IP Monitoring

What Is IP Monitoring?

IP Monitoring is the modern way to monitor a security system. Traditional security systems use phone lines and PSTN telephone networks to reach the monitoring centre. This presents a few problems:

  • Many new buildings and estates do not have copper infrastructure in place, and therefore cannot have “traditional” PSTN phone lines connected to the security system.
  • Service providers are actively migrating customers off legacy PSTN infrastructure to newer technologies such as Fixed Wireless, Fibre, or the NBN.
  • Many customers no longer have fixed line services and rather employ the use of 4G Wireless, Fibre services, or Fixed Wireless, in order to reduce costs, consolidate their services, and benefit from the speed and flexibility of IP technology.

Aside from just a physical infrastructure problem, legacy PSTN monitoring has the following operational and security concerns:

  • It’s Costly: Each time an alarm (or other event) needs to be reported, the alarm panel has to make a phone call. This generally includes a flagfall charge, as well as a call charge. If your alarm system makes a lot of calls, or you have an alarm zone that is in fault and reporting a lot of alarms, then you will potentially have a very expensive phone bill. On top of that, you also have the monthly phone line rental!
  • It’s slow: Alarms are dialled out over a phone line which takes time. Think of an old dial-up modem and you get the idea.
  • It’s not secure: Alarms are not encrypted and could be intercepted by a third party and prevented from actually being received at the monitoring centre.
  • It’s poorly supervised: Many legacy alarm panels only report a “weekly test report”, which means if the line is cut or the system is not operating correcting, you might not know that the system can’t reach the monitoring station for a whole week! This also means that if an alarm occurs in the meantime, it won’t be reported.

Why IP Monitoring is Better – The Benefits:

IP Monitoring introduces major benefits by addressing the problems of traditional PSTN monitoring. It also brings new benefits as a result of being a modern technology.

  • It Costs Nothing: As IP reporting can use your existing internet connection, there’s no need to pay for a separate phone line rental for the security system, and of course there’s no expense for any phone calls, since it doesn’t make any!
  • It’s Fast: Alarms are reported almost the instant they’re generated. There’s no dialling, and no waiting. As IP reporting uses the internet to communicate, and the data packets are very small, it takes almost no time to report any event.
  • It’s Secure: The IP communication can be enabled with an encryption key to ensure the data packets cannot be sniffed or intercepted. This provides compliance benefits for very high security installations or government departments.
  • It’s Flexibly Supervised: Alarm panels that feature IP reporting can generally have a configurable “polling interval”, which can be anything from a week, right down to a few seconds. Should a poll fail, an alert will be generated in the monitoring station, so it’s known within minutes that there’s communication problem, rather than after days.
  • Online Monitoring: IP Monitoring allows the monitoring station to view real-time information about the alarm panel, such as the last time it polled, what the last event was, and other information.

Consider if your existing legacy alarm system makes two phone calls a day (one in the morning when the site is disarmed, and another when it arms up at night). Multiply this by the number of days in the month, and add the line rental. Additionally, add on any calls make to report alarms. The costs add up!

Migrating your alarm system to a fully IP solution using an existing internet connection can save thousands of dollars a year – enough to quickly see a return on investment. Given the added benefits of having a secure and highly supervised IP connection, IP Monitoring just makes sense.

How IP Monitoring Works:

IP monitoring makes use of a network (internet) connection to report alarms and other information to the monitoring station. This can be an existing internet connection on site, and if you’re worried about bandwidth usage, don’t be; the amount of data transmitted by the IP reporting protocol are so small, it will hardly be noticed on the network.

Here’s a basic overview of how IP Monitoring works:

  1. An alarm event is generated by the alarm panel
  2. The alarm panel sends this alarm (via an IP Reporting Protocol) over the network (internet) to the monitoring station.
  3. The IP Monitoring Receiver at the monitoring station receives and processes the alarm, and sends it on to the monitoring station software for handling by an operator.

Sending the Right Signals – ICT ArmorIP

As a certified ICT Integrated Dealer Network member, Global Zone supports the ArmorIP Protocol. This IP monitoring protocol is the go-to standard for all our Protégé installations, and provides all of the benefits of a full IP Reporting service. Talk to us today about migrating your existing Protégé system, or take your security to the next level with ICT ProtegeGX.

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