Landline vs. Internet vs. Cellular Monitoring
Central Station Connection Hardwired or Wireless? – There are three typical types of methods / technologies generally used to transmit your alarms to the 24 hour central station monitoring center from which the police & fire departments are dispatched. They are:
- Over a copper, coax or fiber land telephone line – (Cost? Generally $20 – $30/mo.)
(A land line is needed to utilize this technology, not a cell phone.)
If the line used to provide that telephone service is cut, the system loses the ability to transmit a signal and the central station will not know it. Signals will no longer be sent to the 24 hour dispatching central station until the line is fixed and no one will know it until a programmed daily, weekly, or monthly test signal fails to come in.
If your system utilizes this technology, you should look into getting regular test signals set up for your system and your system.
Most modern systems can also be programmed to ring your outside siren if your telephone line is cut. Since the attacker is still outside with a siren going off to call attention to him – that siren will often scare him off.
- Broadband / Internet – most often achieved through Fiber or Coax land lines – ($22 – $28/mo.)
With this technology your system is wired to or wirelessly connected to your internet router. It is usually sending test signals through to the central station anywhere from every so many seconds or minutes to maybe every hour (depending on how much the customer is willing to pay for more frequent test pings). This method is more secure than method # 1). It’s heightened security is based upon the principle that the central station will notify you if a test signal is not received and you may investigate to see why.
- Radio / Cellular – ($32 – $49/mo.) In this case a radio transmitter/receiver is installed near or in your alarm system control panel. This radio transmits alarm signals over the airwaves to a remote central monitoring station. The vast majority of these systems work on the same cellular wireless service your cell phone does. Unlike the Broadband option which tests frequently, the average cellular radio is set up to test only daily, weekly or monthly because with no wires to cut, it is generally considered to be the most secure method of outside the house signal transmission. Monthly monitoring costs for method (2) are a little more expensive than method (1) and monitoring fees for method (3) are generally a little more expensive than method (2). Sometimes these systems are used only in the event of a land line failure in which case they then transmit both alarm signals and a trouble signal indicating the land telephone line is out of service. Most residences and small to midsized businesses use this technology today.
- Private Radio Networks – These also transmit across open airwaves use private antenna networks in various regions, not the local cellular network. This technology is generally considered to be the most expensive and rarely are they used anymore for anything but very high security facilities and businesses. (The cost for this type of service depends on the quality of the network)