Modern Alarm Monitoring Networks

Today I want to talk a little bit about alarm transmission networks. There are a lot of ways that your burglar alarm system sends its signals to the central monitoring station.

Traditionally, all panels had analog dialers built into them. The receivers that the signals were sent to at the signal station were analog receivers. Most commonly, we use what we call POTS lines, plain old telephone services. That’s the type of service you get off the telephone pole that comes in to your house.

For years, that was how we transmitted alarm signals. Nowadays, in the digital age, a lot of the phone lines are digital. Sometimes when you have a digital phone line, you will have difficulty with the transfer from analog to digital and back to analog again, because they compress it. When they uncompress it, there are some timing issues that the analog receivers just don’t deal with well.

Anything less than 100% accuracy or reliability is no good. What’s happened, with the advent of the digital age, is we have a bunch of different methods now that are used to take that analog signal and get it to that analog receiver.

There are a group of companies that build a cell module that takes the signal right out of the alarm panel, just like it was dialing a phone line. They take it onto their own network.

These are companies such as Telguard, Uplink, Skylink. There’s many more. They do nothing more than transport it on their network.

Several of the larger manufacturers have set up their own networks., which is GE’s network, Alarmnet, which is Honeywell’s network, and Connect 24, which is DSC’s network.

They build their own network equipment. They have their own network. They give you some limited capabilities on that network, for additional charges, where you can actually control the alarm. You can send some video signals, as well as text messaging and sometimes, emails. It’s kind of a pay as you go type situation. It can be kind of pricey. And they are all proprietary to their own network. You have to use their equipment and their transmitters always.

Some of us were tired of it.

What we have now is a new network that we’ve put up, called the Danger Network. It’s an overlay on all of these transmission methods. If you have your phone service via POTS, or Comcast, where it’s using the analog signal, you can send that signal to our cloud central station. We take the signals. We break out the burglar alarm signals.

You can have it dial 6 people up on the phone, text 6 people, email 6 people with your name, address, nature of the alarm. You can send openings and closings of the alarm system by different users. You can send low battery signals. You can control the list, as to who gets what signal.

We use the danger network in my neighborhood based Blockwatch Alarm monitoring service, which you can use on nearly any alarm system cheaply and with full control.

We do take what I’ll call the life safety signals – fire alarm, medical alarm, panic alarm – and route those directly to the central station. By doing that, we can make sure that those items, like a fire alarm, are acted upon by professionals, immediately. You don’t want to be getting a text saying that you’ve got your fire alarm tripping.

What we’ve done is we’ve kind of used the best of both worlds. Nowadays when police don’t want to respond to alarms, burglar alarms, we can have our neighbors called, or ourselves called. We can do the response on it, while still having the central station for those life safety devices.

Learn more about how we use The Danger Network at our Blockwatch Alarm page »