Intruder Alarm Systems

Intruder Alarm Systems For The Home.

Where to start?

If you’re thinking of protecting your home first time or upgrading your existing home alarm system, you might be feeling daunted by number of alarm devices and monitoring services available.

See below the following four categories of alarm systems:

Intruder Alarm For The Home.

Entry level and often the cheapest option for the average home security system but also least secure.
Also known as non-monitored or bells-only alarms

Best For

• A visible deterrent to opportunist thieves
• Making a noise to scare off an intruder
• Alerting you if you’re at home and someone tries to break-in
• Making neighbours aware of a break-in

Key Points

• The loud noise and attention it attracts is likely to scare off a chance intruder
• There’s no running cost once you’ve bought and installed the system
• Battery back-up in external sounder means it keeps ringing even if the mains connection is cut

How they work

You set your alarm by entering a code or some systems provide one or more fobs to go on your key ring. You swipe them against the control panel instead of typing on the keypad. To deactivate the alarm you enter the code again or swipe the fob.

When the system is activated by an intruder, it will trigger sounders that are mounted inside and on the external walls of your building. A strobe light on the external sounder will flash as well.

To stop the noise and the flashing strobe, someone needs to enter the correct code or swipe the fob. The external sounder will only continue for a maximum of 20 minutes. This limit is to prevent noise pollution – we’ve all cursed that annoying alarm that doesn’t stop in the middle of the night! The internal sounder and outdoor strobe light will continue to flash until the system is turned off.

Speech Dialler

The speech dialler connects to your intruder alarm panel and communicates using your normal home phone line. It’s a cost-effective way to be alerted if your alarm goes off when you’re out.

• You record a voice message into the speech dialler device and input the telephone numbers of the people (key-holders) that you want it to call if the alarm is triggered. In this event, the speech dialler will ring the numbers in order and play back your voice message explaining what happened and what you’d like them to do!

• The person who answers the call will be able to stop the speech dialler from contacting any of the next numbers by pressing a key or entering a code on their phone.

• Some speech diallers can be set to detect and send different messages for intruder, personal attack or fire incidents.

Key Points

• Connects to your existing home phone line – no need for additional line rentals
• Cheap to run, as it only dials out when the alarm goes off
• You need to install a cable to connect your existing phone line to the speech dialler unit
• You need to find reliable people who live nearby to be the message recipients if you’re not available. For example, a good neighbour or local relative or friend

GSM Diallers.

GSM diallers use mobile phone networks and text messages to communicate. You need to buy a SIM card to insert into the GSM dialler, which is connected to your alarm system.

We would supply this as part of the package. Or you can buy a Pay As You Go SIM card, making sure you keep it topped up and in credit (auto top-up recommended).

The GSM dialler can either call or send a text message to the numbers that you have programmed into it. It will transmit the voice or text messages that you set up. The recipient can stop the GSM dialler calling anyone else by pressing a key, entering a code, or replying to the text message with a code.
Key points

• Connected via the mobile phone network so no need for a special telephone line or line rental
• Cheap to run as it only dials out when the alarm goes off
• Good if you don’t have a landline or don’t want to rely on one in case it’s cut
• If the mobile signal in your area isn’t reliable, your communication won’t be reliable – use a network that you are confident in on your premises
• You need to find reliable people who live nearby to be the message recipients if you’re not available. For example, a good neighbour or local relative or friend

Some GSM alarm diallers allow you to text them with codes that will reset the alarm system remotely. This can be useful if you or your nominated responders aren’t able to get there within a few minutes, and if you are confident it’s not a real burglary.

ARC Monitored.

ARC Monitored

Alarms connected to a 24/7 monitoring center ensures your alarm is never ignored.

Digital Communicator

Also known as digicoms, these systems were among the first digitally monitored systems to be launched.
Digicoms should ideally use their own dedicated phone line with incoming calls barred. This is to prevent a cunning intruder calling the line to engage it, so that the system can’t call out.

The digicom is mounted in the alarm control panel. When the alarm is activated, it dials out to the ARC and sends packets of data in a secure encrypted format that’s decrypted by software at the ARC. The ARC will then take appropriate action by notifying key-holders or calling the police.

Key Points

• You have to pay an annual subscription to the monitoring station (ARC)
• Alarm activations are securely sent to a 24/7 monitored Alarm Receiving Centre that will always respond
• It’s relatively cheap to buy the digital communicator and it can be moved with you if you move house
• You may have to pay line rental on the dedicated “incoming calls only” phone line
• You will need an annual maintenance contract with the alarm installation company
• If the telephone line is cut, then the system will not be able to call out

Single Path Signalling

A single path signalling system can dial out using either the GSM mobile network, GPRS mobile data network or a fixed phone line. It can also send more sophisticated information to the ARC. For example, it might report the type of breach, such as a personal attack or standard alarm activation, including the zone triggered within the property.
The biggest advantage is that the signalling path itself is monitored.

That means that if the phone line is cut or the GSM or GPRS signal fails, the monitoring station will know about it and will treat it as intruder activation.

Key points

• Alarm activations are securely sent to a 24/7 monitored ARC that will always respond
• The signal path is monitored, so any attempt to tamper with it will be notified to the ARC
• It can send out more detailed information than a digital communicator, so keyholders or police are better informed and ready to deal with the situation when they arrive on site
• You can use an existing fixed telephone line, with a cable extending it to the alarm panel
• You have to pay an annual subscription to the security company

Dual Path Signalling

Instead of having one channel to communicate with, these systems have a primary and a back-up signalling path.
That means if there’s a fault or problem with the primary channel, such as a fixed line, it will automatically use the back-up channel, such as the GSM mobile network.

There are many combinations of signal paths you can choose, combining old and new technologies. Depending on the infrastructure you already have, or are prepared to invest in, you could combine two of fixed line (PSTN), mobile (GSM), GPRS and your broad-band service (IP).

Key Points

• Alarm activations are securely sent to a 24/7 monitored ARC that will always respond
• Dual signalling gives you added security because of the backup signalling path
• ARC notification within 40 seconds
You have to pay an annual subscription to the Security Installer
• You will need an annual maintenance contract with the alarm installation company
• You need two reliable signalling paths

Self Monitored.

Control your alarm and receive notifications from your smartphone. There are two ways your smart alarm can communicate with you:

IP Connectivity

By connecting your alarm system (with IP module fitted) to your broadband router, which most households have these days, unlocks a whole host of extra “self-monitoring” features.

Using IP (Internet Protocol – your broadband connection) as its communication path, alarm systems can stay permanently connected to a cloud service (a secure server somewhere in the world), maintained by the alarm manufacturer.

You, the property owner, would then download the alarm manufacturer’s secure app onto your Android/iOS device, which connects securely to the cloud.

You now have single path “self-monitoring”.

The biggest reason some people choose to self-monitor their alarm systems?
It removes monthly ARC monitoring costs.

But what happens if somebody switches off your router, or there’s a power cut, or you have poor internet connection?

Good point!

These are all serious things to consider, but the risk is no different to any other form of single-path monitoring, i.e. if this single path goes down, you are left without live monitoring, as you would be with a Digi Comm.
While there are solutions to avoid IP outage during a mains fail, utilising uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) or routers with backup batteries, for the sake of this article we’re going to assume your households, like most, don’t have this type of implementation.

A properly configured alarm systems using IP as its primary communication path should send you a push notification (alert) from the cloud to your app, informing you that it has lost connection to the alarm panel.
Although there’s nothing more you can do about it, until the path is restored, at least you’re made aware.
There’s another form of single-path self-monitoring which is arguably more robust… see 4G connectivity below.

Key Points

• No monthly monitoring fees
• Uses existing technology as most households have broadband
• Can be circumvented by switching off mains
• Not reliable if you have poor internet connection
• Have to leave broadband on 24/7 (even when on holiday)

3G/4G Connectivity

Assuming you have a strong 3G signal in your property (4G’s even better, 5G would be awesome), your alarm system, with the correct GSM module fitted, can use the mobile networks to self-monitor
People consider the 3G network a more secure single-path as it’s less likely to go down, or be tampered with, compared to your internet connection.

While a mains fail at your property would typically result in your router going offline, it would not interfere with your 3G signal.

A good installer would recommend a SIM card from an M2M provider, like CSL DualCom, as their SIMs will connect to any of the big 4 mobile operators. CSL’s Gemini Network constantly polls the SIM and will automatically switch it onto the strongest mobile network.

The one downside; it’s more expensive than using your home broadband.

With your alarm system now connected to the cloud, by either medium, you can now monitor and control your alarm system at the touch (and swipe) of a fingertip via the secure app. Most alarm manufacturers on the market today offer the functionality to remotely set/unset the alarm from an app as well as receive status updates.
There’s more cool things you can do from the app. With IP cameras connected to the alarm you could actually see what’s going in your property when the alarm is triggered.

Key points

• 3G and 4G networks are less likely to go down compared to your internet connection
• If one network did go down, the SIM would roam onto next strongest network
• Not reliant on having a fixed line with internet connection
• May not be an option for rural locations with poor GSM signal

According to a study by Which?, discounts of between 2% and 15% can be made on the cost of home contents insurance for homeowners that have a burglar alarm. Your home is safer, so it is logical that insurers will factor this in

Intruder Alarm Systems That Minimize Theft

Intuder alarms have multiple options but all reward the same benefits.

Minimized Theft

Warns Burglars

Energy Efficient

Reduced Insurance Costs

100% Up Time

Simple Installation

Mind at Ease

Cost Effective

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If you’re thinking of protecting your home first time or upgrading your existing home alarm system.

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We have over 25 years combined experienced, within the security and installation industry.

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