Wired vs Wireless installation for home security systems, which one is better?

Having a home security system in your home is always a great idea if you want to have peace of mind. We talked in a recent article about how a security system can deter crime and help you in case someone breaks into your home or business. However while (almost) everybody have that information, not everyone is aware that there are two types of security system installations that can be made. On one hand we have a wired home security system, on the other the wireless home security system. Most companies nowadays, when it come to home solutions, tend to offer wireless systems, however in some cases, a wired system can be a better option for the space you want to monitor. Top companies are able sometimes, and mostly for businesses and office buildings, to offer both solutions so they can always have a backup security system in case one goes down.

Wireless security system installation

Wireless installation is the most common installation you will see (and probably get) when you decide to get a home security system.

Pros

The installation factor

The pros are multiple, starting from the fact that you can start from little amount of devices and over time upgrade and integrate new devices to the security system in an easy way. The devices that integrate a wireless security system are usually very easy to install, most of them are plug and play devices and the control panel is usually pre-setup so that once the system gets installed it’s working from the start. On top of all this, this type of installation are usually DIY and the devices don’t need to be placed near a power outlet.

The mobility factor

Related to the above is the fact that these devices, as well as being easy to install are also easy to uninstall, so moving them to some other place and proceed with the installation once again is not a really big deal. This is very practical for those of you who are tenants and want to be sure to be always equipped with a security system no matter if you have to move to a new house.

The accessibility factor

Having a wireless security system means that we can interact with it wherever we are and from the palm of our hand. A wireless home security system is ideal not only as a burglar prevention system but also to keep an eye of your kids when they are back from school or at night if the babysitter is doing fine with your baby. There are cameras in the market that allow for two-way communication, something that comes really in hand in many different situations.

The home automation capability

Some companies like Nest offer the possibility to have a full automated home, from setting a geofence in order to enable and disable the alarm automatically, to adapting the temperature of your home through a thermostat, to remotely instruct a camera to start recording and so on with many different devices. Home automation applied in home security systems is for sure the “what’s next” of the security market as many companies like Vivint, Frontpoint and others are offering home automation compatible devices.

The wireless factor

Being wireless means that while the devices could be working on electric power, they can also work with batteries. Many times the only devices connected to an electric outlet is the control panel while the rest of the devices work on batteries. This means on one hand that if there’s a power outlet your system will continue running and that if your landline get cut manually from the outside in an attempt of burglary, the system won’t be affected as it will be working on the backup 3G (most of the home security companies offer a control panel with 3G compatibility) or will keep working on WiFi if you have a satellite provider.

Cons

The range factor

A wireless connection find its limitation in the range. Wireless security systems are designed for small/medium sized homes as the open-air range is usually around the 500 feet. Of course there are shortcuts to this problem like installing a WiFi extender, but in order to be sure the security system is going to work well in every occasion, you may want to opt for a wired security system.

The vulnerability factor

There are mainly three things that make a wireless home security system vulnerable; the devices run on batteries, which mean that you need to keep an eye on it to avoid that one day you wake up and you find that one of your sensors is no longer connected to the control panel order; wireless home security systems may be susceptible to interference like any other wifi connected device; hacking the system is also a possibility as burglars could jamming the signal in order to deactivate the alarm.

Summary of Pros and Cons of a wireless security system

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Devices don’t need to be near a power outlet
  • Easy to move
  • You can control it from the palm of your hand
  • Home automation capability
  • Can work on battery so is not affected in case of a power outage

Cons

  • Limited range
  • Run on batteries so you need to keep an eye in order to prevent it from turning off
  • Susceptible to interference
  • Susceptible to hacking

Wired security system installation

Wired installation is usually performed in large houses and in those situations where a backup security system is needed (small businesses, office buildings, etc), some companies like ADT or Protect America may be able to offer a two-way solution if you feel like a back up security system is needed in your house.

Pros

The installation factor

The installation of a wired security system can be a headache. Unless you are an expert, the installation needs to be done by a professional installer as the devices must be placed in a certain way and all of them must be wired and then plugged into a socket.

The cost factor

Those type of security systems usually comes with less equipment than the wireless ones meaning that the cost will be lower. If you are a homeowner and you are on a budget or live in a small house, a wired security system could be a very good option for you.

The range factor

Range in the case of wired security system is limitless. No matter how big is the space you want to monitor, when a sensor or a camera is wired it will not lose the signal and the contact with the control panel.

The vulnerability factor

As we saw before, wireless security systems could be susceptible to hacking, with a wired system that isn’t a risk. Also, the fact that the security system is wired means that it doesn’t run on batteries which mean that you don’t have to worry that the devices are disconnected due to lack of battery.

The professional factor

We mentioned it before, wired security systems must be installed by professionals meaning that if you own a business or you run an office building, counting on a professional when it comes to your security installation is a must. On top of that some devices work better when wired so is not a surprise that quite some companies prefer to have a wired system as their main security system.

Cons

The mobility factor

Once you install a wired security system it’s not easy to dismantle it. This is a system designed for homeowners and businesses. Be sure that you are 100% sure before choosing a wired security system.

The vulnerability factor

While the impossibility of hacking is definitely a good thing, the possibility of getting cut out by a power outage or a sabotage carried out by burglars that will only need to cut the phone lines from outside the home in order to let your security system disabled.

The cost factor

It’s true that wired security systems usually use less components than wireless ones, nevertheless the equipment tend to be more specialized (some wired HD security cameras are truly top of the edge technology). However the true cost comes with the installation as you will need a professional installer to do the job and the cost of his work can be easily go above $300 or $500.

The accessibility factor

A wired system is not hackable so it also means that is not accessible from the outside. This is a limitation as you won’t be able to interact with your security system unless you are near the control panel.

Summary of Pros and Cons of a wired security system

Pros

  • Installed by a professional
  • Less equipment means lower cost
  • The system can’t be hacked
  • Being wired means that the devices power will not ‘run out’
  • Is reliable for companies
  • Unlimited range

Cons

  • Once installed cannot be moved
  • If telephone lines are cut off from the outside the security system will go down
  • Installation can be expensive
  • The system cannot be accessed unless you are near the control panel