There are two parts to your security system. One is the equipment used to detect things like burglar, fire, and low temperature alarms, and the other is the means of communication the equipment uses to transmit the signal to us. Seacoast Security is constantly staying on top of the new technology in equipment so that we can offer you the most advanced alarm system available. The area where we have a concern is the means of communication.
When using a phone line to communicate your alarm transmissions to Seacoast, you become vulnerable in a couple different ways. The most obvious thing is that your alarm system can become compromised if someone should cut your telephone line. Once the phone line has been cut there is no way for the alarm signal to reach us unless you have an alternate means of transmission.
The other way that your phone line transmission can become a problem is if the alarm signal is transmitted to us on a VOIP (voice over IP line). The phone companies are using VOIP to be more efficient and to save cost. VOIP works very well for your phone conversations; however, it can cause problems when sending over the data from your alarm system. Seacoast Security has done all we can to make sure our telephone lines for our alarm receiving equipment are not VOIP and will correctly accept and translate the data from your alarm panel. The problem is that when the data leaves your premise and goes into the phone grid it may take a path that involves VOIP depending on how the call is routed. If the alarm data does not come into our central station in the correct format it may not report correctly to your customer file. We have seen instances where the alarm signal reports fine 99.9% of the time and then a signal will not report correctly. This may cause us to not receive the alarm transmission. This is a huge problem for the alarm industry and it affects any company receiving alarm signals through the phone lines.
While these two issues are very concerning issues there are easy solutions. You need to make sure you have a different or alternate way for your alarm signals to transmit. There are two common ways for the transmissions being used today by Seacoast customers. One way is to have the alarm signals transmit over the internet. The most secure way to transmit the alarms cleanly is through radio transmission.
The most common type of radio transmission is through a cellular radio. Seacoast has many of these radios at customer locations throughout the state and they work very well. The downfall with a cellular radio is that like your cellphone, as technology changes the equipment must also change to work on the new technology. All of the cellular radios that are currently working on the 2G network will need to be upgraded because they will no longer work once the new 4G networks are put in place. The 2G technology will be phased out by the suppliers like T Mobile, Verizon & AT&T. Once this happens all of the 2G radios will need to be replaced with 4G radios which is associated with a cost. This will continue to happen in the cellular world every 5-7 years. As new technology comes out old technology goes away and needs to be replaced.
So back to the original question: WHY SEANET? Seacoast Security has invested a large amount of capital, time and effort to help resolve this issue for our customers. We have developed our own radio network using some of the most advanced technology available. We now have an AES Mesh Network that we are expanding throughout Maine and New Hampshire to serve our customers. The mesh network means that we no longer have to rely on cellular providers and their towers to transmit the alarm signals. Every SeaNet radio is not only a transmitting device but also a repeating device. This means that when you have a SeaNet radio installed to transmit alarm signals it will constantly be checking to find the most secure and efficient way to get to our Rockport office. The network is our own and we will not get outdated with new cellular technologies. We are continually working to add to and strengthen the SeaNet network to provide the best and most reliable means of transmitting your alarm signals. If you would like to find out more about the SeaNet network please give us a call so we can evaluate your system and see if we can bring you into our mesh network.
Written by: Paul Dunham, Monitoring Operations Manager