There’s a strong and growing demand for wireless and wired security systems for the home because they’ve proven to help keep families safe from potential break-ins.
A study by Consumer Advocate revealed that homes without security systems are three times more likely to be robbed. In fact, when criminals case homes, they are deterred by evidence of installed security systems (such as visible security placards, stickers, or security cameras) and are more likely to try to gain entry to a home that is unprotected.
Another study conducted by Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice analyzed crime data from the Newark Police Department over a period of four years and found that burglaries in Newark decreased as more security systems were installed. The study concluded that 60% of burglars were deterred by alarms, and most would try to check if one was installed before attempting to break in.
While people have many home security packages to choose from and options that can be tailored to their specific needs, their choices generally fall under the two umbrellas: wireless security systems and wired security systems. So, it’s a good idea to understand the benefits of each before making a buying decision.
Wired vs. Wired Home Security Systems
- Wired home security systems rely on a hardwired connection to receive power and transmit signals to a central hub.
- Wireless home security systems use a secure network to keep your devices connected.
How Wired and Wireless Home Security Systems Work
Both systems rely on sensors installed at strategic points around your home, including entry points like doors and windows, as well as in hallways and other high-traffic areas. They can detect when a door or window is opened or when someone is moving around in your home.
When the system is armed, a triggered sensor will send an alert to the central control panel, triggering an audible alarm, sending you a notification (such as a telephone call, text, or an alert through a mobile app), and alerting the monitoring station.
However, although they both operate on sensors, there are a few things that distinguish the two home security systems.
Wired Home Security Systems
As the name suggests, a wired or hardwired home security system relies on wires running through your house to send information back to the central control panel, triggering alarms or notifications when appropriate and notifying your security company if that is part of your service package.
At ADT, all our home security solutions come with 24/7 monitoring, performed by our own monitoring stations around the country, with dedicated teams of trained professionals.
Wireless Home Security Systems
Wireless home security systems use radio waves, rather than wires or cables, to communicate between the control panel, sensors, and cameras and send notifications to you and your monitoring company.
Like the wired system, it connects to a central control panel – often a touchscreen mounted to your wall or a small box put on a counter or in a cupboard.
Benefits of Wired Home Security Systems
Some of the pros of a wired home security system include:
Less likely to run out of power
Video is recorded and saved even if the internet goes out
Less likely to experience electrical interference
Generally speaking, wired security systems have fewer components and often cost less than wireless ones. Yes, they usually require professional installation, but this cost can be greatly reduced if your home is already wired for a security system.
A wired security system won’t run out power unless there is a power outage. Even so, a good wired system should have a backup battery system.
A wired security camera will record directly onto a high-capacity digital video recorder (DVR), which is connected to your home internet with an Ethernet cable, and can continue to record even if the internet goes down. These cameras don’t need to be plugged into electrical outlets because they are powered by a central adapter, using a splitter to feed each one.
Because the system’s components communicate through wires, these setups tend to be less susceptible than wireless security systems to incidental radio or electrical interference or purposeful radio or electrical interception, corruption, alteration, blockage, manipulation, tampering, imitation, and/or mimicking by a hacker. The wired security system is also less prone to false alarms.
Wired security systems don’t have the wireless limitation of requiring sensors to be within a certain distance from the control panel, meaning they can cover a larger area in a home and offer more zones of protection.
Disadvantages of Wired Home Security Systems
A wired security system almost always requires a lengthy professional installation process. Wires must be run throughout the residence to every device and sensor, which includes all door, window, motion, and glass-break sensors. Installation usually involves running wires behind drywall, and it can be difficult and sometimes impossible to hide all the wires in an already constructed home.
If new components are added to the system, this will also probably take professional installation. And once the system is installed, it would be impractical to take it with you if you moved. Also, if you rent an apartment or home, you may need to check your lease or with your landlord to see if you can make the kinds of modifications to the residence needed with a wired security system.
Because your wired system runs through your telephone line, it could be vulnerable if a knowledgeable criminal cuts the phone line.
When it comes to security cameras, cables need to be extended from each camera to the DVR, which requires some home handiwork skills (or professional help) to avoid too much drywall damage.
Other wired security camera disadvantages include:
DVR input jacks limit the number of cameras that can be used.
It’s difficult, and sometimes messy, to install the cameras.
Home repairs are often required after installation.
Cameras cannot be easily moved.
Benefits of Wireless Home Security Systems
Some of the pros of a wireless home security system include:
Easy installation and flexibility to take with you when moving
Easier to upgrade a system with new technology
Simple integration with other smart home devices
Since wireless systems don’t need to be hardwired, they can be installed and updated more easily and taken with you if you move homes. And because they run on batteries, they can be installed in locations without electrical outlets or wiring. It’s a great solution for people living in older homes, condominiums, and apartments, where it might be difficult (or not allowed, if renting) to install a wired security system.
The wireless security system is easy to expand as your requirements evolve, perhaps wanting to add cameras, including a doorbell video setup.
While wireless systems may lend themselves more easily to DIY installation than the wired versions, it is sometimes worth getting professional help to ensure sensors and cameras are properly positioned, cameras are properly hung, the arm/disarm system is properly set up, and all the parts of the system work seamlessly together. The installation professional can also provide advice on whether a setup has all the components you need for optimum security coverage.
Wireless security cameras plug into the home’s electrical outlet and transmit signals through your Wi-Fi. The footage can be stored on the camera’s memory card or uploaded for cloud storage with a subscription service. Users also have the option of viewing the video footage in real-time, allowing services such as video doorbells. Wireless security systems are also easier to install than wired ones and very easy to upgrade, so you can add extra devices whenever you wish.
One of the exciting things about new wireless home security technology is its interactive nature, enabling smart home security systems and home automation services. Wired systems and old wireless systems depend on one-way communication, so a sensor might tell the central hub a door is open but cannot receive a signal back.
But a new interactive wireless sensor offers two-way communication. So, it could be set up to tell the hub that the door is open, and then the hub could order the home’s front hallway lights to come on if so programmed.
Today’s smart security systems allow greater control and accessibility, enabling remote access, at any time and from any location, using a smartphone or personal computer.
A system that is customized to your needs can include:
Remote arming and disarming of the security system.
Easily automating lights or changing them remotely for your arrival.
Adjusting the thermostat to save on energy and have a comfortable environment when you come home.
Accessing appliances, like the coffeemaker, or setting schedules to automate when they operate and shut off.
Setting up your system to receive notifications via email, text, phone, or real-time video clips of alarms.
Using your mobile device or computer to see who’s at the door, what your pet is doing, or watch as the kids come home.
Viewing stored video clips of events from monitored areas of the home.
Disadvantages of Wireless Home Security Systems
Since the components of a wireless security system run on batteries, you run the risk of them running out of power if you aren’t diligent about replacing them.
The wireless security system runs on radio waves, which can sometimes be subject to interference from, say, other devices using radio waves, such as baby monitors. This can also lead to false alarms. It is also possible that the radio waves could be purposefully interfered with by a hacker intent on compromising the security system.
Weather can also sometimes interfere with wireless signals, causing false alarms to sound or for sensors to intermittently stop working. False alarms can possibly cost you money in the form of fines from cities or emergency agencies.
Wireless sensors need to be placed within a certain distance of the central control panel, which can pose limitations, so you might not be able to have the same kind of coverage and as many zones of protection as a wired security system. (ADT has an additional component that can extend the range of sensors in some of our wireless security system solutions, however.)
Since wireless security cameras are dependent on your Wi-Fi, they can have these drawbacks:
If your Wi-Fi goes down, so will your cameras.
Without proper precautions, the cameras can be vulnerable to hacking and other cyberattacks.
The signal can be intercepted.
They can experience interference from other Wi-Fi-equipped devices or obstacles, such as walls.
Hybrid Home Security Systems
In some cases, homeowners may have an existing wired security system that they want to update with wireless components, such as adding interactive services where a text notification is sent to you if, say, your kids have returned home from school, or someone has tried to get unauthorized access to your house.
While it is possible to add wireless components to an existing wired system, a lot depends on the kind and nature of the existing security system and which wireless services you wish to add. To have your hybrid home security options explained to you, contact ADT support for more information.
Your Choice of Security System Solutions
Traditionally, home security systems relied on a wired home phone to provide an around-the-clock link to a security company, but things have changed with the advent of cellular technology.
So, ADT has evolved to offer both wired and wireless home security solutions. Contact us to find out which solution works best for your lifestyle and budget.
At the end of the day, the choice between a wired or wireless home security system is about choice. The solution that suits your needs best is the wisest choice for you.
To discover a home security plan that works for you, speak to an ADT specialist today.