VoIP technology can work with alarm system monitoring, but there are a few things to consider to ensure that VoIP alarm system monitoring performs without any problems. Many businesses start off with an alarm system that works over their telephone line. Signals are transmitted over copper wires (or POTS: plain old telephone system). It's an analog system. Sounds travel back and forth through the copper wires.

Most alarm systems work well with existing POTS. This is how they were initially designed before internet usage became popular. With so many businesses upgrading from their copper wire phone systems to VoIP, compatibility issues have become a big problem.

Compatibility Between VoIP and Alarm System Monitoring

VoIP converts analog signals into digital signals. The monitoring base station (remote alarm monitoring system) can only receive analog signals. VoIP converts its digital signals back to analog. This should work for the base station but that isn't always the case. In some instances, the converted digital signals are not recognized as alarm notifications. Your business' alarm triggered but no one is listening. Obviously, this is not the desired outcome. There are two main considerations when using VoIP with alarm systems:

  • Corrupted Signals. The problem with signals not being received correctly at the base station usually occurs during the conversion process. The signal might be converted but with errors. In this case, it is received by the base station but not as an alarm signal. It is more likely the base station sees it as just noise. It can also happen that the signal is completely lost during the conversion and never received by the case station.
  • Power Failure. Another factor to consider with VoIP and alarm system monitoring is the power source. If the power goes out, VoIP will not work. With POTS, power is not required. To keep VoIP up and running, a battery backup is needed. However, if you are changing over to VoIP and your alarm monitoring service isn't aware, you potentially have a dead alarm.

To help with these compatibility problems between VoIP and alarm system monitoring, many alarm services qualify VoIP and phone providers using what's called Managed Facilities-based Voice Network (MFVN).

VoIP isn't tied to just copper wire phone systems. It can also be used with cable service providers. Cable, of course, is all digital. It still suffers from the same conversion issues mentioned above. As well, your VoIP modem needs constant power to operate.

How can businesses ensure that their VoIP system will work with their alarm monitoring service? In the next section, we cover this issue in detail.

Integrated VoIP Alarm System Monitoring

To get the best performance from your VoIP system and alarm monitoring service, the copper wire phone system must be removed from the equation. This doesn't mean you need to discontinue using copper-based phone service. It means VoIP needs to transmit using a different system.

One of the most common solutions is to use cellular service to transmit alarm signals to the central station. Cellular doesn't suffer from the power outage issues that plague VoIP/POTS-based systems. In this setup, the alarm service will usually install the cellular transmitter.

To ensure correct conversion of VoIP digital signals to analog signals, a cloud-based communications service provider is used. These providers sit between your business and the central station of the alarm monitoring service. They intercept your VoIP-based alarm signal transmission, convert it to analog and send it to the central station. This type of conversion allows the central station to correctly recognize your alarm notification every time.

Don't Take Chances With Your Alarm System

VoIP transmits digital signals while alarm system monitoring can only understand analog. VoIP also requires a battery backup in the event of a power failure. Instead of POTS, using a cellular service to transmit VoIP ensures alarm notifications can be received by the central station should the power go out. In some cases, a special communications provider converts VoIP digital signals back to analog for the central station. There are many benefits to using VoIP, but its important to build in failsafes to ensure continued operations.

When it comes to VoIP, 8x8 provides a reliable and compliant cloud solution at a demanding level rarely seen by other cloud providers. Don't take your chances with a subpar cloud-based telecom system. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.


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