Wireless home alarm systems are the best choice for houses without
access to run wiring. They can be as simple or complex as you like,
ranging from a wireless driveway alert system to a whole-house security installation.
Here are the main parts found in most wireless alarm systems,
with a brief description of each. Next I'll explain the most important
advantages of wireless home alarm system, along with some of the limitations.
This page describes wireless alarm functions to devices within your home. For wireless operation from your home to an alarm central station, see wireless alarm monitoring.
The Main Control Panel in wireless security systems often combines control functions with a radio receiver, either separate or built-in. It connects to keypads to operate the control, and processes radio signals sent by all of the transmitters in the system. Based on these signals, the panel detects normal, alarm, low battery, and other conditions.
Keypads can be wireless, hardwired, or both, depending on the system. Most wireless panels need at least one hardwired keypad in the system for proper operation. Additional wireless keypads are optional.
Door and Window Transmitters are used at each opening. These can be attached with screws or sticky tape, and have removable covers for battery access.
Wireless Motion Detectors work almost like hardwired models, sensing infrared (heat) energy. They have one big difference: To conserve battery power, they are designed not to transmit more often than a set interval, usually every few minutes. This keeps them from running dead as they sense the normal activity of the occupants.
Wireless Glassbreak Detectors operate just like hardwired glassbreaks, listening for specific sound frequencies made by breaking glass.
Wireless Smoke Detectors use the same technology as wired units, and provide the same level of fire protection. Keep in mind that adding smoke detectors may entitle you to a discount on your homeowners’ insurance.
Wireless Remote Pennants and Keyfobs are popular additions. They allow portable arming, disarming, and other basic functions without having to be near a keypad.
Learn more about wireless remotes at Wireless Burglar Alarm Systems Made Even Better!
Diagram of a typical wireless system with separate control panel and receiver
The main control panel needs wiring to power, a phone line, and one wired keypad. The keypad in this example has a built-in wireless receiver.
Planning the location of the equipment can make this wiring easy. See details on Home Wireless Security Systems Layout.
Check out what types of Alarm Installation Tools you might need to put a system in yourself.
Because of the limited wiring needed, wireless systems are the first choice for apartments and renters. Read more on these pages:
The Best Wireless Home Alarm for Apartments and Rentals
Apartment Security System Plug-n-Play Solutions
For houses with wiring access to some areas but not others, a hybrid system may be the solution. Hybrid panels support both hardwired and wireless devices. This allows you to run wires to the accessible parts of the house, and use wireless alarm devices for the rest.
Hardwired contacts and devices tend to cost less, so using a hybrid panel is generally cheaper than going all-wireless.
For more info on hybrid systems, check out these articles:
The Best Wireless Home Alarm System For Homeowners
A newer type of wireless home alarm system is the "plug-n-play" system for apartments and smaller homes. These combine video, security, and home automation in a single device.
They are affordable, unobtrusive, and operate automatically for the most part. Learn more about apartment security system plug-n-play solutions.
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