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Wired vs. Wireless Home Security Systems: Pros and Cons

Aug 16, 2022|

You want to do everything you can to keep your home, your family, and yourself safe. A great home security system can help you deter unwanted visitors, keep an eye on your loved ones, and call for help in case of an emergency.

A home security alarm system can either be wired or wireless. A wired system is tied into your home’s electrical system. It uses a coaxial cable to send video footage to a central storage machine. A wireless system uses a Wi-Fi internet connection, Z-Wave technology, or Zigbee mechanics to allow communication between devices.

This guide aims to help you pick the right type of system for your home. We explain the pros and cons of each type of home alarm system and discuss the key differences between them.

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Pros and cons of wired home security systems

A wired home security system consists of a series of cameras, motion sensors, and other security devices that need to be manually connected to your home’s wiring system. Attaching a device to your home’s electrical wiring can be difficult unless you have some electrical expertise. That’s why wired systems generally require professional installation.

Here are a few benefits of having a wired security system.

  • Wired systems are very hard to hack because they can’t be accessed through a wireless connection. For instance, a hacker would have to physically interact with your recording device or microSD card to see footage from your home security camera.
  • Wired systems can send strong signals over a large space, like a big house or office building. Signals that travel over a wired connection can also be faster and more secure than information that runs through Wi-Fi.
  • You won’t have to watch your system’s battery life. Wired systems rely on your home’s electrical system for power rather than batteries.
  • Wired systems can record video if your internet goes out. Because wired systems don’t rely on wireless internet, they can still operate if your internet signal is interrupted.

Here are some disadvantages of having a wired security system.

  • Installation for a wired system can be intrusive and expensive. An installer will usually have to drill into your walls to connect the security system to your electrical wiring.
  • You normally can’t take a wired system with you if you move. A wired system is very hard to transport. It’s generally a permanent fixture for a house.
  • You can’t control a wired system remotely. A wired system will normally have a stationary control panel somewhere in your home, but it won’t have a mobile app that lets you control it remotely.
  • Exposed wires can be an eyesore. Sometimes, it can be hard to conceal all the wires that connect the sensors and cameras in a wired system.
  • Wired systems depend on telephone lines. An intruder can deactivate a wired system by snipping the phone line.

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Pros and cons of wireless home security systems

Devices in a wireless home security system use Wi-Fi internet to communicate with one another. If you want your security system to be part of a wider smart home setup, then a wireless home security system is your best bet.

Here are some benefits of having a wireless home security kit.

  • Wireless systems are much simpler than wired ones to DIY because you don’t have to drill into your walls or connect wires. However, a professional will be able to help you mount your equipment for maximum effectiveness.
  • A wireless system can be accessed remotely using a mobile app on your smartphone. You can control your system and watch security video clips from wherever you are. A wireless system can send you notifications when there’s suspicious activity, like when someone activates your floodlight.
  • You can take your wireless system with you anywhere. If your living situation changes, it’s easy to transport your wireless security system to a new place.
  • A wireless system can be controlled in numerous ways. You can access it from a touch-screen base station, a keypad, a mobile device, or even a program like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
  • Wireless systems normally use cloud storage, so footage is automatically backed up. Cloud storage also means you can access your footage online.
  • It’s easier to add new devices to a wireless system. You can conveniently add cameras, sensors, or other equipment to your wireless system without connecting them through your home’s internal wiring system.
  • Devices in a wireless system can have compatibility with other smart home devices. This gives you a whole home automation experience. For instance, you could program your smart locks to lock, your motion detection sensors to activate, and your thermostat to automatically bring the temperature to 68 degrees at 10:30 p.m.

Here are some disadvantages of using a wireless system.

  • It’s possible to hack a wireless system. You can greatly reduce this risk if you have a strong password to protect your Wi-Fi.
  • Wireless signals have a higher risk of getting lost and travel somewhat slower than signals in wired systems.
  • Many wireless systems are battery-powered. You’ll have to replace batteries to keep your system working.
  • A wireless system may not work if your Wi-Fi router is down. However, some systems can use a cellular connection to operate during a power outage.
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Wired vs. wireless home security systems: Key differences

Now that you know some of the pros and cons of wired and wireless systems, let’s recap some of the main differences between them.

Wireless systems are simple to install. Wired systems need to be manually connected to your home’s electrical wiring and almost always need to be installed by an expert. You might be able to DIY your wireless system installation.

Wireless systems can be monitored and managed remotely, while wired systems can’t. This is because wired systems send information through coaxial cables inside your home, while wireless systems use a Wi-Fi internet connection to communicate. Wired systems, however, can send information faster and more securely.

A wired system will typically store a video recording on a local storage device, like a digital video recorder (DVR). This allows the system to record video even when the internet isn’t working. You can connect the DVR to your internet using an ethernet cable if you want to store a clip online.

A wireless system will generally store a video clip directly to cloud storage. Footage stored on a cloud server can easily be viewed and shared online. Security companies typically charge a monthly fee for cloud storage.

A wireless security camera system can be part of a larger smart home setup while a wired system can’t. Wireless systems have functionality that lets them connect to and operate with various smart devices.

What’s the best home security system?

Everyone has unique needs when it comes to home security. Your ideal system might look completely different than somebody else’s. The best home security system for you will depend on a number of personal factors.

  • Where you live: Not everywhere has quality Wi-Fi internet. A wired system might be a solid option if you live in a rural area where a reliable wireless internet connection is difficult to find.
  • Your living situation: If you live in a rental property, your landlord may not be happy if you drill into the walls to install a wired security system.
  • Remote access: You’ll need to have a wireless system with a reliable mobile app if you want to check in on your home, family, or pets while you’re at work or on vacation.
  • The features and add-ons you need: Do you want weatherproof outdoor cameras or an indoor camera with color night vision? Maybe you need a video doorbell with two-way audio to talk to delivery drivers. Security systems have a variety of features.
  • How you want your system installed: DIY home security systems can lower installation costs, but a professional installer will have the skills to connect your system so it gives you the maximum amount of protection possible.
  • How much you’re willing to spend: Wireless system devices are typically more expensive than those in a wired one. However, installation for a wired system often costs more than installation for a wireless system. Take both factors into account when budgeting. A system with an extended warranty may also be able to save you money over time.
  • Your smart devices: If you have an interconnected smart home, you’ll need wireless security devices that can interact with it. Finding devices that share connectivity can require some research.

Discover leading home security system solutions from Vivint

If you’re looking for motion detectors, entry sensors, window sensors, security cameras, or any other smart home security system tools, Vivint has you covered. Our experts will help you build the best wireless security system to meet your home protection needs and give you peace of mind.

If you’re ready to update your home automation game, we’ll guide you through designing and implementing your ideal smart home setup. Give us the chance to help you make your home more convenient, efficient, and safe with smart home technology. Call us at at 855.822.1220 today.

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