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Wired vs Wireless: Which Security System is Best?

Alexandra Curtiss
April 19, 2017

When you're comparing wired vs wireless security systems, the main two differences between them are the way they communicate with the central monitoring station and the amount of labor required to set the system up.

Hard-wired alarms use old-fashioned landlines, which can be cut, whereas newer wireless systems can use cellphone radio channels or the internet to contact the central station. Hard-wired systems are also way harder to install than their wireless counterparts, as I'll explain below.

Wireless Security system

Our Honeywell Lyric security system is wireless in both categories. Depending on the nature of your question, there are two correct answers: 

1. How does your system communicate to the central station?

Cellular alarm monitoring is often referred to as a wireless security system. What it actually means is that the control panel of the system communicates to our security monitoring station via a cellular chip and/or WiFi.

In this context. wireless means that it is not tied to a phone line. Many people no longer want to pay for a landline since they no longer use them. Additionally, security systems tied to a phone line can be disabled if the intruder simply cuts the line.

Further Reading: Alarm Monitoring: How much does it cost?

Every Honeywell Lyric Controller we sell features a WiFi chip and a cellular chip. Most local security companies charge extra for that cell chip, but we do not. 

2. Do you have to drill holes and run wires to install my alarm?

Traditional security systems have a wire running between each door contact and motion detector and the control panel. On the one hand, you don't have to change the batteries every few years, but drilling into your walls can get pricey.

It is very labor intensive to drill holes and run wires. While this used to be the only way to install an alarm, the technology is not superior anymore.

A decade ago, wireless sensors were not as reliable and battery changes were a pain. Now, batteries last 3-5 years and the communication is reliable. Concerned about hacking? Our Honeywell Lyric Controller and six series sensors are 128-bit encrypted.

Another downside of hardwired systems is they are inflexible over time as it requires your security company to come back out and run more wiring if you want to make any changes. With a wireless system, if you need to add a sensor, it can be done using software in a matter of minutes.

Finally, many hardwired systems are not compatible with smart home automation technology or remote control via the Honeywell Total Connect App.

It has been our experience that most customers favor wireless systems that communicate over cellular and/or WiFi instead of traditional landline to hardwired systems because they are :

  1. Easy to install
  2. Cost-effective
  3. Less expensive - do not require a land line
  4. Safer- You cannot disable the system by cutting the land line
  5. Integrate with smart home automation
  6. Flexible over time
  7. Can be installed as a DIY wireless security system 

To learn more, check out the Honeywell Lyric Security system by downloading the educational eBook below. 


Download the Ultimate Guide to Home Security and learn:

  • Top 5 misconceptions about home security
  • How to assess vulnerabilities in your home
  • Why home security is about more than preventing burglaries
  • Cutting-edge security equipment: how home security has changed
  • Monitored vs. Self-Monitored Systems
  • Local vs. National Security Companies

... and more!

Download Ultimate Security Guide

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