Site security is a top priority for managers and business owners. It ensures the safety and well-being of your employees, visitors, and guests, as well as any inventory or equipment you may have on-site.
In a previous blog, we talked about the benefits and limitations of a wireless alarm system and wireless security systems in general. And, while there are several reasons why businesses might choose to go wireless – affordability, simplicity, and level of security needs – there are situations in which a hardwired security system outperforms its wireless counterpart.
For example. limitations, like distances or battery power, aren’t as prevalent in a wired security system. Neither is the limitation of complexity or scalability. Those factors alone make hardwired security solutions a preferable option to larger facilities with more expensive, or sensitive, equipment and processes on-site.
So, here are some of the pros (and the cons) of a wired security system.
First, the pros.
Everyone reading this has used a smartphone or a laptop, most likely on a regular basis. That means you know the frustration of losing a cellular signal or a Wi-Fi connection for no apparent reason.
In a wireless system, that loss of signal could mean your entire security system is down, leaving gaping holes in your security.
On the other hand, wired security systems aren’t as vulnerable to interference, signal loss or interference. Instead, they depend on a physical cable connection, and those cables are most likely installed in an out-of-the-way place. While that cabling could be vulnerable to electromagnetic interference from nearby equipment or power lines, that risk can be mitigated by using cabling with sufficient shielding as well as proper installation techniques.
In short, it is easier to safeguard a hardwired system against interference and network outages that wireless systems are vulnerable to. That means a security system – alarms, access control, CCTV cameras, and so on – that can be relied on 24/7.
Your System Can Cover A Wider Area
Sensors in a wireless security system have a limited transmit range in the neighborhood of 500 feet, depending on line of sight. While equipment like bi-directional amplifiers and distributed antenna systems can carry wireless signals farther, adding that level of infrastructure is contrary to the simplicity a wireless system is supposed to avoid.
A hardwired system can provide security coverage for your entire system because the necessary information – like a triggered motion detector – is sent via fiber optic or copper cabling.
Admittedly, there are limitations to cabling, too. Certain cables can only be a certain length before signal loss becomes an issue and other cabling is better off being used for straight, horizontal runs rather than being twisted or bent to conform to the contours of a confined space. That being said, working around these limitations simply requires competent, professional system design. A combination of cables can, and most likely will, be used to make sure signals travel from your security devices to your alarms and security office.
You Aren’t Relying on Battery Power
Wireless security systems rely on batteries to operate, not power cabling. That means your team has to regularly check the battery life on each device and swap out batteries or recharge them as necessary. Missing an inspection could leave gaps in your security. While going ‘cable-free’ makes a wireless security system somewhat easier to manage, the need for regular battery inspections can become tedious and cumbersome for your team. It also introduces another variable – human error- when you consider the fact that inspections could be missed and spare batteries or chargers, misplaced.
Hardwired security systems rely on physical power cables to operate, meaning battery inspections are unnecessary. Having a backup power source can go a long way to mitigating the security risks of a power outage, and expertly planned access control systems can keep sensitive areas secured even if the power goes out and electronic locks fail.
Now, for some of the cons.
It Can Be More Expensive
For larger facilities or more complex installations, a hardwired system has the potential to be more expensive. You’re not simply mounting wireless equipment in your facility, your bringing in cabling technicians to run a cable through the crawlspaces and the server room. Doing this job right, the first time requires expertise and planning. That means a longer lead time and potentially higher costs.
It’s Not Transferrable
One of the benefits of a wireless security system is that the equipment can be easily uninstalled and moved to new locations in your facility, or new facilities entirely. A hardwired system is permanent. This isn’t a problem if a permanent installation is your plan, but if your job site is temporary, or there is a likelihood that you will have to relocate, then you will need to balance the costs and benefits of a permanent installation.
This was just a quick overview; there are many more pros and cons that you’ll have to consider before deciding on the design of your security system. It may well end up including both wired and wireless components. The system you end up with will depend entirely on your needs and objectives.
If you’d like to discuss security solutions for your site and drill down to the best options, Contact Us. Our Account Managers and Service Technicians are here to help.
Tridon is a full solution Telecom Systems Integrator with CSA certification and licensed by APEGA. Our Engineering, Service and Tower Divisions collaborate with customers to build engineered solutions including communications systems design, tower inspections, and co-location, wireless broadband, fiber optic cabling, site security, and two-way radio communication.