The Ring Spotlight Camera is an outdoor cam with a built-in spotlight, two-way audio, HD resolution, and motion detection. It’s a quality piece of hardware and an excellent home security camera, especially with its Alexa compatibility and onboard siren. So what does all of that get you without a Wi-Fi connection?

The Ring Spotlight Camera is essentially a wired or battery-powered paper-weight without Wi-Fi. You can still mess with the Ring app, even adjust some features—they won’t initiate until a connection is established—but the camera itself will be offline, with no live view, no recording alerts, and no notifications.

That doesn’t mean the Ring Spotlight Camera is broken or inoperable. It will still happily draw battery power or current from your nearest wall socket, but its essential functions cease, and neither Z-wave nor Zigbee are compatible. Also, if you’ve lost your internet connection, there is a workaround, but it still involves Wi-Fi. Read on to learn more about the Ring Spotlight Cam and how it relies on Wi-Fi.

Does the Ring Spotlight Work without Wi-Fi?

Unfortunately, the Ring Spotlight will not fully work without Wi-Fi, although you’ll still have access to the Ring app, regardless of whether it’s Android or iOS, and you can still make changes, view the offline status of your Ring Spotlight Camera, and view footage stored in the cloud.

So what do you do if you lose Wi-Fi? Well, you have a singular option: get more Wi-Fi. In case you lose Wi-Fi, it’s always good to have a backup plan ready, such as a cellular hotspot.

Using a Cellular Hotspot with the Ring Spotlight

Most of this will depend on your cell phone provider and whether or not hotspots are part of your plan. You set a hotspot in the same way you set up a Wi-Fi connection, just through your phone or through a hotspot device provided by your cell network provider.

To set up a hotspot, open the Ring app—your Ring Spotlight Camera should still be on—to the Home Screen. Then:

  1. Select your Device (The Ring Spotlight Cam).
  2. Select Device Health.
  3. Choose Change Wi-Fi Network rather than Reconnect to Wi-Fi.

From here, you’ll enter the password generated by your hotspot, and you’re off and running again. If you’re unfamiliar with turning on the hotspot feature, Android phones and iPhones are slightly different.

Turn On Hotspot with an Android

This will only work on Android phones with a wireless hotspot feature. If your Android phone doesn’t, you’ll have to order/pick up a hotspot device from your provider, which is usually added to your plan if you don’t purchase it outright.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Select Connections.
  3. Now open Mobile Hotspot and Tethering.
  4. Toggle the Mobile Hotspot feature to On.

With Android devices, your Wi-Fi will show up under the name of your phone, and the password is usually your phone number—an option you can change if you like.

Turn On Hotspot With an iPhone

With an iPhone, your Wi-Fi hotspot password will be auto-generated, so be sure to keep the screen up until you’ve entered the password and connected the Ring Spotlight Cam.

  1. Go to Settings.
  2. Tap Personal Hotspot.
  3. Toggle on Allow Others to Join.

The Wi-Fi password is auto-generated just below Allow Others to Join. Each time you toggle on the Personal Hotspot, the Wi-Fi password will change and generate a new one.

Advantages Of Using a Hotspot with Ring Spotlight

Portability is your biggest advantage when using a hotspot—so long as you have a battery-powered Ring Spotlight Camera.

You can take the Ring Spotlight with you on an RV or camping trip, strap it to your forehead and use it as a slipshod GoPro, set it up on a tripod in the desert to capture the sleeping habits of camel spiders, or whatever floats your boat. As long as you have a network signal on your phone, the Ring Spotlight is game.

As far disadvantages go, the network speed with wireless hotspots is usually not as robust as your standard router setup at home. Depending on your network provider, 5G may be available, which is overkill since the Ring Spotlight Camera doesn’t need much.

Final Thoughts

The Ring Spotlight Camera is not alone in that it doesn’t allow much wiggle room without a Wi-Fi connection. Many smart security cameras rely on it. Even with Zigbee, Z-wave, and other proprietary signals, a Wi-Fi connection still stands as a hub to get it all started.

Thankfully, mobile hotspots stand in as viable options. This is especially true for areas prone to natural disasters—such as the gulf coast during hurricane season—where substantial and sustained power loss is a real threat.

With a mobile hotspot, you have protection against power loss, internet loss, and (thanks to the power of 5G) a potentially far more adequate and lightning-fast network to keep your Ring Spotlight up and running when you need it most.