A wireless home alarm system is a home alarm system in which the various components of the system are connected without the use of wires and do not require hard-wiring to function. Both hard-wired and wireless home alarm systems generally work in the same way and consist of similar components. There is a main console that is the “brain” of the entire system. The user is able to interact with the system through a control panel, which is usually located separately from the main console.
Sensors are installed on doors and windows that are possible points of entry. Sensors consist of two parts, with one part installed on the door or window itself and the other part installed on the door or window frame directly opposite of the other half. When a door or window is closed, the two halves of the sensor create a complete electrical circuit. When a door or window is opened, the electrical circuit is broken, which triggers an alarm to sound.
Some alarm systems may also include motion detectors. As the name suggests, motion detectors trigger an alarm when motion occurs in the area being monitored by the detector. If an intruder were able to enter a home through a window or door without setting off the alarm, the motion detector serves as another method of detecting an intruder.
Alarm systems that are monitored not only sound an audible alarm at the property itself, but alert a central monitoring service of a possible break-in. Depending on the type of service that a homeowner subscribes to, the monitoring service may contact the homeowner and police, fire and emergency services when an alarm is triggered.
A hard-wired system connects the main console, control panel and all door and window sensors through a system of wires. For aesthetic purposes, the wires are installed inside the walls of a home. While wired systems have a reputation for being more reliable and effective than wireless alarms, the need to install wires inside the walls often motivates homeowners, who are installing an alarm system after a home is built, to choose a wireless home alarm system.
In a wireless home alarm system, the components communicate with the main console by sending information over radio frequencies. The technology behind this is similar to that used in cordless telephones. In the past, many wireless alarms operated on the same frequencies as cordless telephones, which could potentially interfere with the proper functioning of the alarm. Most newer generation wireless home alarms operate on frequencies not used by cordless phones or other wireless devices.
Because there are no wires connecting the components, wireless systems do offer homeowners more flexibility to make changes than hard-wired systems and are easier to install. A disadvantage of a monitored wireless alarm system is that it may only work with a specific company’s monitoring service. If a customer decides to switch alarm monitoring services, he will, in all likelihood, need to acquire new equipment that is compatible with the new alarm company's service. A factor that the homeowner considering a wireless home alarm system should consider is the price. Wireless systems are typically more expensive than a comparably equipped hard-wired system.
The first home alarm was invented by Edwin Holmes in the late 1850s. He created an electric alarm system that connected the doors and windows of a home with a bell. When a window or door was opened, a bell would ring, alerting those in the home of the opening of the window or door.
Holmes' company also developed a monitoring system for subscribers. Homes were connected to a central monitoring location electrically and when a sensor was triggered, the central monitoring location would be notified.