When it comes to your home security system, there are several ways that your monitoring company can detect what’s happening in your home. These methods all involve a telephone-type connection, and vary from a dedicated security line to a standard telephone line to a cellular signal. Each of these monitoring options varies in its costs and its effectiveness.
Here’s a look at the three basic home security system monitoring options.
Dedicated Alarm Lines
While these kinds of lines are typically reserved for businesses with large amounts of cash on hand or high-value inventories, some homeowners with significant personal assets might consider this kind of a line.
A dedicated alarm line is a line that’s “supervised.” This means that, if the line is cut or tampered with, your security system is notified. In many cases, this kind of line is used to monitor fire alarm panels in larger buildings. Some areas may offer a DVACS (Digital Voice Access Control System) option that will actually send a signal across that line every minute or two. If the security company doesn’t get that pulse signal, it knows that the line has been cut or tampered with.
A dedicated alarm line is going to cost as much as $1,500 or more than a standard phone line-based system, and you’re probably looking at around $100 more per month for the line itself.
Telephone Alarm Line
One of the oldest ways of monitoring a home security system is with a standard telephone line. The system plugs into a phone jack, and then it uses a dialer to call the security monitoring service when an alarm goes off.
Essentially, the security system will take over that phone line (even if someone’s using it) and send a signal to the home security company. The home security company calls the home and asks for a passcode to verify whether the alarm is legitimate, and then decides on whether to dispatch authorities.
The problem with this kind of monitoring is that phone lines can be easy to cut. If a burglar or home invader cuts the phone line, it won’t signal the monitoring company.
Some alarm systems rely on a cellular transmitter to send that signal to the monitoring company. The home security system connects in to the cell network and sends the same kind of signal that’s sent from a regular telephone line. These systems are more expensive upfront, and you can plan on paying $200 or more extra for one. Many times, they will also add to the monthly service cost.
The advantage to this kind of system is that the line cannot be cut. Some systems that are based on a standard phone line may also use a cellular backup for situations in which the standard phone line is cut.