To Wire or Not To Wire

To Wire or Not To Wire

One of the most disheartening comments I hear from our clients (and even some contractors) is, “Why do I need to wire my home when everything is wireless these days?”

You DEFINITELY low voltage wiring in your new, or remodeled home. My purpose in writing this article is help you understand the must haves vs. optional wiring needs, so you can help your clients make educated decisions. I’ll break down multiple categories, needs, importance and the associated types of wiring that you would want for each:

Wi-Fi and Internet Wiring

It is true many, many devices now can operate solely on Wi-Fi. From Smart TVs, speakers, tablets, thermostats, door locks, even lighting and many more.  You can typically connect a device to the internet without any hard wired connection. The big BUT here is that you need a solid Wi-Fi network to support these devices.  And this is what takes wiring! You typically want at least a shielded RG6 cable and a Cat6 or fiber, from where your service enters the home, to your distribution point. From there, the larger the home, the more cat6 wiring you would want for access points throughout the home. This is the only quality way to provide a reliable network.  Please ignore all of the multipoint mesh networks systems on the market, they unreliably solve an issue when you can’t run wire, but have major flaws compared to actually having hard wiring.

Audio and Video

You can find lots of wireless tabletop speakers, then find the closest electrical outlet, drape a cord over to it and you have a wireless solution – if you don’t count the power cord. Most Smart TVs have WiFi built in and Netflix works pretty well on WiFi, if you have a good, hardwired network. The caveat here is that cable TV still needs RG6 wire, and satellite TVwireless boxes are extremely glitchy and always needing rebooted. With wiring we conceal speakers in the ceiling or wall, and then connect a Smart TV to those speakers. Now you have a clean look that sounds great and lays plays music reliably. We recommend finding a central place to bring in your “media” wires and speaker wires. From there we can use Smart Phones and Tablets to easily stream music wirelessly, but the sound quality, functionality, and reliability are far, far more superior from wired sources. I could go on about this forever, so I’ll stop here and say call me or stop by our showroom and I’ll elaborate more.

Security and Surveillance Cameras

Two of the most common wireless options advertised are home security and cameras. With security, even Amazon is advertising a security system now (as if they aren’t way too involved in your privacy already!) It’s wireless. Basically a few wireless motion sensors and contacts you tape on your door – definitely not very esthetically pleasing! So cosmetically its already a no for me, but let’s talk batteries… yes indeed, at least once a year you are going to have to go around changing them – and never when you planned, i.e. middle of the night when they start chirping. In addition, with all the other wireless signals floating around your home, reliability becomes less than par.

Google advertises Dropcam (a division of Nest). These are great, have a nice app and if you’re only keeping an eye on a housekeeper or babysitter, I highly recommend grabbing one. Drop it on your kitchen counter, find the closet electrical outlet and drape a cord over to it. Again, not really wireless because fof the power cord. These also only record if your Wi-Fi and power are up. Both of the above options are designed for homes around 1,200 to 1,500 square feet. In larger homes with more devices, we need a more reliable and premiere hardwired solution for security and cameras. In this scenario you will see no contacts, have a system that always work, even if your internet and power are off, and a much cleaner installation.In larger homes, we premiere hardwired security and cameras. The installation is clean, you will see no contacts, and your system is alway live — even if your internet and power are off.

I could touch base on many more categories, (lighting, home automation, automated window coverings, etc.), but I understand that you guys are busy. So let’s stop here, and you can call me with any additional or specific questions. I love talking about this stuff!

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