What Type of Security System Do I Need?
There has been a great deal written and debated about whether a hardwired system or a wireless security system is better for protecting your business. In truth, there are good things to be said about both approaches, and both will do a very good job of keeping your business safe, so in terms of effectiveness, you really can?t make a bad choice between the two.
The fundamental difference between these two systems lies in their respective methods of communication between the control panel, and all the security devices which may be attached to the system. A hardwired system accomplishes this communication via wiring which is normally secured out of sight within the walls, ceiling, flooring of your office building. A wireless system, of course, lacks this hard-wiring component and achieves communication between a control panel and devices through the use of radio signals.
There is also sometimes a difference in how these two security systems are powered, with the wired system usually having an actual power supply for all components, and the wireless system having only its control panel plugged into a power source while the security devices are powered by a battery.
Is a Wireless Security System Better Than a Hardwired One?
This discussion will consider the pros and cons of each system, so as to help provide a basis for making an informed decision about which you should install for your own business.
There is a significant difference in the degree of difficulty for the installation of these two systems, with a wireless security system being much easier to install. A few do-it-yourself skills are required if you choose to install the wireless system yourself, and you will need to be able to do some drilling and screwing, in order to have sensors and control panels put in place. Fairly often, wireless systems are pre-programmed so that they work well together right out-of-the-box, and with no hiccups, you can have your security system installed within a couple hours.
A bit more work is required with a hardwired system, and unless you are an accomplished do-it-yourselfer, you will probably want to leave this to a professional. The wiring for the system must be run through walls, and sometimes ceilings or floors, and unless your security system is being installed as your business building is being constructed, this will amount to a fairly invasive process, that requires general contracting skills.
This also means that when devices or sensors are added to your security system, it will be much easier to do for a wireless system, since no additional wiring needs to be run throughout your office building.
In terms of maintenance, there is not much to do for a hardwired system, and for a wireless system all that?s really needed is an annual replacement of batteries in the sensors or other security devices. Both systems are very reliable in the performance of their duties, although if the batteries in your wireless system are running low, performance is likely to be affected.
If you should ever have a need to relocate your business, and you want to take your security system with you, the portability factor definitely favors a wireless system. A hardwired system would require that all cables and wiring be taken down and reinstalled at the new location, and any holes left behind in the teardown process would have to be repaired. Since no wiring was ever installed with the wireless security system, none needs to be taken down, and the entire transfer process is thus much, much easier.
In terms of coverage, hardwired systems can generally cover a distance of 1,000 feet between the control panel and any of the sensors in the system. Wireless systems generally can handle about half that distance, although when the radio signal has to travel through objects made of concrete or other signal-reducing materials, that effective distance may be less. For almost all cases, this effective range will suffice, and in those cases where it does not, signal repeaters can be added to the system to boost the signal as needed.
Hardwired systems can support an unlimited number of security devices attached to the system, whereas wireless security systems can generally only support 40 to 50 devices, which is adequate for coverage in most installations.
In terms of purchase price, wireless systems will cost more than their hardwired counterparts, but if you are installing a security system in an existing office building, it will certainly be less expensive to install the wireless system, because much less actual installation work is necessary.
As mentioned previously, it is quite likely that in the case of an existing building, a hardwired security system would have to be installed by a skilled professional, which means you would incur the cost of labor for that installation. While you may also want to have your wireless security system installed by a professional, you may also be able to find a competent and committed “do-it-yourselfer” to help you.
If you have the luxury of good timing and are able to install your security system while an office building is still under construction, this may be the perfect time to have a hardwired system installed, since costs are considerably less than afterward, and the entire process is much less invasive.
In terms of ongoing costs, a wireless system will require new batteries periodically, but other than that, neither system has significant recurring costs.
There?s one other very important aspect of cost which should be considered, although it applies equally to both types of security systems. When you are installing a security system at your office building or other place of business, it can be very easy to get over-sold by a zealous salesman who is more concerned about sales for his company than about providing an appropriate level of security for your business.
For this reason, it will be worth your while to hire a consultant who can evaluate the real security needs of your place of business. A consultant can take a walk around the grounds and throughout the building, identifying likely points of entry, and other areas of vulnerability which would require security device sensing.
In this way, a thorough assessment can be accomplished, and a legitimate plan for providing necessary coverage can be arrived at so that only the necessary components of a security system need be purchased. By installing a practical system which is adequate for full protection, a great deal of money can be saved, and unnecessary costs can be avoided.