So, why all the fuss about cellular monitoring? Here are a couple of reasons:
1) Lots of alarm companies advertise wireless systems – but what they mean is that the various sensors (doors, windows, motions, etc.) “talk” to the alarm control panel without wires. That’s a good start, and most new systems being sold today work this way. But, it’s not the real issue!
2) The main point is that wireless does not necessarily mean cellular, and I think this is the “great hoax” of the alarm industry. Most alarm systems – and we are talking about over 90%, or millions of systems in use today – use your home phone line to notify the central monitoring station of an alarm event. If that connection is severed, then your alarm system is just an expensive noisemaker. That’s right: all the intruder has to do is cut the phone line (or Internet connection, if you use on instead of a phone line), and the police or fire department will never know what has happened at your home.
The scary thing is that most people have no idea this is the case, and most alarm companies don’t tell you. The alarm companies who even offer cellular monitoring just about always charge more for the equipment and more for the monthly, making it a tough pill to swallow. And some of the supposedly “newer” technology companies are 100% Internet based, which is just as vulnerable as a phone line.
So remember, all alarms systems are not created equal: look for 100% wireless and 100% cellular. As far as I know, there is only one alarm company in the US that sells 100% cellular systems: FrontPoint Security!