Wired vs wireless conference room microphones

When considering a wireless conference microphone system for your system design – and really this applies to any wireless product – you should first ask yourself “why do I want/need to go wireless?” While the primary reason most people want to go wireless is very simply “to eliminate the wires”, you should always weigh the positives and negatives of both solutions: 

Wireless Conference Systems 

On the positive side: 
  • Wireless conference mics are perfect for systems that are designed for multipurpose reconfigurable conference rooms. Once the tables for the meeting have been put in place, it is easy to deploy a wireless conference microphone on the table surface as needed. When the meeting has ended and the room is to be reconfigured with a different table layout, the wireless conference microphones can be collected and recharged for meetings the next day. Because reconfigurable tables often don’t have a way to hide or manage cables, the wireless unit is the right choice.  
  • Another popular solution provided by wireless conference microphones is when you have a conference table that you don’t want to cut grommet holes into to hide the wires. Imagine a granite tabletop or an expensive inlayed Brazilian walnut table that your client has no desire to have holes cut into. The beauty of the wireless conference microphone is that when the meeting is over, the microphones can taken away, leaving the beautiful table to stand on its own. 
  • Lastly, you may find yourself in a situation where there is no conduit in place between the equipment rack and the conference tables or the existing conduit is inaccessible. In this case, a wired system is not an option, and the wireless conference mic may be a perfect fit. A wireless conference microphone can also often be powered locally, so if the table has power run to it, there would be no need to collect the microphone units for recharging. 
On the negative side: 
  • By their nature, wireless devices are less reliable than wired devices.  
  • The biggest challenge of any wireless system is the need to manage the batteries. While technology has given us lithium-ion batteries that can last two days or more, with a wireless solution there will always be a need to collect the microphones and recharge them as needed. Along with that need comes the need to assign someone on the team the responsibility of making sure the recharging happens as well as the time and labor expense to physically do the work of collecting them and redistributing them. Also, rechargeable batteries have a limited lifespan and as they near the end will start to reduce the amount of time they will hold a charge. 
  • Because these microphones are wireless, their audio signal has to be transmitted and received, and thus are susceptible to interference, which can cause disruption to your meeting.
  • Depending on how secure your meetings need to be, wireless transmission may or may not be an option. 

Wired Conference Systems 

On the positive side: 
  • Wired conference systems are perfect for permanently fixed tables in rooms that are not reconfigurable. In these cases, the wires can be hidden beneath the table surface. 
  • Wired systems, for the most part, are very low maintenance and don’t require the daily attention and monitoring that the wireless systems do.   
  • Since they transmit over wire, you have much less chance of receiving interference on a wired system, and they are much more secure.  
  • One more thing – the wired systems are usually about half the cost of the wireless. 
On the negative side: 
  • As has been made clear by this point, your only primary negative with wired systems is that you need to find a solution for the wires to make sure they are not causing a tripping hazard or find a way to hide them so they are more aesthetically pleasing. 

The lesson learned here is, depending on your room configuration and use case, you should have good reason to go wireless that outweighs some of the challenges it presents. In short, always go wired unless you have a real need to go wireless. 

For more information about our conference microphone solutions, contact our experts.

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