We've prepared this handy infographic to help you better understand what wireless signal strength is and how it affects the placement of your driveway alarm or other wireless electronics. If you'd prefer to read about wireless signal strength without all the photos, just scroll down for a full write-up.
Wireless Motion Sensor Range Overview
When you are looking at different wireless driveway alarms you'll notice that they list their wireless range. While it's important to understand how far your sensor will be from your receiver, it's also important to understand how wireless signal strength works so you can be sure you are choosing the best driveway alarm for your needs.
Wireless Range for Motion Sensors
Every driveway alarm will list their wireless range. This is the maximum recommend distance you can place your sensor from your receiver. This distance is determined mathematically, based on the strength of the components in the sensor. While it is a good estimate of how much range you could get with each particular driveway alarm, there are other factors to consider as well.
Physical Interference for Wireless Motion Sensors
This would be any item or physical thing that is between your sensor and receiver. Generally speaking, the more items there are between your sensor and receiver, the shorter your effective range. Some common examples of physical interference are trees, structures, or a hill or slope in your property.
To better illustrate this, imagine you and your neighbor each have an 800 ft. driveway and you are each installing a wireless driveway alarm. The only difference between your two properties is your neighbor's driveway goes through a heavily wooded lot.
Because your house has limited physical interference, you would most likely do well with a 1,000 ft. driveway alarm. However, due to the greater amount of physical interference (the trees) on your neighbor's property, I would recommend he choose a wireless driveway alarm with a stronger signal to ensure he doesn't have any missed signals.
Motion Sensor Electronic Interference and Signal distortion
Electronic interference can be caused by nearby wireless or electronic devices that can impede or distort the signal coming from your motion sensor or transmitter. Generally speaking, electronic interference is rare and only affects a small percentage of individuals since most driveway alarms operate on a different frequency than most other household electronics.
Nevertheless, you should be aware of potential sources of interference to ensure you are installing your sensor in the most effective location for your situation. The most frequent cause of signal distortion occurs when your wireless motion sensor is mounted on or within 10 ft. of a metal pole, gate or structure. Other things to be aware of are nearby power transformers, utilities boxes or similar electronic devices.
Luckily, electronic interference and signal distortion are easily avoided - just place your sensor at least 10-20 ft. from potential sources of interference and be sure to test it before installing.
Overall, if you have a clear line of sight from your wireless motion sensor to your receiver we recommend buying a wireless driveway alarm that has a slightly longer range than your intended use. For example, if you have a 400 ft. driveway, you should be fine choosing a 500 ft. driveway alarm.
If you have heavy physical or electronic interference at the location where you will be installing your driveway alarm, then we recommend choosing a driveway alarm in the next wireless range.
Finally, with our 30-day worry free returns & exchanges you have the peace of mind knowing that if the driveway alarm you ordered isn't the perfect fit you can easily exchange it for a different model to suit your specific needs.
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