Is Your Alarm Transmitting a Proper Signal?


On-going changes in the telecommunications industry may affect your alarm system’s ability to properly and reliably transmit alarm signals to our central station.

There are three issues affecting some of our systems.

1) If your alarm system is still transmitting via POTS (plain old telephone) lines, the transmissions may become garbled. The phone companies are increasingly moving phone traffic from copper phone lines to Internet cables.

The sounds or beeps your alarm system makes to communicate become digitized and compressed; when converted back to sounds, if not exactly perfect, the central station cannot distinguish the information correctly. This results in alarms on the correct customer account but not the correct indication or worse, ending up on the wrong account. We call this being “voiped.” It is an intermittent condition. Comcast phone lines, so far, have not been similarly affected. We suggest you consider moving to cellular or IP technology.

2) Comcast has entered the commercial market for phone lines. If you have a fire alarm that is required to be monitored by local jurisdictions, you must check with them in advance of moving to Comcast. Renton and Lynnwood are two cities that do NOT permit the monitoring to be carried over Comcast. Different jurisdictions have different rules.

If you do move to Comcast, it is your responsibility to make sure the fire alarm is still connected and transmits properly to the central station.

It is also your responsibility to understand the limitations of the Comcast modem with your fire alarm: its standby battery time is far less than the standby time on the fire alarm battery, the battery is not supervised to tell the fire panel when it is low or dead, the modem is not physically protected or labeled that it is necessary to the fire alarm, and the cable connection is not supervised..

During an extended power outage, you may not know when the modem battery has expired, so you should consider planning for a fire watch during the entire power outage.

3) With respect to the transition from 2G cellular coverage to 4G, we have substantially completed our upgrades. If you believe you have 2G and we have not already upgraded your system, please give us a call.

Fire Alarm, MonitoringDave