shadowrun sr5 – What does it mean for a device to be hardwired?


It doesn’t have wireless capability, meaning that its network must be physically accessed

This was confusing to research, because while I was sure I’d read something in the books on this topic it doesn’t use the word hardwired! The word hardwired appears in the SR5 core rulebook once (excepting the glossary, where it appears twice), and in a narrative section:

He knew electronics backwards
and forwards, literally inside and out, and all he had to do, all he
had to do in the world right now, was beat this maglock and the
hardwired security system supporting it. (SR5 Core Rulebook, page 15).

The term hardwired means a specific thing in the supplement Chrome Flesh, and refers to something totally different! They grant specific knowledges, similar to skillsofts. Across all of SR5, the only instances of hardwire (and variants) that I could find were that single narrative section and discussion of hardwires in (or referring to) Chrome Flesh.

The relevant section describing devices that are connected exclusively through wired connections is in the SR5 core rulebook:

WIRED SECURITY


It is possible for a network owner to decide to forgo
wireless connections
entirely and
instead connect
their system using
traditional wires.
This is rare due
to the inconvenience
it presents,
but still an option
for those mistrusting
of the security
wireless offers.
All Matrix devices
connect via wireless
by default,
with many of the
less expensive
ones not having
a wired connection
option.

If an organization wants to wire a network,
the cabling must be purchased and installed throughout
the location where the network exists. This limits the
placement of devices and requires maintenance of the
proper connections. Wired networks are still vulnerable
in many of the same ways as wireless networks. If a wire
is breached and tapped anywhere along its length, the
signals can be intercepted and retransmitted via wireless
anyway.

It should be noted, though, that between grids,
hosts, IC, spiders, and GODs, corporations are feeling
very confident in the security of their wireless networks.
This means that runners are only likely to encounter
wired security in the hands of the exceedingly protective
or paranoid. (SR5 Core Rulebook, page 356)

(line breaks mine)

The practical effect of this is that, to do anything with a wired-only device (like decking) you need to physically access that device or a device to which it is physically connected. A wired-only lock can’t be disabled remotely– you have to connect to the lock itself, or a device wired to it.