How do Wireless Home Security Systems work?
Understanding what wireless means for a particular alarm is important as there are some significant differences in operation. We have 2 key areas to think about.
- Components (sensors)
- Signal (how the alarm communicates with an alarm monitoring centre or ARC)
For an unmonitored alarm, having the components wireless means it’s very easy to install and, as the name suggests, they communicate with the control panel wirelessly. The whole system is “self-contained”.
You just choose what components you think suit your circumstances, fit them where you feel they are needed most and that’s about it.
A “complete” wireless home security alarm not only communicates with itself, it communicates electronically with an external ARC. A hard wired system will typically use a landline to keep in contact with a monitoring centre (ARC).
You can, of course, combine the 2 types having wireless sensors internally with a hard-line connection to an ARC.
What do wireless alarms Cost?
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Why go for a wireless home security system?
There are a few good reasons for “going wireless” with your home alarm system, the first is as a security measure, others are more to do with aesthetics.
If we deal with the “other” reasons first, fitting a totally wireless alarm means that you won’t be having cables clipped to the walls or holes drilled through them to run your connecting cables. Whilst the wires can be covered up to a certain extent, you will still be able to see them or the trunking that they are enclosed within.
Some people may not be too bothered about that, but it can be unsightly to have wires all over the place.
Another benefit of not having wires to connect everything, is it can be quicker & less intrusive to install. This is because the installers don’t have to do cable laying, running or fixing. That also means less material, labour and less messy, noisy drilling.
This “easy-fit” nature of a basic wireless home alarm makes it a good option for anyone who may be looking for a DIY option.
In terms of security, one of the worries often expressed is that a potential intruder could “cut the right cable” and bypass the alarm altogether. Clearly if there are no wires, then they can’t be cut!
Others may say that a wireless system can be “jammed”, but the instances of this are so rare & unlikely in the residential market that neither the US or UK even bother to track the statistics.
However, many good quality products have “anti-jamming algorithms” and would treat an attempt to jam as an intrusion and set off an alert. Frontpoint say they have not had a documented successful jamming attempt since launching their system back in the 1980’s.
It also helps a lot with things like positioning sensors (or cameras if you want them). If your sensors or cameras are not tied to a cable it means you can position them almost anywhere – and move them if needs be without having to re-wire the whole place.
There is a trade-off here though. The cost of the wireless items themselves could be costlier, but you could get some of that extra expense “back” due to the potential reduction in labour time to install the items.
The other thing that a wireless system will allow you to do easily, is to take it with you if you move home. That will save you buying a new one for your new home and could be very handy if you rent a property and don’t expect to live there long term.
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