In years past, it was pretty simple — connect up a modem, make sure your RJ-31X was wired properly, do a test and test your zones. This was pretty routine, and except for the occasional noise or low voltage phone line, everything went without a hitch. Now, with the new millennium and the introduction of VoIP, phone signals have to deal with compression and latency issues that can cause life-safety critical alarm signals to not reach their intended monitoring location in a usable format. Signal formats, such as Contact ID, that were once heralded as the new fast intelligent alarm signal format, seems to be the worst when performing over VoIP circuits.
As a dealer, you must take several approaches to this ever increasing problem. More and more phone companies and other communication service providers are switching their existing land line phone circuits — in part or in whole — to new digital transmission technology, and without notifying the alarm dealer or customer. The next time anyone finds that communications are not properly working is when a critical alarm signal is sent. This is a very serious issue for all in our industry.
Some important areas every dealer should be checking are:
- Notifying your customers on a regular basis that if they decide to change their phone communications to services such as VoIP they should notify you.
- Constantly check to see if major phone carriers are changing even parts their system, and converting to VoIP into your monitoring station. Notify the carriers that you have critical communications that rely on modem (just like fax machines) transmission.
- In an effort to increase the reliability and quality of your monitoring services, provide and suggest to your customers an alternative service such as IP, GSM or radio.
Most importantly, get the word out to your customers as often as you can. Take a moment to comment back on what you have been experiencing on VoIP implementation and what you are doing.