ISC Fire AlarmThe Exceptional Fire Alarm Company
What We Can Do For You –
24/7 UL Listed Monitoring
Code requires that fire alarm systems and/or building sprinkler monitoring systems are monitored 24/7 by a UL Listed Central Station. ISC has provided the highest quality monitoring since our inception.
The last few years have brought big changes in monitoring technology. Large telephone carriers have been phasing out old fashioned analog phone lines, and in a few more years they will be completely gone. The carriers are replacing old phone lines are virtual lines running on an ethernet and on the internet. This is a problem for fire alarm systems in two ways. First, the output signals that fire systems use to electronically dial do not work well with virtual phone lines, so the reliability of signal transmission goes way down. Second, the code requires that all fire alarm systems and communications equipment have to have a backup power source, and signals routed over an ethernet or the internet usually have switches, roouters and/or modems that do not have backup power. If any of this equipment is in the path of travel of that fire alarm signal, and the power fails or the plug is pulled, the signal will not get through.
Another problem is that as old fashioned phone lines get phased out, they are becoming vastly more espensive, as many building owners have been finding out.
There are three primary alternatives to the use of the new virtual phone lines – communication over the internet, over a private radio type network, or over the existing cellular network. Of the three, we prefer the cellular network. Communication over the internet works well but has the same back up power problem noted above, meaning that virtually all of these systems ARE NOT code compliant. Communication over private network has gained a lot of market share, but it inherently is proprietary and does not have the reach or the dependability of the large utility type ownership of old phone lines or the modern cellular network.
Although all of us with cell phones know that dropped calls and garbled messages are a frequent problem, the fact is that the cellular network is remarkably dependable and fault tolerant, as much or moreso than old fashioned phone lines. These well know problems are almost always due to distance from cell towers, a problem with the phone, physical blockages of the signal, or the fact that transmitting voice is a pretty high bandwidth undertaking compared with electronic signals, such as text messages.
Cellular phone monitoring systems use text message type signals, very small bandwidth messages that are transmitted very qickly. And if they do not go through, they can be re-transmitted immediately until they are acknowleged at the other end.
The other plus is that cellular communication is way cheaper than phone based communicaton when including the cost of the two dedicated analog phone lines that fire alarm systems require. For all of the reasons above, we have already converted at least half of our existing monitoring customers to cellular based communication.
If you need monitoring or are eady to save money and switch to cellular, we can help with any systems. Our price are lower than most and and all of our monitoring contracts are cancellable on 30 days notice – we do not lock you in to expensive multi year contracts.