NBN Checklist for Australian Consumers with Back to Base Alarm Monitoring

If your security alarm panel is (or was) connected to a traditional telephone landline (PSTN) for back to base alarm monitoring, then this page is intended to help you make an informed decision on how to upgrade your system after switching to the NBN.

There are many important factors to consider and we believe that there is nobody more qualified than you to make a decision on the security of your family and home. Please study the various options we present to you and make sure to carry out further investigations of your own.

Do you know your UNI-V from your UNI-D?
You should. This will help you choose the most cost effective method of migrating your alarm system to the NBN. In a nutshell, the UNI-V port is the NBN's closest thing to a replacement for your old telephone line. The UNI-D port is the NBN's replacement for your old Internet connection.

Myth: The UNI-V port is the same as your old copper phone line. iT'S not - It uses Voice over IP technology.

Jargon: The 'V' stands for Voice. The 'D' stands for Data.

Hype: Your Alarm Company might tell you that your system will not work reliably when using either of the UNI-V or UNI-D ports on the NBN equipment. This may be down to them having little or no understanding of any alarm transmission technologies other than GPRS. It is easier and more profitable for them to sell you a GPRS based solution so be sure to investigate the associated pro's and con's of that technology. IP Alarms have an in depth understanding of how alarm systems work over a VoIP network and although it is still too early to be certain, it is our opinion that the NBN UNI-V port will work just fine for the vast majority of systems.

Reference: Whirlpool is a great technical forum and here is a thread that we started some time back in order to gather information from the wider community.. Alarm Monitoring via NBN

Did you know that only the UNI-V port has battery backup?
This is perhaps the single most important subject for the majority of consumers when making a decision on which NBN port to use for alarm monitoring. Confirm the length of time your NBN equipment battery will run for and decide if it is long enough to justify using the UNI-V port. If you have a GSM terminal with it's own battery as a backup for your alarm system, then the NBN battery may not be required in case of mains power failure.

Consider how many times you have lost power in the last 12 months and think carefully about whether or not you are prepared to take the risk of being without alarm monitoring service whenever your power goes down. If you consider the battery backup absolutely essential then you should probably opt for the UNI-V port. If you have other methods of fallback or do not consider loss of power to be a major issue, then you will probably be comfortable opting for the UNI-D port.

Reference: NBN Battery Life

If you choose the UNI-D port and VoIP service - do you have an unlocked VoIP adapter?
Some people have reported success in transmitting alarm signals using various 3rd party VoIP services. It is indeed possible to get some alarms to work over a VoIP network, however, you may need to make manual adjustments to the internal settings in the VoIP adapter. You should think carefully about the risks of your VoIP provider network going down and you should find out what measures they have in place for redundancy in case of failures or denial of service attacks.

If you would like to use your VoIP adapter but cannot get it to work with your VoIP service, then you will still be able to use it with a special service that optimizes the network between your alarm panel and your Back to Base Monitoring provider.

Reference: VoIP Optimize

Do you have a spare line on your unlocked VoIP adapter?
If you decide against using your VoIP service for your back to base monitoring, then if you have a spare line on an unlocked VoIP adapter you still have the option of using it to send alarms over your Internet connection. There is a service allows you to use any make or model of VoIP equipment to transmit alarms to an alarm receiver that was designed specifically for this purpose.

Reference: VoIP Repair

Have you checked if your home insurance company have any special requirements?
You should. The last thing you want to do is switch to equipment or services that are not acceptable to your insurance company as it may invalidate your cover. Things get complicated if Australian Standards come into it. The NBN was just a dream when security industry standards were written, so lot's of products and solutions in use today might not comply with Australian Standards. New technologies like The Cloud are also not mentioned in any security standards and it will likely be several more years before the Security Industry 'accept' the Cloud - if ever. Unfortunately, there is sometimes a trade off that needs to take place between taking advantage of newer, more advanced technologies and complying with regulations that are often out of date as soon as they are released.

Have you considered self monitoring?
Back to Base monitoring is usually the best option, but with advances in technology many consumers are now switching to self monitoring. It is an ideal choice when a fast police response is not possible or when the expense of live operators can no longer be justified. Your migration to the NBN and re-evaluation of your monitoring service might be a good time to consider this option.

Myth: Everyone in the alarm industry will tell you that self monitoring is completely useless. It's not. There are many reasons why some people prefer self monitoring and it's well worth investigating.

Reference: Self Monitoring

Do you have the Installer code for your alarm panel?
This is important if you decide to switch to self monitoring or change B2B alarm companies. Most companies will not give you the installer code or they will want to charge you an extortionate amount of money to unlock your alarm panel so that it can be used with another provider. Check with the alarm company you want to switch to as they may be able to unlock the panel for you. Sad as this situation may be, you should take it into consideration when calculating costs.

If you decide to go it alone and have an unlocked alarm panel, then you will likely need to program a new account code and phone number. Make sure you have access to an installer manual and are capable of carrying out the programming.

What to do if you are locked into a contract and your Alarm Company won't cooperate?
Don't worry - all is not lost. There is a service available that allows you to use the UNI-D port on your new NBN equipment to transmit alarm signals to your existing back to base monitoring provider over the Internet. You will need to purchase your own Cisco VoIP adapter and download custom firmware to effectively turn it into an IP alarm module. The service is very popular with customers of ADT who are not able to offer them a cost effective upgrade, however, it is compatible with every back to base monitoring company in Australia so it doesn't really matter who you are with.

Reference: NBN Upgrade

Does your existing Alarm Company deserve your business?
If you are a victim of the security industry rebate scam and have been paying 25-50 cents each time your alarm system makes a call, you may be amongst the hundreds of thousands of Aussie consumers that don't think so. Your switch to the NBN and subsequent alarm system upgrade is the ideal to time search out a more ethical company to take care of the security of your family and home. Don't be afraid to let them know how you feel by voting with your feet.

If your alarm company currently get rebates for every alarm call, then ask yourself if you think they will be prepared to give them up easily. They won't, because it doesn't make good business sense to do so. Rebates they earn from your calls are an integral part of their business model and they need to replace any lost income with an alternative income stream. This usually comes in the form of inflated monthly fees for IP and GPRS monitoring.

Myth: IP and GPRS monitoring costs your Alarm Company a lot more than PSTN dialler monitoring. It deosn't. It usually costs them two or three dollars more each month and often nothing at all.

Reference: Rebate Scam

Reference: NBN Upgrade (IPtoPOTS)

What you should expect to pay for IP or GPRS monitoring
Well, even though you can find pricing for PSTN dialler monitoring on lots of Internet sites, there are very few that advertise their pricing for IP or GPRS monitoring service. You should do your own research and shop around if you decide that this is the best option for you. The only reason we can think of that IP and GPRS monitoring is so much more expensive is because the alarm companies have to make up for lost income from the 13 rebate scheme. You be the judge.

Reference: IP and GPRS Pricing

Reference: IP Monitoring