Wireless Alarm Systems might be extremely popular right now, but when it comes to reliability and durability, hardwired alarm systems are still a popular choice – and still offer many benefits that wireless alarm systems cannot yet match, despite being full of their own modern features. Keep reading to see how wired alarm systems work and how they can help keep your home or business reliably secured for a long time to come.
How Do Hardwired Alarm Systems Work?
Unlike modern wireless systems, which communicate over special wireless mediums, cellular connections or even over Bluetooth, hardwired alarm systems function using wiring running through the walls of your house or building. Signals from the sensors on the system are transmitted via the wired system, as opposed to wirelessly as on a wireless system.
While this may not seem as modern or high-tech as a wireless alarm system, and may require more effort and cost when installing, it also offers a variety of advantages over wireless alarm systems.
1. Simpler To Maintain
This depends on each particular alarm system and its circumstances, but oftentimes hardwired alarm systems are actually easier to maintain. Why? While the wiring inside the wall may require a lot of work to get at and maintain, the alarm system components themselves are often more generic and readily available. Wireless alarm systems, on the other hand, often use proprietary parts and components.
Generally, wired alarm systems employ 2-conductor or 4-conductor wiring, which is easily installed into a home or business, and oftentimes can already be found installed inside the walls.
The sensors and devices used by hardwired alarm systems – door and window contacts, for example – are often also generic enough to be interchangeable among various systems and wiring, allowing for an easily customizable, modifiable setup. In many of these cases, the only proprietary part of the system is the keypad.
2. More Reliable
Hardwired alarm systems generally offer more reliability than a wireless alarm system, as well. While wireless technologies have certainly improved in recent years, they still don’t quite offer the reliability and strength of signal that a hardwired connection will offer. The signals can be come blocked or interfered with by walls, doors and even objects in the home, and even inadvertently jammed by metal in the room. Nearby wireless devices using similar radio frequencies (RF), such as baby monitors or remote controls, can also jam the system.
Hardwired systems don’t have any of these problems, however – there’s almost no way for a wired connection to develop interference or become jammed.
It is true that wired alarm systems can be disabled and tampered with by cutting cables in case of a break-in. They can also be disabled whenever the power goes out. But the likelihood this is small compared to unintentional interference from nearby wireless devices or objects in the room.
3. Can Be More Cost Effective
The difference in cost between hardwired and wireless systems is that of installation vs maintenance. Hardwired alarm systems are generally much more expensive to install, and most of that cost comes from installation and labor. Tearing out sections of wall and installing wiring can be very expensive, taking lots of time and driving up your installation costs.
The plus side is that many wired systems use cheap and readily available parts, and once the wiring is proper installed, can be much cheaper and easier to maintain. And if you already have the wiring and infrastructure necessary, installation can end up being very, very cheap.
4. Can Often Be Combined With Wireless Systems
While hardwired systems may seem less capable and less customizable than wireless ones, that is not always the case, and today, many hardwired systems can actually have wireless components integrated right into them. This creates a comprehensive, customized and up-to-date system that fulfills your home or business’ security needs exactly how you need them. This will almost always require the expertise of a professional systems integrator but will give you far more flexibility and capability out of a single system.
Combined Wired/Wireless systems will often allow you to use all the features that newer wireless systems come with, such as mobile capabilities and alerts and remote access from virtually anywhere.
How to Choose Between A Wired Or Wireless Alarm System?
If you’re unsure of whether a wired or wireless alarm system is better for you, talking to a professional alarm installer might be the right step for you. They’ll be able to get the most accurate and comprehensive picture of what your security needs are, account for any additional installation steps (such as installing wiring in your home or business, if there isn’t any) and help you find the right system for your budget and circumstances. If reliability and budget are priorities, you’ll likely be better off with a hardwired system, while a wireless system will likely be better when convenience, remote access and smart home integration are more important.