Technology can be, in a word, confusing. For as great as technology is and for all the many potential benefits it can offer us, it is very easy to get lost in the details and to feel like you don’t really have a grasp on things. Data speeds, refresh rates, pixels and megapixels, gigabytes and terabytes… these terms are thrown around casually, and often in ways that may not make it clear exactly what relevance or meaning they may have. Home security is no exception to this. It is a hugely technology-based industry, with products that are becoming more and more advanced and with higher levels of functionality than any of their predecessors; this is for the most part a great thing, and it translates to the end user having access to more features and having more control over their home and their security system than ever.
The Two Main Types of ADT Security Systems
But in the midst of all this, it is easy to get overwhelmed and confused about even the most seemingly basic concepts in home security. One of the most common is the difference between a wireless and hard wired security system. To begin with, this refers simply to how the physical equipment within a security system is connected to the main alarm panel. Here are the two main options:
Wireless security system
The electronic components of the security system are connected wirelessly to the alarm panel (via a radio frequency)
Hardwired security system
The electronic components of the security system are connected are wired directly into the alarm panel (via wires embedded in the walls)
The Benefits of a Hardwired Security System
One of the most common misconceptions is that one of these options is somehow better than the other. In today's technology age, it is generally assumed that wireless is better... but is it really? If your home already has hardwired security system components, or is prewired for such devices, there are many benefits to opting for the "hardwired approach":
Hardwired door and window sensors are recessed and almost invisible. They rarely if ever break because they are not exposed, and you can derive all the benefits of protecting your entry points while maintaining the aesthetics of any doors and windows in your home. Even the smallest and sleekest wireless sensors have to be placed on the surface of doors and windows, which can be unsightly and leaves them vulnerable to getting bumped, broken, or just falling off.
- Hardwired security system equipment is powered by the panel itself, so you never have to worry about batteries going dead or needing to be replaced every few years. If your home has a particularly large amount of equipment, this can be a big factor to consider: $15 per battery x 20 devices = $300 every few years. This is not just pocket change!
- Existing hardwired security equipment can potentially save you hundreds of dollars or more; if it is already present in your home, you can greatly enhance your level of protection without greatly increasing the cost of your security system. Replacing on old, archaic keypad with its modern successor is a very good idea... on the other hand, needlessly replacing multiple door and window sensors and motion detectors with wireless components would be a bad and costly idea, and would not yield any greater level of functionality.
The Benefits of a Wireless Security System
On the other hand, there are certain advantages to wireless security technology. While hardwired security system equipment has the previously mentioned benefits, it is certainly not as easily accessible and available as wireless security system equipment.
- A wireless security system can be installed in any home and in almost any situation. In order to use hardwired components, the wiring must be installed before construction of a home is completed, which automatically excludes many homes from considering this as a possibility.
- Wireless security components communicate via a radio frequency, and while there are very sophisticated ways to interrupt radio signals, this is extremely unlikely to happen. Hardwired components, on the other hand, are connected by physical wires and thus have all the potential problems associated with this: corrosion or corruption of wires, inadvertent severing of wires (during construction for example), and even intentional tampering.
- Wireless security systems are less complicated and involved than hardwired security systems, and thus the installation is generally much more straightforward and can be done with less technical knowledge. There are many companies who will not utilize hardwired security equipment for this very reason; their technicians simply do not have the expertise
In summary, there are certain benefits to going with either a wireless or hardwired security system; it ultimately comes down to what is most important to you. It would, however, be very unwise to simply go with the prevailing thought that "wireless is better" in the world of home security. It is worth spending a little extra time to discern what is going to be of the most benefit for your home, and to not make a decision that you will be stuck with for years without at least doing the proper research and truly exploring all of your options.