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If you may be moving in the near future, it’ll cost you $99 to take the system with you. You could alternatively renew your contract, but then you’d be locked in for even longer. Vivint will waive any cancellation fees for extenuating circumstances like death, military circumstances, bankruptcy, or a move to assisted living. Still, it’s best to be intentional if you decide on Vivint. ADT doesn’t have the strongest customer service reputation among the companies we considered, racking up more than 3,000 complaints on its Better Business Bureau page. While we chalked most of this up to the fact that ADT has several million more customers than its competitors, our tester began his call with low expectations.

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The distance from which your camera can record images in low to no light situations can have a great impact on its effectiveness if you want to capture activity after the sun sets. We’ve all dealt with photos that are too dark to make out any details. It’s frustrating when it’s a wedding photo, but it’s nerve racking when you’re trying to capture a face or license plate after a break in. Pay attention to the existing lighting in the areas where you want to install security cameras. Look for the night vision range of each camera and consider how much area you want to cover. And beware of using an indoor camera to look outside; they can’t usually capture images through a window or after dark. You cannot use cameras alone for home security. That needs a different approach of boots on the ground, regular patrols and guard dogs, proper perimeter fencing, security floodlights, sirens, physical access barriers, electronic barrier breach detection with security cameras being one of the devices used. Considering just the camera part, a security audit is needed to identify weak points, and how to address them one by one with the optimal number and placement of cameras. Apart from physical security, one issue with wireless cameras, and in particular IP cameras is whether they can be accessed from an external network, how frequently vulnerabilities are patched so the window of available exploits remaining viable is short, and how to secure the vast amount of data generated, all to ensure that someone isn’t using it to monitor a range of targets over time to learn patterns/routines. One often sees comments about unexplained “voices” over the camera two way speaker speaking to the kid when the parents are away, and the suspicion that if that’s the case, someone is also watching.