When the Nest Doorbell was released back in 2018 I wasn’t sure if my current broadband had enough capacity to stream and record 24/7 footage.
You can expect the Nest Doorbell to upload around 5 GB a day and download 250 MB, an unlimited broadband of at least 50Mb is recommended. Mobile hotspot isn’t advisable to use. You can limit the amount of data the Nest Doorbell uses by lowering the quality and bandwidth setting and scheduling your camera to turn off.
I have personally used the Nest Doorbell for a couple of years and I’m happy to share my experience around the signal strength, the data usage and overall functionality.
Table of Contents
How Does the Nest Doorbell work ?
The Nest Doorbell is powered via a transformer and replaces your current door bell using the same doorbell wire.
It connects to your internet via Wifi (no option to use Ethernet, as majority of people don’t have a cable at their door), it uses 802.11b/g/n on a 2.4 GHz frequency. I find this to be a bit of a down side that it doesn’t use the latest standard 802.11ac.
Depending on if you have a Nest Aware subscription, Nest communicates back to the Google’s servers and feeds back the camera images. These images and videos are available to you depending on the subscription tier that you have.
In simple terms the Nest Doorbell is constantly streaming across your wifi access point over the internet.
One thing to watch out is your upload speed, you can do a speed test online and that will give you an indication of your download and upload speeds.
Upload speeds are generally slower than download speeds, as the normal household isn’t uploading much to the internet.
Nest Doorbell Signal Strength
The Nest Doorbell signal strength will be effected by various factors.
The most important factor is distance between the Wifi AP (Access Point) and the doorbell itself, this is just not physical distance in meters but the radio wave distance. Walls and other electrical equipment will contribute towards the loss of signal strength.
By nature a doorbell is outside the house and most probably your router will not be close to it.
Look at other devices that you have in your house, if they are in close proximity of the doorbell they might be competing for the same bandwidth by congesting the 2.4 GHz frequency. You can try to switch some other devices to use 5GHz.
The situation does get more complex when you are have more than one cloud based camera sending traffic from your house to the Internet. Other activity such as live streaming content on Twitch or Youtube requires a good steady and stable upload link. Synchronisation processes to cloud storage solutions (iCloud, Dropbox) might require substantial bandwidth if you are storing video files in the cloud.
In my case my access point is on the first floor about 15mt from my front door. I have a busy house with many WiFi devices, I use the UniFI routers and access points provided by Ubiquiti, their hardware is of a better quality compared to the standard equipment that your ISP (internet service provider) can give you but not enterprise level. In my case I only have one Nest camera that is streaming data out to the internet and don’t do much uploading on a regular basis.
These are the stats from my access point:
|Channel||1 (11ng)||Wifi Standard|
|Signal||57% (-68 dBm)||Closer to 0 the better|
|Rx Rate||117 Mbps||Received Rate|
|Tx Rate||78 Mbps||Transfered Rate|
You can improve signal strength by either moving your router access point closer to the location of the doorbell or you can purchase WiFi extenders or even better a wired access point.
How much data does the nest doorbell consume ?
The amount of data that the nest doorbell will consume will depend on two major factors, the quality setting and the amount of activity (motion) that your camera catches.
The table below displays details from my router of the amount of data transmitted and received by my Nest Doorbell, these have been taken at different time even months apart and with very short duration like 5 mins up to 2 days, so that you can judge for yourself.
|2d 2h 10m 51s||424 MB||8.62 GB|
|5m||113 KB||1.9 MB|
|1d 14h 22m 20s||305 MB||6.59 GB|
|21m 43s||2.4 MB||55 MB|
|5h 11m 25s ||38.6 MB||890 MB|
In the Nest app navigate to the settings by tapping the doorbell –> settings cog wheel in the right hand side –> scroll down to Video (Quality and bandwidth).
You have three settings low, medium and high. I’ve set him to high as in my opinion you want to get the best quality image you can, just in case you might need to read a number plate.
The camera does its best not to consume more than 300 GB per month, this isn’t a guarantee.
This might sound obvious, but turning off the Nest Doorbell is the easiest way to reduce your bandwidth consumption. You can use functionality such as Home / Away assist which allows Nest to turn on and off a camera based on your geolocation on your smart device.
In alternative you can create a schedule to turn off and on your camera at a specific time and day of the week.
Nest is able to detect sound captured by the microphone or any movement within the lens of the camera. It records 24/7 even regardless if a motion was detected or not. When the doorbell detects motion it marks an event on the timeline,and it sends out notification with snippets of the actual motion. You are then able to either open the nest camera from the notification and see a brief video starting with a few seconds before the motion begins.
At any time you can scroll in the app to find events they are typically marked based on the type and the zone in which the event occurred. Events such as doorbell pressed are cleared marked. With image recognition the app is able to identify familiar faces and you can give them a name.
It also acts as a two way communication system by transmitting your voice and allowing you hear what the person at the doorbell is saying. Bear in mind that when you rewatch the video from the nest app your voice isn’t recorded only the person at the doorbell itself.
How stable is the Nest Connection
In my experience of owning a Nest doorbell for over two years it is pretty stable and has a solid connection. When the camera does go offline you get an email to notify you, generally this happens in the middle of the night when the Nest is doing an update over the air.
Having the feed open on a browser looks pretty good and gives you a reel feed with sometimes delay of 1-2 seconds. To be honest it gets pretty boring looking at your front door unless you are eagerly expecting someone!
The notification on the app when the doorbell rings has a slight delay this also depends on how your smartphone is connected (WiFi or 4g).
In this section I’m going to give a quick answer to the most common related questions.
How much electricity does nest cameras consume?
Nest cameras use around 34 kWH per year this should impact around 0.3 % of a typical household.
How much data does a nest thermostat use per month?
The Nest thermostat due to the fact that it needs less data to operate we are looking at around 50 Mb a month.
Hope you enjoyed this blog post.
Keep it digital!