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Choosing a Security System

Are wired or wireless home security systems better?

It depends on what you need from a security system. Hardwired burglar alarm systems have an edge on reliability, while wireless systems provide a more streamlined installation and can be used in places where wired systems can't.

"Wireless vs. wired security" refers to two distinctly different parts of the security system. The network of sensors, plus the control panel, make up a self-contained system that may be wired or wireless. But there's also the way that this system connects to the outside world; for example, sending alerts to a remote monitoring center, or receiving commands from your mobile phone.

The control panel will then communicate wirelessly to the outside world using a cellular "uplink." Essentially, your system will have a cell phone of its own. A fully hardwired alarm system connects the sensors to the control panel with a network of wires, concealed within the walls and floors of your home, and then to the outside world using your home's telephone line.

The two parts of the security system can be combined, either with a wireless sensor network and control panel but a hardwired landline connection, or with hardwired sensors and control panel connected to the outside world via cellular. The most common setup combines the two, with a hardwired telephone line as the primary connection and a cellular backup in case the phone lines go down (or are cut).

However, not all homes have an active landline. More people are choosing to use their mobile or Internet phones instead of a landline, which may make wireless the necessary choice for outside the home communication. Within the home, the advantages and disadvantages of wired versus wireless security systems come down to two issues: installation concerns and performance differences.

If your home does not have a security system pre-installed, wireless systems can solve several problems. You won't have to worry about drilling holes or other modifications, making wireless an extremely attractive option for renters, historic homes, or buildings with significant interior brick, stone or marble construction. Renters or homeowners who change residence will also be able to take advantage of the portability of most wireless systems-simply disconnect and reconnect at your new address.

The chief potential drawback of wireless is reliability. Just like Wi-Fi routers or cell phones, wireless security systems are subject to various types of interference which can cause your sensor to fail to respond, or to respond unpredictably (such as triggering a false alarm). While it is possible for these things to happen, these instances are absolutely rare though. Electromagnetic interference can come from many other devices, including baby monitors, remote controls, power lines, microwave ovens and fluorescent lighting. Structural interference comes from walls, floors, ceilings, or things like metal filing cabinets. Plus, each wireless sensor contains its own battery, which work great, especially in a power outage. Just make sure you stay on top of changing out your batteries so you know they're always operating at peak performance.

Most major security system providers offers both wired and wireless options, so choosing the right provider will be a more important first step than deciding between wireless vs. wired security.

To get a better idea of whether wireless or wired systems are right for you, speak with one of our Smartech Security specialists by calling 0203 874 1434.

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