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Alarm Monitoring Connections – What Communication Type is Best?


Each day, more and more homeowners are opting to drop their traditional telephone lines for newer, more robust services such as Internet-based or cellular home alarm systems. However, if you already own a home alarm system or are thinking about purchasing a new home security system, an important question to ask is “do these newer communication technologies work with home alarm security systems?”

Fortunately, thanks to recent technological advances, many of today’s home alarm systems are designed to work with several different types of communication services. Each technology has trade-offs so before you pull the plug on your current phone system, let’s explore each alarm monitoring communication type a little deeper by looking at the pros and cons.

Traditional Phone Lines

landline home alarm system IndianapolisThis technology uses a copper line to send the communication signals to the alarm monitoring company. This line is typically shared by both the household and the alarm system. In the event of an alarm, the security system “seizes” the line in order to send signals to the alarm monitoring company.

  • Very reliable form of alarm monitoring communication
  • Can operate during power outages via power from the phone company
  • Depends on dial up so the connection speed is slower than other communication types
  • Data transmission is limited so newer remote and interactive services are unavailable
  • Phone lines can be cut by a savvy burglar thus preventing alarm signals from reaching the alarm monitoring company

VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol)

voip home alarm system IndianapolisVOIP is a communication service that takes analog audio signals and turns them into digital data that can be transmitted over the Internet.

  • Most traditional home alarm systems can connect to a VOIP phone system without upgrading any of the system’s hardware
  • VOIP is often more affordable and feature-rich than other phone services
  • VOIP providers use voice compression to reduce the amount of bandwidth needed to transport voice traffic, which can potentially distort the signal coming from the home’s alarm system
  • Power to the VOIP line is dependent upon power at home
  • Depending on your provider, you may lose alarm transmission capability if there is an Internet service or power outage


cellular home alarm system IndianapolisA cellular home alarm system uses wireless digital transmission, similar to a cell phone, to transmit alarm signals to the alarm monitoring station.

  • In comparison to other phone services, Cellular/GSM signals can carry more data at greater speeds
  • Since the connection is wireless and resides in the home, Cellular/GSM monitoring is generally tamperproof from unwanted intruders
  • Most remote and interactive services have been designed to work with Cellular/GSM technologies
  • Cellular/GSM devices require power to operate so during a power outage the alarm relies on battery back-up for operation – generally 4-6 hours
  • Cellular/GSM monitoring is generally more expensive than landline/VOIP monitoring
  • Requires additional hardware in order to transmit signals


internet home alarm system IndianapolisThis communication type offers many interactive features for alarm users by connecting your home security system to the alarm monitoring station via DSL, cable or WIFI Internet Connections.

  • Internet services allow for remote and interactive services
  • In comparison to other communication forms, Internet signals can carry more data at greater speeds
  • It’s just as easy to cut an Internet cable as a phone line and are often located in the same place on the exterior of the home
  • If your home loses power, your internet service will be unable to communicate with the alarm monitoring station
  • Oftentimes, many modems and routers need to be reset after a service outage or power loss, which can further delay alarm signal transmission
  • Alarm systems monitored via Internet require specific hardware to enable the connection, so an upgraded panel could be necessary
  • Many Internet providers use “throttling” during peak hours to allow for adequate usage Requires additional hardware in order to transmit signals