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Author Topic: Google Voice with Alarm Monitoring Central Station  (Read 9911 times)
3DBigTex
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« on: July 08, 2013, 03:23:47 pm »

I thought I would share my experience since I relied on the forum to help me out.  My alarm system wasn't communicating with the UCC Central Station since I switched to Google Voice from my Comcast analog line.  So I followed the advice from the forum to change from Auto to InBand in the expert settings under DTMF Method.  That did the trick in allowing communication to go out from my system to the Central Station.  However, I had the same problem as others and wasn't then able to use my touch phone for retrieving voice mail as it didn't recognize my keystrokes.  So to go around that I have a separate Google Voice account with another number under SP2.  I was able to leave my primary number and account with the original Auto settings so I can retrieve voice mail under SP1.  I modified the DTMF Method settings under Profile B and then changed SP 2 setting to profile B.  Works like a charm.  I still have one other problem with my alarm system which I never figured out.  That is it will send the alarm message to the central station but doesn't receive a handshake back to tell it to stop sending the message.  So it will keep sending it and dialing out with the line in use for as many times that is programmed in.  I just reprogrammed my system to dial out 2 times to make sure it gets there.  I will just have to do a test every so often to confirm that it is still working fine.  This is no different than what I was doing before.  If anyone has a solution to tweek the settings in OBitalk to resolve that issue it would be appreciated. 
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Rick
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« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2013, 05:53:35 am »

Glad you got it "working", if you think that it calling repeatedly is "working". 

For me, I need a system that connects 100% of the time, reliably, with my central station.  Most central stations will not accept VoIP unless it's done their way (if they have one).  Google Voice is not reliable for this type of usage.

If my alarm goes off, I want the alarm company notified, immediately, without error.  I don't want them saying "oh, that's the guy where his system calls us repeatedly, and it's never been an issue". 

I went from POTS service to Google Voice and implemented an internet device that the alarm company provided, which was supposed to tell them every X minutes that the communication device was working properly, and supposed to accurately transmit to them information.  I had it for about 15 months, went through 2 iterations of the device and a replacement to the second.  I eventually learned, by discovering issues, that this type of monitoring wasn't reliable and they'd be having issues all along, many unknown to them at the time.  Only my persistence in getting the solution reliable exposed these issues and resulted in my returning the device to them and switching to cellular.  While it costs more ($12 more per month), it's reliable.  It's also battery powered from the system, so even in a power outage it works for a period of time.

If your internet goes down, you have no alarm notification.  Nor does your provider know you're offline unless the regular daily/weekly/monthly (most are monthly) test doesn't come through.  So if you have a fire during an internet outage, they get no alert.

I added this as I don't want people to think that GV is reliable as an alternative to a POTS line for alarm monitoring by a central station.  It is not.  It's great that you have it working, but be careful.
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MurrayB
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« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2013, 06:43:01 am »

Not receiving the handshake is proof positive that there is not proper communication with the central station via Google Voice. POTS or cellular are currently the only reliable methods.
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3DBigTex
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« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2013, 07:48:42 am »

Rick thanks for your reply.  I'm glad you made your post to make sure others know what they are signing up for.  It is an ongoing cost/benefit debate with me to switch to cellular or stay with what I have now.  It works but with the limitations I identified .  As you can see from my posting I'm not an expert and like most novice's just trying to figure out how to get it done.  If I go to cellular by purchasing an Uplink 2500 (or can you recommend another piece of equipment) can you provide me with a couple of monitoring companies I could use for a reasonable monthly fee for cellular?  I have an old FBI XL-2T alarm system.  I currently pay $19.95 per month for my landline/IP monitoring.  I was hoping I could stay in that range for cellular.  My current company will bump it to $40 per month if I go cellular.     
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Rick
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« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2013, 07:58:20 am »

I have no expertise in which unit you should buy if you go cellular. 

I use Alarm Relay.  They monitor for $8.95/m year 1, $9.95 year 2, and $10.45 years 3+.  You pay in advance for the year.  Cellular monitoring is around $12 on top of that, plus the cost of the device which they do not sell, but can provide you with recommendations for your alarm system that are compatible with their system.  For my system they recommended a cellular unit, which like many, goes through another company and is relayed electronically to them and the $12 pays for that.

I had tried a cellular unit where I added minutes myself about 18 months ago, it did not work with my panel and the company supporting it (HAI) had virtually useless support (they've since been acquired).

I replied to your PM.
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dircom
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Posts: 425


« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2013, 03:17:48 pm »

Rick,
my insurance discount would only be @ $128 yr if I add fire and smoke monitored alarms.
alarm relay sounds like a good deal.  do you recommend any particular hardware?
thanks
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Rick
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Posts: 1009


« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2013, 04:19:26 pm »

I have no hardware expertise beyond my own system that was already installed when we bought the house.

As far as insurance discounts, see what they'll add for co sensor,  water sensor, and freeze sensor.   That added around $40 - $50 PER sensor type PER year and they cost $20 or less each on ebay except for co.   And no addt'l monitoring cost.
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