How reliable are wireless alarm systems

Buying an alarm system: you need to know that!

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From the wireless alarm system set for beginners to the professional system for several hundred euros, there is a wide variety of devices to buy. Wireless alarm systems are particularly interesting for privately used living spaces, as these can be easily installed. Which alarm systems are worth their money and which are not - shows you.

Advantages and disadvantages of wireless systems

The advantages of wireless alarm systems are obvious: where no cables have to be laid, installation is child's play. Often all it takes is a push of a button - and the devices are connected to each other. They are best suited for retrofitting in private houses, as the installation effort is limited. How reliable and stable a radio connection is always depends on the structural conditions on site. When buying, pay attention to the frequency range of 868 MHz: This is specially reserved for security devices and is therefore less susceptible to interference.

Wired alarm systems are recommended for larger buildings. These are also suitable for houses under construction: The wire lines can then simply be laid in the wall with the other cables, invisible and free from interference. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of wireless systems at a glance:

+ easy to install
+ no cables to lay
+ easy to retrofit

- limited range
- more prone to failure than wire lines

Wireless alarm systems are often available at bargain prices of less than 100 euros. Sounds tempting, but can such systems actually make your home safer?

What can the inexpensive models do?

In addition to their low price, the cheap sets are advertised as being easy to install. Not too much is promised: As can be read in many product reviews, a few simple steps are enough to install such alarm systems. Devices of this type come from brands such as Olympia or Smanos, for example. Here is an overview of the standard scope of delivery:

  • Alarm center
  • Wireless opening detector
  • Wireless motion detector

In addition to a radio motion detector that detects movements in the apartment, wireless door and window contacts are usually included. They strike when windows or patio doors are opened and the alarm system is armed. As soon as one of the detectors starts up, the alarm center connected by radio triggers a loud alarm tone. Overall, such systems offer a reasonable to good price-performance ratio, but only basic functions.

Limited security, hardly any comfort

Weaknesses are often evident in terms of comfort and security. This can be cumbersome if you only operate it using the keyboard and the menu on the base unit. Even more problematic: Many such devices are very easy to sabotage. Often it is enough to simply remove the batteries to paralyze the system. In addition, some systems can be armed even with the window open. Motion detectors in the area of ​​the entrance door can have a certain deterrent effect if a loud alarm sounds when the door is opened. However, this is only really effective if the base is mounted in a protected location.

Many functions: wireless alarm systems up to 300 euros

Anyone who buys a wireless home alarm system in the range of up to € 300 is already being offered significantly more. In addition to a high level of operating convenience, such systems can usually be configured extensively, conveniently in the browser or via the app. The greatest advantage is the wide range of functions of such systems. A network connection is standard and offers additional options. Here is a selection of common functions in the overview:
  • Operation in the browser or via app
  • Define zones and configure them individually
  • define multiple users
  • Access with chip key: arming and disarming without contact
  • Access on the go
  • Event memory

A system can also be expanded as required with additional components. For example with surveillance cameras that recognize and record as soon as someone moves in the apartment. Or with smoke detectors that report their alarm to the base unit. Glass break detectors recognize acoustically when a window is violently damaged. Depending on the size of the apartment and the number of windows and doors, however, a large number of required components quickly comes together, which leads to a higher total price.

Recommended alarm systems

High-quality wireless alarm systems are usually available as an inexpensive starter set. The package includes basic equipment from the base station as well as several opening and motion detectors. The VdS Home certified alarm system Abus Secvest is one of the most popular systems on the market. Like the previous Secvest 2Way model, it can be expanded with mechatronic components: These are mechanical safeguards that are equipped with electronic sensors. They provide active protection against break-ins and report attempted break-ins to the alarm center. The system can only be armed if all windows are closed and there is interference-free communication between the control center and the detectors. The system is also protected against sabotage: If a device is opened or a cable is cut, an alarm is automatically triggered.

Note: GSM alarm systems and other systems with an integrated telephone dialing unit can be set up so that they can contact one or more phone numbers in the event of an alarm, by SMS or voice message. Also possible: the connection to a professional emergency call and service control center (NSL). In the event of an emergency, this will check for you which measures must be taken.

Security technology for the smart home

With the Abus Smartvest, the manufacturer also has a system with smart home functions in its range. This combines the functions of a classic wireless alarm system with the advantages of intelligent home automation. For example, wireless sockets can be controlled. If lamps are plugged in there, this presence can be simulated. The system can also be coupled with IP cameras for video surveillance.

A similar system is available from Egardia, which can also be connected to sockets. Plus, it's compatible with Phillips Hue. One possibility: The system can be configured in such a way that not only does an alarm sound in the event of a break-in, but a colored flashing warning light is also switched on. One shortcoming of the Egardia system: The full range of functions is only available to those who take out a paid subscription to the Egardia security service.

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