Wireless Burglar Alarm Sensors Guide

By: Ari Erenthal, Published on Jul 21, 2017

Wireless sensors for burglar alarm sensors are an increasingly common option for the historical labor intensive wired alarm systems.

However, there are numerous elements and tradeoffs involved in using wireless sensors.

In this guide, we explain these in detail including:

  • How wireless sensors can help cut labor costs
  • Benefits of using wireless sensors in residential
  • Factors in picking wired vs wireless sensors
  • Advantages of wireless sensors
  • Disadvantages of wireless sensors
  • Dealing with proprietary wireless devices
  • Common wireless frequencies
  • Common wireless battery types
  • Understanding the role and use of wireless receivers
  • Hacking wireless sensors
  • Considering encoded / 2-way supervised wireless sensors

******** ******* *** ******* alarm ******* *** ** increasingly ****** ****** *** the ********** ***** ********* wired ***** *******.

*******, ***** *** ******** elements *** ********* ******** in ***** ******** *******.

** **** *****, ** explain ***** ** ****** including:

  • *** ******** ******* *** help *** ***** *****
  • ******** ** ***** ******** ******* in ***********
  • ******* ** ******* ***** vs ******** *******
  • ********** ** ******** *******
  • ************* ** ******** *******
  • ******* **** *********** ******** devices
  • ****** ******** ***********
  • ****** ******** ******* *****
  • ************* *** **** *** use of ******** *********
  • ******* ******** *******
  • *********** ******* / *-*** supervised ******** *******

[***************]

Wireless ******* *** **** *** ***** *****

********** ******** *** ******** ******* as * **** ******* measure. ***** ** ******* the ******* ******* *** an ************ *******, *** running ***** **** ******* to *** ***** ***** is ********* *** **** time ********* ****** ** ** installation. 

**** ** ********** **** in *********** *************, ***** wires **** ** ****** and ********* *** **** to ** *****. ***** residential ************* *** ********* take * **** ** more ** ****, *** even * ***** *********** installation ***** **** * full *** ** ****. Using ******** ******* ********** the **** ** ***** wires **** ***** *** ******* them ******* ****** *** crawlspaces. 

******** ** ******* ***** ** a *********** ************ ***** time *** **********, *** technicians ******* ** *********** wiring*** ****** ****** *** than ***** ***** ***********, ******* ** **** higher ***** *****. ***** ******** sensors ****** ***** ********** to ******** ************* ****** and *******. 

Using ******** ******* ** *********** ************

**** ***** ********* ********** in door-to-door ***** *****. ** this *****, ***** ** salespeople ***** ** *** door ** ***** ****** **** in * ************, ****** to **** **** ***** services. ** **********, * salesperson calls *** ** ************ crew ** ******* ** alarm ** **** ** possible. ***** ******* *** commonly sold ********* *******, ********* at ** ***** ****, with ***** ********* ********* to **** ***** ***** back ** ******** *** monitoring ********.

*** **** ***** ** work, ************* **** ** completed ** ******* *** as ************ ** ********. A **** ** *********** capable ** ********** * ****** wired ****** ** *** day *** ******** ***** or **** ******* ******* in * ****** *** when ***** ******** *******, allowing *** ***** ******* to ***** ******** *** customer *** ********** ******* sooner. 

******** ******* *** ***** used ** *****, ****** homes ** ****. ********** ***** can ** * ********* challenge, ********** ** *** sensor **** ** * long ******** **** *** panel, *** ***** ** multiple ***** ** ******** floors **** **** *** sensor, ** ** *** home ***** ******* ****** and ******. ** **** cases, using ******** ******* ** far ******* **** ****** a ********** ** *** a ****. 

Factors ** ******* ***** ** ******** ******* 

******** ******* *** ************* more ********* **** ***** sensors. *** ******* ********** are ********* *-* ***** more ********* **** ***** wired ***********. ** ********, many ****** ******, ********** ****** and ********** ***** ******, do *** ******* ******** sensors. **** ***** ***** panels, ********** **** ** add * ******** ********, an ***** *******. 

*********, ******** ******* *** only *** **** ********** ****** where *** ********* **** is **** **** *** labor **** ** ******* * wire.

******** ******* *** **** transmit *** ******* *********, typically ***-*** **** (**-** meters). ** ********, ***** can ******* ******* ** panels ******** ** **** away. ********** *** *** repeaters ** ****** *** range ** ******** *******, but ***** *** **** **** to *** **** ** an ************. 

********** ***** *** ***** *******, not ********, ** ********** and ********** *************. *** labor **** *** ***** sensors is **** ***** **** the ***** ** *** need ** ** *********, making ***** ******* *** more ****-********* ****** *** these applications. 

Advantages ** ******** *******

  • ***** ***** *****: ******** sensors ******* **** ********** to *******, *** ******** fewer ***** *** ***** to *******. **** ***** that **** ************, ***** paid *********** *** ******* wireless *******, ***** ***** sensors ******* *********** ********** with ********* ***** *****. 
  • ****** ******* ****: ******** sensors *** ** ********* relatively *******, *********** ******** an ************ **** ** ******** two ** **** **** in * ****** ***. In ********, ** ***** ******* * day ** **** ** run ***** *** *******. This ***** ****** ***** for technician ********. 
  • ********** *******: ******** ******* *** ********** **********, ** *** ******** sensor ************ ***** * health ***** **** ** the ********. ** ******** interrupts **** ******, *** alarm ***** **** **** a ******* ****** ** the ******. *** ***** can ** ********** ** send ******** ******* ******* to ******* ******* ** well. **** ******** ** ****** or ****** *** ****** will ** ******** **** way. **** ******* **** built-in *** ********* *** tamper ******** ** ****.

Disadvantages ** ******** *******

  • ********** ******: ******** ******** ******** *** ********* ** *******. They require **** *** * battery, ***********, *** *******, and therefore **** ** ************* larger **** ***** ********. Higher *** *********** ******* sometimes *** ***** ******** contacts for **** ******, ********** for ****** ** ********** doors. **** ** **** an ***** **** ******** contacts; ***** ***** *******, such ** ****** ***************** ***** ***** *******, *** ***** ********* ** *** ****** **** this *******. 
  • ******** ******* *******: ********* for ******** ******* **** * life ********** ** ~* years, ********* ** *****. Upon ********* * *** battery ******, *** ******** must ****** *** *** a ******* **** ** replace *** ********* **********, a ******* *********** ** the ***-******** ********* **** wireless ******* ***. 
  • ******** ***********: ******** ************ have * ******* *****, typically ***-*** **** (**-** meters) ********* ** **** and ************ ***********. ** contrast, ***** ******* *** be ******* ******** ** **** from *** *****. 
  • **** *********: ******** ******* are ***** *** ** three ***** **** ********* than ***** ***** **********, negating **** ** *** cost ******* ********** **** reduced ***** **** *** faster ************ ****. 
  • ********** *********: **** ***** panels, ********** ********** ******, cannot ******* ******** ******* without ********** *********. ****** to *** * ******** receiver **** ******* **** of *** **** ******* associated **** ***** ******** sensors.
  • ****** ******* *****: ********* batteries/ ***************

Wireless ******* *** ***** ***********

******** ******* *** ***** not ********** **** * receiver **** ******* *****. For *******, ********* ******** sensors *** *** ********** with ***'* *********. ******** a ******** ****** *** number *** **** ** sensors ********* ** * system. ***** **** ****** have * **** ********* ** compatible *******, **** ****** may **** **** * few. **** ********** ****** be ***** **** ******* when ********** ******** *******. If * ****** **** a ******** ******* ** required *** ** ***********, the ********* *** **** to ****** *** ***** of ***** ***** ****** and ******** ** *** system. 

**** *************** ** ***** a ******** **********, *** a ********* ***************. ******** sensors **** ** *** a *** ********* ******, but receivers *** ******** ******** to ****** ******* **** sensors **** ** ***** manufacturers. 

Common ******** *********** 

******** ******* ***** *** RF ******* ** ***********. These ******* *** ********* in *** ***-*** *** range, ******** ******* ************* use *** *** *** range. ** *** ****** States, *** *** ********* RF *****. ************* ************ ***** ******* **** the *** *** ****** approval****** ******* ******* ************ wireless *******. ******* *** devices *** ***** ******* frequencies *** ****** *** published ** *** ***, it ** ******** ********* * ********* *** ******* the ****** ***** ***********.

*-**** *** ********* ********, *** *** frequencies ****** *** *** typical ** ******** ***** sensors.  **** *** ******** for **** ********** ********, but ********* *** *** proprietary ** * ****** panel.

Common ******* *****/*****

******** ******* *** ** internal *********, ***** **** be ******** ************. ******* life ** ***** ** the ****** ** *********** the ****** *********** *** the *********** *** ****** is ******* **, *** therefore *** ****** ****** from ******** ** ********. Contacts ********** ****** ****** doors *** ******* *** go as **** ** ***** years ******* ******* * replacement *******, ***** * motion ******** ** * heavily ********** ******* ***** need * *** ******* every ****. ******* ************ can ******* ******* **** as ****, ******** ********* **** or *** ************ *** generally **** ****** ** residential ************.

********* ****** ********* *** be * **** *********, and ********* ******, *******. Alarm ***** **** ***** ******* can ******* ******* ********* on ***** ***, *** those **** ***** ******* and **** ** ***** sensors **** ***** *** for * ******* ****. The **** ** ***** service ***** *** ********* upset ** ******** ***** users, *********** ****** **** **** susceptible ** ****** ** switch ***** ********** ******* at *** *** ** their *********. 

***** ********* ********* ***** service ********* ** ***** battery ***********. ******* *** cost ** *** ******* contract **** *** ********** fee ***** **** *** pain ** ********* *** cost ** *** ******* replacement **** *** ****** of ****** ** *****. 

*** **** ****** ******* types **** ** ******** sensors:

  • ****** ***** ********* *** often ~$*.** *** **** purchased ****** *** ~$*.** each **** ********* ** bulk.
  • ****** ********* *** ***** ~$5.00 *** **** ********* singly *** ~$*.** **** when ********* ** ****.
  • ** ********* *** ***** ~$1.00 *** **** ********* singly *** ~$*.** **** when ********* ** ****. 

** ********* *** ****** available *** **** **** about ********. ****** *** CR123A ********* *** ** purchased in **** **** ***** distributors *** ******** *********. 

Most ****** ******* * ******** ********

**** ***** ****** ******* * wireless ******** ** ** compatible **** ******** *******.

******** ********* ******** **** ** the ****** ***. **** powers *** ******** *** allows ** ** ******* data. 

**** ********* **** ****** to *** ****** ** wireless ******* **** *** support, **** *, *, 8, *** ** ******* being *** **** ******. Some ********* *** ******* only ** *** ****** of ***** ********* ** the *****. 

******** ********* *** ******** mounted ******* ** **********, as ***** *** ***** or ***** ******** *******. ****** alarm *****, ***** ************ ** *** ***** inside * ***, ******** ********* **** be ****** ** ** unprotected **** ** ***** to ******* *******. **** means **** *** ****** to *** ******** *** potentially ***** *** ******** zones. 

** ******* ****, ******** receivers ******** **** ****** switches ** ****** ********** attempts ** ****** *** receiver. ** ********, *********** commonly ******* *** ******** in * ****** ****, such ** *** ****** of * ******. 

**** ***** ****** **** built ** ******** *********. **** ********** alarm ****** *** ******** to ** ******** ****, with ******** ********* ***** right **** *** ******. 

******** ********* *** ***** ~$100 ***.

Hacking ******** ******* 

******** ******* *** ** susceptible ** *******. ** the ****** ** *********** between *** *********** *** receiver, ** *** ** jammed ** *******. ** contrast, ******* ** ******** a ***** ****** ******** physical ****** ** ****** the ****** ** *** wire, ***** ** **** more ********* ** **********, especially ** *** ******* is **********.  

***** ********** ** *** hack **** ** *** ** **** ** ADT ***** ****** ****, * ************ ********* SDR *** ** **** to **** ***** ******* or ***** *** ****** signals ** *** ********, while *** ****** ****** signal ****** ** *******.

**** ******** ******* *** more ********** ** ******* than ******. *** *******, some ******** ******* ******** their ******* ***********, ** known ***********, ************* *********** **** ************ ***** be ******. *** ******** ******* a **** ***** **** were**** *** ********* ***** unencrypted ******** ************. **** ***** ************* *** still ****************, ***** ********* ******** transmitters. 

**** *************, **** ************, ***** *** **** these ***** ******************** ********* *** **** levels ** ***** ** pull ***. *******, *** **** is ***** ******* 

Encoded ** *-*** ********** ********

***** **** ************* **** ********** for ***** ******** *******, including ***,*******, *** **** (***** ** ******* ********-**** panels), ****** *** ********* ******* to **** ****** ************ more ********* *** *** way ************* ** **** jamming ** ******** ******** easier ** ******.  *** example, ***,***, ********* *** ********* ******* or * *** ********** encryption.

Comments (3)

Nice article. It might also bear to mention that not only is 900mhz frequency hopping more secure. Typically 900mhz has a longer range. For example our standard transmitters have a typical range of 1200 ft open air and our High Power Receiver tests out at 1.7 miles.  

Also the two-way nature of (at least the DMP) 900mhz wireless offers some advantages. Single message & single ack, reduces battery drain. The ability to adjust the detector over the air, sensitivity, pulse count, put it in walk test or even put it to sleep in the disarmed state all offer unique advantages. The ability to push a message to the wireless allows for wireless relays, sounder, lights, and even wireless smokes that sync their sounder. (commercial fire UL864 listed). 

There is more. But I'll give you all a break. :-) 

One more con I have run into with wireless is that if there is any possibility of moisture entering the sensor it can fail prematurely. 

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