Broadband alarm monitoring

Increasing deployment of voice over IP technology (VoIP) is driving the adoption of broadband signaling for alarm reporting. Many sites requiring alarm installations no longer have conventional telephone lines (POTS), and alarm panels with conventional telephone dialer capability do not work reliably over some types of VoIP service.

Dial up analog alarm panels or systems with serial/parallel data ports may be migrated to broadband through the addition of an alarm server device which converts telephone signaling signals or data port traffic to IP messages suitable for broadband transmission. But the direct use of VoIP (POTS port on premises terminal) to transport analog alarms without an alarm server device is problematic as the audio codecs used throughout the entire network transmission path cannot guarantee a suitable level of reliability or quality of service acceptable for the application.

In response to the changing public communications network, new alarm systems often can use broadband signaling as a method of alarm transmission, and manufacturers are including IP reporting capability directly in their alarm panel products. When the Internet is used as a primary signaling method for critical security and life safety applications, frequent supervision messages are configured to overcome concerns about backup power for network equipment and signal delivery time. But for typical applications, connectivity concerns are controlled by normal supervision messages, sent daily or weekly.

Various IP Alarm transmission protocols exist but most in use today are proprietary. Just as the formats used for conventional telephone reporting were standardized and published, broadband signaling for alarm reporting is being standardized today. In 2007, US alarm manufacturers developed an open standard called DC-09. This standard has been accepted as an American National Standard, and is published as ANSI/SIA DC-09-2007. [ref: ANSI/SIA DC-09-2007] The protocol provides an encoding scheme and transport mechanism to carry data from 17 previously defined alarm protocols, including the latest Contact ID, SIA DC-03 and SIA 2000 protocols. [ref: ANSI/SIA DC-07-2001.04] Several manufacturers of panels and receivers are reported to be developing or have released support for DC-09.