Analog phone lines on the way out

Up until a few years ago most phone lines were analog and now almost all the new phone lines going in are digital.

Analog phone lines came into the building via copper wire and now digital can be on fiber, copper or other and the voltage and means of transmission is different.

In approximately 6 years analog lines will no longer be available and digital lines will be the norm. If you have digital or VOIP (Voice over IP) lines be aware that most current alarm systems using a DACT or dialer are not UL listed to use those digital lines for communications so signals get garbled and either don’t dial out or dial out misinformation. Many of the newer panels are UL listed and come with a port for the Internet to plug into.

Internet communication module

This module makes it so you can connect to the panel to change codes and programing and it also makes it so the panel can send signals over the Internet to the central Station

Different methods that can be used to replace the analog phone lines that are being phased out:

A. Radio communication (About $1000-$1400 in equipment and installation) not all sites can use Radio but there is no increase in monthly monitoring bills unless you finance the equipment then the monthly bill would be higher. This method is UL listed for Fire Alarm although you must be in an area that have enough coverage in order to use this method.

B. IP communication modules cost about $200 to $500 installed (Requires static IP address on network with port 7700 open coming in and going out) This poles every few minutes and this method does not increase the monthly monitoring bill. This method is also UL listed for Fire Alarm as long as the modules are listed for use with your brand and model number of panel. Some of these modules allow you to connect to the panel to make programming changes, see status and others do not allow this but they just send the signals out. Investing in a unit that will allow you to communicate both ways is a great benefit.

C. Cellular backup unit – About $300 to $600 depending on unit needed and it dials out when there is a problem but there is a $20 dollar a month cell bill. This monthly cost is in addition to the monitoring bill. This is UL listed to be used a secondary communication device but not as the primary communicator for Fire Alarm. If the phone lines are cut or if the Internet goes down then this unit can notify dispatch of an alarm. The cellular cost is about the same or less than paying for a dedicated phone line.

D. High Supervision Cellular unit – Primary communicator and this takes the place of analog phone lines but can also be used in conjunction with the IP internet as well. This unit dials out every 5 minutes so it meets the standards for Primary and Secondary for Fire Alarm and it can also be used for Security. This unit is about $600 and there is a monthly cellular bill of about $37 ($22 per month with Peak Alarm) since it dials out over 4000 calls per month. This cost is in addition to the monthly monitoring bill but you can figure a savings from not having to pay for dedicated analog lines.
Each facility is a bit different on cost depending on factors such as if you are monitoring a fire alarm, security alarm or both, location of the building and if the cell reception is good and if your internet service is reliable. There are different brands of cellular, radio and internet modules and the cost varies. If your panel has an internet module that will allow 2 way communications then this is an extra benefit. This means it can communicate out and will allow you to communicate from your Alarm Company to the panel over the Internet then codes and programming can be updated. Some internet modules only send signals out and do not allow 2 way communication so this has to be looked at because it can save you quite a bit in service fees so you don’t have to pay techs to come out to the site. 801 428 1384