The Security & Fire Alarm industry has relied upon analog phone lines for the past 50 years. The digital dialer has been the bread and butter of the alarm control panel industry and is still implemented on the majority of all control panels manufactured today. Alternate communication forms have been around for just as long, we just knew them over the years as direct wire, multiplex, one way / two way radio and cellular modules during the later years. Some manufacturers provided these forms of alternate communication for their products, but many others referred the installer to a third party source if they needed an alternate communication method.
Today, between the phone companies eliminating copper/analog lines with fiber/digital lines, and the consumer opting out of installing a landline in their homes & businesses, the term alternate communication will soon be the new standard. With the introduction of the internet, some alarm control panel manufacturers began to dip their toes in this new market about 10-12 years ago, but many have not embraced this form of communication until recently.
The two most dominant communication methods found in new installations today are from GSM/Cellular or IP communicators or with products that incorporate both technologies in one module. Even though most companies are using GSM/Cellular products, these products transmit their signals via the data/internet portion of the cellular network provider, making the internet a common thread for all future alarm communications.
Recently, the alarm industry just began to recover from the cellular 2G shutdown, and there will be more to come on the horizon as these technologies change. Regardless if you are a manufacturer, installer or monitoring center, you must embrace the new technologies as they roll out. Relying upon analog methods including analog control panel dialers in this new digital age will one day sneak up on you and bite you hard, the phone companies will make sure of that. All installers and monitoring centers should be transitioning to internet methods of communication whether in the form of GSM/Cellular or IP modules. With this being said, you should also realize that some third party GSM/Cellular products relay their alarm signals to the appropriate monitoring center via an analog phone line path. Monitoring centers should be arranging to have such providers send this traffic to them via the internet before a phone carrier makes a dramatic network change causing such alarm traffic to stop between points A & B.
Begin today to transition away from analog phone lines. Find devices capable of providing a bridge between the old analog control panel phone lines to the GSM/IP network. You should not be installing new jobs today by using the customer's telephone line because you will find yourself fighting an uphill battle of keeping communications up between your customer and your monitoring center. The alarm industry cannot afford to be complacent any longer when it comes to new communication technologies and neither shall installers or monitoring centers.
Vice President / Design Communications, Inc.
UL Listed / FM Approved Central Station Services