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To continue discussion...

If you are concerned that burglars are going to cut your internet/phone cables, then you should be equally concerned about them having cell signal jammers. They are readily available on ebay and not that expensive. One press of the button and if your GSM module is within 10-15m range ... poof. But I'm sure that 99+% of burglars are not going to bother with cables or signal jammers.

That leaves us with notification when power is down. In my area, power is down on average 20 min/year. Small UPS can take case of keeping necessary equipment up to send signal during that period. If ISP equipment also goes down at the same time, chances are cell tower, or part of the cell network is also going to be affected. So GSM is not going to be much more reliable.

But, bottom line is, chances that sophisticated burglars are going to strike your home, or that unsophisticated burglars + prolonged power outage are going to happen at the same time are so minuscule for majority of us, that it's not worth planning for that occasion.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
@753951

I just loved your IP vs. GSM reasoning. It is absolutely true but I can't stop laughing! :)

As for using a regular SIM in the GSM home alarm system, well, I believe a SIM card can only work with a device that has an IMEI, right?

I don't think GSM alarm systems do have any IMEI, do they?
 

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Yes, they do have IMEI. Printed on the label attached to board, or you can punch certain code on the security system keyboard and it will show IMEI on the LCD (if equiped).
 

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To clarify, GSM alarm systems are all centrally monitored so you will be paying a monthly fee for it. GSM modules for alarm systems are sold with a SIM card embedded inside and you pay your central monitoring company a monthly fee that covers the cost of monitoring and maintaining cellular service for that SIM card.

Monitoring companies also do not pay wireless carriers like Rogers directly for service. They activate the embedded SIM via a service that is run by Honeywell or DSC and then Honeywell and DSC pays Rogers for the service.

As others have pointed out if you want to go self monitored purchase a DSC alarm system with an envisalink or an auto dialer that will call your cell phone with a pre-recorded message in the event of an intrusion.
 

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I'm not against the idea of self monitoring, and would consider it myself, but I just don't understand what the benefit is, if I have to come home and possibly confront one or more perps? I mean, if I also had cameras to catch them in the act, then ok, but I don't want to cross paths with someone who might shoot me.

I also get a break on my house insurance, although I don't know if I'm seeing any real-world savings there?

Also, I'm with a local monitoring company, and I'm not on contract, so my monthly fee is reasonable in my eyes.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
To clarify, GSM alarm systems are all centrally monitored so you will be paying a monthly fee for it. GSM modules for alarm systems are sold with a SIM card embedded inside and you pay your central monitoring company a monthly fee that covers the cost of monitoring and maintaining cellular service for that SIM card.

Monitoring companies also do not pay wireless carriers like Rogers directly for service. They activate the embedded SIM via a service that is run by Honeywell or DSC and then Honeywell and DSC pays Rogers for the service.

As others have pointed out if you want to go self monitored purchase a DSC alarm system with an envisalink or an auto dialer that will call your cell phone with a pre-recorded message in the event of an intrusion.
GSM systems are NOT necessarily monitored, nor are their SIM cards always embedded.

There are tons of GSM alarm systems that you can buy online and put a GSM SIM card in them and you are good to go. GSM is required for the device to send a warning SMS in case of an intrusion. I obviously do not want to encounter an intruder myself but just to monitor my property and call the police if necessary.

My question is still unanswered: Is there a prepaid GSM SIM card that you can buy in Toronto and use it only for SMS?
 

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That I have ever seen, no there at not 'text only' plans.. close to it, but not quite.

Rogers pay as you go.. $15ish per month, gives you unlimited texts, then costs per phoning. That sort of thing.
(at least that is LISTED.. they may have some form on 'emergency only' plan which is cheaper and not listed on the site.. pay per text sort of thing)

Big thing if you are ordering a GSM based alarm system, wherever you are ordering it from.. I would not worry as much about the sim/plan working, it should as long as that alarm system sends via normal protocols, etc.
Big thing to watch out for.. is FREQENCYs that the device uses for its cellular.. make sure they are in the right range, etc.
(EG: you buy one ment for the European/asian market, etc.. they often are on some different frequencies and may not match up with what is uses here completely)
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Thank you guys for all the info and insights. I rest my case.

It is obvious that unlike the US, a simple GSM or web only DIY home alarm system in Canada is NOT that simple or even possible.
 

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but I just don't understand what the benefit is, if I have to come home and possibly confront one or more perps?
You don't and neither do monitoring companies. Most monitoring companies will simply go to the residence and look for signs of suspicious activity. If there is they call the police. The best way to do that without a monitoring company is to use an IP camera to monitor the residence, as I suggested in post #9. It will snap pictures of trespassers or intruders and email them.
 

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To answer your GSM SIM question, 711 sells SIM cards for about $10 and they are the only ones I know of whos prepaid SIMs don't expire for 365 days. So you can buy a $50 card or whatever amount you like, to last a year, and with no big monthly service fees so it's a viable option. They can be used for texts or voice and it's bill per use.

You can use this sort of a SIM in an alarm like the Powermax Express with GSM board. This would let the alarm send SMS messages in case of an alarm, and you can control it by SMS.

As for systems, several have been discussed but to recap and add a couple other options.

Mobeye has an i110 and i200 that use SMS for messaging/alerts.

Skylink has just released a basic alarm that can communicate by IP. It is very entry level but works.

Smanos has an IP based alarm called W100 that will be here in a few weeks (at Aartech at least).

Zipato is a zwave automation controller can be programmed to send messages via Email, SMS or even voice. Email is free, the others are billable as used but very inexpensive. Zwave devices can be used as security sensors, or Zipato offers an alarm module add-on that provides wired zones too. Other expansion available...

DSC with the EVL3 is a pro series solution with IP functionality and no monthly fees.

This should give you a number of options to research to see if any will suit you.

Good luck and have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #32
Thank you so much, aartech for the thorough answer. I feel I finally have some good and viable options. I will look into them today.

Cheers,
 

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Before discounting DIY web monitoring, check out DIY Security Forum. Lots of people doing just that on there, US or Canada. I know a few users on Reddit in Canada that are monitoring their own houses over IP.
 

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I guess I know exactly the solution that you are looking forward to in this regard. Are you looking for an individual alarm system or something that can work in tandem with your mobile phone? We installed a home alarm system by Honeywell( Home Alarm System Installation Toronto | Wireless, Hybrid | Protection Plus )at our house in Toronto back in January and it’s been working fine so far. We are happy with it’s features as it gives notification in the mobile regarding the activities at the house which I found was pretty cool. The sensors make it even more comfortable to use and I believe you would find it useful too.
 

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A question on using a GSM SIM. What generation are these cards using and is there any risk of these networks being shut down? When you say GSM do you mean 1G (I will assume that 2G=EDGE, 3G=3G and 4G=LTE)? And what is the risk of Rogers shutting down this service in the future as aren't they the only ones running older generation GSM services as Bellus used CDMA until switching over to LTE.

Or do they have to keep older types of service available for IoT devices?
 
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