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Hi,
The only reason we still have a land line is to have a reliable POTS line for our home alarm system. I have been testing voip (voip.ms) for the alarm system. Apparently the alarm system uses similar tones as a fax so faxing is a good test. However sending out faxes over the voip line has not been reliable (voip.ms set to Premium quality).

The other issue, if I had a reliable VOIP line for the alarm system, is power backup. Canadian Tire used to sell a Xantrex PowerSource 400 watt power backup (re-branded "Noma") which would run a modem, router, and a couple of ATAs for probably 12-15 hours or more. But these power backups were discontinued around mid-2010. So not having a power backup for Voip for the alarm system derails the voip idea.

The alarm company is offering a cell phone connection for about $180 purchase and a monthly cell fee of $15/month with no "system access fee". Our current landline is a grandfathered Sprint landline, now invoiced through Rogers that is essentially a resold Telus landline. After fees and taxes, the Rogers land line costs $40/month. I checked Telus's web site and a basic line direct through them is $21 plus any fees and taxes.

Are there any less expensive land line options than the alarm company's $15/month cell connection? The cell connection does offer 2 advantages: in a power outage the cell module gets its power from the backup battery in the alarm box; and the alarm+cell is totally self contained and impervious to someone cutting the phone line.

thanks.
 

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It sounds like your alarm is not of the DTMF variety and thus would unfortunately probably not be reliable over VoIP.

If you already have Shaw for internet or TV, their basic landlines are also $21, plus taxes, but there are no additional fees. I have an alarm on a Shaw landline at the office and it works perfectly. I test it every so often and have no issues.

You may want to investigate to see if your alarm company supports IP monitoring. This would also involve a purchase, but may not involve the additional monthly fee since IP traffic costs so little compared to cell traffic.

FWIW, you can get UPS units from places like NCIX or Canada Computers. APC is a very popular brand. I have one for my VoIP equipment and I like it a lot. I've never actually needed it since the power is very reliable here but it's good to know I have it just in case.

If you do end up doing your monitoring over the PSTN, whether through a landline or through VoIP, be sure you wire it up so that the alarm may "sieze" your phone line when necessary. Post back if you need advice on doing this.

m.
 

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Good call, Mango. I've seen it many times where someone has an alarm but either the installer wired it up wrong (treating the alarm feed as just another jack) or as time goes by people have added more jacks by simply tying them together with the alarm "in" instead of the "out" with the rest of the jacks.
 
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