How does your Security Alarm Communicate with the Monitoring Center?

Land Line, GSM Cellular, Radio, IP Internet

Land Line, GSM Cellular, Radio, IP InternetSecurity Alarm Communication.

How does your Home Security Alarm System signal for Police dispatch?
Phone Line, Cellular, Long Range Radio, Internet.

Once your home security system detects an intrusion, how does it transmit the signal to the monitoring station?

Types of Security System Communication Pathways

Telephone Land Line –
Telephone lines are the tried and true standard for alarm communication.  The alarm system is connected to your phone line, and upon activation, the alarm ‘picks up’ your phone, dials to the central monitoring office, and transmits a digital message including your account number, the type of signal, and the area of activation.
PROS:  Lower monthly cost, reliable, download access by alarm company.
CONS:  Easy to defeat by cutting external phone line, may not be compatible with VOIP phones, not user remote accessible.

Phones, Cellular, Radio, InternetCellular –
Cellular communication (GSM communication, similar to a text message) is typically a separate module that is installed onto the alarm panel, and upon activation, sends a signal via existing cellular networks (typically Verizon or AT&T) to a cellular monitoring exchange, then forwarded to the monitoring office.
PROS:  Difficult to defeat, works during phone outtages, very reliable, often download accessible by alarm company, newer panels allow for remote access by computer, smart phone, or tablets.
CONS:  More monthly cost, may be affected by 2G sunset on 12/2014.

Long Range Radio –
Similar to cellular, but instead of using existing cellular networks, the radio signal is sent via a privately owned and managed radio network.  Usually these networks are owned and supported by an individual private alarm company.
PROS:  Less expense than cellular, difficult to defeat, works during cell outtages.
CONS:  Private radio network requires alarm company to maintain backbone.

Internet –
The alarm is connected to your home’s internet by either a wired ethernet cable or via your WiFi network.  Signals are transmitted via IP (Internet Protocol) directly from your home to the monitoring station’s receiver.
PROS:  Available without Land-Line Phones and poor Cell coverage, quick communication time, not likely to become obsolete, typically downloadable by alarm company, typically allows remote access via computer, smart phone, and tablet.
CONS:  Won’t function during power outtages or other problems affecting internet service.


Mark Plischke
Aloha Alarm
Home Security Systems
Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii


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