May 2008 Tech Talk Online Q & A

Q: I just realized that when it comes to phone alarm interface jacks there are two models: the RJ31X and RJ38X. I am familiar with the RJ31X jack. Is there any difference in the RJ38X? 

A: Actually, it depends on how you wire your RJ31X plug and jacks. The only difference in the RJ38X jack is that there is an internal jumper between pins two and seven. This can be used to allow your alarm system to report either locally or via another source such as radio or IP, when the phone plug is left unplugged. You can manually put a wire jumper in on two and seven terminals if you are installing an RJ31X plug.

Q: I recently connected an alarm panel from a standard POTS (plain old telephone system) line to a VoIP phone line. I tested the panel and everything reported in fine. What is the big danger everyone is talking about with VoIP phone systems and alarm panels? 

A: Let’s just say that you were lucky that all signals went through. Let me emphasize the word “lucky.” Don’t rely on stand DTMF phone alarm signals going through consistently on a VoIP connection. Make sure to switch the alarm panel to a dedicated IP connection device or use a VoIP interface device that has been tested and is designed to work on a VoIP connection. Voice may work directly from an existing phone on a new VoIP connection; however, sending out alarm signals can be risky without the right dedicated equipment. Also, advise your existing customers accordingly as they often will change the service themselves and think all is fine with there alarm reporting. Next time they find out differently is when an alarm signal does not go through properly.

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