How to remotely configure a Ring wired stick-up camera for a quarantined elder?

My moderately cognitively impaired 95-year-old mother lives on the other side of the country. She is now in quarantine, as am I. Literally no one is allowed in or out of her apartment in her independent living facility - meals, mail, etc. are delivered to her door.

I want to purchase a wired stick-up camera so I can monitor her and communicate via voice without her having to take any action on her end. This camera appears to be a workable solution - except for how to get it configured and installed…

If I walk her through it by phone, she is capable of opening a package, setting the camera at the proper location, and plugging it in (if the USB cord is already installed in the camera bottom and the wall plug attached), but there’s not way she can scan and/or connect it to her wifi, or perform other similar technical tasks. Also, I want it connected to MY phone, not hers.

I’m trying to understand if the following is possible: Can I purchase the camera and have it shipped to me; then I can connect it to a ring IOS app on my iphone. Rather than connect it to MY wifi, I want to MANUALLY enter the name and password for HER wifi (I have all this information). Then I will ship it to her, have her open up the package and set it up.

Is this possible/advisable? I CANNOT get someone remotely to do any part of this setup, not to mention that my phone will never be on the same wifi as the camera.

Bonus question: Is it advisable to order an optional battery for the stick-up wired camera, that is, can I charge and install the battery, then connect the power USB wire as well before sending it to her? This may not be useful since if the power to her camera is off, her wifi modem (Xfinity) is likely also offline. However, I don’t know if the camera continues to operate (i.e. motion recording) even when there is no wifi available but then “catches up” by uploading the video when the wifi is restored; and/or whether the camera retains all it’s settings even when unplugged (likely).

Any advice or “gotchas” appreciated before I embark on this adventure.

Thanks,

Jerry K

We’re here to help, @Jerryk! After carefully considering all of the details here, an effort to limit setup and configuration steps for your mother to complete, will require some creativity. At Ring we value security and ensure that a Ring device setup or new connection is completed securely with the Ring app. Introducing a new network, even if wifi credentials are the same, will still require steps to be completed within the Ring app.

Sending her the connection along with the Ring device will be the best bet here. As you mentioned, her xfinity network likely being offline, this may provide two solutions. Obtaining a user friendly xfinity compatible router, or access point, will make setup the easiest. This way you can now pre-configure a router, setup the Ring device with it, and send both the Ring device and router to Mom.

As for a Ring device, I recommend a Cam with a plug in option for low maintenance power supply. This method would ensure the setup will be as easy as plugging in the Ring device and Router.

Keep in mind, there could be network or unknown environment factors that might require steps to be taken in the Ring app. If at anytime, the Cam and Ring app must “pair” (new setup, network troubleshooting, etc.) then there would need to be access to the app at the location of the Ring devices. If that is the case, reach back out to us and we will do whatever we can to further assist. Let us know if you have any further questions! :slight_smile:

Marley -

Thank you for the information. May I request some clarifications?

Unfortunately, it’s not possible for me to swap out my mother’s current xfinity modem along with the Ring camera. But perhaps all is not lost…

  1. To confirm, are you saying that to configure the Ring camera, it MUST be on the same local wifi network as the device running the Ring app? That is, simply entering the wifi name and password manually into the Ring app (assuming this is possible) while configuring the camera won’t work?

I understand that during configuration, the camera and the device running the Ring app have to be in the same place; otherwise the device would not be able to communicate with the camera and provide it with wifi credentials. But once the connection between the camera and the Ring app is established, I don’t see why in principle the Ring app can’t set the wifi credentials on the camera to some other wifi network, which is what I’m trying to do.

Imagine a location where there are two wifi networks, A and B. The device with the Ring app is on network A. Even though the device with the Ring app is close enough to the camera to attach to the camera’s temporary wifi signal and therefore can configure it, the app cannot configure the camera to attach to network B?

Assuming it IS possible to do this, the next problem would be that the signal for network B isn’t present at the time of configuration. My hope is that if the camera is subsequently moved in range of network B, it would automatically attach (since it has the proper credentials).

  1. My mother has a Mac laptop (OSX) that I can control remotely. I see that there is a ring app for OSX. Is it possible to configure (or reconfigure) the Ring camera through this app, instead of a mobile app? That would solve my problem, because her laptop is on the same wifi network as the camera will be.

  2. This would be hard, but I might be able to guide her through downloading the Ring app onto her iphone (she has one), then walk her through the setup. If this is successful, can I then log into the same Ring account on my phone across the country? In other words, can two different IOS devices (in this case) run and control the same camera?

Thanks again for your help with this, it really is a potential life-and-death matter that I figure out a way to get this set up, since no one is otherwise available to check on her well being and/or summon help if she gets into trouble!

Jerry

Of course, @Jerryk. I’ll be happy to provide clarification on this, and in regard to your follow up questions.

Listing out the major steps and requirements will really bring it all together. To complete a device setup or new network connection in the Ring app, you will need to complete both a step for pairing the Ring app to the Ring device and using the app to then complete the connection between Ring device and home network.

  • For the pairing step, your Camera’s setup button will need to be pressed while powered on, and the mobile device must be nearby to complete that connection.

  • For the home network connection step, your mobile device, router, and Ring device must all be able to communicate with one another.

A mobile device is required to complete the setup, and alter all of the settings on a Ring device, however, a Ring app is available on OSX for viewing recordings, live view, and a few device settings. While the setup can only be completed via Android or IOS mobile device, the owner can certainly be logged in on multiple devices. This means after setup, you can log into the same Ring account on your mobile device!

Solidifying a network connection will be of the utmost importance here as this piece is going to make connection the easiest. While our devices will often automatically reconnect after losing connection to the same network, this is not designed to be so on different networks as a secure connection will need to be established, and network settings can vary from router to router.

If being at the location without going inside is at all possible, there may be a possibility of completing a setup in the app for your mother, while she plugs in the necessary devices.

Thanks, that information is very helpful.

You make an useful point: the device doing the setup doesn’t actually have to be IN her apartment, it just has to CONNECT to her network. I may be able to work that out with someone else in the building.

By any chance is there a detail installation manual or list of steps (like you provided above) that I could get ahold of? The few manuals on the Ring web site that I can find are very generic, i.e. “follow the directions on the Ring app…” :slight_smile:

Thanks,

Jerry

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Glad I could be of assistance, and we wish you the best of luck on this endeavor!

Aside from the install guides including in the Ring packaging, and the installation manuals it sounds like you’ve already found, there is also this help center article that reads out each step of the setup. The only part of that article that might vary is the step for powering up the device, in which the only difference is inserting a battery versus plugging in the Cam.

There are also installation videos available on the Ring YouTube channel which can provide a visual example for not only setup but mounting.

Feel free to update us on results and any advice you have for other neighbors looking to take care of their family members. Thank you for being the best part of the Community! :slight_smile: