To make the right decision on a security system, you need to understand how wired and wireless systems work, what the benefits and limitations are of each and which would be best for you. It would also be helpful to understand what types of technological advances are being made so that you don’t need to replace your system in a few years’ time if you choose the wrong one.
With any security system, it would be best to consult a professional security firm to get an expert opinion. They should be able to assess your needs and give you the best range of options.
Most security systems are made of 3 components, the sensors that detect a threat, the control system that monitors the sensors, and some type of communications system that alerts the authorities and owner to a threat.
Some security systems can be a hybrid of wired and wireless, using different methods for the different components of the system.
What makes up a security system?
The sensor component in a security system would include all devices that detect threats. These could be smoke detectors, motion sensors, window magnets that detect opening or closing or any other sensor the is connected to the main security system.
The control system is the interface between the sensors and the outside world. It consists of a computer and some form of communications device that sends alerts to the authorities. The control system also acts as the “brain” of more advanced security systems. If sensors are pet immune or if there is software that is run to track or record threats, the decision making will usually happen in the control unit.
Communication with the outside world is the final component of a security system. Until this point,all of the information sent by the security system is not useable. In other words, if this component does not work, the entire system is useless. This will be very important when choosing between a wired or wireless system.
A fully wired system:
In a fully wired system, all of the components of the system communicate through physical wires. All of the sensors, smoke, motion and intrusion, have wires connecting them to the central control system. The control system connects to the outside world by using standard telephone wires.
One of the major flaws of a fully wired system is that if the phone line is damaged or tampered with, the entire system will fail. It would be fairly easy for a burglar to sabotage a telephone line or cut the wire leading from the control system to the phone line.
One of the benefits of this type of system is that it is very difficult to tamper with any of the other components. It is almost impossible to disable sensors from the outside. This is because you would need direct access to the wires, which are usually found in the walls of a building.
A fully wireless system:
In a fully wireless system, all communications between the components of the security system are done without wires, over the electromagnetic spectrum. This could be done by Bluetooth,WiFi, HF radio, infrared signaling, cellular or any other type of wireless communication.
Each wireless technology has its own strengths and weaknesses. In some cases, different technologies will be used at the same time in the same system to make up for this.
The sensors will track or monitor things in the same way that they would in a wired system. All information gathered would be sent to the control system wirelessly. The amount of information and the distance to the control system would determine what type of wireless technology should be used. For example, Bluetooth is appropriate for short range communication of small amounts of information. Cellular data would be better for long range transmission of large amounts of data, like video.
The control system of a wireless system will usually have a device that is basically a small cellular phone to communicate with the outside world. If something triggers the alarm, the control system will “call” the relevant authorities.
The major benefit of a wireless system is that it is very easy to install and upgrade. The major drawback is that there are devices that can jam certain wireless signals. This drawback can be countered by using multiple different wireless methods to send signals. For example, a cell phone jammer will not be able to jam a Bluetooth signal.
There are more advances being made each year with wireless technology than with wired. It is easier to use specialized software to enhance a wireless system. It is possible to have a transmitter switch frequencies so that it cannot be jammed. Wireless technologies are also becoming more common in smart homes and cities. Including a wireless security system in a smart home design is easier and cheaper than using a wired system.
Which one is better?
The best security system will always depend on individual needs. In general, a wireless system is the best choice.