Hard-wired vs. Wireless Security Equipment

Rampart Security Systems installs hard-wired, wireless, and hybrid security alarm systems.

Many companies do not have skilled technicians capable of installing hard-wired systems, so they exclusively sell wireless systems. Sometimes they argue that "wireless is better, doesn't everyone know that?" Let's examine that idea. 

Rampart has skilled technicians able to install hard-wired equipment. We choose whether to recommend hard-wired or wireless equipment based on your building and your needs.

DSC 1832

Why we prefer hard-wired equipment:

  • Hard-wired components (door switches, motion detectors, etc.) are compatible with other brands of security systems.  If you want to upgrade the keypad and master panel 5 or 10 years from now, you won't have to pay to install replacement switches, motion detectors, glassbreak sensors, etc.
  • Wireless technology is still changing rapidly, and manufacturers discontinue support, leaving alarm companies and comnsumers without replacement parts.  Result: you may have to get a whole new alarm system if something goes wrong with your wireless system and the manufacturer has discontinued it.  With hard-wired equipment, you would just replace the device that is broken.
  • Hard-wired systems run on a/c power (plugged into an outlet) and a stand-by battery for power outages and to boost the siren output.  Wireless systems require many batteries-- 1 or 2 in each component, which need more frequent replacement.  That means more service calls and batteries to buy.
  • Hard-wired systems are less likely to have radio interference.  Today's wireless systems are much better than the wireless systems 20 years ago.  But they are more vulnerable to interference than a hard-wired system.  The risk is small, but it exists.  We don't hesitate to install wireless when there is no other cost effective option, but if we have a choice, hard-wired is it.

Some common reasons homeowners tell us they want wireless:

  • They are reluctant to put holes in their walls.  In reality, hard-wired equipment only requires an easily patchable, quarter-sized hole in the wall.  the equipment is then mounted with screws and covers the hole.  Wireless equipment is best mounted using screws, which also create holes in walls.  We use mounting tape only for window and door switches that cannot be drilled, screws are used for everything else.  If screws aren't used, the installer must be using mounting tape.  Do you want mounting tape on your walls?
  • Wireless systems have battery back-ups.  Reality: hard-wired ones do, too.
  • Wireless systems are movable.  True, but almost everyone leaves them when they move.  Unless you disclose the security system as not being included it is assumed to be part of your home sale.  Also, hard-wired components can be taken down and moved, too.  
  • The term "wireless" has caused some confusion for consumers.  They are not completely wire-free.  Wireless security systems have normally used phone lines (a wire) to send signals to the central monitoring station.  Unless specified, a cellular or radio communicator has not normally been included.  There is also a wire connecting the a/c power supply to the keypad or master panel.  "Wireless" refers to the technology by which the door and window switches, motion detectors, and other devices communicate back to the master panel.
  • Wireless is perceived to cost less.  But the equipment costs more, and only the labor is less (because it is faster to install).  We prefer to support local skilled technicians instead of distant factory workers with our business, whenever possible. 

Hybrid systems are a combination of hard-wired and wireless equipment.  We often add wireless keyfobs or panic buttons to a hard-wired system.  This is desirable because of their portability.  Where we cannot fish a wire to a door or window, or some other location where a device is needed, we use wireless. 

The one "wireless" item we always recommend is a Digital Cellular Communicator It is not wire-free.  Again, that refers to the technology used, not wires used for installation. A Digital Cellular Communicator allows your alarm system to send signals to the central monitoring station without a phone line.  No land-line required.  This is more secure, because there are no wires to cut on the outside of your building. 

If you are still reading-- We DO have a wireless system we sell.  We like it quite well.

The DSC Alexor  

Supervised battery strength and signal strength in all peripherals.

Comes with or without the GSM (Digital Cellular Communicator) built-in. 

As easy to use as the DSC 1832.