How Much Data Does Ring Doorbell Use? (And How to Reduce It)

ring doorbell installed outside home with light blue doorring doorbell installed outside home with light blue door

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Outside of smart TVs, security cameras seem to chew up the most data. However, fortunately, unless your Ring Doorbell is constantly lit up, it’s not as drastic as streaming on a smart TV, and in large part, is dependent on the features of the doorbell.

The amount of data a Ring Doorbell can use varies but ranges between 50 and 300 GB per month. At its minimum upload and download speed of 2 Mbp, it would take 8.5 minutes of activity to exceed one gig of data.

Below, we’ll discuss the Ring Doorbell’s data usage and what you can do to reduce it if you’re on a limited data plan.

How Much Data Does Ring Doorbell Use?

It’s very difficult to determine the exact amount of data consumption from the Ring Doorbell, although it’s safe to say the resolution, motion detection, and maxed-out settings require more data while minimizing the doorbell’s activity requires less.

The more often your camera is active, the more data is used. However, generally, the Ring Doorbell may use between 50 to 300 GB/month.

How to Reduce Data Usage on Ring Doorbell

The Ring app—Android and iOS—has several options to help reduce the amount of data usage from your Ring Doorbell. Depending on your device, several personalization options affect data:

  • Customizable motion zones
  • Adjustable resolution settings
  • Pet recognition
  • Length of a clip
  • Motion sensitivity

The way the Ring app is set up, each doorbell or device will have features that you can select and minimize. This is especially true with motion zones. Repetitive motion alerts triggered by traffic can be adjusted by reducing the size of your motion (activity) zones. You can also reduce motion sensitivity. At the maximum level, even a breeze is a potential motion trigger.

Your data usage will make or break you based on your personalization options. Resolution is the most data-consuming feature by far and is something you should adjust—if applicable—to 720p, so long as that resolution is effective.

If you have pets and your Ring Doorbell supports pet recognition, keep that feature on. As far as facial recognition is concerned, Amazon has filed multiple patents but hasn’t decided whether or not to integrate that feature in any of its cameras.

The length of video alerts is something else to consider. Some of Ring’s new updates have included “snips” and four-second preview clips to watch instead of the entire recording.

Ring Doorbell and Cell Phone Data

The most important facet of Ring security integration is the doorbell’s communication with your smartphone. Most ISPs have a data cap, and the same is true for cell phone providers.

Certain tiered plans offer unlimited data, but even that is subject to choking during peak hours. The more alerts you receive on your phone, the more 1080p HD video content you end up streaming on your device.

This is especially true with the Ring Doorbell 4 and the pre-roll or advanced pre-roll. This feature adds the four seconds before any triggered recording, making your streaming a little longer.

Unless you consider pre-roll an essential part of alerts, turning it off will save data. It’s important to note that pre-roll is automatically turned on with device activation.

Cell Data and MiFi Hotspots

Wi-Fi is a much more forgiving data pool for security cams. However, that may not always be an option. Ring Doorbells are perfectly suited for connecting to your smartphone as a hotspot or a MiFi hotspot as well.

For many of the reasons listed above—when it comes to cell phone data as a side-effect—smartphones and MiFi are potentially problematic. Of course, you can reduce data usage from smartphones and hotspots in all of the same ways you reduce them with Wi-Fi.

Unless you have a data plan that is not only unlimited but free of choking during peak network hours, using your smartphone isn’t a reliable option. Even MiFi hotspots, although they sound good on paper, are subject to even more stringent data caps than a smartphone plan.

What is Ring Alarm’s Bandwidth?

Ring Alarm400MB1GB
Ring Video Doorbell50GB300GB
Echo Show 55GB50GB
4th Gen Echo Dot500MB10GB
Ring Stick-Up Camera50GB300GB

There are a lot of moving pieces when it comes to a Ring Alarm system. The number of devices, types of devices, and the level of use each device undergoes are all part of the equation.

However, as you can see, the cameras and the Echo Show 5 are where the vast majority of data consumption will come from. These devices are listed solely because they are compatible with the Ring Alarm Ecosystem and are offered as add-on incentives with the Ring Alarm Kits.

Overall, these devices have the capability of putting a serious strain on your data cap, and that’s before a Netflix or Hulu movie night on the 55” 4K smart TV.

What Requires the Most Bandwidth with Ring Alarm?

The Alarm Base Station—unless there’s a camera involved—consumes most of the data, as it stays online all of the time, not just when it’s needed. It has to periodically check for firmware updates, there are system status checks, and cloud communication.

These checks are generally referred to as “heartbeats,” and the Ring Alarm Base Station spends a lot of time in rhythm.

The Ring motion, window, and door sensors are negligible. The amount of bandwidth they use is on the level of bytes. However, other Ring and Ring-compatible devices—such as those mentioned above—can consume quite a bit.

How to Reduce Ring Alarm Bandwidth Use

By itself, the Ring Alarm is not much cause for concern. Pair it with two motion sensors, six window and door sensors, a video doorbell, an indoor cam, a few Ring Spotlight or Floodlight cameras, maybe a smart lock, and some Echo devices, and you have a recipe for easily topping a TB.

The following are some ways you can help reduce the amount of bandwidth your Ring Alarm uses:

  • Don’t max out your camera resolution if you don’t need it. Most Ring cameras record in 1080p HD—not as bad as 4k but adds up quickly—and if HD isn’t necessary, scale it back to 720p or standard definition.
  • Adjust your motion zones. Everyone can agree that the squirrel at the top of the oak tree doesn’t need to involve itself in your data usage. In the Ring app, you can adjust your motion zones to where they are effective, eliminating irrelevant zones.
  • People-only mode is covered in both the Ring Basic and Ring Plus Protect Plans. This will eliminate all the false alerts that pets, vehicles, and wind-blown debris may trigger.
  • If you’re home, unless you’re using the Ring Indoor Cam for a specific purpose, toggle it off in the Ring app.
  • If you have any of the Echo devices, limit the time on them via the Alexa app and Amazon FreeTime. This is especially useful if you have kids. Kids love to stare at screens for hours on end. Force them to go play and give your data usage a break.

A Ring Alarm System, especially with add-on devices, can be a drag on your bandwidth. Not only does it threaten your data cap—unfortunately, so many ISPs still strictly enforce them—but it also threatens to tie up your router with unnecessary traffic.

The first thing you should consider when purchasing a Ring Alarm—or any smart home security system—is your data plan through your internet service provider. Then, focus on how you can tie all of your smart devices into the Ring Alarm Base Station and make it all work seamlessly without data overages.

Final Thoughts

Ring is consistently upgrading its software across all of its Ring Doorbells. New features can either add or detract from data consumption and should be considered every time a new update comes around. Fortunately, current features are not only accessible but also something you can adjust to lower your data usage.

Also, consider communicating with your ISP. Data plans are always changing, and it’s great to come across a massive data plan that’s less expensive than your current one.

With that being said, get into the Ring app, adjust your settings—including your smartphone—contact your internet service provider, and enjoy the security of your Ring Doorbell without the headache of flirting with your data cap.

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