Wireless vs Wired CCTV Security systems: which is better?
Modern security systems, especially for residential installations, come in two forms when looking at how they are connected. Wired systems function on a wireless network, connecting to your home wifi network. Wireless systems run on network cables connecting to the central camera recorder.
We break down the benefits and drawbacks of both types, as well as the factors that make one type suit your situation better than the other.
Wireless Security Systems
Wireless systems are getting more and more popular. These systems work on an existing wifi connection (or you can set up a dedicated router for them). The cameras are wifi devices just like your smartphone or computer – they connect to your network router. The router then channels their data into the recorder which is also connected to the router.
- No network cabling needed running through walls and roof spaces
- No power cabling needed if using batteries.
- More portable since they don’t require as much cabling
- Signal interference vulnerability from other devices in similar frequency
- Battery life (if using battery powered cameras)
- Dependence on wifi router to function
- Need special transmitters to work over longer distances (not suitable for large buildings)
Wired Security Systems
As the name suggests, wired systems are completely cabled together. The cameras need network cables to run from themselves to the recorder. In most cases you would also have a power cable to the camera, it is very rare to find battery powered wired cameras.
- Reliable consistent signal
- Can be situated very far from the recorder
- Easier to maintain (don’t have wifi capable components)
- More costly to install as they require network and power cabling
- Longer installation time
- Far less portable as cabling needs to follow them around
- Less compatible with additional sensors
Which is better: Wireless or Wired Security Systems?
Clearly both types of security systems have their own strengths and weaknesses. There is no size fits all answer to this question, as it totally depends on varying factors like property size, layout, budget, security needs, etc. So how do you choose the best one for your own home or business?
Is your property residential or commercial?
One of the key factors to help decide between a wired or a wireless security system will be the type of your property. Is it your personal home? Or is it a business property, especially in a commercial zone?
We strongly recommend that commercial security systems always go with a wired approach. Businesses see a much higher traffic of people, and a much higher rate of various incidents that need to be caught on camera.
Additionally, a commercial zone can have lots of competing signals on the same frequency, which can cause interference and signal quality loss. Also a commercial property will usually be larger than a residential one, limiting how effectively you can cover it with wireless CCTV cameras.
A residential property can go either way, depending on other factors.
Size of property and distance between cameras
Briefly mentioned just above as a consideration for commercial properties, the size of your property will affect your security system even in a residential setting.
Wireless systems have a limit to how far the cameras can be situated from the router. Too far and they may lose connection or provide a low quality, intermittent signal. Not ideal for a security system where you would want consistent high quality coverage to protect your property.
Wired systems on the other hand have no physical limit on distances, but they may have a budget one. Every extra meter of network cabling costs more to supply and install, and this can add up for a larger property.
A very simplistic way of deciding: Large property = wired system, Small property = wireless system.
Futureproofing security system expansion
Generally wireless security systems provide a lot more flexibility when it comes to upgrading or expanding the system. Every wifi device will work with a router, whereas not every wired device may work with a specific recorder, especially if it is tending towards obsolete.
Wireless systems also provide much easier expansion or upgrading capability, as you don’t need to stuff more network cable in your walls and ceiling every time you need a new sensor or camera.
It is undeniable that wireless security systems are cheaper compared to a similar sized wired system. This is because:
- Cost of network cables on a meter-by-meter basis
- Cost of installing network cables in walls
So if you are on a tight budget, and you don’t have the large distances that require wired systems, you will find wireless systems are generally more cost effective.
Wireless Security vs Wired Security: Conclusion
In conclusion, wireless systems are a more convenient, less professional approach. The highest reliability and capacity for large properties is supported only by solid wired systems.
The pros, cons, and variable factors we discussed should paint a clear picture of what kind of system you need. If you have a smaller residential property, a wireless system will be more than enough. For a larger commercial property you will want a wired system.
Anything in between may require more careful consideration and consultation with a professional.