What Are the Ranges of Security System Sensors?

The ranges of security system sensors vary dramatically between different brands of sensors. A user should consider the type of sensor they are using and have a decent understanding of its expected wireless range. Also keep in mind that obstacles and metal objects can reduce sensor range.

A wireless sensor works by sending radio frequency signals to an alarm system. When the sensor is activated, it will send an alert to the panel to let it know about the situation. The system will then respond based on the programming settings for that zone. This could include displaying the faulted zone on the panel and/or sending an alert to a central station for emergency dispatch.

In order for the system to receive the signals sent out from wireless sensors, it will need to have a compatible wireless receiver. Most wireless alarm systems come with a wireless receiver that is already built-in. But a wired alarm system will usually need to have a wireless receiver added separately. However, wireless signals cannot travel indefinitely. There is a finite range that the signal from a wireless sensor can travel. If the signal fails to reach the wireless receiver, then the command that was sent out will not go through.

As for the actual range of a wireless sensors, it can vary dramatically. But the standard wireless sensor will have a range of about 200 feet away from the wireless receiver in open air. Most of the Honeywell 5800 Series Wireless Sensors feature this 200-foot signal range. However, some ranges will have a smaller range, while other sensors can have a much longer range. For instance, the Qolsys S-Line Sensors are said to have a wireless range of up to 600 feet. And the DSC PowerG Sensors have an astounding range of 2,000 feet in open air when used with the IQ Panel 2 Plus System. Remember though that a sensor will only work with a security system if its wireless receiver accepts the wireless frequency that is sent out. For instance, a 345 MHz Honeywell 5800 Series Sensor will not work with a Qolsys System that accepts the 319.5 MHz range.

But remember that these ranges are for "open air" use. Obstacles, such as walls and large metal objects, can reduce signal ranges. If a user needs to increase the range of their wireless sensors, they might be able use a wireless repeater. A wireless repeater will take the signal sent out from a wireless sensor and send it out a second time to effectively double the range. So for a Honeywell 5800 Series Sensor, the signal can travel 200 feet to the wireless repeater and then another 200 feet to the panel for a maximum distance of 400 feet. However, keep in mind that multiple wireless repeaters cannot be "stacked" on top of each other, and each wireless signal can only be repeated once. Also remember that the wireless repeater that is used must be compatible with the wireless frequency of the sensor.

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