Wireless security systems: the smart solution
Home security systems are a good way (and a smart choice) to help protect homes, people, and possessions from intruders. Traditionally, these systems were required to be hardwired to existing electric and telephone lines within the home to work properly. Today, advanced options are available with the introduction of wireless security systems that offer many advantages to homeowners that cannot be matched with the original technology requirements.
Certainly, most homeowners have heard about home security systems, but many may not be sure of the best type to buy, why they are so important to have, and all of the advanced features of the new wireless home security systems on the market today. After reading this guide, homeowner’s will have a good understanding of how the wireless home security system works, types of wireless systems available, and the advantages of having a wireless home security system installed in a home.
How wireless security systems work
Unlike many years ago, not all homes today have a telephone landline. Since most people now use cell phones or Internet phones versus a home-based landline, a wireless home security system is a necessary choice.
To understand how home wireless security systems work, some basic knowledge of alarm systems is helpful. Although there are a variety of additional system components available including smoke detectors and wireless security cameras, the basic alarm system consists of three main components: a keypad control panel, individual sensors, and a manned monitoring station.
Wireless alarm systems use radio frequency technology, which allows individual sensors throughout the home to communicate with the system’s central control panel. The control panel also wirelessly communicates with the monitoring station via a cellular network, which is known as cellular monitoring.
The difference between wired and wireless
The main difference between a wired and wireless home security system is the installation and performance of the system. There are certainly pros and cons for each type of alarm system. Here are a few to consider:
Pros of Having a Wireless Home Security System
- Wireless security systems are appealing to homeowner’s due to the ease of installation versus a wired system. There are no holes to drill in the walls and no messy wires to install.
- Wireless security systems offer the perfect solution for people who move a lot or rent a home due to its easy movability from one home to another. When moving, simply pack it and take it along!
- Unlike wired security systems, wireless systems allow for “on-the-go” monitoring of your system from a cell phone – anytime, anywhere.
- No power? No worries. Wireless security systems work even if there is a power outage in the home. Wired systems cannot operate when an outage occurs, leaving the home unprotected.
- Since there are no landline requirements for a wireless security system, this means there are no wires for an intruder to disable or cut, making it a safer choice over a wired system.
Cons of Having a Wireless Home Security System
- Some feel that wireless systems are not as reliable as wired systems since the wireless signal can experience some interference, causing a false alarm.
- Wireless systems do require some routine maintenance, including replacing the batteries and system updates.
- The cost of the wireless system is typically more expensive than a traditional wired home security system.
- Unencrypted wireless systems may be vulnerable to hackers.
Types of wireless security systems
There are a variety of different types of wireless home security systems available today that offer consumers a choice of different features to customize the system for individual needs. A basic wireless security system typically includes alarm monitoring, sensors, and an audible alarm. A mid-range wireless system incorporates more features including mobile and remote web access capabilities which includes text and email notifications. Higher end systems offer the addition of cameras for streaming live video and home automation features.
Wireless home security systems can be customized to include different types of sensors and detectors that can perform a variety of functions including the monitoring of household dangers like fires, carbon monoxide leaks, as well as medical “panic buttons” and more.
Features that fit your lifestyle
One of the best features of wireless home security technology is that it is flexible and adapts to any lifestyle. No matter how a family’s needs change, the security system can expand and adapt as needed. Because the wireless system’s sensors are easy to add and move, they can be used to monitor all sorts of unique things around the house, with “real-time” alerts that make owners aware of activities.
From monitoring doors and windows, to making sure the pool gate is secure, to getting a message when your safe is accessed, or even guarding the medicine in the bathroom cabinet - the sensors are small enough to offer unique protection not offered with hard-wired alarm systems.
A popular feature of wireless home security systems is the ability to operate a house as a “Smart Home”. This feature takes your system beyond normal security and makes the home more efficient and smarter!
Smart Home features include HD video monitoring via wireless security cameras, energy use monitoring with smart thermostats, and other house control including automated locks as well as garage door controls – which can all be controlled with apps.
The flexibility and moderns feature of wireless home security systems makes them a popular choice with technology driven consumers.
How reliable are wireless security systems?
Wireless home security systems use cellular monitoring, which is the technology used to communicate with the alarm monitoring center. This technology is quickly becoming the preferred choice by homeowner’s due to it being the most reliable connection as well as offering better protection from tampering.
The only issue is with the reliability is that much like wireless internet routers and cell phones, these popular wireless security systems can be effected by several types of electromagnetic interference including devices such as remote controls, power lines, baby monitors, and microwaves.
The plus side is that the wireless sensors are extremely reliable because they each contain an individual battery, which offers peak performance and even withstands power outages that wired alarm systems cannot.
Can they be hacked or jammed?
Unfortunately, almost every wireless device can be a potential target for hackers. Sadly, security systems are no exception. As with any crime, the criminals are getting more advanced and are finding new ways to get what they want. From new devices that can jam the radio signal and prevent the alarm from reacting to stealing passwords to disarm the system; sneaky thieves never stop trying.
The best way to avoid being a victim is to consider an advanced wireless home security system that broadcasts on multiple channels, which makes it much more difficult for scammers to jam. Key words to look for when buying a wireless home security system include encrypted signals, tamper resistance, and jamming detection for the most secure systems
How much do they cost?
The cost of a home security system includes three factors: equipment cost, installation cost (if any) and the monthly monitoring fee. The cost of a typical wireless home security system ranges from $300 to $1,500 depending on the type of system features desired.
The monthly monitoring service for the wireless alarm system ranges from $30 to $75 per month, which includes 24/7 monitoring of the home, a peace of mind that can be considered priceless by many.
Installation of the wireless alarm system can be a “do-it-yourself” project for those who are handy, but a professional installation is recommended if the homeowner is not familiar with wireless alarm systems, to ensure everything is properly set up. Professional installation can range from $350 to $1,200 depending on the coverage desired and system components chosen, such as wireless security cameras or security lighting.
Many companies offer package deals that include installation and a basic wireless system at a good deal if you sign up for their monitoring service.
Burglary statistics in the U.S.
According to the FBI, a home is burglarized every 13 seconds in the U.S. That means that while reading this article, almost 9 homes have been victimized. In fact, some people may be surprised to find out the real statistics of this serious crime. It is shocking to know that 3 of 4 homes in the United States will be the victim of a burglary in the next 20 years. It is also shocking to know that a whopping 88% of all burglaries in the U.S occur at residential homes, with 38% having the potential to become violent crimes due to the use of guns. While most people think about stolen televisions and jewelry, identify theft, using information taken during a burglary, is the fastest growing crime in the U.S (as well as Canada and the UK.)
In addition, the FBI indicates the most common ways burglars enter a home include the front door, a first-floor window, and a back door.
Advice from the Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation's consumer protection agency, offers advice for homeowner’s who are interested in having a wireless home security system installed, including tips on how to choose a reputable company, things to look for in a security system, and precautions to take when working with an alarm company.