Wired Alarm System Versus Wireless – Which is better?

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In this article i am going to explain something about alarm systems. I mostly worked with Paradox alarm systems, so i am going to list all the components and everything you need to know about the difference between wired and wireless alarm systems for a Paradox alarm system. Alarm systems are not used just for preventing burglars from barging in, but also for frequent disasters such as: fires, water leaks, etc.

Wired alarm system components

All wired components:

  • Motion sensor - Used mainly for spotting movement in it’s range;
  • Siren - when it starts, it will yell like no tomorrow. It has a 130dB frequency, that’s the maximum permitted by the law;
  • Keypad – Used to display information about the status of the alarm system, if the panel is still powered up with 220V, can arm-disarm, input certain commands that are sent to the main panel;
  • Water sensor – Useful to detect if there is a water leak inside your home, immediately starting an alarm that informs you what’s going on.
  • Smoke sensor – This is not so different from a dedicated fire alarm system smoke sensor; when there is a fire breaking out, the smoke gets immediately inside the sensor, starting an alarm and informing you what’s going on.
  • Glass break sensor – These sensors are sensitive to sound loud enough to resemble a glass break. If the burglar is stupid enough to throw something hard at the window, the sensor will inform you.
  • Window/door magnet sensor – These sensors are good for preventing the burglars going in through windows and doors. In the sensor, there are two small magnets that will trigger an alarm once they aren’t touching eachother anymore.

It can become a hybrid alarm system by installing wireless RX 1, RTX 3 components to allow for wireless communication for wireless components.

Check out our Complete guide from A to Z on how to install a Paradox SP5500 wired alarm system. Wireless alarm systems use the same wiring techniques if there are some components that aren’t wireless and need to be wired.

Wireless alarm system components

All wireless components:

  • Motion sensor;
  • Siren;
  • Keypad – wireless keypads offer a larger variety of features compared to the wired one;
  • Water sensor;
  • Smoke sensor;
  • Glass break sensor;
  • Window/door magnet sensor;

Wireless alarm systems offer in the package an antenna that will be used to transmit and receive signals from the wireless equipment. For the wireless alarm system to be completely relevant to your needs and to avoid issues, i recommend that you check the maximum range of which the signal can be transmitted/received. If, by some chance, one of your components will be mounted too far away, you can install a signal extender such as RX 1 / RTX 3 (in the case of Paradox, but i’m pretty sure there is something similar for all wireless alarm systems).

For wireless panels, you can only use 1 – 2 wired motion sensors max and 1k, 2k resistors are still needed.

Components needed (or optional) for both alarm system types

This means that in order for both alarm system types to function properly and feel complete, these components that i am going to list will be needed. It is crucial that they are present in both alarm system types.

  • Metal box with 12V (or sometimes 14V) transformer inside to power up the panel – usually, the company that sold you the alarm system also offers a dedicated metal box along with a 12V transformer that can help with powering up the panel and the system itself.
  • Backup batteries – backup batteries are 100% needed and they are 12V. The alarm system won’t even power up if it doesn’t have two backup batteries installed in the metal box and connected to the panel. When the main power is shut down (excluding on how much the battery of the UPS installed will last), the backup batteries can help the alarm system function for about 8 more hours before it finally shuts down completely. These batteries have a lifespan of about 3-5 years.
  • UPS (uninterruptible power supply) – UPS is useful, in our case, to prevent the alarm system to short-circuit. It prevents those powerful spikes to get to the alarm system itself, allowing it to live for a long time.
  • PCS (GSM transmitter) OPTIONAL component – you can install a SIM card and it will send/receive information through the mobile network.
  • IP150 ModuleOPTIONAL component – a very nice module that works in the same way as a PCS, but a little different though. It sends/receives information through Internet.

The real difference between wired and wireless alarm systems

Wired alarm systems and wireless alarm systems are used individually for their own specific roles. Wired alarm systems use wired components and wireless alarm systems use wireless components. While this is partially true, they can also become small hybrids borrowing features from eachother. I can’t count how frustrated i would have been if they couldn’t become hybrids.

Clients ask of you impossible things sometimes. For example, one client asked me to install a wireless alarm system but also wanted two wired sensors. Imagine if i couldn’t make this a hybrid alarm system. The client would have been disappointed. Never upset the client is what i learned!

Price of each alarm system type

The price of a wired alarm system is significantly cheaper than a wireless alarm system. I don’t know why this is the case, but i can assume it has to do with the price of the components themselves. They cost more to make is what i think. Based on how many sensors you would like to install, the money spent could pile up really fast.

Nonetheless, the advantages they offer over the wired alarm systems are not many. Remember that we can make a wired alarm system become hybrid! It all comes down to the client’s wish.

Performance

Both types of alarm systems are performant. They just follow up different roles, but, at the end, they achieve the same goal. That goal is to prevent burglars or other disasters from happening. I learned a lot from writing this article for sure, and i hope you learned as well.

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