Weighing the Alternatives

The danger with VoIP phone operation is the alarm connection can be made anywhere due to typically parallel phone circuit connectivity. Another danger is assuming VoIP transmission will work the same as standard DTMF on POTS. The thinking if IP voice sounds good, the alarm signal should work. But good results can be intermittent, and does your customer want to take that chance?

Manufacturers have addressed increasing reliability with special IP interface devices.

Selling Cellular Communications

Residential customers who are scaling back to sole cell phone use can benefit from new alarm panels with cell phone options. Examples include Honeywell’s GSM AlarmNet and GE’s Uplink GSM AnyNet. While sending signal via cell phone is quick and easy, I worry, as with digital dialers, about simple compromise. The more singular cell phone transmission becomes the norm for alarm transmission the more it lends itself to simple compromise.

Brute signal jamming is simple and costs very little. In the United States, it is not against the law to buy a cell phone jammer, only to use one.

Web-Based Monitoring Has Promise

An exciting new area of alternative alarm communications is Internet, or IP, alarm monitoring. This transmission is cost-effective, fast and can provide a high level of security. IP circuits are getting more reliable with the natural mesh configuration and fast supervision polling of IP alarm circuits.

Most IP alarm devices today are proprietary, with the same manufacturer providing the IP alarm receiver. Recently, an IP communication standard was approved by the Security Industry Association (SIA) and is now listed as ANSI/SIA DC-09-2007. Some vendors are working on using this standard; however, the sentiment of critics in the central station sector is that some additional tweaking is in order before a true IP communication standard can be established.

I look forward to such standards making IP connectivity more versatile.

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