When buying an intercom system for your building, you have two options: a traditional wired intercom or a wireless intercom.
Wireless intercom systems for buildings are a property access and visitor management solution that functions with wireless technologies. They’re a step up from traditional wired intercoms, offering simpler installation and usually less ongoing maintenance.
So if you’re shopping for an intercom system for your apartment, commercial building, or other property, keep reading to learn about wireless intercoms and why they might be the best choice for you.
Read this post to learn:
- What is a wireless intercom?
- How does a wireless intercom system work?
- Wireless intercom benefits
- Wireless intercom buying guide
- Best wireless intercom
What is a wireless intercom?
A wireless intercom is an electronic communication and building entry solution that doesn’t require wiring between every device within the system. In other words, the intercom system’s devices communicate with each other wirelessly.
With a wire-free intercom installed at your building’s entrance, tenants can talk to visitors seeking to enter the building. In most cases, they can also remotely unlock the door or gate for their visitors.
These days, building owners and managers often opt for cordless intercom systems because traditional wired intercoms are more difficult and expensive to install. After all, installing a wired intercom requires you to run wiring throughout the building — which means breaking walls and tearing up floors to lay that wiring.
Components of a 2-way wireless intercom system include:
- Base station: The base station is the device installed outdoors at the front entrance. It’s what visitors use to call tenants and request access. The base station is connected to various substations wirelessly.
- Substations: The substations are the secondary devices installed in each unit throughout the building. They’re what tenants use to answer calls from visitors and remotely unlock the door or gate. Alternatively, substations could be tenants’ mobile phones instead of in-unit hardware.
- Door strike: To enable remote access, you’ll need a door strike. This is the component that physically unlocks the door or gate when the intercom system signals it to.
Intercoms without wiring are commonly installed at apartments, offices, businesses, and single-family homes.
Wireless intercom for apartments
Wireless intercom systems are most commonly installed at apartment buildings and other multifamily properties because they offer simple visitor management.
Residents in an apartment or gated community need an entry system like an intercom to grant access to their friends, family, service providers, delivery carriers, and any other visitors they may welcome. Without an intercom system, residents must walk all the way to the front entrance to let in their guests.
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Wireless intercom system for business
Intercoms without wiring aren’t just for residential properties — they’re also great for commercial buildings, offices, and businesses.
A wireless intercom system for office and business allows customers, vendors, delivery carriers, and other visitors to request building access from a tenant, employee, or front desk staff. As a result, the building or business owner can keep doors and gates locked for security without hindering access for authorized people.
A wire-free intercom is a great entry system for:
- Office buildings
- Service-oriented storefronts, like salons and athletic trainers
- Retail shops
- Coworking spaces
Wireless home intercom system
A wireless intercom system for home is designed specifically for single-family rather than multi-tenant properties.
There are two types of intercoms for homes: communication intercoms and doorbell intercoms.
A communication intercom enables family members within a home to communicate with each other. These intercoms are essentially a system of wireless walkie-talkies and are fairly outdated now that most people have smartphones.
In contrast, a wireless intercom doorbell is an access control solution that allows visitors to alert residents that they’ve arrived. Many doorbell systems have cameras so residents can see who’s there. Occasionally a wireless doorbell for home will provide a way for residents to remotely unlock the door or gate for their visitors, but most don’t.
How does a wireless intercom system work?
A wireless intercom works by sending signals between devices across invisible radio frequencies called spectrum. These spectrum carry the signals that enable wireless devices to ‘talk’ to each other and function.
So, when a visitor presses a button on the intercom to initiate a call with a tenant, the system sends signals from the base station to that tenant’s substation using wireless technology. If the substation is an in-unit device, the tenant must be in their unit to answer the call and press a button to unlock the door or gate. If the substation is a cell phone, the tenant can answer the call on their phone and communicate like any other phone call.
These intercom systems may operate with:
- WiFi. Although WiFi is relatively easy to set up, it can be spotty and could be easily interrupted by factors like electrical interference.
- Cellular connection (such as 4/5G). An intercom that requires a cellular connection generally also requires a commercial-grade cellular plan at an added cost.
- Ethernet connection. An ethernet connection means the intercom has a direct, wired internet connection. This is the best and most reliable option.
Pro tip: For best results, choose a wireless intercom system with a direct internet connection to maximize reliability.
What is the range of a wireless intercom system?
A wireless intercom may have a range of a few thousand feet depending on the type of wireless technology it operates with. For example, a WiFi intercom may only work when the user is within a certain distance of the intercom device or using the same WiFi network.
However, some wireless intercom systems have no range limit, meaning a resident can answer a call from the intercom system no matter where they are. Cloud-based intercoms that pair with a mobile app usually empower residents to talk to visitors and unlock the door or gate from anywhere in the world (so long as they have an internet connection).
Can I use my cell phone as an intercom?
Yes, you can use your cell phone with an intercom if the intercom system pairs with a mobile app. Through the mobile app, you can talk to your visitors and remotely unlock the door or gate for them with the tap of a button.
Alternatively, some intercom systems don’t have a mobile app but can place phone calls to a cell phone. That way, you can answer a call from the intercom and talk to your visitor through your cell phone. Then, you can remotely unlock the door or gate by pressing ‘9’ on your cell phone.
Wireless intercom benefits
Now that you know what a no-wiring intercom is and how it works, you might wonder whether you should purchase one for your building.
Benefits of a wireless intercom system include:
- Easy installation
- No in-unit hardware needed
- Cut costs
- Increased property value
- Boost tenant acquisition and retention rates
Perhaps the greatest benefit of a wireless intercom is its easy installation. Because these intercom systems don’t require you to run wiring between every device, you’ll enjoy a far simpler installation process.
Instead of spending hours tearing down walls and ripping up floors to lay wiring, your intercom installer will only need to mount and program the hardware. This is one reason why no-wiring intercoms are a great solution to retrofit and replace old intercom systems.
No in-unit hardware needed
Some wire-free intercoms operate with tenants’ cell phones instead of in-unit hardware. As a result, you’ll save money on hardware and maintenance expenses.
Additionally, tenants have a better experience using the intercom system when they can answer calls from their phones and grant access even when they’re not at home.
Keep in mind that some wireless intercom systems do require in-unit hardware. So for best results, purchase one that pairs with a mobile app.
We’ve mentioned that intercoms without wiring offer simple installation and potentially the option to ditch in-unit hardware.
So what does that ultimately mean for you?
Installing an intercom without wiring is simpler and faster than installing a wired intercom, which means you’ll save money on the installation process. And if you choose a system that doesn’t require in-unit hardware, you’ll save money on the upfront hardware costs, installation, and maintenance.
So ultimately, installing a wired intercom system could cost several thousand dollars more than a wireless one over the system’s lifespan.
Increased property value
An intercom system is a valuable amenity at apartments and offices that can effectively increase the property’s value. Simple and convenient access is a highly desirable feature of any building — one that tenants will pay more for!
Boost tenant acquisition & retention rates
To acquire and retain tenants, you have to deliver an exceptional tenant experience. And ensuring secure yet convenient building access with a wireless intercom is a perfect way to heighten that tenant experience.
Wireless intercom buying guide
Whether you need an intercom to retrofit in an existing building or install in a new development, you’ll want to choose the best wireless intercom possible.
Here’s what to look for when buying a wireless intercommunication system:
- Video. The best wireless intercoms have a camera to enable video calling. This feature boosts security because tenants can see who’s requesting access before letting them in.
- Mobile app. Always opt for a wireless intercom with a mobile app so that you can ditch in-unit hardware and make access management as convenient as possible for residents. They’ll enjoy being able to grant visitors access even when they’re not at home!
- Visitor access solutions. Choose an intercom that provides easy ways for visitors to gain access, such as video calling and virtual keys.
- Delivery access solutions. Make sure the intercom also has an easy delivery carrier access solution so that residents never miss a delivery.
Best wireless intercom
ButterflyMX is the best wireless intercom system on the market because it boosts security with video calling, simplifies and saves money on installation, and enhances the resident experience as a state-of-the-art access control solution.
The ButterflyMX wireless video intercom has been installed in more than 10,000 buildings and is used in more than 1,000,000 apartments.
Choose the ButterflyMX wireless intercom to enjoy:
- Video calling: Visitors can easily video call a resident to request access. And residents can visually confirm who’s requesting access before letting them in.
- Convenient mobile app: The ButterflyMX mobile app empowers residents to remotely unlock the door or gate, create virtual keys and delivery passes, review building entry logs, and more.
- Cloud-based software: Property staff can manage the intercom system remotely from any smartphone or computer thanks to ButterflyMX’s cloud-based software and web-based dashboard.
- Integrations: The ButterflyMX video intercom integrates with other access control solutions — from card readers to smart locks — to enable a seamless, unified access experience. ButterflyMX also integrates with other technology you probably already use, such as property management software.
- A wireless intercom is an electronic system whose devices communicate wirelessly to enable people in a building to talk to visitors and remotely grant property access.
- Wireless intercoms work by transmitting signals between the system’s devices using wireless technologies, such as WiFi and cellular networks.
- In contrast to wired intercoms, wireless systems offer easy installation, cost savings, increased property value, and improved tenant retention rates.
- The best wireless intercom is the ButterflyMX video intercom system.