Wired Security Systems vs. Wireless Security Systems (Pt. 2): The Wireless Solution

Earlier this week we looked at the ins and outs of a wired security system.  Just as a recap, let’s take a quick look at the advantages and disadvantages of this kind of system and dig further into the workings of a wireless security system:

Wired Security System Advantages:

  • Prewired houses/apartments enable easy and less expensive installations
  • Less expensive equipment and constantly powered sensors (no batteries)
  • Less signal interference and no weakness of signal strength due to distance

Wired Security System Disadvantages:

  • Non-prewired houses will incur more installation costs
  • Harder to expand, less flexible for moving
  • Wires may be bypassed by smart thieves

Wireless Security System Overview

Essentially, this kind of system is exactly the same as the wired security system variety with the exception of external sensors not being connected to the control panel by a physical connection.  Instead, when a door/window sensor, motion detector or glass break detector is tripped, it will send a specific radio frequency (RF) signal to your control panel that will sound the alarm and/or alert the authorities (if your security system is being monitored by a home alarm monitoring service).

Advantages

Because these types of systems don’t require external wiring (outside of the control panel and keypad), wireless security systems are incredibly easy to install.  Basically your home security system company installer will program the sensors to be in sync with the keypad’s RF receiver, properly select the placement of the sensors inside your home and then adhere or screw them into place.  Once everything is programmed, you’re all set.

Another primary advantage of a wireless security system is its flexibility and mobility.  If you want to add more sensors to cover more areas of your home, the wireless security solution allows you to this without running additional wires (which will add even more to the overall costs of your system).  It also works the other way around; if you want to take your system with you if you move, the wireless system is easily portable.

Finally, because there are no wires running into the sensors, clever thieves have no wires to bypass, making it nearly impossible for crooks to work around specific sensors within your home.

Disadvantages

Wireless sensors have limited reach.  This is because they run on batteries and simply cannot put out a powerful enough signal to reach the receiver after a maximum distance threshold is reached.  A workaround for this is generally to install a multiple keypad receivers in your home so that no sensor is out of its reach.

Another disadvantage (though not as common now with advancements in battery technology) is the battery in your sensors.  Generally though, if your sensor has a low battery the sensor will send a specific signal to your keypad which will alert you when this occurs.  You can either replace it yourself or contact your home security system supplier.

Lastly, signals sent by wireless sensors may be interfered with by larger appliances like microwaves and possibly even Wi-Fi connections in your house.  Though this is not very common, the possibility is still there if the interfering signals are large enough.

Summary:

Wireless Security System Advantages:

  • Quick, easy installations
  • Flexible and mobile when needed
  • No wires to cut by criminals

Wireless Security System Disadvantages:

  • System coverage area is limited
  • Battery replacing hassle
  • Signal interference

If you take an apples-to-apples comparison of wireless vs. wired security systems, you can see that each has identifiable strengths and weaknesses.  One is traditional and sturdy and the other is modern and flexible.  One is difficult to install and the other is limited by distance.

So before you make the decision on one over the other, it’s always best to consult with your home security system provider; most often they will evaluate your home for free and make a professional recommendation that will fit your family’s needs.