Article: VoIP & Risk to POTS

VoIP Puts Your POTS Subscribers At Risk for Unreliable and Missed Signals

Misconceptions about VoIP CAN hurt you and your subscribers!

The Problem:
Any of your alarm subscribers that use Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) WILL be impacted by VoIP and the result is serious--unreliable signal reporting! It is a fallacy that if your customer uses POTS they are not affected by VoIP challenges. This is because phone service providers will likely route calls through a telephone switching station using VoIP and the analog signal will be converted to a digital signal. This means alarms could be transmitted to incorrect account numbers, or worse, an actual alarm could be missed. Because the phone service provider will chose the cheapest way to transmit the phone call to its destination, the alarm signal may report sometimes--but not all the time--and therefore is NOT reliable.

Understanding the WHY of this Problem:
What is VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol or, in more common terms, phone service over the internet.

How does VoIP work?
VoIP takes the analog signal and converts it into a digital signal in order to be transferred over the internet. Phone carriers use this technology because of the cheaper cost in usage and the service allows more functionality. However, at this time VoIP is not fully regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) because it is viewed as a service option, not a primary means of telephone communication.

How does an alarm signal transmit to the central station?
By the time an alarm signal is delivered to the central station, it has gone through multiple telephone switching stations. The phone service provider will chose the cheapest way to transmit a phone call from one premise to another. Since VoIP is a lower cost than traditional Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) lines, the phone service provider will route the calls through telephone switching stations that use VoIP.

How can we fix the problems?
AlarmWATCH is keenly aware of this issue and working closely with manufacturers to solve these problems. We will continue to showcase solutions to you through our AlarmWATCH University technical seminars.

Currently, there are several options you may use in order to correct this problem and be assured the subscribers' alarms will get through. Please continue to visit our website and make sure you are receiving our email blasts (white list in your email program) to become more familiar with the solutions. AlarmWATCH will be hosting seminars in 2012 on all the products that are available to solve this serious problem.

If you have immediate questions concerning VOIP or other matters, please contact Dealer Services at by email or call 866-500-8808, extension 2014.


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