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VoIP and Home Alarms

Updated on November 18, 2010

Home alarm systems and phone lines

At first glance, there doesn't seem to be much of a connection between phone systems and home alarms. But though they're two very different products, phone systems are a critical component of alarm systems all over the world.

There are many ways in which alarm systems use communication channels. For example, you may be out of the house and leave your monitoring system on which listens for say broken windows. If a break in occurs through one, most systems are designed to give you a call in order to alert you. Using mobile business PBX Services for example, your alarm system can buzz you on your cell phone.

Of course, we're also familiar with movies where a hold up is in progress and a button is surreptitiously pressed which quickly calls the cops.

The question is, can such systems work with VoIP phones and eschew the traditional PSTN system?

Home Alarm Systems
Home Alarm Systems

Can VoIP replace PSTN for security?

The answer depends on a number of factors. As of now, PSTN systems hold a slight edge when it comes to reliability. Since it runs on a separate system entirely, it works even when the lights go out.

However, lots of professional and semi professional burglars actually cut the phone lines before they make their move to prevent any such calls. Of course, there are systems which use wireless to alert the relevant people too.

But legacy home alarm systems will certainly not work with VoIP systems. There are two types - it's possible that those which dial in can work with VoIP, but those which test for actual phone line continuity will obviously not.

Having said that, most modern home alarm systems are IP enabled. This makes integration with PBX Business VoIP systems easy - just check the features before you make the purchase.

One thing to keep in mind when using VoIP with your alarm system is to ensure an adequate power backup. Internet connections are highly susceptible to power outages and this will interfere with your VoIP system should an emergency arise. An easy way to work around this is to invest in a Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS). Most power outages don't last long and if it's a natural power cut, a UPS will be able to tide your systems ove.r

Deliberate power outages are a different matter and your alarms need to be smart to make the calls before your UPS runs out of battery charge.

As you can see, the exact solution will depend on your home alarm provider and perhaps your VoIP provider too. Even IP systems need to be compatible with each other and you must make sure that the alarm and VoIP systems can communicate.


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    • Earl S. Wynn profile image

      Earl S. Wynn 7 years ago from California

      Good to know. I didn't know VoIP could even be used that way. Very nice.