Is Wireless the Future of Alarm Systems?
Not a day goes by that our clients don’t ask for advice on how to choose an alarm installation. Hardwired or wireless. To be clear, the focus here is not just on cellular transmitters, but about whether the security devices in your building should be done the conventional way, with wiring, or with the newer wireless devices.
Just like with many things the answer is not always a simple one… both have their own strengths. Here are a few things to consider when making a decision.
Benefits of Wireless:
1. Ease of installation. Wireless devices are generally simple to install and do not require much surgery on your building, besides a little silicone or small screws to mount the device. Consequently less need for wall repairs or painting after an installation. Simpler installation means easier more predictable cost estimations. Installation costs become flat rates when the variable of time required to install devices is removed.
2. Time. The installation time required is significantly reduced, what may have been an entire day or more for installation of a system could be reduced to a few hours. The result is less down time and lost productivity.
3. Latest technology. The most R & D is going into wireless technology, if you are looking for the latest features and advancements you will find them in wireless devices. Honeywell’s latest platform the “Lyric” now includes ‘the internet of things’ for ultimate reporting and smart “learning” devices. If you want a system that adapts to your lifestyle and routines, wireless is the way to go. New Honeywell “Lyric” devices will learn when to activate and de-activate or change settings based on your patterns. With new Geo-fencing technology your devices can work for you based on your location, using the location services from your phone.
4. Interconnectivity. The newest generation of wireless devices can communicate with each other, offer diagnostic assistance when there are problems and even send messages to prevent battery failure. Communication between devices from everything from thermostats to mobile phones simplifies controls.
5. Secure communications. Wireless is not susceptible to “line cut” making the vulnerability of communication failure much less likely.
Benefits of Wired
1. Reliability: In many cases wired devices are simpler technology, with fewer parts. Consequently there is “less to go wrong” in the long haul. Because wired devices get their power from the control panel there is no need for batteries in each device. Thus in the years ahead there will be no need to monitor or pay for battery changes in all the devices.
2. Compatibility: With many security devices, a wired device such as Motion detector, is not proprietary and will work across various control platforms. This can save costs when upgrading or switching controls. In many cases many fewer devices need to be changed or upgraded when making a change of brand or supplier.
3. Cost. In many cases wired devices can be much cheaper to purchase and install. This can be attributed to the simplicity of the devices, and to the vast competition from suppliers. Because many of the devices are not proprietary the supply can come from many competitors, driving down the cost.
4. Fewer size limitations. While wireless has communication limitations based on distances, type of building materials, and interference. Wired devices are in many cases almost unlimited in distance, as long as a cable can be run. Consequently in large construction, large systems, or severe service settings, wired is still the choice of experts.
5. Secure Communications: The flexibility of wired systems means wireless communicators can be added to wired systems for primary communications or as a backup to line cut. The ability to have multiple paths of communication protects against various vulnerabilities.
In the end, the right answer will depend on the various factors of your application. An experienced security consultant can point you in the right direction. You may be relieved to hear that you may not have to choose between one or the other, perhaps a hybrid solution will be what works for you, allowing you to get the best of both worlds!