How Wireless Security Systems Work to Protect You

by Alastair Lydeard

Have you ever watched a horror film where the villain snips the wires to a telephone or home alarm? The scariest part is realizing that, despite your home’s security system, it could happen to you. In order to truly protect your home and family against the threat of break-ins, you need to invest in a wireless security system.

A burglar alarm without wires is the simple explanation for a wireless home security system. They communicate with radio waves instead of over wires. Thus the burglar is unable to determine which wires to cut to disable the alarm.

There are two basic types of wireless burglar alarms available today. The first kind is activated by an intruder, but the alarm is only audible to the homeowner and nearby neighbors. These systems are less useful if you live in a rural area, and are not home when the break-in takes place. The second kind of wireless security system includes a monitor that will detect a forced entry, and then communicate that fact to a security company. The company staff will confirm whether it is a genuine break-in, and if so, will immediately call the local police.

All wireless security systems include a control panel. This is the “brains” of the system, usually located in a closet or in the basement. The control panel receives all wireless communications that are sent by magnetic switches and motion sensors located throughout the house. If a suspicious entry or movement signal is received, the control panel will sound the alarm or dial the security company’s central monitoring system.

Magnetic contacts are attached to doors and windows. These small, inconspicuous devices consist of two parts: a switch installed inside the window or door jam, and a magnet placed on the door or window. If the distance between the magnet and switch increases, as in the case of forced entry, the control panel will receive a signal and sound the alarm.

Large hallways are sometimes equipped with body sensors as part of a wireless security system package. These devices use passive infrared motion detection methods to sense motion or body heat. If motion is detected, a signal is sent to the control panel. At that time the panel will analyze the level of threat, and then decide whether to alert the central monitoring station.

Every wireless security system comes equipped with a keypad, which is used by the homeowner to activate or deactivate the system. The keypad is normally installed next to the entry door, allowing the owner easy access to arm the system when leaving home, and disarm the system upon returning. Remote keys, much like a car alarm, can also be used to operate a wireless alarm system. The homeowner can also use the remote controller to switch lights on from a distance, giving the illusion that someone is occupying the house.

Some wireless security systems also come with cameras, which can be all mounted or hidden. The cameras connect to a control panel and a recording device, such as a VCR. If an intruder is detected, the cameras record the home scene automatically. Some packages also include camera monitoring by security staff at the alarm system company.

A home security system is a good idea for protection and peace of mind. But for the highest level of security, consider a wireless system as the best choice, because of the enhanced features offered.

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