When it comes to security, keeping the bad guys out is priority number one. From simple keypad door locks to high-security biometric scanners, access control systems are the best way to validate visitors and restrict access to your property to only those you trust.
While there are dozens of different features available for access control systems, they all fall into two basic categories: wired and wireless. There are pros and cons to each system, and it’s up to you to decide which is right for your home or business.
What Is an Access Control System?
Before you can make a decision on wired versus wireless, it’s important to know what an access control system is. The definition of access control is the process of determining who has permission to do what within your home, business, or organisation. An access control system is the physical technology that prevents unwanted access.
You don’t want just anyone going into your main office, right? Only people you trust should be allowed access. Keeping out people you don’t trust is access control. The video intercom system that unlocks the door from the inside is an access control system.
Wireless Access Control Systems
There are two different types of wireless access control systems: offline and online. As you can imagine, online systems work via WiFi connection and use the internet; offline systems don’t. Wireless systems utilise radio signals or network connectivity to communicate throughout a facility and are battery powered.
Most online systems also offer cloud-based access management that can be operated from your computer or handheld device from anywhere in the world. Some systems can also grant access permission from a smartphone app, eliminating the need for keycards or security codes.
Wireless access control systems are generally cheaper and easier to install compared to wired systems. There’s no need to break down walls or have unsightly cords running along the floor or ceiling. Just put in the batteries, connect to the system, and you’re ready to go.
Since wireless systems are just that, wireless, they have to be within range of the central control system (offline) or a network router (online), which can limit their effectiveness in larger facilities. Walls and equipment can further reduce the range of wireless systems.
Wireless systems are generally very secure and reliable, but they’re slightly less reliable than wired systems. Batteries can die and networks can crash, which would hinder the system’s ability to function as intended. Most wireless systems can be programmed to operate offline in the event of a down network. Replacing batteries can also get expensive, which is why wireless systems, although cheaper to install, have higher maintenance costs compared to wired systems.
Wireless access control systems are best in small to medium sized facilities, where there would be no issues with range or connectivity. Retail shops, residential buildings, and small businesses would best benefit from a wireless system. They can be used in larger properties where it’s difficult to run wires as long as there’s a strong WiFi network present.
Wired Access Control Systems
Instead of communicating via WiFi network or radio signal, wired access control systems are directly connected to a central control hub. The main difference between wired and wireless systems – aside from wires, of course – is the hardware that they use. Since they are directly connected to a power source, wired systems use more secure electric strikes and electromagnetic locks compared to wireless systems.
While it might seem like wireless systems would excel with flexibility and mobile connectivity, most modern wired access control systems can still be connected to the internet and operated remotely via mobile app.
Wired access control systems are more secure and reliable. They are hardwired into the building’s power supply, which means 24/7 power without having to change batteries. They can also utilise more energy-consuming hardware like upgraded locks.
Wired systems are also not limited by range. Since there are physical wires connecting each terminal, communication will be reliable and uninterrupted no matter the distance. Wired systems can even be connected between different buildings.
Running all those wires can be expensive. The best time to install a wired access control system is during the construction of the building or during extensive renovations. Otherwise, unless you’re okay with wires on the outside of your walls, walls need to be removed and reinstalled, which can get pricey.
For businesses that need the highest level of security, there’s no substitute for a wired access control system. They use better hardware and have more reliable communication between terminals. Since there’s no range limit, wired systems are also better for large facilities or properties with multiple buildings.
Choosing an Access Control System with Four Walls Security
In general, wireless systems are the best for smaller businesses with less security risks. They’re cheaper, more flexible, and easier to install. For companies with larger facilities or that require increased security, a wired system will offer greater range and more reliable operation.
Picking out the perfect access control system for your home or business is important, but it’s also confusing. Even once you get past the wired versus wireless question, there are hundreds of features to choose from. When deciding on a security system, consult the experts at Four Walls Security. We have decades of experience serving the Brisbane area and can help you find the perfect system for your unique needs.