In this space, we’ve written quite a bit about the evolution of security system technology. Over the years, many innovations have made burglar alarms less expensive and more efficient to install than ever before. Specifically, the advent of wireless security contacts has provided tremendous flexibity during our installs. Several years ago, installing an alarm system involved running wiring from the system’s main control panel to every single sensor. Usually, we would complete this wiring during the home’s construction. Unfortunately, installing an alarm in a completed house often proved difficult, if not impossible. Therefore, the ability to install wireless security sensors effectively addressed this issue. Additionally, it also opened up new possibilies for security system customers when designing an alarm. In this post, we share some of the many benefits of wireless security.
First, we’ll share the basics behind wireless security technology. After all, understanding how this equipment works will help you understand how it helps us. From there, we’ll look at a few specific benefits of wireless security. These include the ability to create security zones and add sensors as needed at any time. Additionally, we’ll also explain the importance and features of wireless panic devices. Finally, we’ll see some of the downfalls of wireless security, and how the industry has evolved to tackle these issues. Now, let’s dive in by looking at the technology behind wireless security!
How Wireless Security Works
As we mentioned earlier, we used to run wiring from each security sensor back to the main alarm panel. These devices generally include door and window sensors, as well as motion detectors, glass break detectors, and sometimes smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide detection. When hardwired, the wiring provides these devices with the power necessary to operate. Furthermore, the security sensors also use this wiring to communicate back to the panel. Therefore, wireless security sensors need a different means of both receiving power and “talking” back to our panel.
Like most wireless electronics, wireless alarm devices use batteries for power. When a battery gets low, the sensor communicates this to our panel. In turn, your alarm will then alert you to any sensors that may need a new battery. Once the issue of powering sensors is addressed, wireless sensors still need a way to “talk” back to the security system’s control panel. In order to accomplish this, security system manufacturers create an antenna for their alarms that use a radio frequency (or “RF”) to communicate with its sensors.
In turn, security system designers create sensors that use the same frequency as their panels to allow them to “call” the panel for help when needed. Therefore, the issue of wireless security communication has been solved through the use of radio technology. We often refer to wireless sensors as “RF sensors” due to the use of these radio frequencies. Now, let’s see how using this technology can create added security!
Creating As Many Security Zones as Needed
Hardwired alarm panels have a limited capacity for security wiring inside of them. Out of the box, we can generally connect up to 8 hardwired security “zones.” Of course, many security systems require far more than this number of sensors. In these instances, we connect more than one sensor to the same wire running back to the alarm panel. This takes away from your ability to know exactly which sensor creates an alarm. For example, a hardwired alarm panel may have one zone for all of a home’s basement windows. While this gives you some knowledge about how a break-in occurs, it does not allow you to pinpoint which window created the alert.
However, we can often connect dozens of wireless security zones to a security panel. This allows us to create an individual “zone” for every single wireless sensor we install! In turn, an alarm activation will create an alert that tells the central station precisely which sensor created the alarm. Of course, this type of alert helps both you and the authorities tremendously. Additionally, the potential to add extra security zones helps us quite a bit when we need to add sensors to an existing alarm. In the next section, we’ll see exactly how this plays out.
Adding Sensors as Your Security Needs Change
One of the most powerful benefits of wireless security lies in the ability to add security devices at will. Over time, a property’s security needs may change for a variety of reasons. For example, families may remodel their homes and add windows and doors that require additional contacts. Furthermore, customers building additions onto their properties now have an entire new section of their home or business to secure! In the past, this would have required running new wiring and getting creative in order to comply with the existing system’s hardwired zone limits.
Luckily, installing new wireless security sensors allows us to bypass these difficulties entirely. Instead, we simply install and name the new sensors with whatever description you choose, and you’re good to go! This adds tremendous efficiency and flexibility to your security. Moreover, it also provides significant savings in labor cost associated with running new wiring. In fact, our wireless security customers often save hundreds of dollars when adding on to their alarms in this manner. Next, let’s look at how wireless security adds an important aspect of life safety for our customers.
Creating a Portable “Panic” Response
If you’ve read our post sharing Panic Button Options for Your Security System, you know that we always recommend installing devices that give you the ability to call for quick help even when your alarm system is disarmed. Traditionally, we would often hardwire a stationary panic button in important areas of a home or business. For example, a house’s master bedroom or a store’s counter make good places for these devices. However, hardwired panic devices have obvious limitations. Users can only activate these devices right where we install them. Unfortunately, emergencies can occur anywhere, and alarm users cannot always access stationary panic buttons.
The advent of wireless panic devices has solved this issue once and for all. Now, we can provide buttons, pendants, and even wristbands that call for help at any time. Furthermore, we can program these devices to create any type of panic response you desire. For example, many elderly customers look for a button that calls for an ambulance when activated. Store owners may wish for their panic buttons to call for the police without activating their alarm’s siren. Still others may want their panic buttons to call for help and create a siren response! All of these options are now at your fingertips, without the need to run to a set location to call for help. This security makes adding wireless panic devices one of the most powerful benefits of wireless security. Now, let’s look at industry improvements that have helped make wireless security more effective than ever.
Addressing Potential Issues Posed by Wireless Security
As with any technology, wireless security sensors come with their limitations. Fortunately, the industry has gone a long way towards addressing these issues. For starters, early wireless security sensors utilized standard batteries (such as “AA” and “AAA” batteries) for power. These batteries often required changing at least once every year due to heavy usage. However, we now put long-lasting lithium batteries in wireless security devices. Now, customers can wait several years between changing batteries. This improvement has helped address the most major inconvenience related to wireless security.
Another related obstacle lies in the lmited wireless communication range between a security sensor and an alarm panel. After all, radio transmission does not travel indefinitely. Occasionally, we experience issues with wireless security communication on sizable properties. Now, we have a couple options at our disposal to address this concern. For starters, installing wireless signal repeaters can help boost the range of RF communication between your panel and your sensors. These devices simply transmit a radio signal at the same frequency as your alarm panel, giving the signal a “boost” to reach out further.
Finally, some companies have created wireless sensors with incredible radio frequency transmission capabilities right out of the box. Our preferred wireless security sensors, the Power G Series by DSC, consistently communicate back to alarm panels even in sizable commercial applications. The advent of this technology has allowed us to use wireless security devices in just about any setting!
Putting it All Together and Experiencing the Benefits of Wireless Security
We hope that this post helps you understand and take advantage of the many benefits of wireless security. Furthermore, we encourage you to contact us with any questions you may have about the material presented here. We will happily help you determine how you can incorporate wireless security devices into your own application. Additionally, we invite you to take advantage of our free site survery program. We provide complementary security walk throughs and quotes for both new and existing customers alike.
Perhaps you have an alarm in place and wish to add wireless security devices to it. Or, maybe you don’t have a security system yet, and want to build it right from the groud up. Either way, we are here to help. We can help you create a complete security plan for your property that takes advantage of the latest and greatest in wireless security technology. Together, we can create a plan to keep you, your property, and everyone on it as safe and secure as possible!