Many security system providers are moving toward completely wireless technology, which can save you money and effort on your home security system. While this can seem tempting, wired security systems have their own benefits that shouldn’t be dismissed, even though they may seem outdated. Here is a comparison of wired vs wireless home security systems and a hybrid that combines both options to consider before you purchase.
Wired security systems
Wired security systems are extremely reliable in that they utilize your home’s phone line to monitor the system. This means that they are not susceptible to disruption in cellular networks or internet connections as a wireless system would be. However, just like your home’s landline, a wired security system is subject to power outages. A skilled intruder may also have the foresight to cut your phone lines, rendering your security system useless.
When it comes to installation, wired security systems are just that – they need to be wired to your home’s electrical system, and therefore are more intrusive than their wireless counterpart. Their installation requires a professional, and involves going into your home’s walls to connect the control panel to the phone line, and each sensor to the control panel. The cost of this installation is significantly higher than that of a wireless security system, as it requires the time of an expert; however, if you have a home with a pre-wired security system installed, its activation is usually just a phone call away, making it a convenient choice.
Relocating your wired security system may prove difficult, as a professional needs to uninstall it and reinstall it at the new location. This adds to the cost of the system, as you’ll need to pay for these additional hours for a professional to reinstall in the event of a move.
Wireless security systems
While wireless security systems can be interrupted depending on the consistency of a cellular network, they are reliable in the sense that they cannot be physically tampered with and are not affected in the event of a power outage.
Wireless security systems are also much easier to install than a wired system, as they do not involve any hardwiring to your home’s landline. In many instances, you can purchase your wireless equipment outright and install it yourself, saving you the cost of a professional installation. In the case of a wireless security system, the control panel connects to your internet router and communicates wirelessly to various sensors.
Because wireless systems are so easy to install, they are also easy to move around. This makes them a good option for renters or people who are in a temporary living situation, as there often is no additional costs for relocating and no complicated re-wiring involved.
Wireless security systems carry the added benefit of integration with your other wireless devices, such as your smartphone or laptop computer. This presents a whole new level of convenience when it comes to monitoring your security system. Notifications can be set up and customized to alert you whenever your system is triggered, and your system can be enabled and disabled remotely, saving you the time of typing a code into a keypad every time you come home or leave the house.
This wireless capability also makes it easier to integrate your wireless security system with additional features and add-ons without any additional installation costs. Security cameras, smoke detectors, motion sensors and environmental sensors can all be hooked up to your main control panel and monitored remotely through your smartphone. There are also many options for home automation, including thermostat and lighting control, and keyless entry capabilities.
This means that you can forgo a monitoring contract altogether if you’re comfortable doing so, since your system will notify you in real time when a sensor has been triggered, and you can alert the authorities if necessary. However, even with a wireless security system, there is an added layer of protection that comes along with a third party monitoring services, as mobile notifications can often be missed or accidentally overlooked.
Also, since wireless security systems are a relatively new development, many homes will already be equipped with a wired security system from its previous owners. In this case, it’s easier and less expensive to simply activate the wired system with a monitoring service and enable it wirelessly.
Hybrid Security Systems
While a wireless security system may seem like the best option, where they differ is in their levels of reliability. Wireless systems are prone to cellular hiccups; wired systems are not. Wired systems can be cut off in a power outage; wireless systems cannot. This difference makes it a good idea to have your system both wired to your landline and monitored wirelessly, an option that most security system providers offer to their customers.
With both wired and wireless backup, you can be assured that your security system will be monitored in any situation; whether the lines are cut, the power goes out or your cellular service provider experiences disruptions in service.
Wired systems that have been enabled wirelessly feature all of the benefits of a wireless system while providing the extra backup through your phone line. They can be monitored from your smartphone, controlled remotely and integrated with a variety of additional features without additional installation costs. They will, however, still be less mobile than a completely wireless system due their hardwiring to your landline.
Deciding between Wired vs. Wireless Home Security Systems or a Hybrid
It is ultimately up to you to decide whether to purchase a wired vs. wireless home security system, or a combination of both. Either way, be sure to do your research to compare which option is best to make sure your security system fits within your budget and household needs.