Learn about internet bandwidth and speed requirements for Nest cameras

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Nest cameras and Nest Hello stream video by uploading footage to the Nest service in the cloud, then downloading the footage to your phone or tablet for viewing. Both use your internet connection’s bandwidth. You can tell your camera to use less bandwidth for uploading video, which can help if your connection isn’t fast enough, and it also uses less of your monthly data allowance if you have one.

Bandwidth is commonly referred to as internet speed – how fast your connection is. With Nest cameras, your internet connection’s upload bandwidth and download bandwidth both play important roles.

Tip: Check with your internet service provider to learn about your plan’s upload and download speeds, so you can see if they meet the requirements below.

Upload bandwidth used by Nest cameras and Nest Hello:

Your camera uploads video to the Nest service in the cloud, using some of your home internet connection’s bandwidth in the process.

When you pick a Quality and bandwidth setting, you’re setting the maximum video quality for your camera. No matter which level you choose, your camera will automatically adjust its resolution and compression according to how much bandwidth is available.

For a general idea of how much bandwidth your camera uses to do this, select your model below:

Nest Cam IQ Indoor, Nest Cam IQ Outdoor:

Quality and bandwidth setting

Low Medium low Medium high High

Maximum upload bandwidth

800 Kbps
(0.8 Mbps)
1320 Kbps
(1.3 Mbps)
2000 Kbps
(2.0 Mbps)

4000 Kbps
(4.0 Mbps)

Typical resolution¹
up to
720p 1080p 1080p

1080p

¹ Your camera will automatically adjust video resolution based on available bandwidth and other factors.

Nest Cam Indoor, Nest Cam Outdoor, and Dropcam:

Quality and bandwidth setting

Low Medium

High

Maximum upload bandwidth

150 Kbps
(0.15 Mbps)
500 Kbps
(0.5 Mbps)
1200 Kbps
(1.2 Mbps)
Typical resolution¹
up to
360p 720p

1080p

¹ Your camera will automatically adjust video resolution based on available bandwidth and other factors.

Nest Hello video doorbell:

Quality and bandwidth setting

Low Medium

High

Maximum upload bandwidth

125 Kbps
(0.12 Mbps)
800 Kbps
(0.8 Mbps)
1300 Kbps
(1.25 Mbps)
Typical resolution¹
up to
512 x 384 1152 x 864

1600 x 1200

¹ Your camera will automatically adjust video bitrate based on available bandwidth where possible.

When your camera uses bandwidth to stream video:

How often your camera is using the bandwidth listed above depends on whether you have a Nest Aware subscription.

With Nest Aware: Whenever your camera is turned on, it’s uploading video and using bandwidth. This lets Nest’s advanced cloud-based algorithms record your video history for you and send intelligent notifications like Person alerts.

How to reduce the amount of bandwidth your camera usesWithout Nest Aware: Your camera will only upload video to the Nest service when someone’s watching live footage on a phone, tablet, or computer. Otherwise, even when it’s turned on, your camera won’t be uploading video. However, it does use a small amount of bandwidth to upload snapshots of recent activity to Sightline and send notifications.

If you’re running into bandwidth issues when your camera’s uploading video to the Nest service, you can lower its Quality and bandwidth setting.

Download bandwidth used by Nest cameras:

In general, you’ll only be using download bandwidth when you’re watching video in the Nest app, similar to other movie and television streaming services. Your camera also uses a small amount of bandwidth to download software updates and other information from the Nest service.

If you’re connected to Wi-Fi, watching video typically requires the same amount of bandwidth it took to upload the video to the Nest service. For an estimate, see the table in the “Upload bandwidth” section above.

If you’re connected to a cellular network, such as 4G or 3G on a phone, the Nest app automatically compensates for the slower connection by lowering the quality of the video it’s streaming from the Nest service in the cloud. This helps reduce disconnects, pauses, and stuttering over a slow connection.

Note: Regardless of the connection on your particular phone or tablet, your camera will always upload video to the Nest service at the Quality and bandwidth setting you chose above. If you have a Nest Aware subscription, your video history will also be recorded at this higher setting.

Total monthly data used by Nest cameras:

Some internet providers limit how much data you can upload and download per month, or they charge an extra fee if you exceed the limit. This is different from the upload and download bandwidth (speed) described in the sections above. Check with your internet provider to learn the details of your data plan, including any limitations for total monthly data.

Your camera’s data usage can vary:

The total amount of data used by your camera over a month depends on a few things.

– First, the amount of data used by your camera depends on the activity it’s seeing. If there’s a lot of stuff going on – people moving, cars passing by, leaves rustling – your camera will use more data than when everything’s relatively still and quiet.

– Second, it depends on whether you subscribe to Nest Aware.

With Nest Aware: Your camera will be uploading video whenever it’s on, so its monthly data consumption could be as high as the examples below.

Without Nest Aware: Your camera will only upload video when someone’s watching, so its data consumption will probably be much lower than the examples below. However, if you’re monitoring video 24/7, or if you’re sharing video publicly, it could be as high as the examples below.

– Third, the quality and bandwidth setting you choose will affect how much data your camera uses.

Because these three factors can fluctuate throughout the month, we’ll give you some ballpark figures on the high side so you can estimate how much monthly data you’ll need for each Nest camera in your home. Select your product to see some examples.

Nest Cam IQ Indoor, Nest Cam IQ Outdoor:

Quality and bandwidth setting

Low Medium low Medium high High
Typical monthly data usage 100 GB 200 GB 300 GB

400 GB

Nest Cam Indoor, and Nest Cam Outdoor:
Quality and bandwidth setting Low Medium High
Typical monthly data usage 30 GB 120 GB 300 GB

Nest Hello video doorbell:

Quality and bandwidth setting

Low Medium High
Typical monthly data usage 50GB 150GB

300GB

How to reduce the amount of data your camera uses in a month:

If you need to have your camera use less data over the course of a month, you can try a couple of things:

Lower the setting so that your camera isn’t using as much data to stream video to the cloud.

Schedule your camera to turn off at certain times, particularly if you have a Nest Aware subscription, so your camera isn’t constantly uploading video to the Nest service. You can also try this if you’re sharing your camera publicly.

Note: We do not recommend streaming camera video with a mobile hotspot.

How your camera’s data usage affects other devices in your home:

Streaming HD movies, video chat, online game playing and file sharing are common activities that can take up a lot of the available bandwidth of your home internet connection. Adding one or more cameras can cause even more competition for bandwidth.

If you’re watching camera video on your phone, tablet, or computer and it’s pausing or stuttering, try turning off other internet connected apps and devices to see if this frees up some bandwidth.

If you’re using an internet connected app or device that’s competing with your camera for bandwidth, you may want to schedule your camera to turn off during the times you’re more likely to be using your internet connection for other things.