Alarm Monitoring Companies!

There are a large number of alarm monitoring companies that provide a 24/7 monitoring service for home alarm systems. While many people will choose one of these companies to supply, install & monitor an alarm system for them, many others only require them to monitor a system already setup inside their homes.

There are individuals & families every day that are faced with indecision, as they look for the best way to electronically secure their homes perimeter.

To know if an alarm monitoring company or a security system retailer is the better choice for obtaining a home alarm, it is important to first understand the various pros & cons that are associated with both of these choices.

If you need to choose one of these options for obtaining an alarm system for your own home & family, the following information can help you recognize which of these options will work best for you.

You will also find content below that explains the five communication methods that various alarm companies use to monitor their customers alarm systems.

The biggest benefit of having a home alarm supplied & installed by a company who also monitors it is “convenience”. Depending on one’s personal situation & lifestyle, having such an easier & convenient process can be a very beneficial & valuable option for them.

Another benefit some people see in having an alarm company supply & install their home alarm, is an upfront cost that would be considerably lower than the cost of purchasing their own system.

The most negative aspect of having one of the alarm monitoring companies provide & install an alarm system, is the higher monthly fees they charge to monitor it.

While this helps them recover the cost of each system they install, the customer is always subject to the higher monthly fee for as long as they require the company to monitor the system.

The most significant benefit for those who choose to purchase their own alarm system, is the lower monthly monitoring fees will provide thousands of dollars in savings over time.

In just a few short years the savings in monitoring fees could easily cover the purchase price of one’s home alarm system.

If you want to know what you can save each month & how long it will take you to recover the cost of purchasing your own system, you will want to ensure accurate costs are being used in the calculations you perform.

Most alarm systems provided by alarm monitoring companies & advertised by security system retailers, are not capable of electronically securing most homes & families without being upgraded.

Residential consumers with small apartments to large homes require security alarms & since it is not possible to provide a one size fits all system, most home alarms these businesses offer are basically starter kits.

This also works in their favor as the lower cost for starter kits/systems allows them to attract more customers. An alarm retailer can advertise their systems at a much lower price & monitoring companies can promote their alarm packages with a low upfront cost & monthly monitoring fee.  

Monitoring companies will just install the alarm package one chooses, as it is up to each customer to notify them if they want to upgrade the system with additional security devices.

Many alarm retailers outline the prices of the alarm kits/systems they offer on their web sites, as well as alarm components and/or detection sensors that can be obtained to upgrade their systems.

This makes it easy to calculate the total retail price of a security system that can provide the alarm coverage you need.

Upgrading an alarm package provide by an alarm monitoring company will increase both the upfront cost & the monthly monitoring fee.

Information on what additional costs will be incurred for specific upgrades to an alarm package, will need to be obtained from the company who offers it & monitors the system.

Understanding what is truly required to electronically secure each accessible entry point (window & door) in your home is incredibly important. To know what alarm coverage is needed to effectively secure the perimeter of your specific home, please visit my wireless home security systems web page.

This page also provides the pros & cons of the various wireless systems available in today’s market & outlines important security protocols that need to be followed in setting up an alarm system.

Different Types of Alarm Monitoring Companies & What They Offer!

Many monitoring companies offer 3 or more alarm packages that people can choose from. The majority of these companies will also provide their 24/7 monitoring service to those who have their own alarm systems.

There are also alarm companies that do not offer or provide any alarm systems, as they only monitor existing systems setup inside people’s homes.

You also have several companies that manufacture their own security alarm & each of them only provide their 24/7 monitoring service for the specific type of system they produce. Their alarm systems have to be purchased & if the customer wants it monitored these companies generally offer this service for a low monthly fee with no monitoring contract.

I have reviewed online sales material by some of these companies that basically informs potential customers that their monitoring service can be cancelled at any time.

Although they do not seem to advertise the fact that their home alarms are proprietary systems & they likely cannot be monitored by any other company.

The problem with almost all proprietary alarm systems is they are not compatible with the standard equipment used by most monitoring stations.

This makes it impossible for other alarm companies to monitor the system, as they cannot communicate with the industry standard receivers their central stations are using.

If purchasing a proprietary alarm system that can only be monitored by one company, it is important to first consider what this limitation entails.

It would obviously prevent you from shopping around for a lower monitoring rate & if you have a problem in the future in how your system is being monitored, you have no option for having it monitored elsewhere.

Most of the larger alarm monitoring companies use proprietary alarm systems, but they are generally leased for the time they are being monitored.

Although if you were to ever work out a deal to purchase a home alarm from a monitoring company, you should first find out if it is a proprietary system that no one else can monitor.

Different Monitoring Communication Methods Used!

Phone Line, Cellular, Broadband/IP, VoIP & Long Range Radio are the different communication methods that are used to monitor home alarm systems.

While the central stations for some alarm monitoring companies only use one of these communication methods, others are setup to provide a few different ones that their customers can choose from.

Phone Line: Sending alarm signals over a hardwired phone line is the oldest communication method & it also remains the most widely used for monitoring alarm systems.

Although the number of people choosing this method has declined in recent years, as many have switched from the standard POTS (plain old telephone service) to either cellular phones or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).

This communication method can also be easily compromised, as criminals can simply cut the phone lines that are exposed outside most homes. It is due to the vulnerability of these unprotected phone lines, that a growing number of people are also using cellular monitoring as a backup communication method.

Cellular: This monitoring method transmits wireless alarm signals from a home security system over a GSM cellular network to an alarm monitoring companies’ cellular receivers. Cellular monitoring is popular as both a primary communication link between a home alarm & a monitoring station & as a backup method in the event one’s phone line or internet cable has been cut.

If you want to acquire cellular monitoring for an existing alarm system, you will need to have or obtain a GSM cellular communicator that will need to be wired directly to your systems control panel.

Cellular monitoring is a very effective method to use for having your alarm system monitored.

Although it is not the 100% secure communication method that some monitoring companies make it out to be.

Signal jamming devices are extremely effective at blocking cellular, WiFi & other types of radio signals. For additional information on criminals using these devices, please visit my crash & smash attack web page.

Broadband/IP (Internet Protocol): This communication method transmits a security systems alarm signal over a home’s broadband internet connection to a central monitoring station.

Some people use this as their main link between their security system & their alarm monitoring company. Although with most people still using a hardwired phone line, it is mainly used as a backup communication link.

If you want this type of alarm monitoring for an existing security system, you will need to have or acquire a Broadband communication module. This module needs to be wired to an alarm systems control panel & then plugged in to either an internet modem or to an unused channel on the back of an internet router.

A benefit in using this monitoring method is with your home alarm connected to the internet you can go online & control it from a remote location.

Two vulnerabilities with this monitoring method that people also need to be aware of, is it cannot transmit an alarm signal if there is a power failure or if a criminal cuts the cable providing the homes internet service.

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol): Alarm monitoring companies that offer this communication method use a VoIP phone service that is designed to send digital voice calls over the internet.

Since alarm systems are designed to transmit analog signals over a phone line, the VoIP service must first convert the signal to digital & then back again to analog so it can be received by a central monitoring stations receivers.

This is a quick & automatic conversion process that does not always work as intended. Monitoring stations have oftentimes received alarm signals with errors or lost signals that were never received.

This communication method is most likely seen by alarm companies as the least reliable method for monitoring alarm systems.

VoIP is like broadband monitoring where one can log on to the internet & control the system from a remote location. It also has the same vulnerabilities where a power failure & a criminal cutting the cable that delivers the internet to the home, will both prevent the transmission of any alarm signal(s).

Long Range Radio: This communication method is similar in some ways to cellular monitoring, as they both transmit a wireless radio signal to an alarm monitoring companies’ central station. Like cellular this type of monitoring also requires a communication module that needs to be directly connected to an alarm systems control panel.

Long range radio monitoring is very reliable & is extremely fast at transmitting alarm signals. Some people without a regular phone line use this monitoring method as their primary communication link & others use it as a backup method in the event their phone line is cut.

Over the past few years though there appears to be a decrease in the number of alarm companies who offer long range radio monitoring. This may be due in part to other monitoring services like cellular, broadband/IP & VoIP becoming more popular.

This communication method is generally offered by alarm monitoring companies that only operate in specific regions or local areas, as they need to have the infrastructure (radio receivers) setup to provide a reliable monitoring service.

While transmitting the radio alarm signal is fast & reliable, this communication method like cellular monitoring can also be easily compromised by a criminal blocking the signal with a radio/cellular jamming device.

Out of the different communication methods alarm monitoring companies use, the ones that have the highest potential of being compromised are those that transmit the alarm signal over a hardwired phone or cable (internet) line.

While these lines outside most homes are exposed & unprotected, there are practical & inexpensive measures one can take to adequately secure them.

Phone & cable lines are exposed outside most homes in two ways, as they can run down the exterior wall of a residence or if they are buried there may be approximately 2’ of unprotected line/cable coming from the ground up.

If you are a DIY (do it yourself) type person you may want to consider running your phone and/or cable lines through a metal conduit.

If the phone and/or cable box is located on the outside of your home, they can be relocated inside your residence.

If for some reason you do not have enough phone and/or cable line to accomplish this, you can use secure metal gang boxes that the conduit can screw into outside your home.

If your phone and/or cable is exposed from the ground up, you can also remove several inches of dirt & drill a hole through your basement wall so the phone/cable line are completely buried beneath the ground.

If you do not have the DIY skills to protect your phone/cable lines from being cut, you may want to obtain a quote from your phone or cable company to perform this service for you. They have service people that can carry out this task in very little time & you may find they charge a very reasonable price for doing this.

If you are using an alarm monitoring companies Broadband/IP or VOIP monitoring service, you may also want to consider using a power backup for your computer in the event of a power failure.

Implementing the above security measures can make your phone line & internet cable the most secure way to transmit alarm signals to a monitoring station.

While VoIP monitoring will also be made more secure, it will still be the most unreliable communication method that alarm monitoring companies provide.

I sincerely hope the information on this web page was in some way helpful & beneficial for you. You may want to consider bookmarking this site as new & updated content is uploaded weakly.

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