: ADT Safewatch CellGuard


dub mon
2005-12-13, 02:33 PM
Hi Folks,

I want to sign up for VOIP and cancel my regular telus phone line.
The issue I'm having is with my ADT alarm system.

ADT is recommending a solution called Safewatch CellGuard which uses the cellular network to connect to ADT instead of using the phone line. ADT sent me a $75 rebate on Safewatch CellGuard. So I phoned ADT to inquire about CellGuard and nobody at ADT could give me any information (even pricing information). They took down my information and said somebody at their local office would call me back in 2 business days.

Reading the fine print on the rebate, it looks like CellGuard is going to cost me $299. That's a pretty steep price considering the point of VOIP is to save money rather than spend more.

Instead of getting CellGuard, would you guys recommend that I just get a UPS and connect the UPS to my Cable Modem + VOIP box such that in the event of a power failure my VOIP will still work. The motivation here is that if a burglar cuts power to my home then my alarm system can still contact the monitoring station drawing power off the UPS backup.

I would really appreciate your advice.

thx!

57
2005-12-13, 03:20 PM
If a burgler cuts anything it'll be your phone line and/or your cable connection to prevent outgoing calls, that's why the Cellguard has an advantage.... (not that I use it)

My take is you can only "do so much" to protect yourself from burglers...

ego1138
2005-12-13, 03:25 PM
Would be interesting to see some stats as to how often burglers bother cutting the phone line before breaking into a home.

We're with AlarmForce, and have the cell phone backup for if the phone line is cut . . . figured we'd put it on but . . . have to wonder if it's all that useful.

57
2005-12-13, 03:32 PM
Marketplace recently did a survey on security alarms and most burglers are in/out in a few minutes, long before the home security patrol shows up.

Alarm Force was apparently one of the worst with very long times to show up. I guess they expect to scare burglers away with that deep voice... ;)

Marketplace stated that an alarm is better than none, if burglers have a choice.

Also better locks (like Medeco) no small easily broken windows, etc...

If the burgler wants in, nothing's going to stop him, but you can make your place "less inviting". I have a big sign that says

"They have Better Stuff"

---------------------->

ego1138
2005-12-13, 03:39 PM
Oh, I agree completely, if someone wants in . . . they're getting in. I actually used to work with a guy who got busted far too many times for B&E's. But, he always said the same thing . . . . you just give yourself a two minute time limit, and get out, no matter what.

I'm more interested in the alarm, cuz, with nosy neighbours, as soon as they hear it, they're poking their head out to see what's going on anyway.

I don't know about ADT, but, I think part of Alarm Force's "problem" is that they seem to call everyone on your list before calling the authorities. So, first they try to talk to the person in the house (or in our case, the cat! haha), then they call my cell, then they call my girlfriends cell, then they call my dad's office, then my mom's cell, THEN they call the cops.

I figure any competant burgler will be out of the house by the time my cell's even ringing! :)

ego1138
2005-12-13, 03:40 PM
I guess they expect to scare burglers away with that deep voice... ;)

Actually, all joking aside, I was home once during a false alarm . . . . that big scary voice scared the crap out of me! :) hehhee

dub mon
2005-12-14, 02:24 AM
If a burgler cuts anything it'll be your phone line and/or your cable connection to prevent outgoing calls, that's why the Cellguard has an advantage.... (not that I use it)

My take is you can only "do so much" to protect yourself from burglers...

hey 57, thx for your opinion. what would you recommend that I do?

according to your rationale, as long as I had a UPS for my VOIP then my alarm system wouldn't be any less secure than my current POTS solution because the burgler could easily cut the phone line if I were using a regular phone line and/or the burgler could cut the cable line if I were using VOIP.

so should I just bite the bullet and switch to VOIP?


i welcome your opinions.

new to voip
2005-12-14, 03:12 AM
Have been in the alarm business before. CellGuard is a PC board cell phone designed to interface with the alarm system. Beware you still got to pay the monthly service fee for the usage (use to be around 9.95/month+usage time+annual system licence fee, but may have been changed) on top of your existing monitoring fee. ATD is now franchised, customer service is really a big concern, most of the time you will need to wait 2 days before you get a call back which is unacceptable because you are talking security!
Regarding cuting power to you home, the alarm system should have a back up battery that should be able to stand by for at least 4 hours. The other concern is if you switch to Voip, you need to disconnect the demarc from Telus & hook up the ATA adaptor to the demarc. Since alarm systems use RJ-31X jack (from demarc phone is first route to alarm systems first, then to other jacks in the house, in case the alarm is tripped, even if you are on the phone the RJ-31X jack is use to cut you off & dial to monitoring station first).
You also need to check that your Voip service is able to dail REALIBLEY to the monitoring station. To test that out, you should enroll in Voip service first, temporary disconnet the Telus line from the demarc (A MUST), wire in the line from ATA adaptor to the demarc. Phone monitoring station first to advise of the testing, then trip the alarm let the systems dail to the monitoring station. Vertify the station got your alarm signal, I would at least make a few test in different time of the days to be sure they got the signal.
If everything goes fine, you may even like to port your existing phone no to the new provider. (A word of caution, some Voip provider is not able to access 800 number in Canada, depends where you are located, your call to the monitoring station may be dailing a local no or a 1-800 number, your alarm company should be able to tell you that over the phone).
Up to this point you can then consider buying UPS for back up in case of power failure.

57
2005-12-14, 10:47 AM
As stated previously, most Alarm Systems have a battery backup. The Battery usually needs replacing ever few years. Mine has lasted 6-7 years twice (I've been in my home 15 years and have replaced it twice).

If you feel you need CellGuard, that is up to you.

Batteries can be very expensive if you have the alarm company replace them - Say $100 or more. I call various battery places in Toronto and found a replacement for $35 at Crosstown Battery.

MarcP
2005-12-14, 11:02 AM
Marketplace recently did a survey on security alarms and most burglers are in/out in a few minutes, long before the home security patrol shows up.

But they will very often do 4-5 homes in the area and not just one. They may not catch them in your home, but may get them while sniffing about the area. If your house is the only one burglarised, then you were a specific target.

The home alarm is a tad more than just about B&Es. My wife is scared of home invasions and so we have an alarm with a duress code and we also have monitored smoke alarms on all floors. The savings on the home insurance offset the cost of the alarm.

Back when I considered AlarmForce, they did not support line seizure which is a very basic and crucial feature of ANY alarms. Not to mention that their field components are un-monitored. One could be disabled and the alarm wouldn't know about it.

I wired my VoIP adapter to be before the alarm so it can still do line seizure. What I discovered is that the alarm was dialing a Canadian-only 1-800 number that doesn't work on Vonage. I had to log a service call to reprogram my alarm to dial a 416 number instead and it's working.

alarm tech
2006-01-09, 09:35 PM
I thought i'd post one glaring thing that is being overlooked here in regard to changing over to voip alarm monitoring.

your digital alarm signal is converted to analog over your new phone modem and then converted back to digital before it hits the central station receivers!

a word of caution, test your system extensively to ensure the actual codes sent are the ones recieved, ie: BA06 (burg zone 6) comes in as FA06 (fire zone 6) due to different codecs being used and they dispatch the fire department ( a $500 false alarm fine here) instead of the police !!

The bigger players like Shaw have spent some time and money to ensure reliability....the smaller players have not! beware.

screw the door contacts and motions and put in some covert cameras to ease your dealings with the insurance company.