Hard-Wired or Wireless Security Systems?

security systems


Hard-Wired or Wireless Security Systems?

Security systems today are either hard wired or wireless.  There are many opinions out there and each have good, and not so good, points.  It is all about personal preference and what your needs are.  The difference between the two is how they communicate with the control panel.  The control panel is where the system is programmed. It also sounds the alarm when a sensor is tripped and sends a signal to the monitoring company.  Lets look at both to see the differences. Hopefully, this will help you to make a better decision on which way to go.

Wired Security Systems

A wired security system uses wires, normally hidden in the walls, ceiling or floor.  Communication to the control panel travels through the wires that are connected to your motion sensors, cameras, etc.  A hard-wired system is more likely to be installed by professionals because it involves drilling holes in the walls to feed and run wires through wall, under floors, through attics and down walls to your equipment and can be very challenging.  If you are building a new home and want a security system installed, the best time to do this is during the building process.  Your security company and your builder will work together to get the job done.  Later, if you want to add to your system, it may involve installing more wires.  Maintenance for hard-wired systems is very easy.  You don't have to replace batteries.  One disadvantage to hard-wired systems is being able to move your system to another location easily.  If you are renting or looking to move and want to take your equipment with you easily, hard-wire may not be the best choice for you.  As far as reliable, hard-wired systems are the most reliable.  There are no batteries in the sensors, radio transmitters or weak signals to worry about.  As far as coverage hard-wired systems can cover up to 1000ft from control panel to sensor.  Most hard-wired systems don't have limitations as to how many devices can be added.  As far as monitoring, you can use a landline. Or, if you do not have one, you can have wireless monitoring and notification over a cellular network.

Wireless Security Systems

In this day and age, most people feel wireless is the way of the future.  There are advantages and disadvantages.  The choice is really what kind of system fits your needs and wants.  Wireless systems communicate using radio signals sent wireless to your equipment.  With a wireless system the control panel is plugged in and everything else is usually powered by batteries.  Wireless systems are basically easy to install and can be up and running in a few hours.  If you want to add to your system at a later time, it is easier because you just need to sync them with the control panel.  Maintenance on a wireless system includes changing out batteries usually once a year.  If you are renting, or planning to move, you will be able to take your security system with you more easily and set up in your new home.  You can also move sensors or devices around as needed. One disadvantage of wireless is they do not cover as much area as wired systems and depending on what the signals have to travel through (walls or concrete) the range may be reduced even more.  The good thing is the distance can be extended by using repeaters but that adds to the equipment cost.  As with hard-wired systems, it can send notification via land line or a cellular network.  Just make sure since most homes do not have land lines anymore that your system can work without one.  Wireless systems are still changing rapidly and you may need to upgrade periodically. This is especially true if something goes out and there are no replacement parts available.

Again, there are advantages and disadvantages to both hard-wired and wireless systems.  Wired systems are definitely better for very large homes, require less maintenance and are more dependable.  Wireless may cost less on installation and are good if planning to take with you when you move.

The choice of hard-wired or wireless systems for protecting your home depends on reliability, coverage needed, cost and portability.  Wireless is perceived to cost less on labor cost, but the equipment can cost more.  In the event of a power failure, a rechargeable back-up battery takes over.  If power is out for extended period, regardless if hard-wired or wireless, the alarm systems control panel will not function.  So, there are many things to consider when purchasing a security system.  Do your homework.  Every alarm company will tell you different things depending on what their company offers.  Find a company you can trust.

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