As a smart home security system connects to your Wi-Fi network, you can control and monitor your security devices by using your smartphone and an app. Entry-level security systems normally consist of a motion detector, some door and window sensors, and a hub communicating with these devices using one or more wireless protocols like Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Z-Wave, or a proprietary mesh network. You can also add extra motion, door, and window sensors in order to provide coverage for your entire house as well as build a comprehensive system including door locks, indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras, lights, sirens, garage door openers, water sensors, smoke/CO detectors, and more.
About wireless protocols: In a perfect world, all home security devices would use the same wireless standard to easily communicate with the main hub, but factors like power requirements, price, signal range, and size make it impossible to settle on just one. For example, smaller components like door/window sensors typically use Zigbee or Z-Wave technology as they do not require much power and can be powered by smaller batteries. Moreover, they operate in a mesh topology and can extend the range of networked devices. However, the protocol doesn’t provide the bandwidth that you get with Wi-Fi, which is the reason why it is usually used in security cameras in order to provide smooth video streaming, and in other devices which require a fat pipe. Additional, Zigbee and Z-Wave devices are connected and controlled through a hub, while Wi-Fi devices can be directly connected to your home network and controlled only with an app. Finally, Zigbee and Z-Wave devices use AES 128 encryption, and as they operate in a closed system with a dedicated hub, they can offer more security than Wi-Fi devices.
Any smart security system that is worth its salt can offer components working together in a seamless environment and can also be manipulated using customized rules. Some security systems store locally recorded video on a solid-state drive or an SD card, while others offer cloud storage. In fact, locally stored video is good for do-it-yourselfers on a budget; however, you have to be careful not to overwrite video you might need later. Although cloud storage makes it easier to store and access recorded video, it can cost a lot of money per year depending on your subscription. Some systems provide both local storage and cloud storage, and some offer a dedicated storage drive which gives you DVR capabilities with time-lapse recording, making it easy to find a video event that took place at a specific time.