As, you know, if you’ve read any of my previous blogs, we love answering questions,
One of those about alarm systems is which is best — hardwired or wireless. I guess it’s probably sensible at first to explain, what I mean by hardwired or wireless. When alarm systems first came out, all the detectors were connected back to the control panel by cables.This is what hardwired means, all of the detectors are connected back by wired cables.
Wireless obviously is the opposite. Everything’s connected wirelessly by radio signals. Some of the original wireless systems still needed the siren connected by wires, but still called themselves wireless, as the rest of the devices were wireless.
And the vast majority of systems still need the control panel to be connected to mains electricity by wires.
That’s what we mean by hardwired and wireless.
So what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
Wireless systems, generally speaking, are quicker to install because you haven’t got to run the cables throughout the house. To do the job properly, you’ve got to hide the cables as best as you can. That means drilling holes in walls, running cables up and down cavities.If you’re lucky and you’ve got an older house with a picture rail, then you can hide cables above the picture rail, but that’s not very often possible, certainly in any house built after about 1950 or something like that.
Hardwired systems though, have the advantage that they cannot be hacked or otherwise breached, because you physically can’t tap into the signals.
The original wireless systems were very susceptible to both hacking and jamming.
Sometimes you find when a taxi would pull up outside your house with a slightly dodgy transmitter, it would transmit on all frequencies and just clog up the airwaves, and it would stop the system working and burglars took advantage of that and just jammed the signal, so that when a decice detected that it had been breached, it would try and signal back to the control panel, but the control panel wouldn’t get that signal.
Similarly there is hacking of wireless systems, where people have a device called a Software Defined Radio. It snoops in on the radio signals between detectors and control panel, and often between the remote control fobs and the control panel. Then the burglar can mimic the signal of the key fob and disarm the system, allowing them to break in without having to worry about the alarm system.
Modern top end systems are far less prone to this type of attack. They use encrypted transmission technology and they channel hopping to overcome that. Wireless systems tend also to be cheaper, to buy as well as to install.
Which is best? Well, that’s not for me to decide. No, I don’t like saying this is best or that is best in general terms. Whatever you decide is best for you.
What we’re trying to do is to give you the pros and cons of everything so that you can make your own mind up. But if you want my opinion based on your unique circumstances, then please give me a ring and I’ll be happy to discuss with you.