types of intercom

Types of Intercom

Types of Intercom Explained

Intercom systems have been helping us to secure buildings and make property access easier for over 100 years. Intercoms can improve safety and ease of access for all types of properties. An intercom system can be beneficial for any property that needs managed visitor access, including offices, apartment buildings, gated communities, and industrial facilities.

This post will take you deep into intercom systems. We will discuss their features and benefits, as well as how they work. You will find all the answers you need about intercom systems and best intercom system installer in dubai  in this article.

This blog covers:

¨     What is an intercom system and what does it do?

¨     An intercom system’s components

¨     What is an intercom system?

¨     There are 9 types of intercom systems

¨     Intercom system installation

¨     What is the cost of an intercom system?

What is an intercom system and what does it do?

Intercom systems allow two-way communication between people. Intercom systems allow tenants of buildings to remotely open a gate or door to grant access to their property.

Intercom systems came in many forms throughout history. In the beginning, intercom systems were made of metal tubing that allowed people to speak through it. This tube carried their voices in the form of two cans connected by one string. Modern electronic intercoms are equipped with circuitry that can transmit and receive audio or video digitally.

Intercom systems are versatile and can be used in many different applications. However, their primary purpose is communication and property access.

An intercom system’s components

Two components make up modern intercom systems:

¨ Base station

¨ One or more substations

A base station is sometimes called a master station and it is the core component of an intercom system. It is located at the property’s entrance.

One or more substations are connected to the base station. The substations can be found in various places throughout the building, including inside apartments or offices.

Base stations for Intercom

Intercom system base stations allow visitors to communicate outside of a building with those insides.

The base station is the heart of any intercom system. The base station is installed at the property’s entry and must be connected to power, a device for opening doors, and each substation. Either hardwire the base station to connect to substations, or you can connect them wirelessly.

The base station is used by visitors to notify tenants about their arrivals and communicate with any substation within the building.

Suggestion: Make sure you choose an intercom system that includes a base station equipped with a camera. This camera allows tenants to see who is at their door before they let them in.

Intercom Substations

Intercom substations enable tenants to communicate with visitors from outside the building through their building’s intercom system. Tenants can also use them to allow visitors to access the property by pressing a button that says “door open”.

Substations were traditionally physical hardware pieces that contained a speaker or microphone. They would need to be installed at different points in the building and hardwired to the base station.

Modern intercom systems no longer rely on substation hardware. Instead, they rely on smartphones to function as intercom substations. This allows tenants to open their doors wherever they are and also allows them to see the person at the door via a live video conference.

Suggestion: Use smartphones to power your intercom system’s substations. You will get more features such as video calls, remote property access, and keyless entry. You won’t need to spend additional hardware, wiring, or labor to install intercom substations throughout your building.


Intercom systems are made up of two parts: substations and base stations.

Visitors can communicate with tenants via base stations installed at the property’s entryway. The building has several substations that allow tenants to communicate with visitors, and give them access to the building.

Substations can be connected to base stations via either a wired or wireless connection. Intercom systems that use smartphones for their base stations can save money on hardware, wiring, and installation.


Install an intercom base station near the entrance of your building.

An intercom system that has a wireless camera can be connected to its substations.

Smartphones are the best substations as they don’t require additional hardware to be installed or purchased.

What is an intercom system?

An intercom system, also known as a base station, is installed at the entry of a building. It includes a microphone and speaker, as well occasionally a camera. The base station records audio and video and transmits them out to substations. Substations enable tenants to speak and see visitors before granting them access to the building.

What types of intercom systems are there?

There are many intercom systems available. Some intercom systems are wireless while others can be wired. Some are for apartments, others for commercial buildings.

9 most popular types of intercom systems.

Wireless intercoms

Wired intercoms

Audio intercoms

Video intercoms

Outdoor intercoms

Intercoms for apartments

Intercoms for commercial use

Intercoms for offices

Intercoms for gates

1. Wireless intercoms

You can install a wireless intercom system when wiring is too expensive or difficult to run throughout a building.

Wireless intercoms are powered by invisible radio frequencies, also known as spectrums. These invisible radio frequencies carry the signal that allows all wireless devices to function. The frequency of a wireless intercom’s ability to transmit audio or video depends on its use.

Suggestion: Ask the intercom provider about the operation of a wireless intercom system. Test the signals of any intercom that relies on WiFi, 4/5G, or cellular connections at the place where it is being installed.

External factors such as electrical interference can easily interrupt WiFi signals. Cellular connections require commercial-grade plans to maintain a high-bandwidth, constant connection to the cellular network. An ethernet cable is the best way to connect your intercom to the internet.

2. Wired intercoms

It is the connection to the internet that makes the difference between wired and wireless intercom systems. All intercoms need some kind of wiring. Some require more wiring than others.

Building intercom systems are cost-effective and only require wiring in the area they’re being installed. You will need wiring to power the intercom and connect it with your magnetic or electronic door locks.

Others intercoms will require wiring throughout your entire building. You might have to run wiring from each substation to the entryway at the property.

Suggestion: Connect your intercom directly with the internet using a Cat5/6 Ethernet cable. This will make your intercom system safer and reduce interference from wireless signals.

3. Audio intercoms

An audio intercom, also known as an apartment buzzer or an audio intercom, allows visitors to communicate with tenants within the building. The audio intercom system can also be equipped with a door release device so that the tenant can give access to the building. Because of the advent of video intercom systems, audio intercoms are rarely seen in older buildings.

Suggestion: Consider a video intercom if you are designing or building a new property. These intercoms are comparable in cost to audio intercoms but offer greater functionality. A video intercom can be a great alternative to your existing audio intercom. Make sure that you have all the wiring necessary to install the intercom.

4. Video intercoms

Some intercoms transmit audio in addition to video.

Video intercoms require:

A camera to capture video

It will be displayed on a screen

A built-in camera is an ideal intercom, but external cameras are also possible. You will need separate hardware to display the video footage. These can be installed at different locations in the building. Video requires more bandwidth than audio so it is best to connect the intercom directly to the internet.

Suggestion: Consider a system that can send video calls to your smartphone when you purchase a video intercom. This allows tenants to see who is at their door and grant them access from anywhere. You can also save money by not having to buy and install hardware in each unit.

5. Outdoor intercoms

Outdoor intercom systems are required for most properties, especially those with gates. They can withstand all weather conditions. Weatherproof hardware is used to install outdoor intercom systems. This hardware is used by visitors to call residents or request access to their property. An outdoor intercom may also have hardware in the unit or tenants’ smartphones acting as substations.

The IP (ingress protection rating) of an outdoor intercom determines its weatherproofing standards. Intercoms with IP65 ratings are the best. They are waterproof and can withstand water from a nozzle. If you plan to install intercom hardware outdoors, make sure it has an IP65 rating.

6. Intercom for apartments

An apartment intercom system, which is designed for multifamily buildings, allows for two-way communication between residents and visitors. Apartment intercoms allow residents to grant access to their property to visitors by opening the door.

Two types of hardware are required for apartment intercom systems:

Master station: An apartment intercom master station is installed at the building’s entrance. It allows tenants to be found and contacted from a directory. The intercom master station can be wired to power and a door lock. It may also have the possibility of connecting to the internet.

Substations: Residents install an intercom substation in their apartment to talk with visitors and allow them access to their property.

Suggestion: Install an intercom system for apartments that has a mobile app. This will allow residents to use their smartphones as substations. Residents can talk to visitors from any location and allow them access from their apartments. Aside from the labor and hardware costs, installing substations in every apartment can be expensive.

7. Intercoms for commercial use

Commercial intercoms should be capable of handling more complex calls. Commercial intercoms must allow visitors to call an employee in a multi-tenant building. Because a guest may need access to the property without having to visit a specific employee, this is important.

A delivery person may be sending packages to a building, but not knowing who purchased the items. In this case, the delivery person will use the commercial intercom to deliver packages to a company without knowing who purchased them.

Suggestion: Make sure that your multi-tenant intercom allows visitors access to both the company and individual employees. This will ensure that you can accommodate all visitors, regardless of their reason for visiting.

8. Intercoms for offices

There are two types: external and internal office intercom systems.

Intercoms within an office allow communication between employees and coworkers. They can be thought of as walkie-talkies that allow people to communicate with one another in different rooms.

Intercom systems for external offices allow communication between office personnel and those outside the building, such as visitors or delivery people. To allow property access, external office intercoms include a door release device.

Suggestion: Interoffice intercom systems have been replaced with smartphones, email, and messaging apps. You’re likely looking for a commercial office intercom system to fit your office or business. All multi-tenant office buildings require commercial intercom systems.

9. Intercoms for gates

Many properties’ front entrances are not doors, but gates. You can use a gate intercom system to allow pedestrians and cars access.

Gate intercom systems can be found at:

  •       Gated communities
  •       Industrial properties
  •       Parking garage entrances

A gate intercom system is just like any other intercom system. It requires a master station as well as substations to allow visitors to speak with the property and open the gate.

A call button on gate intercoms can dial a substation managed by property staff. This could be a gate attendant or a leasing agent.

Because the location of the gate is not near any structures with power supplies, it can make installing intercom systems for gates more difficult. To power the gate, you might need to run wiring quite a distance. Installation costs and complexity will depend on where the gate is located.

Suggestion: Choose an intercom system for your gate that requires only three connections. This includes power, internet, and the gate opener. Installation of a system that requires wiring from the base station to each substation can be more complicated and costly.


Although the basic structure of an intercom system remains the same (a base station and master stations), there are many variations.

Intercoms can be wired between the base station to each master station or wirelessly. Intercoms are available in two types: audio only (buzzer system) and audio and video (video intercoms).

Intercom systems make it easier to access properties from many different locations. An intercom system will be beneficial to any property that has an entrance that needs managed access.

An intercom system can be installed at:

Commercial properties include offices, non-profit buildings, and industrial buildings.

Apartment buildings and gated communities are examples of residential properties


Consider the type of property (residential or commercial) and the type (door vs. gates) at which the intercom will be installed.

An audio intercom is not the best option. A video intercom system allows tenants to see visitors before they grant them access to their property.

You can save money by installing a wireless intercom in a location that does not require wiring.

An intercom system that has a wired connection to the internet is best for security and performance.

Intercom system installation

Three factors influence the cost and complexity of installing or replacing an intercom system: the type of intercom and the wiring and the location.

The installation of a video intercom system with substations will require more effort and cost. The cost of purchasing all hardware and wiring for each apartment can add up. Installing a wireless intercom to send signals to tenants’ smartphones will save you money.

It is important to consider where you will install your intercom system. Installing an intercom system that already has its wiring and backbox in place will make it easier and more affordable. However, if you have to remove a wall or cut some bricks, the installation will be more complicated and expensive.

Suggestion: An intercom system installation is usually more costly than the intercom itself. Additional parts, wiring, labor, and other costs can quickly add up. Get quotes from multiple certified installers in your region to ensure that you aren’t paying more than necessary. You can then compare their quotes to determine which one is best for you.

What is the cost of an intercom system?

The cost of an intercom system can vary from $350 to $5000 depending on its functionality and features. The cost of an intercom system does not include maintenance and servicing. This could include upgrades, replacement parts, or additional fees.


The use of intercoms is declining with the advent of digital telephone systems and cellular communications. These devices are still useful in many applications. As mentioned, there are many systems to choose from.

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