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Wired vs Wireless Security Systems | A Comprehensive Guide

Installing a security system is a great way to help better protect your home or office. But there’s no denying that stronger security comes at a price. That’s why it’s important to do your homework when it comes to deciding what type of system best suits your needs and budget. 

Security systems can be broken down into three broad categories:

  • Wired security system
  • Wireless security system
  • Combination wired and wireless security systems (hybrid)

With this in mind, we’ll help you choose from the best wired security systems and wireless security cameras, covering all the relevant pros and cons of home security cameras. 

In short, we’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to!

What Are Wired Security Cameras?

A wired camera setup involves a network of wires running through the house to a central control panel. It’s usually known as the ‘brain’ of the system.

Since they are wired, these types of cameras don’t usually require a Wi-Fi connection to function—but this means that two-way communication is not possible.

two wired security cameras

What Are Wireless Security Cameras?

Unlike their wired counterparts, wireless surveillance systems use radio waves to connect the sensors with the main control panel. The signal is established through Wi-Fi or a mobile network.

 A wireless security camera

Time, Cost, Reliability: Wired vs Wireless

A useful way of determining what kind of system would best suit your needs is to consider three different variables: time, cost, and reliability. This will help weigh up the relative pros and cons of wired and wireless security systems in a way that best aligns with what you need from your security system.

Time

Installing wired devices is a time-consuming process, often involving drilling to fix and hide wires. Wireless devices can simply be connected to a control panel via Wi-Fi, making it much faster and less of a challenge to improve aesthetics. 

If time is of the essence for you, consider which type of system might be faster (and easier) to deal with.

Cost

Buying the security system itself isn’t the only thing you have to consider when estimating costs: installation, maintenance, battery backup, and storage capacity can also quickly whittle away at a budget. 

Before making any purchases, have at least a rough sense of a budget; costs can mount quickly, so taking into account how much you’re willing to spend can help determine which type of system to invest in.

Reliability

Pros and Cons of Wired Home Security Systems

Pros

1. Long Lasting

Wired security systems are designed to be long-lasting. Though the setup, which should be carried out by a professional, can take up a sizable amount of time (and money), it tends to be worth the investment, since it will last a number of years. 

In most cases, professional installation is necessary for a well-managed wired security system, since wiring will require a good knowledge of the existing structure of your home and can pose some serious safety hazards to amateurs.

2. Less Susceptible to Hackers

Since they don’t use wi-fi, wired security camera systems are very difficult to hack. While it’s not entirely impossible, a hacker would have to fully understand the mechanical system of your home to gain access to the camera, because wired security cameras systems don’t work using electromagnetic waves. 

3. Reliable

Sure, they’re a little traditional (and may even seem outdated), but that’s precisely what gives wired systems the essence of reliability. Wired systems have a more robust design and function faster than wireless equivalents, and it’s been that way for decades. They are significantly less likely to fail, less prone to false alarms, and will never suffer from data outages. 

4. Ideal for Large Areas

5. No Internet Required

Using the internet is all well and good until you run out of data. A wired security camera works through a digital video recorder (DVR). If it has internet functionality, an ethernet cable is used, but even if the internet suffers an outage, video will keep recording through the DVR.

No doubt, there’s plenty of great benefits to choosing a wired security system over a wireless one, should your requirements align. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t drawbacks. Let’s consider the cons.

Cons

1. Not Suitable for Rentals

Installing wired security camera systems is a time-consuming process, as it requires drilling holes all over the walls to fix the low voltage wires. Of course, many rental spaces will not allow this in the first place, so always check with your landlord before taking the plunge and investing in wired security cameras. 

Not to mention, concealing the wires for the sake of aesthetics can be a particularly arduous process. That said, even if you’re installing in a property you own, setting up will inevitably take up a lot of your time. There’s also upkeep to consider, should there be a problem with the wiring down the line. 

2. Immobile

That being said, wired security systems are relatively immobile compared to their wireless counterparts, which means you run the risk of having setup efforts be done in vain since they are so inconvenient to move about. 

Uninstalling will require time and money, because, unless you happen to be an expert in electrical installations, you will most likely need a professional to carry it out.

3. Messy

Obviously, hard-wired security cameras use wires to connect the camera to the control panel. As you might imagine, this can get messy, fast. Wires can be hidden, but this sacrifices even more mobility and ease-of-use should you decide to move the cameras to another location or should they require some kind of maintenance upkeep. 

4. DVR Capacity Limitations

While DVR is more reliable in some respects, it also presents a number of difficulties. Namely, it will have a limited capacity for the number of cameras that can be connected, so the number of cameras you’ll need per DVR needs to be considered carefully before making any purchases.

Pros and Cons of Wireless Home Security Systems

Wireless security camera systems come with a number of pros that wired security cameras simply don’t have. Discover some of the ways they have the upper-hand.

Pros

1. Easy Installation and Uninstallation

 

No wires allows for a significantly easier installation process, and aesthetics won’t need to be considered in the way they are for wired systems. Chances are, you won’t need a professional to install, manage, or repair the system, since updates will be easily managed over the internet. 

Uninstalling will be just as simple—other than turning the system off and taking it off the wall, there really isn’t any ‘uninstalling’ to be done. Your hole-free walls will thank you!

2. Automated Wireless Systems

As with most wireless gadgets, home automation is a major feature of many new home security systems. Smart light bulbs, thermostats, smart kitchen gadgets, and smart alarms can connect to one another through Wi-Fi to make your home more interconnected and streamlined. 

3. Cloud Storage 

No good thing comes without some drawbacks—here’s the cons associated with wireless security systems.

Cons

1. Batteries

Wireless security systems have to be powered by something, and most commonly it’s with batteries. While this might be convenient for improving aesthetics, it does mean there is an increased chance of periods where no footage is recorded as a result of the batteries running out. And assuming you’ll be recording 24/7, this might be more frequent than you’d imagine. 

2. Hackable

Perhaps the most overt flaw when it comes to wireless security systems is that there is a much higher chance of being hacked. Before installing any wireless security cameras, it’s worth being aware of the risks related to using Wi-Fi/mobile data. Hackers can access footage, delete footage, or disable devices and alarms. As a precaution, ensure your data or Wi-Fi provider is well-regarded in terms of cyber-security, as well as the device itself.

AlfredCamera’s privacy measures:

3. False Alarms

A wireless device in an environment full of other wireless devices equals a whole lot of electromagnetic waves competing with one another. Whether it functions over Bluetooth, 5G, Wi-Fi, or some other means of short-range wireless transmission, the chances of false alarms or malfunctions are slightly increased by the presence of other wireless devices. 

Even bad weather can sometimes contribute to false alarms. Wireless devices have a higher probability than wired devices of experiencing interference with random sensors nearby, which is also why there’s often limitations on how many you can connect to one DVR before degrading image quality too severely. 

Hybrid Systems: The Future of Security Devices?

Likewise, power outages won’t affect a battery-operated wireless device, so you can rest assured that in either event, you’re guaranteed to have some cameras in operation. 

A combination of wired and wireless security system allows users to enjoy the pros of a wireless system with both wired and wireless cameras. It can also be useful if you are a homeowner with a pre-wired home and, simply want to add some components of the wireless system to incorporate more efficiency into your pre-existing security system.

combination wired and wireless security system aka Hybrid security system.

FAQ

Can wireless security systems be hacked?

Yes, they are technically hackable.

Realistically, the chances of this happening (and the chances of a trespasser actually possessing the knowledge to do such a thing) are few and far between. A Wi-Fi deauthentication attack is most common—this jams the Wi-Fi signal. But, if you use a reputable provider, it’s more than likely that the network will notify you as soon as this occurs. 

Though it is, of course, important that the device itself is well-regarded, it’s more crucial that the Wi-Fi network provider is, since this is how hacking will occur. In terms of the device you use itself, enable two-factor authentication where possible and set a strong password on the connected device.

Can wired security cameras be hacked?

Yes, but it’s far less likely to occur and much harder to achieve. 

Though you might not describe it as ‘hacking’, the closest thing to it is probably having the wires cut in order to stop the camera working, allowing burglars or invaders to move about undetected. Combination wired and wireless security systems are a good idea for combatting this; have wireless cameras in particularly vulnerable or accessible places, where wires would otherwise hang low to the ground.

Do you need internet for wired security cameras?

No, you don’t need the internet for a wired security camera. you can get access to your wired camera system without a network. That being said, many wired options do have features that require the internet to use, and therefore have the option to add ethernet cables. The disadvantage of having no internet connection is a lack of automation: you can’t view footage when away from the source as you can with apps like AlfredCamera.

How to make a CCTV camera using a mobile camera? 

Conclusion

So, which is best: wired or wireless? There is no straight answer, and that’s because both have features that could be described as positive and negative. Which you go for largely depends on your requirements when it comes to time, cost and reliability. 

Wireless options, like AlfredCamera, enable greater accessibility, aesthetics, and ease of use, while wired options are dependable, robust, and virtually insusceptible to cyber attacks.

Hybrid options, though somewhat more expensive, combine wireless and wired devices with DVR to allow for the best of both worlds, making up for the shortfalls of both device types and better protecting you in the event of Wi-Fi and power outages.

For the fastest and most affordable solution, try AlfredCamera, a secure, free alternative to traditional security devices with powerful automated features.