Following the lead of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), UL has granted approval under UL 864 for alarm systems to communicate via the Internet. The decision by UL has been much anticipated by the industry as it is seen as an opportunity to improve alarm communications in four distinct ways. First, it vastly decreases the amount of time required to send and confirm an alarm signal, cutting the elapsed time to fractions of a second. Second, it improves the reliability of the communications path used for signaling. Instead of checking line integrity on a daily basis, data networks can check the line every minute. Third, using a data network to signal an alarm removes the need for dedicated telephone lines, resulting in immediate savings to companies. Finally, the new method of signaling can replace derived-channel service, which is known by such names as Scan-Alert®, Pulsenet®, Pollstar®, React®, Watchalert® and others. Derived-channel service is increasingly unavailable or unserviceable. The first product approved by UL expressly for this purpose is the Radionics D6600 NetCom System.

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