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backup phone line for security system - Comcast business phone line or generic VoIP line?
Posted by: clay
Date: March 28, 2021 07:50PM
I am helping someone with a Comcast business internet (and single phone line) connection get up and running with a traditional security system. The local security vendor requires/recommends a second/backup phone line so that the system always has a clear line.

Comcast business will add a second phone line for $20/month on top of the current bill. The security vendor will add a phone line using a $450 fixed fee (for some hardware and install) and $15/month service for a cellular option. The math works out to the Comcast option being cheaper until they hit the 8 year mark. I'm wondering if a $10 VoIP phone line wouldn't work (I know that's no guarantee as security systems can be picky), or if there's anything special about the Comcast phone line that would make it a better VoIP option than the 3rd party option.

My question is this -- is there any "special sauce" with the Comcast phone line that is more likely to make it work in this situation when compared to a 3rd party VoIP option?

And I'm aware that if the power is out, a VoIP line (Comcast or otherwise) is going to be out as well, unless every link in that chain is protected by backup power/battery. Let's leave that consideration aside for the moment.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/28/2021 07:53PM by clay.
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Re: backup phone line for security system - Comcast business phone line or generic VoIP line?
Posted by: C(-)ris
Date: March 28, 2021 09:07PM
The $450 fixed fee is likely a cellular modem. It is a fixed fee for the life of the equipment. If the cellular modem fails you will be paying $450 again.



C(-)ris
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Re: backup phone line for security system - Comcast business phone line or generic VoIP line?
Posted by: clay
Date: March 28, 2021 09:36PM
Quote
C(-)ris
The $450 fixed fee is likely a cellular modem. It is a fixed fee for the life of the equipment. If the cellular modem fails you will be paying $450 again.

Yeah, you're probably correct. My friend has basically already dismissed that option, since the breakeven point between that and Comcast is nearly 8 years. So we're basically down to either Comcast voip or generic voip for this second line.
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Re: backup phone line for security system - Comcast business phone line or generic VoIP line?
Posted by: John B.
Date: March 29, 2021 08:04AM
It's been 2 years since I had to deal with this, but you (or the person you are helping) may want to clarify whether a VoIP line is acceptable. 2 years ago there were a significant number of jurisdictions/inspectors that would not accept anything other than a POTS line for fire/burglar alarm backup, and cellular backup was still considered "new technology" that they were evaluating.

Long way of saying that while a VoIP line may work, if the alarm is in a situation where a inspector has to sign off on the installation, they may say no.
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Re: backup phone line for security system - Comcast business phone line or generic VoIP line?
Posted by: rz
Date: March 29, 2021 09:11AM
I'd shop around for other security vendors. Our home system had been on a traditional phone line, but years ago we switched to the cellular option. The install wasn't free, but it was WAY less than $450. I think we pay $10/month for the service on top of the regular monthly monitoring fee.
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Re: backup phone line for security system - Comcast business phone line or generic VoIP line?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: March 29, 2021 10:25AM
Quote
rz
I'd shop around for other security vendors. Our home system had been on a traditional phone line, but years ago we switched to the cellular option. The install wasn't free, but it was WAY less than $450. I think we pay $10/month for the service on top of the regular monthly monitoring fee.
Agreed. Most security system companies now include the cellular as part of the system monitoring cost.
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Re: backup phone line for security system - Comcast business phone line or generic VoIP line?
Posted by: Schpark
Date: March 29, 2021 11:05AM
I switched from phone monitoring of my security system to monitoring over the internet with an added board to my system.

[www.amazon.com]

and then have it monitored by Eyezon. There is an app that allows me to check the status of my system and I get text and email alerts for alarms, arming and disarming and power loss events etc.

This method does not depend on a phone line and the response time to alarms is much quicker since there is no dialing delay.

I also have a VOIP phone (Ooma) and my monitoring plus Ooma is much less than my POTS cost.

I do have my Oooma, cable modem, and router plugged into a UPS for use in power outages. My security system has its own built in battery backup.

I did the same thing for my mother's house and it is comforting seeing her system being armed and disarmed which tells me things are going ok.
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Re: backup phone line for security system - Comcast business phone line or generic VoIP line?
Posted by: Robert M
Date: March 29, 2021 11:31AM
Clay,

Most systems include an option for phone and cellular these days. The systems have a battery backup system in place to ensure the alarm stays active in the event of a power outage. However, you'll have to update the cellular tech as it changes.

If the security company is using a traditional system and is recommending a phone line configuration over a cellular option, then that person needs to find a different provider. A traditional system usually has both options and many are forgoing the phone option entirely.

There are many non-traditional systems out there that might be a suitable alternative to what the regular security company wants to put in place. How complex of a system is being designed? Central station monitoring or just phone/email notifications?

I know people and companies who've switched from a traditional security system to models from Ring, Simplisafe and even just a set of Wyze Sensors. Some have central station monitoring. Some just rely on the system itself and don't use the central station monitoring option. Some have added video doorbells, surveillance cams, water and smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. Lots of options.

Robert
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