Wired vs Wireless Home Security: Which One Should You Get?
So you’ve finally decided that your house needs a home security system. Congratulations — and it’s about time. Given the multitude of security issues in the US today, even if you live in a so-called “good” neighborhood, having a surveillace system in place is one extra step towards your peace of mind.
But before you move forward, you must decide first whether you are getting a wired or wireless security system for your home (or both). There are a number of pros and cons for either and any security expert you ask will always say “it depends on your specific needs and personal preference.” The decision rests on your purpose, the house’s size, and your budget. Whether you go all wired, all wireless, or a combination of both is up to you.
Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of having wired and wireless home security.
- Wired Security – Advantages
There are several benefits to having a wired system. For one, it’s more stable and lasts longer than wireless because it does not run on batteries. There’s also no pressure on you to monitor battery life so you can change them in time. Another is reliable monitoring. Wired setups do not depend on sensors or radio frequencies so their communication lines are more solid. As long as the wires aren’t damaged or the phone lines aren’t cut, this is less likely to fail compared to wireless.
Wired security systems are also vulnerable to hacking because of its largely physical and grounded nature. That means that one would have to actually go to your control panel and connect to it just to hack it (where he or she will definitely get caught). If you are covering a large area, wired units are more stable because they can accommodate more sensors. In fact, their reach is so huge that they can span from one building to another on the same property.
When it comes to availability of nifty features, you can count on wired systems to deliver. If you want to install high-tech HD video surveillance gadgets, you will need the solid stability of wired setups to make this happen. Control panels can also be set-up in multiple rooms. Plus, they are easier to maintain compared to wireless.
- Wired Security – Disadvantages
While wired systems are more stable, they are also more complicated to install. In fact, because of the number of wires that need to be connected and put in place, the best and most efficient time to get them up is during the construction phase of a home. If your house is already existing, you have to be prepared to drill holes, and open up drywalls and redo them. This process is rather costly. In some cases, the areas where you want cameras or sensors to be attached will be difficult to access, particularly those already tight spaces.
Another downside to a wired setup is that it requires a professional to install it, which can incur high costs. It also means inviting strangers into your home, which can be a challenge if you’re iffy about privacy. Wired systems can take a full day or days to complete and you might not want this rather invasive procedure in your home. If your house has not been preinstalled with a wired system and you’re not agreeable to making changes to its construction, perhaps you should consider getting a wireless security setup.
- Wireless Security – Advantages
The main reason why most households prefer wireless security systems, aside from it being quite popular these days, is that they are very easy to install. You can even go DIY on this. If it must be set up by a professional, you can expect that this will be done in half a day or less. Because it does not require any wires and drills, you need not worry about ruining your walls or dealing with expensive professional fees. They can also be easily removed, making it suited for apartment renters and temporary residents. You can bring your entire wireless system with you to your new home should you move.
Another pro to wireless is that it can be accessed remotely. Whereas a wired system requires contact with an on-the-ground control panel, a wireless system may use a remote key fob can trigger the panic button or set off/ turn off your setup. You can even connect it to your smartphone so you can set and re-set basic functions with ease.
- Wireless Security – Disadvantages
One big downside to wireless is that it is battery dependent, so you will need to change them out or recharge them frequently. If you forget, then it turns off and you get no security. The more modern models addressed this issue by putting in longer lasting batteries but, still, they will need to replaced at some point. Some units sent you an alert, though, if you’re about to run out, and most rechargeable batteries have a 3 to 5-year life.
The range of wireless setups is also relatively limited. If you have a large home or need to cover a wide space, you might need to also install wireless repeaters to amplify the signals. Wireless systems use radio frequency which, along with distance limitations, might also interfere with other equipment in your home that also run on the same frequencies. Finally, it is more susceptible to hacking. To protect yourself, make sure you have a strong password for your Wi-Fi and your router is encryption enabled.
Overall, the decision between wired vs wireless depends on what your household needs (and what you can afford). Each one has its set of pros and cons, so weigh each carefully and see what you can live it. They both have a long list of features that may be helpful to certain types of homes and not really necessary for yours.
Alternatively, you can use a hybrid mix of wired and wireless components in your home. Talk to a professional provider so he or she can assess your house and suggest a best combination. Regardless of your choice, having a security system installed is one of the best ways to protect you and your family from outsiders.