One of the most common questions we get asked by our existing customers and customers who are coming to us looking for fire alarm monitoring or commercial intrusion alarm monitoring for their business is “Do we need to keep our old analog telephone line for monitoring?”. This question is becoming more and more common, especially as businesses are moving toward cellphones and IP-based phone systems for their operations. IP-based phone systems are often less expensive than their analog counterparts, and most people carry cell phones with them in today’s business world. Pair that with the fact that the cost of copper phone lines is increasing every year, and it’s no wonder we get this question so often when people are thinking about commercial intrusion alarm monitoring for their business and fire alarm monitoring.
The easy answer to this question of whether or not you need an analog phone line for your commercial intrusion alarm system or fire alarm monitoring system is a resounding “no”. As we’ve discussed in past blog posts (like this one), there are plenty of technologies out there which can provide monitoring without the need for an analog phone line. This includes monitoring of commercial security alarm systems and fire alarm systems over cellular and over IP (or internet).
There are a couple of factors to consider when making this move however:
What do ULC fire alarm monitoring standards require?
When considering whether or not to eliminate a phone line from your existing business security alarm system or fire alarm system, you must consider the relevant codes and standards that the system is installed to, and what relevant bodies might need in terms of communication. For example, CAN/ULC-S561 fire alarm monitoring requires either two forms of communication if you’re setting the system up in a passive format, or a supervised connection if you’re setting it up in an active format. (Information on active security alarm monitoring/fire alarm monitoring and passive security alarm monitoring/fire alarm monitoring can be viewed in this blog post). Tus, if you’re looking to eliminate the need for a phone line, you will need to conform to one of these two methods. This may mean the involvement of your IT staff, or increased rates in the case of active alarm monitoring. Similarly, insurance companies may require certain levels of line security as it relates to the security alarm monitoring system installed in your business. We recommend speaking with your insurer about what they may require, or the security alarm company contracted for your business to figure out what is best for your set-up.
What can your alarm monitoring system accommodate?
Keeping in mind point #1, if you’re looking to eliminate a phone line from an existing system, you need to know whether or not your existing business security system can accommodate newer forms of communication. Many times, a generic cellular communicator can be installed which acts as a “dialer capture” module – meaning that the panel still “dials” into this cellular module in the same way it would dial out on a phone line, and then that information is relayed over the cellular network – but often when these types of modules are used, a second form of communication cannot be used, if required. This may mean you need to upgrade your existing business intrusion monitoring system in order to move away from an analog phone line. We recommend discussing this with your security alarm company to ensure the equipment you’re using can accommodate your needs when moving away from analog phone lines.
So the easy answer to the question of “Do we need to keep our old analog telephone line for monitoring?” is clearly “no”. Technology exists which can allow you to safely move away from analog phone lines in your business. However, as we’ve shown there are a couple of factors to consider when doing so. We’d be happy to help you navigate these questions and considerations, with one of our no cost, no obligation assessments. Contact Us to find out more.