Security Cameras: Wired VS Wireless

Wired security system installation

Your home is likely your most valuable possession, financially, at least. So we understand your desire to protect it. You work hard to come home to your beautiful property, so installing security cameras to catch any suspicious behaviour, vandalism or worse still, theft, is a top priority.

However, when choosing the type of security camera you need, it can be a bit of a minefield. With so many brands all promising that their technology will keep you safe, it’s hard to know which solution to choose. We get asked for our advice on a daily basis and one question in particular makes an appearance for more than any other: should I have a wired security system or wireless security cameras?

To make an informed decision, it’s crucial to understand the difference between wired and wireless systems. Of course there’s one obvious difference but there’s more than just a cable to consider.

We know how difficult it is to find the best security solution for your property, so we’re inspecting the pros and cons of both wired and wireless security cameras to make your life that little bit easier. And to top it all off, we’ve thrown in a bonus review of wire-free security, too. We know what you’re thinking; wire-free and wireless are the same things, right? Afraid not. We’ll come to that later…

Wired security systems

Being true to its name, wired security requires cabling for power, internet connection and video transmission. This solution is typically used on larger properties, but at Trusted Technology, we recommend wired security, regardless. 

How do wired security cameras work?

Every aspect of a wired security system (camera, recorder and router) is linked together with cables, in one of two ways:

  1. Two cables; 1 carrying the voltage to power the camera and the second carrying the video transmission. These cables are generally siamese so they are 2 cables in one sheath.
  2. One cable carrying both power and video transmission – often referred to as Power over Ethernet or POE for short.

Benefits of wired security systems

Network reliability

Given that wired security systems gain power and connection directly from physical connections, they are not susceptible to interference from wireless signals. No WiFi jammer will block the connection and leave you vulnerable to system downtime. Of course a burglar could simply cut a wire, but if like us, your installer hides the cables to keep things neat, this won’t be an issue.

Scale and property size

Wired security systems, like the Ring Spotlight Cam, can support larger properties that may need multiple cameras for comprehensive coverage, rather than just a couple of access points. Although the size of a property, whether residential and commercial, is often the deciding factor for many, we would always recommend a wired solution. 

Permanent solution

A wired security camera system is great for homeowners or businesses with a permanent location. It offers long-term security and becomes an integral part of the building. 

Wired security camera mounted on residential building

Wired security camera mounted on residential building

Drawbacks of wired security cameras

Needs professional installation 

It’s not advisable to install a wired system without being professionally qualified so it’s not ideal for someone looking for a quick and cheap solution. Running multiple cables and tampering with electrics can be daunting for some and may cause lasting damage if not done correctly, so be sure to reach out to the experts – we’ve got you covered! The installation process can also be lengthy, but the benefits a wired system brings far outweigh its installation time. 

Vulnerable to power outages

If your property loses power, so will your security system. Although power cuts don’t happen very often, it’s important to consider this potential issue. Remote properties can avoid this by installing a backup generator.

Wireless security cameras

Wireless security systems are an alternative to wired systems. They can be good for smaller properties, but we don’t recommend them as part of our installations, regardless of property size. 

How do wireless security cameras work?

As the name suggests, this security solution does not require wiring for power, internet connection or video transmission. The internet connection itself, however, will need wired power. Wireless security cameras work by transmitting footage from a camera to a recorder by connecting to your WiFi network. Access security footage either through a built-in device or cloud storage.

Home security system installation

Home security system linking to central hub

Benefits of wireless security cameras

Simplified installation

Wireless cameras connect to a Wi-Fi network, so there is no need to run cables from the recorder to cameras. Whilst this does offer an easier installation process, it’s not always the most reliable security option.

Flexibility

Wireless systems are easy to set up, take down and move. This makes them ideal for those who rent properties, have businesses in temporary locations or expect to move homes in the near future.

Wired security system on residential property

Wired security system on residential property

Drawbacks of wireless security cameras

Vulnerable to interference and power outages

Wireless security cameras are prone to interference from other surrounding signals. As a result, we see problems if the bandwidths overlap, a particular problem in apartment blocks. They can also be interrupted with simple WiFi jammers, making them a less robust option to wired security cameras. 

Although wireless systems do not require cabling to cameras, they still require a hard-wired power connection so they have just the same risk as a wired security system when it comes to power cuts.

Not truly wireless

Their name is a little deceiving. Wireless security systems are not completely wireless. It’s true that the cameras don’t need cables running back to the router and recorder, as the footage is transmitted via WiFi, but the cameras themselves still need a power supply. This means that, although a wireless security system drastically reduced the amount of cable installation, it doesn’t completely eliminate it. 

Restricted by WiFi range and strength

Dependent on your wireless signal strength, the scope of coverage is tied to a number of factors including your router and the route the signal has to take to get to your cameras. For example, if there is a large amount of brickwork, metal or other impenetrable material between the camera and your wireless router, you may experience connection issues.

Also, they’re not as easy to integrate with other home security aspects such as access control, electric gates and alarm systems.

Home security system

Wirefree security cameras

Wirefree security systems, unlike wireless security systems, are actually true to their name. This makes them the simplest to install but also the easiest to lose! Although there are some great products on the market, we would never recommend installing wire-free cameras. That said, we promised some pros and cons, so here goes…

How do wire-free security cameras work?

The WiFi router will need a power supply, but apart from this, no cabling is needed. Battery-powered security systems have evolved significantly and can provide a great solution. 

Benefits of wire-free security cameras

Super-easy installation

Wirefree security camera systems are the easiest to install as they don’t need access to a power source. Nor do they need cables. As such, they can be mounted almost anywhere and easily moved to a new location.

Unaffected by power outages

Since there are no cables running to the cameras, wire-free systems are not affected by power outages, so long as the batteries remain charged! 

Security camera system linked to wall-mounted screen

Security camera system linked to wall-mounted screen

Drawbacks of wire-free security cameras

Batteries need to be recharged

The main downside of wire-free security cameras is the need to recharge the batteries. Most do have a decent life-span as they conserve energy in standby mode until they are triggered by motion detection. However, there will always be a day, or night, when you have to sacrifice your security to recharge the batteries. 

Vulnerable to interference

Just like wireless systems, wire-free cameras depend on the strength of your wireless network, meaning they may be susceptible to other surrounding signals. They’re also vulnerable to WiFi jammers, as are wireless systems. 

Easy to steal

By far the biggest downside to a wire-free system is how easy it is to steal a camera – a burglar can simply pluck it from the wall and carry it away! 

Wired security system health checks on installation

Wired security system health checks on installation

So, wired, wireless or wire-free security cameras?

At Trusted Technology, we only install wired security systems. 

Despite the longer installation process, we’re big fans of the reliability a wired system offers, not to mention the almost unlimited coverage.

Some of our commercial installations have needed hundreds of kilometres of cabling and 100+ cameras to offer full coverage of their premises. This just wasn’t possible without a wired system.

Even for residential properties we only install wired security systems. We just don’t think it’s worth the risk of downtime, connection interference or potential theft.

Before you add any security system, evaluate your property size and security needs. If you’re still not sure, why not speak to an expert? We offer a free property consultation prior to any installation and will give you our honest, professional advice.

 

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