Surveillance system/camera help please

ruouttaurmind went on a bit of a rant said

TL;DR? I’m looking for a surveillance camera system for my mother’s house that does NOT rely on internet connectivity AND is wireless. If you know of a self-monitored wireless security system, that’s helpful too!

My 72 year old mother lives on a farm about 50 miles from nowhere, and 1800 miles from me. Very, very rural location. Her husband (my step dad) passed away in April, and now she’s alone there, so I’ve been taking measures to make sure she’s comfortable and feels safe and secure. For now, we need to add some video surveillance and a self-monitored alarm system.

Many years ago I sent her a wireless camera system. It’s only got 2 cameras, and they’re really low resolution. That system works on a wireless hub configuration. The cameras connect to the hub via 2.4GHz. The hub has a composite video-out port to connect a TV for monitoring the cameras, and SD card port for recording (only supports up to 8GB cards). This system also does rudimentary motion detection notifications (via an audible alarm from the hub).

The system is basically a self-contained solution. No network connections are necessary (or even supported for that matter). Except for the very, very low resolution and the 2-camera limit, it’s perfect for her situation. She seldom leaves the house, so remote access to the system isn’t useful to her. Not to mention she doesn’t have reliable internet access. She uses HugesNet satellite service and basically gets EVDO speeds less than 1mb. And it’s unreliable. So, not useful for remote monitoring.

So I’ve spent the last several weeks trying to solve this challenge. First I ordered her a Zmodo 8-camera wifi NVR sytem. Seemed like a good option. 720p cameras, wifi in the cameras and NVR, HDMI output from NVR for monitoring, 1TB hard drive for recording… it was perfect for this situation.

My smile turned upside down when the system arrived and we discovered it REQUIRES internet access for setup. There is absolutely NO accommodation for local-only setup. I assume the ongoing operation probably also requires internet connectivity to communite between camera and DVR. We never got that far.

Since then I’ve been shopping for a wireless surveillance system that does NOT require internet connectivity for setup or daily operation. I’ve been unable to find a system that the instruction manual doesn’t begin with “download and install our mobile app”.

I need at least 6 cameras. But my experience tells me: if I think I need 6, I really need at least 8. There are 5 outbuildings, and at least two of those need cameras, plus the area in and around the house. Reliance on wifi is ok, but I can’t use a system that requires internet access. I will install a wifi router and dedicate it to this system if necessary; no problem.

Ideally this system will cost less than $500 (and even that amount will be challenging for my budge). But let’s face it, it’s my mother and there is no price I will not pay for her to feel secure in her home.

If you have first-person experience with such a system, your advice is invaluable to me!