How Does the Ring Doorbell Work? — A Detailed Guide

Ring doorbells are a modern take on the age-old classic doorbell, so your home security is not compromised in any situation. Although it is a fairly simple device with easy-to-grasp mechanics, the Ring doorbell has revolutionized security systems. So how does a Ring doorbell work exactly? This is a detailed guide delving into all things Ring doorbell, from its conception to how it is used today.

What is a Ring Doorbell?

The Ring doorbell looks similar to a traditional doorbell but with added advantages | USA Today

A typical doorbell usually consists of a signaling device placed outside near a building’s entrance. It is used to alert residents inside the property of any visitor or parcel waiting at the door. The Ring doorbell is an improvement to this simple device, by adding extra features for an overall improved user experience. 

Designed with a motion sensor built into it, the Ring doorbell is programmed to be able to detect any activity up to 30 feet away from where the device is placed. In addition to a motion sensor, this product also functions as a security camera. Another defining feature of Ring is its ability to be connected to your mobile device. This will provide you with a live video feed of all external activity any time motion is detected. 

History Behind Ring 

Ring’s parent company Doorbot was featured on the hit American reality show Shark Tank | CNBC

Launched over ten years ago, Ring has evolved a great deal as both a product and a company. Originally marketed with the name Doorbot, the Ring doorbell was created by the entrepreneur and inventor Jamie Simoniff along with his team of engineers in his home’s garage.

After a couple years of steady sales, the team behind Doorbot got their big break once they appeared on the hit American reality TV series Shark Tank. On this show, millions of viewers saw Simoniff pitch his Wi-Fi powered doorbell to top investors in hopes of securing a deal. Although he wasn’t successful in convincing the likes of Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary in investing into Doorbot, the public appearance boosted sales significantly. 

By working towards strategic rebranding and product development coupled with the publicity gained from Shark Tank, Ring was able to scale massively over the next few years. In 2018, Jamie Siminoff sold Ring doorbell company to E-commerce giant (AMZN) for more than $1 billion. Today, Ring doorbell systems are a force to be reckoned with in the niche of home security.

How does the Ring Doorbell work?

The Ring doorbell is used in conjunction with the Ring app | Digital Trends

In its essence, the Ring doorbell is an elevated version of the typical doorbell. The standard procedure of ringing the doorbell and then waiting outside the door for a resident to receive you is still the same, but there are few advancements. The Ring doorbell operates through your home’s WiFi network. To setup your Ring Doorbell follow these steps:

  1. Download the Ring Application to your smartphone
  2. Create a new account or log in to your existing one
  3. Tap Set Up a Device
  4. Scan the QR code on your Ring doorbell device
  5. Enter a name for your device
  6. Put your doorbell into setup mode by pressing and releasing the orange button on the back until a spinning white light appears on the front of the doorbell.
  7. Connect to your device through your mobile application
Setup Ring Doorbell

Once you have set up your Ring doorbell, you can start testing its features. Anytime any activity is sensed by the Ring doorbell, a notification is sent to your mobile phone on the Ring application. As long as you are connected to WiFI, you can see a live video feed of activity outside your front door through the app. 

Ring also stores the history of activity so that you can always see what activity occurred even if you weren’t able to monitor the app in real time. 

Design Notes with Ring

Ring has kept its external design consistent while regularly improving the features its offers | Fast Company

Deliberately designed to look similar to a traditional doorbell, the Ring doorbell features several advanced features in a sleek, rectangular build. 

The latest model of this product showcases a strong motion sensor, 1080p color camera, blue ring light, and large lithium battery, as well as wifi detection and speakers which can play back pre-programmed messages for pedestrians ringing the doorbell. To match the exterior of your house, it also comes with four adjustable faceplates in the colors black, bronze, nickel, and white- allowing you to customize the Ring doorbell as per your design preferences.

An interesting note about the design of Ring doorbells is that it has been mostly unchanged. In fact, if studied closely, you will notice that the very first Ring doorbell launched in 2014 is almost identical in looks to the latest model released just last year.

Despite updating the product in terms of speed, power, features, and overall functionality, manufacturers of Ring choose to keep the exterior as close to the original as possible- a far cry from what we are used to seeing from other giants in the tech space (case in point, the ever-changing position of the iPhone camera).

This deliberate focus towards a consistent design is not only environmentally conscious, but also beneficial in terms of home security. Without the clear distinction between old and new, customers are more inclined to stay with Ring long term, updating as the need arises and not just for the sake of being trendy. Moreover, it helps keep the Ring doorbell easily identifiable, forcing someone with bad intentions to think twice before committing a crime near one.

Home Security With Ring

The Ring doorbell’s unique selling point is the protection it offers to our homes with the help of technology | PCMag

The biggest selling point of Ring is the protection it offers in terms of shielding our homes from any threats lingering on the outside. 

The 1080p video camera attached to Ring not only records in color, but also has a pre-roll feature. This means that the device saves four seconds of video from before the motion sensor is triggered- allowing you to recieve a full understanding of any interacton which takes place at your doorstep.

The Ring doorbell also facilitates conversations between someone standing at the door and those inside the home with its two-way talk feature. In this way you can be sure to both see and converse with the person ringing your doorbell before allowing them access inside your home.

Privacy Concerns

A compromised Ring Doorbell can lead to major privacy issues for customers | NordVPN

Despite the major benefits the Ring doorbell offers in terms of improved home security, recent concerns related to customer privacy have started to arise.

Like all electronic devices, the Ring doorbell is vulnerable to hacking. An attacker with the right set of technological skills may easily gain control of this device and use the information collected for their own personal gain. With access to the Ring doorbell on a technical level, a hacker can create false alarms, delete valuable video footage, or even silently spy on who visits or leaves the owner’s home. In any case, the privacy of users is compromised.

Another issue that may arise is that of confidentiality. All of the data recorded by the Ring doorbell is owned by and stored on the cloud, with some reports even confirming that data was being sent to government agencies like the police without user consent. Customers using the Ring doorbell or even passerbies would have no way of knowing who all has access to videos displaying their identity.

Competitor Brands

Over a dozen smart doorbells similar to Ring have emerged on the market | Tech Hive

In the 9 years since the Ring doorbell was born, several competitor brands have risen to make similar products. Notable products worth mentioning are the Google Nest, Arlo Video Doorbell, Logitech Circle, and Wyze video doorbell. Though the features offered by these smart doorbells are more or less similar, each comes with its own unique design, usability, and price point.


The Ring doorbell is credited as being the first video doorbell to have been introduced to the mainstream public. Now, the rise of other smart doorbells similar to Ring have made this gadget commonplace and no less than a staple in our homes. Before setting out to buy one however, it is important to gain an understanding of just how this product works and what it has to offer its customers with regards to all aspects.


Kamil Anwar

Kamil is a certified MCITP, CCNA (W), CCNA (S) and a former British Computer Society Member with over 9 years of experience Configuring, Deploying and Managing Switches, Firewalls and Domain Controllers also an old-school still active on FreeNode.