Are Wired or Wireless Alarm Systems Better?
The subject of hardwired vs wireless alarm systems will unavoidably come up in the event you are in the market for a new intruder alarm for your home or business, or if you’re looking to upgrade your current system with a more modern and up-to-date solution.
Undeniably, there are certain considerations that need to be taken into account before deciding, and while each system features its own set of pros and cons, the bottom line is that both solutions provide the same levels of security and regardless of which type you choose, you should ensure that you enlist the services of a certified and accredited security company like Banham.
In the following guide we will discuss all the differences between wired and wireless alarm systems and explore all the features that make each solution unique in order to find the one that better fits your needs.
There is a common misconception that wired alarms are better than wireless systems. While they do have an edge when it comes to reliability, going as far as saying that they provide a better alternative altogether and that they should always be preferred over wireless systems, is without merit.
How do hardwired alarms work?
Wired alarms, much like their wireless counterparts, consist of the main control panel and a number of sensors (PIRs, smoke detectors, etc.) that are placed in key areas on the premises to pick up any suspicious activity. The difference between hardwired and wireless alarms lies in the method the sensors are connected to the main console. A hardwired system utilises wires to transmit signals from the sensors back to the main console.
Pros and cons of wired alarms
Wired alarm systems are usually the more trusted option as they do not rely on wireless signals for their communication which are more susceptible to interference and other malicious hijacking attacks.
Furthermore, they are the superior option for larger spaces that require a multitude of sensors placed throughout because there is no limit to the number of sensors that can be installed.
Another positive feature is that they are easier to maintain. The sensors draw power from the mains electricity which means that there is no need for batteries or other external power sources.
That said, wired alarms come with a few drawbacks as well. As they require wires to run through the walls, their installation costs are usually higher than wireless systems. Furthermore, the installation process can be trickier and take more time. To this end, they are always the recommended option if someone is building a new house, undergoing a refurbishment, or carrying out other maintenance works.
Wireless alarms have become extremely popular in the last few years due to their flexibility and ‘better looks’, but are they truly the best option between the two?
How do wireless alarms work?
As opposed to wired systems, wireless alarms don’t require any hardwiring or cables running through the walls. Each sensor that is strategically placed throughout the property, has a radio-frequency transmitter built-in which allows them to communicate with the main console.
Pros and cons of wireless alarms
One of the key reasons why anyone would opt for a wireless alarm, is the additional flexibility and ease of installation which makes them ideal for renters who can simply take their alarm with them once they move and avoid inflicting any damage to the property.
Due to the fact that they are easy to install, a lot of homeowners mistakenly proceed to DIY implementations which can have a catastrophic effect on the security of their homes. Whilst DIY solutions may look enticing and cheap, in reality they can compromise the security of your home and eventually cost you a lot more than the amount you would have seemingly saved. Furthermore, DIY alarms are not covered under any insurance providers and opting for such a solution could even invalidate your insurance policy in the event you needed to raise a claim.
Alongside their ease of installation, they are also easier to upgrade and modify. Whether you need to increase the number of sensors or change their placements, it’s an easy job for any security engineer as they won’t need to tamper with any wiring or drill any holes into the walls.
One of the drawbacks of wireless alarm systems lies in the fact that they require batteries to operate which means that they will need to be replaced periodically to ensure their faultless operation. But how long do batteries last in wireless alarm sensors? On average, batteries should be replaced every 1.5 – 2 years. With a Banham maintenance contract, you can rest assured that our engineers will undertake the annual maintenance of your alarm system guaranteeing its perfect working order and thus eliminating the chances of false alarm activations or other potential malfunctions that could arise.
Another consideration that you should factor in if you’re exploring the option of a wireless alarm, is that they are limited in terms of distance coverage. The sensors need to be within approximately 500 feet of the main console (also depending on other factors, like wall thickness, materials, etc.), otherwise repeaters will need to be utilised to extend the range of the network. Whilst this is easily solvable, you may want to choose a wired system if you have a large property.
Conclusion – what should you buy?
In the end, both systems are proven to be equally reliable, and each offers a set of unique features and advantages, that depending on your needs and use cases, will have a bearing on your decision. In any case, it’s always recommended that you should consult a security expert who will be able to help you explore your options and advise on the best implementation that will meet your requirements.
At Banham, we offer free and no-obligation onsite surveys during which our team of highly-skilled security experts will be able to assist you with all your security considerations.