Working Together? Can Digital Voice and FIOS Voice Wing work with your security system?

By Wayne Ohlemeier, Chief Technical Officer
Posted February 8, 2008

Have you ever had that recipe with those tastes which sounded like they would work together but really didn’t? Or that outfit where each piece was fantastic but when you put them together you wouldn’t dare go out in public?

Technology today is trying to make partners of equipment and services that on the surface appear like they should work well together. However, when these are combined the results are less than desirable and sometimes approach tragic.

We see the ads everyday, Comcast Digital Voice, Verizon FIOS Voice Wing, Vonage, and a variety of other names. Each one with the promise to make communications easier, faster, and less expensive. The technology each of these services use is called Voice Over IP or VOIP. This service is designed to take advantage of the high speed broadband internet services that we all are using and depending on more everyday. The way in which communications signals are processed is much different than the way those same signals are processed with plain old telephone service or POTS. Many things work well with either VOIP or POTS, but some do not.

Older fax machines, some automated equipment to read water, electric, and gas meters, the enhanced 911 emergency services, and your security system all have difficulty with VOIP. These devices, and there are others, were designed to work within the physical constraints of POTS. The VOIP services may cause too much amplification of the signal so that the signals are distorted, can send information faster than some receivers will work, sometimes break down the signals and put them back together in a format that a receiver cannot understand. An analogy might be a race car and a speed boat. Both are fast and take you from point A to point B, however, each need a different medium to travel on.

Just as the inventors and entrepreneurs are developing the car which also works as your boat, many manufactures are redesigning their products to work with the newer communications methods. This process does take time and is sometimes aimed at a moving target as our technology curve goes ever faster.

As your security provider we are committed to being as close to 100% up time as is possible. The VOIP technologies combined with the security industry do not come close enough to that 100% commitment. We are excited to see developments which are raising the bar and are anxious to provide you with these solutions just as quickly as they are available and have proven themselves.

For the present time we would ask for your patience in continuing to use the POTS for your alarm system. We invite any questions or feedback as it relates to the security of your property and those you care for.