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Wired intercom system vs. wireless: Which one to choose?

Wired intercom system vs. wireless: Which one to choose?
When it comes to intercoms, one question facing residents or end users is whether to install a wired intercom system or a wireless one. There are pros and cons for each, and the decision really hinges on the user’s own requirements.

For a long time, intercoms have played a crucial role in residential and business security, allowing the resident or business owner to check, communicate with and open door for visitors downstairs. Technology has also evolved, from the earliest glass tube-based intercoms to video door stations common at end user entities today.

There are various types of intercoms. Generally speaking, users can think of them in two broad categories: wired and wireless. Wired systems are those where the outdoor unit is hard-wired to the indoor device in each apartment or business unit in the building. In wireless systems, the devices are connected wirelessly.

Pros and cons of each

To consider which one to choose, an understanding of the pros and cons of each is needed. Wired systems require cabling and therefore are harder to install, maintain and repair, not to mention the hefty labor fee in the process.

“Whether it is an upgrading project or a new development, infrastructure works consisting of cabling to each unit has to be done, which is very labor intensive,” said Schonell in a post. “In Singapore, infrastructure and cabling works for such a project can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

This, then, brings out the advantages of wireless systems, which are less costly and easier to install. But, then, wireless systems have drawbacks that need to be considered. One of the major issues is security, whereby communications can easily be eavesdropped on when a device is tuned to the same frequency. Range is another issue. If one lives in the basement, having a wireless system simply won’t be very effective.

Then, there’s the power supply issue. “Depending on your setup, a wireless intercom system will depend on each node having its own power supply – usually just a battery. If you wire them into your electrical system, it completely defeats the purpose of having a ‘wireless’ intercom system,” said a post by Safe and Sound Security. “(But) batteries fail. That may sound like a small problem, but imagine, from the perspective of a business owner, finding out at day’s end that the battery in the front-door intercom had failed, unannounced, and a potential client had been unable to buzz for entry. A wireless intercom system is a recipe for embarrassment, and it’s bad for your bottom line.”

This then brings out the advantages of a wired system. “Hardwired intercoms are the obvious choice for a dependable security system because they don’t have any of these vulnerabilities and come with a number of additional security features,” Safe and Sound Security said. “They’re harder to tamper with. You don’t have to worry about them running out of power. The range significantly exceeds that of a wireless intercom system. They can’t be eavesdropped on without micing a receiver or patching directly into the wiring.”

Deciding on which type to get, then, ultimately rests upon the user’s own scenario and requirements. “Every business and home is unique. If you value security and reliability above all else, perhaps you should look into a wired intercom system. If you’re only planning on using your intercom system for minor applications and would rather easy installation and low cost, a wireless system might be for you,” said a post by Fourwalls Security.

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