Wired vs Wireless Security Systems

By | November 1, 2016

Wired vs Wireless Security SystemsWired vs wireless security systems, a significant consideration when designing a system suitable for your home. There are many different factors to think about that might make you decide one system over the other, or maybe even a system that has both. It really depends on what you need to achieve with your security system including the area you need to cover, whether you are installing it yourself or getting in a professional, or maybe it just isn’t possible to run wiring through your house. The main thing to understand is that every situation is different. In other words, a system that the house down the road has might not be suitable for your home.

The aim of this post is to highlight the factors you should consider when buying a security system and to highlight the pros and cons of a wired vs wireless security system.

What options are available?

There are two main systems that I’m going to cover, Alarm Systems and Security Camera Systems.

Alarm Systems – Wired alarm systems are where sensors are placed throughout your home and are all wired back to the control panel. On the other hand, the difference in a wireless system is that the sensors are connected to the control panel using wireless technology, usually by radio frequency.

Security Camera Systems – A wired security camera system includes placing cameras in and around your home which are then connected to a digital video recorder by cabling. A wireless security camera system usually involves connecting the cameras and digital video recorder to a WiFi network and the vision is recorded via the wireless network.

Both of the alarm and security camera systems have further functionality depending on their setup. For example, an alarm system can be hooked up to your landline to notify you are the security company of the alarm being triggered. Alternatively, it could be connected to the cellular network. Or sometimes both in cases where the landline is not functioning.

For security camera systems, most of the monitoring is done over the internet, whether it is via a security company, or directly to your smartphone or tablet, giving you the ability to monitor your home wherever you are in the world.

Installation

Wireless systems are usually easier to install and therefore can be installed without the need for a professional. As an added bonus, a wireless system can easily be taken with you if you move to a new home. All you need to do is pack up all the components, then install them again in your new home. Wired systems, on the other hand, are a little more difficult to install. In most situations, I would recommend using a professional installer to put in your wired system. Unless you are really keen on drilling holes around your home to feed the cabling through. Keep in mind, any errors will result in you making your own repairs.

If you are constructing a new home and are looking at installing a security system, then I suggest you get your wired security system installed at same time as all other electrical work is done. The downside of wired systems is that they are more difficult to take with you to another home. More often than not, the system will stay where it is.

Reliability

Reliability is a big one in my mind. Wired systems are most reliable as they are directly connected to the control panel or digital video recorder. With wireless systems, you may be prone to interference or the wireless network having connection issues. As soon as your wireless network is down, your wireless security system will also be down.

In addition, wireless systems become less reliable than wired systems over larger distances. Whilst this can be resolved be adding wireless network repeaters or extenders, this would then add to the cost of the system.

Cost

The upfront cost can vary significantly depending on the system you purchase. Generally, wireless systems will cost more due to the technology involved. In saying that, the cost of a wireless system has dropped over time. Wired systems will be more cost effective unless you need to run long lengths of wiring all over your property. The more wiring needed, the greater the cost.

Other factors to consider in the cost are

Installation – If you choose to get a professional to install the system, it may inflate the costs. But you will be sure that it is installed properly.

Ongoing maintenance – Again, depending on the system you install, if it is a completely wireless system where the devices run on batteries then replacing the batteries will be another added cost. However, there are wireless systems that can also be connected directly to a power source.

Subscription based monitoring services – This is where you sign up with a security company that will continually monitor your system from a remote location and respond to alarms being triggered or unwanted motion being detected.

Which system is right for me?

Ultimately, only you can answer this. Based on your circumstances, I can point you in down a path that may suit your needs. For example, if you are building a new home, getting a wired system installed when the house is being built could be the best option. Whereas if you are in an existing home and want to keep installation costs down, a wireless system might be your choice.

There are many security companies out there that can provide assistance in system design. Most of them will even provide free quotes. Or it could be worth seeking the advice of a security consultant to guide you to the best system for you. The most important thing is whichever system you choose, it must be the one that makes you and your family feel safe and secure in your home.

If you have any questions regarding a choosing a wired or wireless system, or if you want to get in touch, please feel free to leave me a comment below.

Best regards,

Andrew

12 thoughts on “Wired vs Wireless Security Systems

  1. Chase Chavez

    Really interesting article but super cool! I enjoyed all of the information you offered and you made it really easy to understand!

    Reply
  2. Kenny Lee

    Wireless definitely provides the flexibility. But as you said, reliability could be an issue if it’s a nested and complicated system. I don’t really want to compromise security for the sake of flexibility. But again there’s the cost of cabling that’s not ever increasing. Tough choice for this.

    Reply
    1. Andrew Post author

      Hi Kenny, it certainly is a difficult choice. If I was buying a security system for an existing house, I would base my decision on how big of a system I need. If I only need a few cameras and sensors, then wireless might be worth a try. However, if I need quite a large system with many cameras and sensors, I would be more inclined to go for a wired system for that extra reliability. Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  3. Max

    Wireless security system seems right if you don’t want to spend too much money on security. From how I see it, wired security system can be much better if used under right circumstances. But like you said, there is no “correct” answer to this. We all need something that is suitable to our needs.

    Anyways, you really cleared that out and provided some good information. Thank you and have a good day.

    Reply
    1. Andrew Post author

      Hi Max. Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment. You’re right, everyone has different needs when it comes to buying a system to suit them. The main thing is they seek advice to ensure they are getting a system that will be reliable and help protect their home.

      Reply
  4. Alham

    Hi Andrew I believe that wireless is more reliable but it can also get hacked that is the reason why I think wired is better for security reasons please give me your opinion on this

    Reply
    1. Andrew Post author

      Hi Alham. You’re right, there is a risk of a wireless system being hacked. I agree that if you want the system to be secure from that perspective, a wired system would be your choice.

      Reply
  5. john

    Andrew,
    I had a wired security system in my house two houses ago. The upfront cost was high as you state, the house was new but finished. With the new wireless security systems connecting to smartphones, this would be the way I would go if I upgraded today. Your information is very detailed. Is there a wireless system that does not have a monthly monitoring fees.
    John

    Reply
    1. Andrew Post author

      Hi John, yes there are many wireless systems that do not require monthly monitoring fees. If you want to install your own system you can, but just ensure you have the right equipment for the type of system you buy. For example, if you buy a wireless system that runs over WiFi, you will need to have an existing wireless network in your home (ie. a wireless router). I will be doing reviews on wireless systems in the near future. Feel free to return to my site and take a look.

      Reply
  6. Kayla

    I didn’t know that wired systems are most reliable as they are directly connected to the control panel or digital video recorder. My dad wants our home to be secured since there are reports of theft in the neighborhood. My uncle suggested installing wireless security systems and shared this article with him.

    Reply
    1. Andrew Post author

      Hi Kayla, thank you for your comment. I’m glad the article has helped you and your dad.
      Wired systems create more reliability especially with connectivity. It’s similar to if you have wireless internet in your home, which can sometimes dropout or have interference.
      Something else to consider is whether a wireless device can be hacked or accessed by someone outside of your home. Wireless technology these days is becoming more reliable and secure, so it might just come down to personal preference, or the location of where you need to install the system.
      If you have any questions, I’m more than happy to help.

      Reply

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