Security alert and surveillance systems are vital for businesses with a lot to lose, and can add piece of mind for households that may be the target of theft or even random acts of violence. Almost any building can benefit from alarm companies and their security services, but there are a few requirements that need to be checked with almost every service. To avoid surprises, here are a few background services and quality levels that you can either take care of ahead of time, or at least purchase from alarm companies with better control over what you need.
Phone System Alerts
How do alarm companies receive alerts? Homeowners can be alerted to an intruder by a completely internal installation that triggers a siren or other alerts, but how can emergency responders be notified as soon as a break-in is detected?
Alarm systems prior to the early 2000's relied on "dialing in" to send a signal to your alarm company of choice. This was as simple as an automated telephone call, except the call itself is the alert. Although this alert was fast enough for most situations, it required customers to buy a separate phone line through the security company or their telephone company.
Attaching the system to the main telephone line made it possible to block alerts by just calling the home, but the later system of splitting a single phone line for voice and data services provided a small, but at the time powerful improvement.
Faster Internet Isn't Always Good For Alarm Systems
Modern internet is extremely faster that dial-up communications. It's not just comparing the speed of dial-up internet versus cable internet; information travels physically faster over phone connections. Cable and phone connections are both run on copper wire in many cases, but cable copper is bigger with more wires for moving information. Fiber optic cables are even faster, using light that is limited by glass cabling technology.
While the potential speed is faster, internet congestion continues to be a problem for many internet connections. It's an issue of consistency, meaning that the equipment between your home, your internet service provider (ISP), and the alarm company.
To make alerts over internet reliable, it's right back to the multiple line system used in the dial-up days. This time, instead of allowing the alerts to work without being interrupted by calls, the additional line won't be burdened by big downloads, watching Netflix, or a clever intruder who can flood your known internet connection. Consistency, unfortunately, is still in the hands of your ISP.
Other Communication Options
If it sounds like internet or internet-related systems are the main way of receiving alerts, it's true. If there's a fast way to send information, why not use it for internet? If it works for internet, it's a good way to test other alerts.
Satellite internet is another option that is especially helpful for rural locations, since even dial-up services may not be available. These connections are slower than many other communications systems because of the travel time between your dish/antenna and the next hop station--not always a literal satellite, but a radio antenna or satellite service receiving station.
Cellular internet is similar, but faster and more affordable due to a single purpose for communications instead of TV as well. Cell phone systems are technically satellite communications, but the customer's communications don't need to touch the satellite unless the data leaves the country and international cable routes are congested.
Contact an alarm systems professional, such as from Tele-Plus, to discuss the best way to keep your alarm systems efficient in the event of an emergency.