played back on a large (non-phone) screen, there is a very
noticeable 'pulsing/stutter' in the video every second. This may be a real issue, or just related
to the incredibly low MP4 video stream bitrate?
As of Jan 2018, the 'pulsing' in videos is still there, but is not as noticeable
with a 2 Mbps MP4 bitrate. Ring needs to find out why this is happening -- there should
be NO noticeable periodic 'pulsing' in videos, which indicates an algorithm error.
- Firmware upgrade:
The steps Ring publishes to upgrade the firmware in the Cam don't work. Why not simply
add a button into the app to do this? Also, there should be a button in the app to
'reboot' the Cam.
Sadly Ring has removed Firmware version information from the app -- and now only
just displays "Up to Date" for the Firmware version.
- Time gaps:
There is some strange maximum video length of 63 seconds, and motion immediately after that may not
trigger a recording to the cloud. With motion events longer than 63 seconds, I see a 63 second video
recorded, then nothing (no other video). OR, I see a 63 second video, and then another video that starts
many seconds later (a time gap).
2017/07/07 UPDATE: The Ring Floodlight Cam appears to have switched to a maximum video length of
around 31 seconds, which now makes this issue even more pronounced. I now see a lot more
missing time gaps between videos.
UPDATE: At some point in later 2017, Ring switched back to 60 second videos.
It is bizarre that Ring cuts off videos at 63 seconds when it clearly knows there is still
'motion' in the video. Rather than creating a second 63 second video (with a several second gap
between the videos), just keep the first video going!
- Ignoring 5 GHz:
Ring (tech support, their app, etc) does not understand the 5 GHz wifi exists and is very
common. Support will ask you to run tests against your wireless router, but then they
don't check (verify) to see if you are actually connected at 2.4 GHz (most devices, when faced with
a dual band router, prefer to connect at 5 GHz instead of 2.4 GHz). So when Ring asks you
to test speeds, you may be testing 5 GHz speeds, not 2.4 GHz speeds, and not even know it!
Apparently the Ring Doorbell Pro/Elite are (currently) the only Ring device that DO support 5G.
I have not yet tested these devices on 5G. UPDATE 2018/03/28: I have just tested the Ring Doorbell
Pro on 5 GHz and it appears to work very well (wifi speed between router and cam is very fast).
All Ring devices must support 5GHz. I don't know if it is true (if it would translate to Ring devices),
but everyone claims that at least on phones, 5 GHz is MUCH more power/battery efficient than 2.4 GHz.
When I asked tech support if the Floodlight Cam supported MIMO (and if so, should I buy a MIMO
wireless AP), the answer was 'that is proprietary and internal information we can not disclose'.
That attitude hurts Ring customers. Because if the Ring cams do actually support MIMO,
that helps in deciding which MIMO (or not) access point to purchase.
In a chat in Dec 2017, Ring admitted that Ring Cams DO NOT support MIMO! But I don't know
if that is true, because sometimes, tech support that I have received via chat has been
Regardless, MIMO is very important because it is a direct bandwidth multiplier (and consequently,
it also cuts transmit time 50%, 66%, or even 75%). I hope that when Ring designs 'version two'
of their products, that they include 5 GHz support in everything, with MIMO support.
Floodlight Cam product documentation inside the product box states
"For an optimal experience, we recommend Internet speeds of at least 1Mbps", but
the Ring website in the 'Floodlight Cam FAQ' states
"For best streaming performance, we recommend 2 Mbps upload and download speeds".
And yet with a verified 6Mbps up internet connection, the Ring Floodlight Cam refuses to use
more than 1Mbps, resulting in horrible video quality. Something is going on here that Ring must fix ASAP...
UPDATE: Ring has changed something as the Cams now do seem to use 2Mbps instead of 1Mbps, which
has dramatically improved video quality.
UPDATE 2018/04/02: I now see some of my cams using 2.5 Mbps, which again dramatically improves
Now Ring, PLEASE provide a setting that allows me to customize the Mbps rate for each of
my cams! I want to tune the Mbps rate on a per-Cam basis. Many I would set to 2.5 Mbps.
And a couple I would set to 4 Mbps.
- WiFi Roaming:
I just found out that Ring devices are dumb (Ring support told me this) when it comes to multiple
wireless access points
with the same SSID (wifi roaming). Ring devices just blindly connect to any random AP with a matching SSID
and do not pay attention to the signal strength (or effective bandwidth; or if the AP has a working internet
connection) of the AP.
Most client devices (phone, tablets, notebook computers, etc), DO automatically (smartly) switch.
UPDATE 2018/01/01: I was told by Ring (but I have not yet tested) that a Ring cam
'will roam to the strongest signal IF it determines the signal it is on is not adequate'
-- but I have not yet tested nor verified this.
Why this matters: Because Ring devices can connect to a far away weak/slow AP when there
is a strong/fast AP right next to (installed just feet away from) the Ring device!
This actually happened to me, which is why I discovered this issue.
Also, it sure would be nice if the Ring devices were smart enough to 'hunt' for an access point
with the best internet connection speed. Consider the case of many access points, all
with the same SSID, and maybe one AP of many has no internet.
- Video Size:
Why does this
report that the video stream in Ring Floodlight Cam MP4's
is 1909.89×1080 stretched to 1920×1080?
- Motion Alerts are slow:
Why does it take several SECONDS for my phone to alert me to motion on a Cam? This instead should
easily be nearly instantaneous.
I can connect to and download an entire simple web page in less than 0.623 seconds with 2.4 GHz wireless
(duckware.com home page using Google Chrome, 24 requests, and looking at the F12 Network waterfall). So
Ring sending a simple notification from the Cam into the 'cloud' and back to a phone should actually be
much faster than this. So why is it so slow?
- Alphabetic ordering of Cam names:
In the phone app, Cams are grouped first by doorbell cams, then by security cams, and then alphabetic
within each group. However, in the web interface, the Cams are not alphabetic within each group (Cams
appear 'random'). Annoying since I have ten Ring cams.
- Videos are still being processed indicator:
The app prevents you from clicking on a video that is still being processed in the cloud
(it does not put a 'right arrow' on the video until it is ready). However, the web app
puts a 'right arrow' on every video, even those still processing in the cloud -- and you
then get a "This video is processing" error message.
Audio+Video: Ring's MP4's have a single video track and a two channel audio track. The audio tracks use
the mp4a.40.2 codec and results in an overhead of around 102.3 kbps. The remaining bits in the MP4
(minus a little overhead) effectively goes to the video track.
So just knowing the file size of a Ring MP4, and video length, you can quickly assume 102.3 kbps
for audio, and the rest of the kbps to video (without using the analyzer above).
Ring changed MP4 encoding parameters! Analyzing Ring MP4's from May 2017 vs recent MP4's in Jan 2018,
it is clear that Ring changed MP4 encoding parameters. In May 2017, videos were encoded at
30fps with a keyframe every 250 frames, or 8.33 seconds. But now in Jan 2018, videos are encoded at
15fps with a keyframe still every 250 frames, but this is now every 16.66 seconds.
Video quality improved dramatically in late 2017: The combined effect of Ring (1) doubling
the MP4 bitrate (1Mbps to 2Mbps) and (2) halving the frame rate (30 to 15) resulted in video quality
When I first installed my Floodlight Cam, a MP4 from the Cam had a video bitrate of 636 kbps and an
audio bitrate of 102 kbps. After getting Ring to change to Cam from 'auto' to '1080p', the video
bitrate increased to around 950 kbps. In Jan 2018, the video bitrate was upwards of 1660 kbps.
Another big jump: And now in April 2018, I regularly see video bitrates around 2.5 Mbps.
Ring is IMPROVING the MP4 bitrate over time: Ring cam video quality has improved
dramatically over time. At least for my cams, I saw a clear change from Ring using around 0.75 Mbps
in upload bandwidth in May 2017, to using around 2.0 Mbps in upload bandwidth in late 2017. Then again
in early 2018, some cams appear to now use around 2.5 Mbps in upload bandwidth.
Ring must change all cams to use 3 Mbps.
WARNING/NOTE: The MP4's that we see are transcoded MP4's (produced by Ring in the cloud).
What format Ring uses from the Cams to the clould is not necessarily known.
This information is NOT legal advice, and should NOT be construed or
considered as legal advice.
Can you legally record audio? This legal situation is very well understood when you are
one of the parties being recorded. Search Google for one-party vs two-party states.
However, what if you are recording a third party, and you are not present (or do not answer
the ring call on your phone), so you are not a party to what is being recorded?
Can you then (when you are not present) legally record audio? If the audio
recording is not disclosed, then no, you absolutely can NOT legally record
Audio recording in a 'security' setting seems to all come down to 'implied consent'. If your
use of a video and audio recording device (Ring Cam) is prominent and obvious (so do NOT hide the Cam!),
and it is disclosed that you are recording audio, then any third party that stays around
to be audio recorded is deemed to have given 'implied consent' for you to record their audio.
Disclosure is key: So DISCLOSE that you are recording audio by using those Ring provided stickers
(seen upper right) -- which provide notice and discloses that both audio and video
surveillance is taking place!
Site Survey / Channel usage: Understand what other wifi devices are visible
at your install location (and what channels are being used). There are lots of
free apps and tools that do this. One great tool for your phone is
Another tools is
Netgear's "WiFi Analytics" app.
Or, under Windows, go into a DOS command prompt and type
"netsh wlan show networks mode=bssid" to see similar
Quite frankly, the 2.4 GHz band is WAY too crowded to reliably support
'realtime' video. I often see 20+ SSID show up in scans, which is crazy.
And that is at the end of a cul-de-sac (no homes on one side of me).
And strangely, this is why the 5 GHz wifi band is actually much better!
Since 5 GHz has a reduced range (over 2.4 GHz), you simply will not see, and will NOT
have to compete/share the wireless band with as many neighbors (you might very well get the band
all to yourself)!
So paradoxically, the reduced range of 5 GHz actually is a huge benefit
for everyone -- as everyone can then have their own wifi band to themselves,
that is NOT shared with neighbors!
RSSI: Next, at the proposed Ring Cam installation point, understand what RSSI
(wifi received signal strength) will probably be for the Ring Cam -- by holding your
phone at the Ring Cam installation location, with the WiFi Analyzer app
running and take note of the RSSI (dBm) value for your router / access point.
Note that Ring Cams need a RSSI of -64 or better to operate properly.
WiFi Analyzer Access Points
TIP: And make sure that you are looking at 2.4 GHz access points
(channels 1 to 11) and not 5 GHz access points (channels 36 to 165).
Also, the advantage of the phone app is that you can physically move your phone
to the Ring Cam installation point -- like against a wall for a doorbell Cam,
or up high for the FloodLight Cam, etc.
Install a new WiFi Access Point: If RSSI is poor, you will need to move
your existing wifi router closer to the Ring Cam. Or, if that is not possible,
you will need to add another wifi access point closer to the Ring Cam installation
point. If possible, always connect the access point to your main router
via wired ethernet.
My experience is that the RSSI observed by the phone will be very close to the
RSSI observed by the Ring Cam. Very nice for planning before you purchase
TIP: In most cases, regardless of RSSI, I install a new access point.
This allows me to set/fix a wifi channel in the AP that is unique/different from
the wifi in the rest of the house. In this way, the AP servicing the Ring Cam gets
its own dedicated wifi channel, and is NOT impacted by heavy wifi use on other wifi
channels at the house (but it could be impacted by neighbors)!
I have been buying a new "wave 2" 5GHz router for the main house and then repurposing the
old router as an access point for the Ring cam. I then move as many wifi devices in the house
as possible onto the new 5 GHz band (and off the 2.4 GHz band).
QoS: In my main router (not AP), I set up a 'Quality of Service' rule to give 'highest'
priority to the MAC address of the Ring Cam. In this way, heavy wifi/wired internet use by
a family member should NOT negatively impact the Ring Cam (because the router will give
priority to the Ring Cam over the rest of the house, on conflicts).
Ring Cams work best with a very strong wifi signal. Yes, they do work
with an 'OK' wifi signal, but I use Ring Cams as a 'security' device, and I want
to guarantee very strong (reliable) signal for the Cam.
Extenders: I avoid wifi extenders. By definition, they consume wifi bandwidth
to accomplish their task. Whenever possible, always run wired ethernet and add a new 'access point'.
If you need to purchase an AP:
Most routers today have the option to be configured as an 'access point'. So buy an
inexpensive 2.4 Ghz only router and configure it as an access point, meant to be used
only by the Ring Cam. I have been picking up Netgear JNR3210's (a N300 Gigabit router)
for under $20 on eBay.
UPDATE: Ring app RSSI information
UPDATE 2018/04/01: The Ring app now says that a RSSI of "-60 or higher"
is just fine. See the screen snapshot from the Ring app, seen right.
However, RSSI is only half the story. Since wireless is a shared resource,
the other half of the story is actual observed throughput (you could have a great RSSI
value, but poor throughput, if the wireless channel is too congested).
RSSI is like the speed limit on a road -- knowing the speed limit
is very misleading during 'rush hour' times (when things come to a crawl).
The problem: Most Ring cam problems (choppy audio/video, unable to 'live view', etc) in
my experience are caused by the cam experiencing slow upload (Mbps) speeds (which results in packet loss).
So the key question is: Where is the upload speed slow? Is the upload speed slow (1) from your
cam to your network, or (2) from your network to your ISP?
STEP ONE: Test your Internet speed:
First, connect a PC wired (not wireless) to your router and run several
different speed tests. Refer to the
"Other HTML5 Speed Tests" section on cfspeed.com. I find
that Google Fiber and
Comcast often provide the best speed test results.
The goal is to have a reliable Internet upload speed of at least 4 Mbps
per camera. And hopefully you will have actual upload speeds well above that. It is now
very common to see ISP uploads speeds of at least 12 Mbps.
STEP TWO: Test cam speed to/from your network:
Second, connect a PC wired (not wireless) to your router and run a large sized
ping test to the IP address of your cam (if you don't know the ip address, look at your
router's 'attached devices' list). Under Windows, go into a DOS window and type
"ping -n 10 -l 62500 cam-ip-address", and take note of the minimum
"ms" time result observed. Then divide this observed "ms" time into 1000 to obtain the
approximate Mbps speed to and from the cam (see table right).
MAC efficiency 65%
|ping 62500 bytes|
For example, on one of my Floodlight cams with a RSSI of -56, I saw a ping
test result of 22ms, which means 1000/22 or 45 Mbps. Please note that
this Mbps value is actual throughput. Actual throughput is around 55% to 75%
PHY wireless speed -- so PHY wireless Mbps speed is around 133% to 181% of actual
throughput Mbps. Understanding wifi speeds.
A final note: Because Ring cams use wireless (a shared resource), upload
throughput will change over time as other people (or even neighbors) use the
same wireless channel.
This computed Mbps contains overhead (of several milliseconds), and
therefore is an underestimate of the actual Mbps, but that is OK and
intentional. Also, this test assumes that the speed wirelessly to the cam is
roughly the same as the wireless speed from the cam (which may not be true
in all situations).
The Mbps math is: 62500×2×8 × 1000/(ms-overhead) / 1000000, which
simplifies to 1000/(ms-overhead). And since we are
OK with a small underestimate of the true Mbps speed, we can set the unknown 'overhead'
to zero, resulting in a final calculation of: 1000/ms.
Ring Elite cam: The Ring Elite cam has the ability to use wired ethernet (not wireless)!
I had a unique Ring Elite installation requirement -- install a Ring Elite PoE Cam,
but over 1000 feet away from the router, and NO electrical power available along the way nor at the
destination (camera) end!
I found a 'long reach ethernet' device that actually works great AND is able to power a PoE device
(the Ring Elite cam) at the far end:
Planet LRP-101C-KIT PoE Over Coax Extender Kit.
I then power everything (both Planet extender boxes and the Ring Elite cam at the far end)
with a 802.3at PoE+ switch (I used a AMPS5E4P-AT-65) at the source end (Note: 802.3at, not 802.3af).
So far, this setup is working great!
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