Keep in touch:

Monitored alarm systems

A more reliable solution still is a monitored alarm system that communicates with an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC). A third party provider runs the ARC, responding 24/7 to alarm signals by calling keyholders and the local police.

The ARC, often referred to as Central Station in the trade, will use automated software to monitor and respond to alarms, but it will also be staffed, so there's no risk of technology failure preventing notification calls.

For large houses in remote locations, high risk properties, or residential properties that are occupied part time, you may find that a monitored alarm system is a requirement for your home insurance policy. Most commercial premises use this kind of system. If you have particularly valuable items in your house, such as technology equipment, expensive jewellery or you run a business from home with computer storage or specialised equipment, we recommend a monitored intruder alarm system.

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.

Pro's

  • 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

Con's

  • You may have to pay line rental on the dedicated "incoming calls only" phone line
  • You have to pay an annual subscription to the monitoring station (ARC)
  • 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

Get a quote for a monitored alarm system

A local NSI/SSAIB approved installer will provide a free no-obligation quotation.

Single Path Signalling

BT pioneered this system in the 1990s with the launch of the very successful BT Redcare service. Today there are several other reputable suppliers in the market too.

Redcare Classic

Example of a single path
signalling device
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.

Pro's

  • 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

Con's

  • You have to pay an annual subscription to the ARC
  • If installed on an existing line, you may need to add an ADSL filter which separates digital data transfer from voice
  • You need to pay for a monthly SIM card subscription if you choose this communications path

Get a quote for a monitored alarm system

A local NSI/SSAIB approved installer will provide a free no-obligation quotation.

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.

Example of a single path signalling devices
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).

There are lots of different types of these systems on the market as many companies have built services around their core communication technologies.

This is good news for you, the consumer, as it has driven the price down.

Pro's

  • 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
  • Redcare GSM is Grade 4 rated in the European Intruder Alarm Standards, meaning it's suitable for the highest identified level of risk
  • From August 2013 you can choose GSM Roaming with Redcare: the system can use any UK mobile network and selects the strongest signal available. If one network is down, the system will use another.

Con's

  • You have to pay an annual subscription to the monitoring station.
  • You will need an annual maintenance contract with the alarm installation company
  • You need two reliable signalling paths

Get a quote for a monitored alarm system

A local NSI/SSAIB approved installer will provide a free no-obligation quotation.

« Part 2

★ £500 OFF Smart Alarms ★ NOVEMBER DEAL ★ View Offer Now Only 13 Days Left