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What’s The Difference Between Wireless & Cellular?


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Wireless security systems are the safest and most reliable type of home security system on the market today, especially when they are combined with cellular monitoring. Customers are flocking to the top alarm companies to purchase wireless security systems with cellular monitoring. However, many potential customers are hesitating due to their confusion about wireless and cellular. What exactly does wireless mean? What exactly does cellular mean? Today we’ll answer that very question.

What Does ‘Wireless’ Mean?

When talking about a home security system the word “wireless” pertains to how the security system communicates inside your home – from the sensors to the Control Panel. For instance, hard wired security systems would communicate via the wires that were attached to the alarm sensors and the Control Panel. When a sensor was triggered a sensor would send a signal via the wire to the Control Panel.

With a wireless security system the communication is sent wirelessly, or via radio signals. None of the alarm sensors have any wires attached, and the Control Panel’s only wire is for its power source. The sensors, when triggered, will send a wireless radio signal the Control Panel, which is on the same frequency. The Control Panel receives this signal and takes action accordingly – whether that’s sending a distress signal the monitoring station or alerting the homeowner – depending on what setting you have your system on at the time.

In short, “Wireless” means no wires with a home security system.

What Is ‘Cellular’?

In the context of a home security system the word “cellular” pertains to how the security system communicates with the outside world – such as the monitoring station or your smartphone. The cellular capability comes from a built in cellular “module” or device that communicates signals to an outside entity when something is triggered on your security system. The cellular devices uses the standard cellular network that your personal phone does, however it only uses the Data portion of the network as opposed to the voice network. The data network is normally used for text messages while the voice network is used for actual voice calls.

Here’s an example of how the cellular module works. Say you leave your home for the day and arm your security system. Your security system is triggered a short time later. The cellular device built in your Control Panel will send a distress or alarm signal to the monitoring station. The monitoring station then contacts the local authorities.

Another example is security system alerts. For instance, many alarm companies now offer online/remote access to your security system which allows you to receive instant alerts about system activity via text message. Say, for instance, your kids or spouse gets home from school or work and disarms the system using their unique user code. The built in cellular device will communicate this message, via the cellular network, to your phone.

Overall, the term “cellular” refers to how your security system communicates to entities outside of your home.

Wireless vs. Cellular

In short, the difference between wireless and cellular is about communication. Wireless pertains to how your security system communicates inside your home, from sensor to sensor, or sensor to Control Panel. Cellular pertains to how your security system sends alarm signals or alerts to the outside world,such as the monitoring station or your cellular phone.

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