VOIP & Your Alarm

VOIP graphic.

What You Need to Know About VOIP

Are your phone lines being changed to VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol)? If so, please call us first.

Frontier recently sent a letter to many California residents informing them they are switching their phone lines to internet technology, otherwise known as VOIP. If you received this letter, please be sure to contact us right away so we can get you scheduled for a reliable communication method for your security system.

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) is becoming increasingly popular as telephone companies offer lowered rates and incentives to clients who switch over from their analog phone service. However, VOIP does not provide a reliable connection for your alarm system and could disrupt or drop emergency signals.

We can provide a better, more reliable, primary communication method for your alarm system. Please let us know before your phone service is switched to VOIP, so we can install a new alarm connection right away.

Why is VOIP not reliable for alarm systems? There are multiple issues that arise when an alarm system is placed on a VOIP phone system:


  1. VOIP requires continuous power to run. If you have a complete power loss, you will not be able to use your phone and your alarm system will not be able to send signals to the central station.
  2. Alarm systems require consistent and precise frequency in their communication signals in order to communicate effectively. VOIP is a service which uses the internet to mimic phone lines and is susceptible to losing packets of data, frequency shifts, and data errors, all of which can interfere with the alarm systems ability to call out to the monitoring station. VOIP systems send packets of data over the internet and there are times when these data packets are out of order or get sent to routes which they weren't destined for. This data loss issue is fine during the occasional phone call between two people talking, but it can be life-threatening when an alarm system is not correctly sending fire, burglary, panic, or medical emergency signals.
  3. Businessman annoyed by telephone.

  4. In order for VOIP phone service to run efficiently over the internet, audible analog dialogue is converted to digital data for transmission and then compressed so it can be sent over limited bandwidth. One the other end of the signal, the information is then decompressed and re-interpreted. This compression and decompression process is where the alarm signals can be lost or altered. When this occurs during a phone call between two people, the sound may come across as slightly garbled or it may cut out for a second. During an alarm signal transmission, however, losing just one digit of this communication may cause the entire signal to become unintelligible.
  5. Many VOIP providers that first sell themselves on their large amounts of bandwidth and ability to not lose packets of information, have later changed their digital platforms or outsourced certain areas to less adequate providers later. Even when your alarm system appears to be communicating well when first tested, there is no way to guarantee a continuous high level of VOIP service.
  6. VOIP phone systems are more prone to user errors, for example, when someone accidentally unplugs or trips over a cable which disconnects your internet service - this would cause an immediate loss of communication for your alarm system.
  7. Internet phone service can be prone to outages that can last minutes or sometimes hours. If you're moving your traditional analog phone service to VOIP, and there is an emergency, you would still be able to call 911 by using your cell phone. In the same way, alarm systems using VOIP should also have another alternate way to call out which is more reliable.
  8. Even if your alarm system sends signals perfectly over a VOIP phone line during testing, that connection is still susceptible to issues from increased internet traffic, internet hops, lag time, and other concerns which can garble the connection, drop signals, and result in a loss of communication to your security system.

There are solutions readily available to keep your monitoring connection running smoothly if you are moving to a VOIP phone system. Please call us as soon as you know you will be making this change so we can assist you.

Two young boys share a phone call over tin can and string telephones.