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DSC Power832 alarm system w/ Ooma VOIP not able to complete handshake with monitoring service to clear triggered alarm

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 24th, 2021 11:16 pm
[OP]
Deal Expert
Aug 26, 2002
15067 posts
6628 upvotes
Toronto, ON

DSC Power832 alarm system w/ Ooma VOIP not able to complete handshake with monitoring service to clear triggered alarm

I have a DSC Power832 alarm system in the house that is monitored by The Monitoring Center. A few years ago I switched my home phone provider to Ooma. The alarm system continued to work well with Ooma and I've never had any issues until recently. I also have an Envisalink 4 module connected to the alarm so I can control the alarm system remotely.

A week or so ago, my alarm got triggered while we were out of the house because we left the Roomba running on the main floor. It set off the motion sensor on the main floor, and I got a call from TMC about the alarm. I confirmed with them that it was a false alarm and waived off sending help. I disarmed the alarm using the EyezOn app on my phone that is linked to the Envisalink module.

Ever since that incident, the trouble amber light on my alarm panel has been lit. The trouble code is '4' which indicates a Failure to Communicate. I've contacted TMC to run their standard test and I can see from the Ooma call log that the alarm system attempts to call out to TMC multiple times to try to complete the test. However, the trouble light doesn't turn off after the tests are completed.

Then last night in the middle of the night, I start getting calls from TMC. Multiple attempts to call me on my cellphone was unsuccessful because it was on DND mode, but eventually they called the house and woke me up. They said they received a motion zone alarm and was checking if they should send help. After giving them the security credentials to give them the all-clear, I told them the alarm siren was not going off, and the panel was on Armed/Stay. Fast forward to this morning, I called into TMC again to troubleshoot and they said it looks like the handshaking required between the alarm system and TMC's side is not being completed properly, and so the alarm will continue to try again and again. I guess the alarm system still thinks the motion zone trigger still hasn't been sent to TMC successfully because of the handshake issue.

So obviously TMC is not being too helpful here because they don't support VOIP lines, although they did send me a guide to configure the Ooma settings so that it is set to work with alarm systems as best it could. I'm trying to find out whether there is a way to clear the motion zone trigger on my side so that it will stop attempting to report it to TMC. Is there anyone on RFD who is knowledgeable with DSC alarm systems who can assist?

Moving forward, in terms of alternatives, beside the obvious which is to get a land line back just for the alarm system, or to get a GSM module from TMC (which would incur an additional per month charge), are there anything else that can help this situation? I know I can cut TMC off completely and just self-monitor, but I want to exhaust all avenues first to try to make the system still work with TMC on the VOIP line before I go that route.

Sorry for the long post but any help would be appreciated.
18 replies
Deal Addict
Nov 6, 2014
1208 posts
2185 upvotes
0 downvotes (Maple,O…
I know you'd rather not self monitor but my experience has been excellent with Envisalink and the android app called DSC Keyboard DSC Server. I switched to that like 10 years ago and never looked back. There may be an iphone app but can't advise.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... n_CA&gl=US

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... n_CA&gl=US
Jr. Member
Nov 16, 2003
150 posts
8 upvotes
you can try voip.ms. I been using voip.ms for a number of years but not with TMC no problem so far. I make sure the routing is premium.
[OP]
Deal Expert
Aug 26, 2002
15067 posts
6628 upvotes
Toronto, ON
fordmaple wrote: I know you'd rather not self monitor but my experience has been excellent with Envisalink and the android app called DSC Keyboard DSC Server. I switched to that like 10 years ago and never looked back. There may be an iphone app but can't advise.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... n_CA&gl=US

https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... n_CA&gl=US
The iOS equivalent would probably be the EyezOn app that I mentioned, as that app would give me the ability to get the status and control the alarm as if I am standing in front of the panel. The beauty with Envisalink, as you probably already know, is the ability to be integrated into home automation ecosystem like SmartThings and Homekit which I have done. So the ability to get alerted and interact with the alarm system is extended to the Home app and the SmartThings app for me (I'm on iOS). It's not a 100% foolproof system because the integration requires alarmserver running which sometimes craps out, but for the most part it works well.

If I cut off TMC right now and stop the monitoring service, I think I'd be comfortable with what I've set up with ST and Homekit that I would be able to self-monitor with what I have set up. But because I've prepaid for my TMC service for a year in advance, I don't think I will get any money back if I cancel right now so for now I am just trying to resolve this handshake issue so that the alarm won't continued to call TMC to report the motion alarm...
[OP]
Deal Expert
Aug 26, 2002
15067 posts
6628 upvotes
Toronto, ON
voltech wrote: you can try voip.ms. I been using voip.ms for a number of years but not with TMC no problem so far. I make sure the routing is premium.
Thanks for the suggestion but I'm not sure how that would help in my case. Does voip.ms require me to buy new hardware? It says BYOD on their webpage but would it work with the Ooma hardware that I already have? And being VOIP, would it have the same handshake issue that I'm experiencing with Ooma?
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jun 12, 2007
18610 posts
6030 upvotes
London
Plug a regular phone into the OOMA where the alarm normally is connected to.
Dial the same number by hand as the alarm system is configured to dial - does it connect ?

My buddy had the same type of problem with Vonage. Turns out the alarm was configured to dial a special 1-700-xxx-yyyy toll free number and Vonage didn't know how to handle 1-700 toll free phone numbers.
Sr. Member
Jan 7, 2006
722 posts
441 upvotes
Toronto
I have an old server monitoring device that dials numbers incase of humidity/temperature alerts... Predates smart stuff and predates IP based stuff.

I tried to use it on a VoIP line and while it actually does place the phone call but I cannot issue it commands from a dialpad (press 5 to acknowledge, press 3 for ABC etc). Tried from a cell phone, tried on a landline... It's like VoIP dial tones are different.. the monitoring device worked fine back on analog landline days.

Maybe the alarm company is having a similar issue with your dialer
[OP]
Deal Expert
Aug 26, 2002
15067 posts
6628 upvotes
Toronto, ON
l69norm wrote: Plug a regular phone into the OOMA where the alarm normally is connected to.
Dial the same number by hand as the alarm system is configured to dial - does it connect ?

My buddy had the same type of problem with Vonage. Turns out the alarm was configured to dial a special 1-700-xxx-yyyy toll free number and Vonage didn't know how to handle 1-700 toll free phone numbers.
I manually called the number that the alarm system calls out whenever it "phones home" to the monitoring centre (it's a 1-866 number) as you suggested. It connects and I hear a series of beeps and tones on the other end (similar to modem connection sounds back in the days). So I can confirm the line connects successfully but I still can't confirm if the handshaking is successful or is the problem. All the calls attempted by my alarm system to TMC is around 1m:15s long, and what TMC suspects is that one end (not sure if it's my end or TMC's end) is thinking the handshake is unsuccessful so it ends the call prematurely.
[OP]
Deal Expert
Aug 26, 2002
15067 posts
6628 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Kevin711 wrote: I have an old server monitoring device that dials numbers incase of humidity/temperature alerts... Predates smart stuff and predates IP based stuff.

I tried to use it on a VoIP line and while it actually does place the phone call but I cannot issue it commands from a dialpad (press 5 to acknowledge, press 3 for ABC etc). Tried from a cell phone, tried on a landline... It's like VoIP dial tones are different.. the monitoring device worked fine back on analog landline days.

Maybe the alarm company is having a similar issue with your dialer
This is a possibility and TMC told me it may be related to line quality but if it's related to that, shouldn't it not work right from the get-go when I changed to Ooma a few year's ago? And it's also not the first time I've had my alarm go off (it's usually forgetting to disarm the alarm before opening a door or something). And I've never encountered this issue in the previous times when the alarm went off.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jun 12, 2007
18610 posts
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London
rvs007 wrote: I manually called the number that the alarm system calls out whenever it "phones home" to the monitoring centre (it's a 1-866 number) as you suggested. It connects and I hear a series of beeps and tones on the other end (similar to modem connection sounds back in the days). So I can confirm the line connects successfully but I still can't confirm if the handshaking is successful or is the problem. All the calls attempted by my alarm system to TMC is around 1m:15s long, and what TMC suspects is that one end (not sure if it's my end or TMC's end) is thinking the handshake is unsuccessful so it ends the call prematurely.
Try to manually set a different voip codec on the ooma like G711 (ie. *98,,1866xxxyyyy)
https://forums.ooma.com/viewtopic.php?t=14127
[OP]
Deal Expert
Aug 26, 2002
15067 posts
6628 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Well, I tried a few things throughout today and at least one of the things I tried has fixed the problem, and I'm now seeing a Failed-To-Communicate restore status in the log, and the yellow trouble light is gone.

I tried:

- Moving the Ooma box to the basement and connecting it directly to the alarm system (previously, the alarm system was connected using an Ooma Linx DECT6.0 extender).
- Followed TMC's troubleshooting guide and set the Ooma box device mode to "alarm system" instead of "phone/fax". Previously when the alarm was connected using the Ooma Linx extender, the extender was already set to "alarm system" mode, so I don't think this change alone made a difference.
- Following @l69norm 's recommendation, I tried to manually dial *98 using a headset first, then initiated a test on the alarm and have it called out. I'm not sure if the *98 made any difference on the call that was placed by the alarm since I did the *98 on a headset. But the problem was fixed soon after I did this.
- I also rebooted the Ooma again prior to initiating the last test that ended up fixing the problem. I initiated a few tests throughout the day that didn't fix the issue so again, not sure if this actually fixed it.

Anyway, thanks for all the suggestions and insights on this. Still don't know what exactly fixed it but I'm glad to see that trouble light gone.
[OP]
Deal Expert
Aug 26, 2002
15067 posts
6628 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Urgh! Spoke too soon! About 15 minutes after seeing the FTC restore, I got a FTC problem again and the yellow trouble light has returned... So troubleshooting will continue....
[OP]
Deal Expert
Aug 26, 2002
15067 posts
6628 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Update: After the trouble light came back, I went through everything that I did earlier in the day one by one to see if I can isolate what worked. I think it's the reboot of the Ooma that allows for a successful connection afterwards, but it's still not consistent. Based on the duration shown in the call logs, after the reboot, only the fourth attempt worked (call duration of over 4 mins.; whereas the first three attempts were all 1 min. 23 secs.).

Line Type Phone Number Name Date Duration Actions
1 (866) xxx-xxxxx Home Alarm (TMC) Today 06:55 PM 04:26
1 (866) xxx-xxxxx Home Alarm (TMC) Today 06:54 PM 01:23
1 (866) xxx-xxxxx Home Alarm (TMC) Today 06:52 PM 01:23
1 (866) xxx-xxxxx Home Alarm (TMC) Today 06:51 PM 01:23

It's now 30 minutes later and so far so good... fingers crossed.
Jr. Member
Nov 16, 2003
150 posts
8 upvotes
rvs007 wrote: Thanks for the suggestion but I'm not sure how that would help in my case. Does voip.ms require me to buy new hardware? It says BYOD on their webpage but would it work with the Ooma hardware that I already have? And being VOIP, would it have the same handshake issue that I'm experiencing with Ooma?
Yes you will need one of those adapter. Personally I have used the SPA112. I have it for many years. What I did was I installed the SAP112 in my basement and then used it to distribute the phone lines thru out the house.

Should go like this. Internet --> SPA112 --> Alarm -- > Alarm Jack has an out to telephone ---> That jack connects to my phone
Sr. Member
Aug 16, 2007
903 posts
115 upvotes
Richmond Hill
I have ooma and tmc for a long time now since 2014.

I had a similar issue once when a firmware upgrade was done on my Rogers modem. I had to go into the modem and disable SIP ALG. Once I did that the problem went away
[OP]
Deal Expert
Aug 26, 2002
15067 posts
6628 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Askari wrote: I have ooma and tmc for a long time now since 2014.

I had a similar issue once when a firmware upgrade was done on my Rogers modem. I had to go into the modem and disable SIP ALG. Once I did that the problem went away
Are you using your Rogers modem as a router? Or is your modem in bridge mode?
Sr. Member
Aug 16, 2007
903 posts
115 upvotes
Richmond Hill
rvs007 wrote: Are you using your Rogers modem as a router? Or is your modem in bridge mode?

As a router. That setting gets disabled when putting it in bridge mode and using your own router. But I guess that could apply to other routers too
[OP]
Deal Expert
Aug 26, 2002
15067 posts
6628 upvotes
Toronto, ON
Askari wrote: As a router. That setting gets disabled when putting it in bridge mode and using your own router. But I guess that could apply to other routers too
I'm using Eero as my router so I will look into what SIP ALG is and see if that's something that's configurable in the Eero settngs.

Edit: I did a quick search on r/eero on Reddit and it seems like Eero doesn't have SIP ALG so it doesn't look to be enabled.

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