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VOIP for Home Security System

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Deal Fanatic
Jun 7, 2005
8828 posts
669 upvotes

VOIP for Home Security System

I know many people said (including the tech guy who installed my security system), not to use VOIP for Home Security System. Thus, it is the only reason I am keeping the Bell landline till today. However, I am really mad of seeing Bell raises the landline price every year (latest bill is $26.16 for a bare landline without any features). I know some people are able to get the $13.95 deal and I will try calling them as well. I am wondering in case I can't get that deal and I want to cut the Bell landline, what I need to do to switch to the VOIP line ? I currently have another line setup already at home with a FreePhoneLine.ca number. Do I need to call the home security monitoring company to switch something from their side? I am also thinking about the other option to install the wireless GSM unit. But meanwhile, just want to know how to switch the monitoring system to the existing VOIP line. Thanks for any advice.
45 replies
Member
May 3, 2010
241 posts
43 upvotes
Toronto
I'm interested in the same thing as well! It's so hard to justify to pay $30+ for a landline that I never use other than getting calls from telemarketers!
Deal Guru
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Oct 5, 2008
13508 posts
7633 upvotes
Toronto
I faced the same problem.

I wanted to toss our Bell land line.

The problem was the alarm monitoring cost doubled (from $20 to $40/mth) when using VOIP or a cell phone #.

Seeing how our land lines costs about $20/mth, it made no sense to get rid of it.

If I could find an alarm monitoring company that didn't charge extra for Voip/cell, i would dump the landline in a heartbeat.
Deal Guru
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Oct 24, 2012
11539 posts
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Montreal
The problem with VoIP is that it doesn't have the perfect audio required for communication. Lines from Rogers or Videotron (through cable internet) gets 100% priority and has perfect audio, it doesn't go through the internet, just through their infrastructure.

I deal with Chubb Edwards and they charge 13.95$ extra for GSM monitoring (And I pay about 12$ for the basic service)
However unless you can provide your own GSM module, they'll charge you 600$ for a complete system change (With GSM).

I'm researching on GSM modules for my alarm system because I want to cut my land line (20$/month). Even if it will only save me 6$ a month in comparison, I will gain the added benefit of always being in communication even if the land line is cut. The land line is super easy to disconnect from outside.

BTW the reason it's extra for GSM is that your alarm system needs a cellphone account through Rogers (GSM).
VoIP, I don't know why they'd charge extra. Maybe they rent you some piece of equipment that uses the internet (More like IP monitoring, not VoIP).
Deal Addict
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Nov 18, 2007
3497 posts
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Valleywood
I recently kicked Bell to the curb. I use The Monitoring Center (TMC) for our alarm system.

I have two accounts with FreePhoneLine. One became my ported Bell number. The other is dedicated for the alarm system only.

I initially tested with my Linksys SPA2102 (before I gave up Bell) and then used the Cisco SPA112 for the final solution. (I would strongly avoid using the SPA112. Use the Obi100.)

Nothing needed to be changed at TMC. (They generally advise against VOIP for monitoring, but...) Any call from the alarm controller (or communications tests) are completely oblivious to the VOIP connection.

The only trick, for my DSC alarm, was to take the RJ45 connector (that went to the line seizure RJ31) and use a RJ45 straight coupler to connect it via a RJ11 cable to my Cisco SPA112. (I actually use a VOIP PBX, so having a dedicated ATA for the alarm was easiest.) For everyone else, it should just be a matter of wiring your ATA in place of the landline line to the RJ31.
Deal Guru
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Oct 5, 2008
13508 posts
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Toronto
fastlayne wrote: I recently kicked Bell to the curb. I use The Monitoring Center (TMC) for our alarm system.

I have two accounts with FreePhoneLine. One became my ported Bell number. The other is dedicated for the alarm system only.

I initially tested with my Linksys SPA2102 (before I gave up Bell) and then used the Cisco SPA112 for the final solution. (I would strongly avoid using the SPA112. Use the Obi100.)

Nothing needed to be changed at TMC. (They generally advise against VOIP for monitoring, but...) Any call from the alarm controller (or communications tests) are completely oblivious to the VOIP connection.

The only trick, for my DSC alarm, was to take the RJ45 connector (that went to the line seizure RJ31) and use a RJ45 straight coupler to connect it via a RJ11 cable to my Cisco SPA112. (I actually use a VOIP PBX, so having a dedicated ATA for the alarm was easiest.) For everyone else, it should just be a matter of wiring your ATA in place of the landline line to the RJ31.
I wish i understood any of this as it sounds like it would solve my problem.

Alas, i don't understand. :cry:
Deal Guru
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Oct 24, 2012
11539 posts
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Montreal
MS MSP wrote: I wish i understood any of this as it sounds like it would solve my problem.

Alas, i don't understand. :cry:
He says he hooked up the alarm system's phone wire to his VoIP box (It's a box that connects to the voip internet service and has a telephone jack in the back that lets you plug normal phones).
Deal Addict
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Nov 18, 2007
3497 posts
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Valleywood
Depending in the age of the installation. It could be rather simple. And certainly an extra baseboard phone jack box (or two) can make it all plug and play.

The connection from your house extensions/alarm to the landline needs to be located and opened.

The street-side of the landline can be left hanging or terminated in a baseboard jack.

A new wire pair connects from the VOIP box to where the landline use to go. (Again another baseboard jack may simplify this.) That is it.

MS MSP, link in some pictures of your wiring and I'll be able to tell you have difficult it is or isn't.
Deal Guru
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Oct 24, 2012
11539 posts
2540 upvotes
Montreal
fastlayne wrote: Depending in the age of the installation. It could be rather simple. And certainly an extra baseboard phone jack box (or two) can make it all plug and play.

The connection from your house extensions/alarm to the landline needs to be located and opened.

The street-side of the landline can be left hanging or terminated in a baseboard jack.

A new wire pair connects from the VOIP box to where the landline use to go. (Again another baseboard jack may simplify this.) That is it.

MS MSP, link in some pictures of your wiring and I'll be able to tell you have difficult it is or isn't.


The real problem lies in if the alarm system can really communicate like that. The quality of the voice can vary depending on the network congestion in the house, or on the voip provider's server.
Also, in the even of a power failure, the internet and voip won't work, or not last very long with a UPS.
Deal Addict
Mar 21, 2006
4478 posts
474 upvotes
Burlington, Ontario
Public VOIP services are completely and totally unreliable for an alarm system.

As mentioned above, the public internet VOIP services (Vonage, FreePhone, etc) are unable to provide the consistent and reliable quality signal that an alarm system requires to communicate.

What may work once, may not work the next time.

We've been through a few of them for clients and they all end up changing over to a proper phone service. Bell is the most reliable, and then the cable providers after that.

Your alarm monitoring contract will usually have something in there stating this.

Also, if you change your phone number, you should update your monitoring company as all the incoming ANIs (phone numbers) are logged and flagged if they do not match the one on file. Some alarm companies will process the flags, some won't.
Audio - Video - Data - Security - This is what I do
Deal Fanatic
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Jan 6, 2004
8270 posts
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Mississauga
I too am looking to change my home line to VOIP. I am with Sears Home Protection. They have quoted me $10/month for a GSM (Rogers) line and $199 for the module installation. Is there any way to do this myself, or avoid the $199 fee? I really want to abandon the phone line but the added monthly cost is a pain, and the install fee is what is holding me back (I still save only considering the $10 extra).

Any advice?
Deal Addict
May 26, 2011
1804 posts
474 upvotes
Vancouver
Another option is IP monitoring. If your control panel connected directly to your router, you wouldn't need to worry about VoIP-related issues. The advantage is that the monthly cost is typically the same as if the system were monitored by phone line. Of course, you can still be affected by power and internet failures.
Deal Fanatic
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Jan 6, 2004
8270 posts
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Mississauga
I am not in any way concerned with internet or phone failures, or them following up with me. My wife just wants the peace of mind of having an alarm system as a deterrent, and so long as it does that I am happy. If I get notices for outages that is fine. Any recommendations for IP monitoring providers? I don't think my existing company does that.
Sr. Member
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Jun 2, 2008
502 posts
56 upvotes
I have had my alarm system running through my Linksys PAP2T ATA using voip.ms for over 3 years and have not had any problems with it at all. It's a DSC alarm system.

NOTE: My modem, router and ATA are all on an APC UPS with over 330 minutes of backup power in the event of a power outage.

My alarm system also has an EnvisaLink 2D3 ethernet card in it. Basically, it allows me to view my alarm info online but more importantly it allows my alarm system to send text messages to my cell phone in the case of alarms, disarm, system troubles, etc.. In the event that the ATA goes down or my VOIP service goes down, the system texts me immediately. Obviously the texting service won't work if my entire internet connection goes down, but that rarely happens. I can also use this card to connect with an IP based alarm monitoring company, which I intend to do in the next few months.
Deal Fanatic
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Jan 6, 2004
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Mississauga
So essentially I can get an obi100 and use it with my DSC system and VoIP.ms but it just isn't recommended? Do I need anything else special to do this?
Deal Addict
Nov 2, 2005
4223 posts
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WFH
alkizmo wrote: The problem with VoIP is that it doesn't have the perfect audio required for communication. Lines from Rogers or Videotron (through cable internet) gets 100% priority and has perfect audio, it doesn't go through the internet, just through their infrastructure
Voice quality? WTF? Sounds like these monitoring companies are still using technology that belongs in the early 80's. Doesn't anyone provide proper robust IP based monitoring yet?
Deal Fanatic
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Jan 6, 2004
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To clarify my question, if I am plugging the ethernet and phone base into the obi100, and I no longer have my phone line, what does the alarm plug into to make it think the obi100 is now the phone line?
Deal Addict
May 26, 2011
1804 posts
474 upvotes
Vancouver
I forgot to mention this other option, which mystical2003 mentioned in another thread: https://www.eyez-on.com/EZMAIN/envisalink3.php

You can receive a text message when your alarm trips, and there are no monthly fees. The downside is no police dispatch, but (at least in Vancouver) it's slow enough that there's not a great deal of value there.
Avenger wrote: To clarify my question, if I am plugging the ethernet and phone base into the obi100, and I no longer have my phone line, what does the alarm plug into to make it think the obi100 is now the phone line?
With this scenario, the proper way to do it is your phone plugs into the alarm, and the alarm plugs into the OBi100. This way, the alarm can "sieze" the line and dial out, even if someone is using your phone.
Deal Addict
Jul 20, 2005
1293 posts
63 upvotes
My alarm couldn't communicate over voip (PAP2T-NA, voip.ms, Paradox alarm, The Monitoring Centre). There are various settings you can tweak - communication protocol on the alarm, quality settings on the voip adapter - but nothing worked for me. Had to stick with regular phone service (tekksavvy).

I could buy an IP monitoring module for the alarm, but at over $200 it's not worth it.
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Jan 6, 2004
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Mississauga
PianoGuy wrote: I forgot to mention this other option, which mystical2003 mentioned in another thread: https://www.eyez-on.com/EZMAIN/envisalink3.php

You can receive a text message when your alarm trips, and there are no monthly fees. The downside is no police dispatch, but (at least in Vancouver) it's slow enough that there's not a great deal of value there.



With this scenario, the proper way to do it is your phone plugs into the alarm, and the alarm plugs into the OBi100. This way, the alarm can "sieze" the line and dial out, even if someone is using your phone.
I had actually come across that as well. IT seems I can use it simultaneously without reprogramming my alarm (DSC 5010) and while still utilizing my provider? I got a little overwhelmed and am still mulling through the technical jargon and literature on it, as well as the installer and default codes for my system.

I'd be okay with this option, but I just came across some further info that may complicate things in that the obi devices conflict or do not properly report to the envisalink and as such notification errors occur. More reading I suppose!

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