Why set up an Arlo home? (includes Arlo Pro 3 camera mini-review).

Arlo Home

Over the last two years, we have tested a lot of excellent Wi-Fi-based security systems. But our conclusion is that, while expensive and with ongoing subscriptions, an Arlo home works best.

Why an Arlo home? Well because it is a fundamentally different system to Wi-Fi-based security cameras, doorbells/chimes, security lights and more.

An Arlo home is one of the most complete ecosystems, and there is one little secret to its success – it works first time, every time. Why?

Arlo Home

Enter the Arlo home hub – the secret sauce (Arlo calls it a Base Station).

At the core of every Arlo home system is a hub – it can be one of three types or multiple hubs placed for best efficiency.

Depending on the model, the hub serves several purposes.

First, it communicates with Arlo devices using its own radiofrequency. That means all the traffic is kept off the Wi-Fi home network.  I repeat no traffic at all over Wi-Fi and not subject to its vagaries, dropouts, slowness and congestion.

Second, few Wi-Fi routers have the power or reach to stream video or reasonably lag-free two-way conversation. For example, if you are streaming video or music, there may be little Wi-Fi bandwidth available for others to use. That is why so few Wi-Fi security cameras can live stream above 720p and often at 10-15 frames a second.

Third, the hub communicates with the router via an Ethernet cable at speeds typically of 1Gbps (125MBps).

Fourth, the hub compresses security camera video into H.264, or H.265 (much smaller) streams so that smaller signal goes straight through the router via its internet connection to the Arlo cloud where it is stored for a time depending on your needs and the appropriate cost.

Some hubs have USB or micro-SD local storage, especially useful if the internet is down, sirens etc

In summary, we have found the hub maintains a rock-solid link to Arlo devices, it does not suffer from the vagaries and unreliability of Wi-Fi and internet and is always available for remote viewing (if the internet is up).

Different hubs

You don’t go and buy a hub then buy cameras (although you can). Arlo works on supplying the right hub in starter packs with cameras – these are more economical.

While the hubs are backwards camera compatible, e.g. an Ultra Base Station can run Arlo Pro (720), Pro 2 (1080), Pro 3  (2K) and Ultra (4K) but a Pro base station can only run cameras at 720p – they are not so much forward compatible.

Our best advice is to start with the Ultra hub and attach a mix of Pro 2, Pro 3 and Ultra cameras according to need.

Arlo base stations

Ports WAN to router, USB WAN to router
2 x USB
Micro SD
Wireless range 90m line of sight Same Wi-Fi Link Wi-Fi Link using multi-stream antenna
Siren No Yes   No
Cameras 5 camera streams
Supports up to 20 cameras


Supports up to 10 cameras
2 X 4K streams or 5 x 1080p streams
Supports up to 10 cameras
Dimensions 215.9 x 57.15 x 165.1 mm x 110g 58.6 x 174.5 x 126.5 mm x 316g    

Arlo Cameras

Type Pro 2 Pro 3 (uses Ultra tech) Ultra
AC Adapter Output  5V/1A 5V 2A Same
Audio  Half-duplex Full Duplex 2-way Audio same
Battery Life Depends on use 3-6 months depending on usage and uses Ultra Battery Same
Charge Time to Full (via camera/charger) TBC 3.5/2.9 hrs Same
Digital Zoom 8x 12x same
Dimensions and Weight  79.3 x 48.6 x 70.5 mm x 136g 89mm x 52mm x 78.4mm x 331g same
Indoor/Outdoor Weather-resistant Outdoor UV and weather-resistant Same
Lens Field of View 130° 160° diagonal  180°
Maximum Video Resolution 1920×1080 2560×1440
1/3 ”
Single microphone
1 speaker
Single microphone
1 speaker
Dual with noise cancellation
1 speaker
Minimum upload speed per camera 2Mbps 2 Mbps 4Mpbs for 4K
2Mbps for 2K
Motion Detection Single Motion Detectors, 130° 
PIR to 6m
Single Motion Detectors, 130° 
PIR to 6m
Dual motion detectors, 150°
PIR to 6m
Networking To Base Station 2.4Ghz
Claim 90m but closer to 30m
Wi-Fi Link
Night Vision 850 nm LEDs: illuminates up to 8m with IR cut-off filter   High powered Infrared LEDs (850nm) with IR Cut Filter same
Operating Temperature -20 to 45° -20 to 45° -20-60°
Spotlight No 6500K, 42Lux @1M same
Status Lights LED 2x LEDs (blue and amber) same
Video Features H.264 Auto Zoom and Tracking, HDR, H.264 and H.265 Encoding same
Video Modes 1080p@15fps, 720p 2k, 1080p, 720p 4k, 2K, 1080p, 720p
Warranty 1-year warranty same same
Single price (approx.) $287 $418 $450
GadgetGuy Review This article Review

As you can see, the subtle differences are in resolution (1080 vs 2K vs 4K), mics (single/dual) and a slightly wider Field-of-View. But the Pro 2 is older technology, and a lot of its features are only available when using the power source or via the cloud.

Arlo Pro 3 – read the Ultra review as they are almost twins. The Pro 3 is a little more economical per unit. Apart from that, it performs almost as well as the Ultra, and we recommend a mix of cameras.

Let’s look at why Arlo home uses different cameras?

It is horses for courses.

If you need greater detail, the Ultra is superb, has HDR for better definition in the dark areas, and has a spotlight enabling colour night vision.

The Pro 3 is excellent too, has HDR and uses Ultra tech, so it has half the resolution (2K vs 4K) and a smaller FOV. Ditto for the spotlight.

If you want to monitor areas where perfect detail is not as critical as motion detection or colour night vision is not needed, then the 1080p is fine.

But more important is that you can mix and match on the one or multiple base stations.

Multiple base stations

You only need the one Arlo account (you can have more by why bother).

Now let’s say you have a typical Aussie block of land – 500-600m2n (approx. 10m frontage and 50 to 60m deep). You put up a typical dual-level home about 35m deep x 8 wide (260m2 x 2 levels).

Now let’s assume that the NBN internet gateway connect point is at the front of the house, so you put the Wi-Fi router there. And you connect your Arlo base station to that.

Arlo can transmit about 90-metres line-of-sight but if you add walls and floors to that its more like 20-30 metres.

What happens if you want to put a camera on the second level facing the back yard – it maybe 30 metres from the router (as the crow flies) but the signal has to go through floors and walls – it is in a dead spot.

Well, the solution is easy. Place another base station within say 10 metres of where you need cameras and use Ethernet over NETGEAR Powerline adaptors to set up a WAN to the main router.

That way you can have camera’s in the garden, outside the front door, in the garage etc. and they can all merrily stream video in the maximum resolution possible.

GadgetGuy’s take – An Arlo home is a secure home

It has taken me a while to warm to Arlo, but after using the Ultra for six months, I am convinced. I don’t even mind the annual subscription and quality is remembered, long after the price is forgotten.

It has been rock solid, always accessed cameras quickly via the app and – well I am not used to that on Wi-Fi cameras. It is not for lack of trying, and it is not for lack of a V8 powered router either. Let’s face it, home internet and Wi-Fi are not mission-critical.

And I love that you can add to the ecosystem with doorbell/chime, a video doorbell, and cameras at different cost levels.

But heed our words. The key to a reliable security camera system – like Arlo – is to keep it off Wi-Fi and use multiple base stations to cover a larger area.

Arlo Pro
It has taken me a while to warm to Arlo, but after using the Ultra for six months, I am convinced.
Value for money
Ease of Use
A complete ecosystem - the score is for that
More costly upfront with ongoing fees