With so many signalling options on the market these days it’s not easy to decide what’s best for your property. This page introduces intruder alarm monitoring and overviews the different types (active, passive, dual-path, etc) and introduces the credible carriers and their products.
Audible Only – No Alarm Monitoring
If an audible only intruder alarm is triggered, an external sounder on your premises activates for up to 20 minutes; however, these are often ignored as nothing more than a nuisance. So if the premise is away from passing traffic or it’s the middle of the night, there’s unlikely to be any reaction.
NB: Audible only alarms do not receive an automatic police response; in line with the latest police policy, the NPCC 2020 (National Police Chiefs’ Council). Audible only systems will require evidence from a person at the scene that a criminal offence is in progress which indicates that a police response is required. This will require the presence of a person(s) such as a member of public, owner or agent at, or in close proximity to, the location of the incident.
Monitored Security Systems
For increased security you may wish to have your security system monitored. A monitored alarm is one that is linked via the telephone line or cellular network or both to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC).
NB: An ARC is a permanently manned monitoring centre whose staff are dedicated to monitoring security systems and contacting the right Authority – i.e. the police usually, or the Fire & Rescue Service (FRS) in the case of a fire – if there is an activation. An ARC is bound by strict legislation which ensures the highest standards of operation.
Passive Alarm Monitoring
Relic digital communicators send alarm signals but do not send polling signals to check whether the phone line is present as it should be making them vulnerable to attack. If the phone line is damaged, or indeed intentionally cut, the alarm signal cannot reach the ARC and the ARC is unaware if there is a problem with the line.
NB: Passive monitoring = phone-line dependent; if the phone line is cut the alarm will not reach the monitoring centre and they will be unable to call the Police.
Active Alarm Monitoring
These days, alarm communicators actively poll the ARC to verify the phone line is present, and this is know as ‘active’ monitoring. The polling frequency differs between communication products and this can determine their signalling grade suitability (insurers are usually responsible for grading systems – grade 1 being the most secure).
One of the earlest types of active monitoring was BT Redcare Classic, and many grade 4 systems still rely on it today. With Classic, if the telephone line is cut the polling signal is missed at the ARC; however, these days this will only prompt keyholder notification and is not passed to the police (read more about police policy in response to intruder alarms).
Redcare Classic provides a more secure method of monitoring than passive monitoring and is still used in thousands of properties. However, for new systems requiring a bona fide police response, conforming with the NPCC 2020 (National Police Chiefs’ Council), it is necessary for two signalling paths to be used to ensure the security of your property.
Active Alarm Monitoring Using Two Signalling Paths
In 1996, CSL DualCom invented integrated dual signalling and pioneered the move from wired to wireless technology in the electronic security industry. DualCom is now trusted to protect over 350,000 premises throughout Europe including many major retail brands.
Dual path signalling means a telephone line (PSTN) and a radio path (using a GPRS or GSM cellular communications network) are both used – and if either of the paths is attacked the other continues to communicate any further alarms and – unless the missing path is restored – the next alarm will transmit as a ‘confirmed’ activation (read more about alarm confirmation).
CSL DualCom GradeShift® and BT Redcare GSM are both capable of sending confirmed activations even if the radio path or telephone line fails, and if they both fail, this represents two alarms and a confirmed alarm is passed to the police. This makes them the most secure methods of monitoring an intruder alarm.
The DualCom GradeShift® range is the UK’s fastest selling and most used dual signalling system. It’s an extremely reliable product that can be installed on a single hardware platform for any grade of risk.
Every DualCom is powered by the DualCom Gemini Platform, a Critical Connectivity® platform which facilitates the reliable delivery of alarms and data from the premises to the ARC. Gemini checks the entire signalling route every minute providing the highest levels of resilience and reliability required by professional signalling systems.
Both carriers use intelligent network selecting technology – meaning that the system can use any of the major cellular networks to communicate – and when an alarm occurs, the strongest signal is used to communicate to the ARC.
Alarm Signalling Over IP
Takes advantage of broadband IP networks to save on call charges (along with radio path as a back-up).
It delivers secure, fully managed, dual-path alarm monitoring for intruder & fire system signalling, CCTV monitoring and convergent communication solutions for commercial and domestic premises. The same device or TCD (Telemetry Communications Device) can be fitted in any alarm system and is capable of supporting complete dual path solutions; IP & GPRS / GPRS & PSTN / IP & PSTN. This TCD device is fully future-proofed for all your signalling needs.
NB: Immediate Police Response – Our surveyor will design a confirmed activation system for your property in line with the NPCC 2020 (National Police Chiefs’ Council), ensuring that the Police response is Level 1 – immediate.