Choosing a home alarm system can be a little complicated simply because there are so many options to choose from. While you're deciding how many cameras you need and if you want to be able to remotely control your thermostat and lights when you're not home, you may be ignoring one of the most important aspects of your alarm system: how it communicates with the alarm company. There are many things to consider when selecting a communication method, including cost, equipment, reliability, and, most importantly, your safety. Following are the three main forms of alarm system communication and what they mean for you and your safety.
If you have broadband Internet already established in your home, you can hook your alarm system up to it and the system will communicate with your alarm company via the Internet. While this type of communication poses several benefits, it also has some drawbacks. Internet monitoring is fast. It will alert your alarm company much faster than if you have a landline or cellular connection. However, do you remember what happened the last time your power went out? You lost your Internet, didn't you? Unless you have a backup power source, your system will not work when the power is out.
Cellular systems use a dedicated cellular line to talk to your alarm company. If something does happen at your home, your system will be able to communicate directly with the alarm company very quickly regardless of whether there's a power outage or your phone lines are down. The only time that this wouldn't work is if cellular lines are compromised or overburdened, which can sometimes happen in a natural or man-made disaster.
If you have a landline, your alarm company can connect your system to it. While a landline will work when the power is out, it's usually a slower form of communication than the other two methods mentioned above. A landline can also be cut by an intruder, so that's also something you should consider. This method is fairly inexpensive and doesn't require a lot of equipment upgrades.
If you can't choose just one form of communication, you're in luck. Some companies will allow you to select a backup form of communication. For example, if you want a broadband communication because of the speed, you can also have a cellular backup connection if power does go out. If you're not sure what's best for you, be sure to talk it over with your alarm company.