When you’re ready to purchase a home security system, one of the biggest choices you’ll have to make is deciding between a wired and wireless system. Despite the fact that wireless systems are easier to install and are less susceptible to wiring issues, some people worry that a wireless system may be less reliable than a hardwired system. In reality, wireless systems aren’t necessarily less reliable than wired systems; they just experience a different set of issues.
There are risks to any technology, and no home security system can absolutely guarantee against break-ins or glitches. For that reason, some people have concerns about both wired and wireless systems. With a wired home security setup, there may be a fear that a burglar could cut the wires and disable the system. But with a wireless system, there are a few key concerns.
Understanding What “Wireless” Means
There are two different segments that can be wireless in a home security system: the line between devices and the main control panel, and the line between the control panel and the monitoring station. If you opt for a security system that is wireless in either one or both regards, you’ll get a lot of benefits like flexibility and easier integration. But these systems also come with a few potential security concerns. Here’s a closer look at just how concerning those issues are.
1. Network Outages
Some may worry about having their home’s security dependent on a wireless connection that’s not 100% reliable. What happens if there’s an outage? What if your network experiences interferences from inclement weather or weak signals? As such, it’s important to pick systems that use technologies that are optimal for your home. A broadband wireless system may not be the best choice for you if your Wi-Fi network is regularly disrupted or lags, for instance—a system that uses Z-Wave or another technology between the sensors and panel would be safer, as would cellular monitoring.
If you rarely have problems with your internet connection, a broadband wireless home security system will likely run reliably. You can also ask home security companies if their systems feature any technology to keep the system running if there’s a momentary disruption in the connection.
Any technology that relies on a wireless network—especially a broadband connection—could be susceptible to malicious attacks. A tech-savvy burglar could potentially disable your home security system by hacking into your network or jamming the frequency.
Many wireless security companies are advancing their technologies to combat such threats by regularly updating device firmware and implementing new features like push notifications. Furthermore, the odds of such an attack are relatively low.
3. Limited Battery Life
As 100% wireless systems aren’t hardwired to electrical lines, they rely on batteries to stay running. Depending on how many devices you have connected, such as surveillance cameras and multiple sensors, you may run through batteries quickly. If your system’s batteries die when you’re not home, the system could shut down.
Fortunately, many systems notify you when the battery is running low so you have time to install replacements. Additionally, as the system relies on batteries, you won’t have to worry about losing coverage if you have an electrical outage.
It’s natural to worry about the safety of your home’s security system. While there are vulnerabilities to both wired and wireless systems, home security providers are continually improving technology and addressing these concerns. Before signing a contract, make sure to ask the company how it aims to keep its wireless systems reliable.