PHONE OUTAGE AND HOME ALARM QUESTIONS...PLEASE HELP
SOON-TO-BE-PAST

WILL MY HOME SECURITY ALARM WORK IF THERE IS A PHONE OUTAGE IN MY AREA?  I THOUGHT THAT THERE WAS SOME SORT OF BACK UP THING THAT WOULD MAKE THE PHONE STILL WORK? DOESN'T MAKE SENSE TO ME THAT THE PHONE DOESN'T WORK BUT THE TV AND INTERNET DO.

IF ANYONE KNOWS THE ANSWER PLEASE LET ME KNOW ASAP BECAUSE THE LITTLE SLEEP I DO PER NIGHT WILL BE LOST FOR TONIGHT.

AND VERIZON SUCKS!  AT LEAST WHEN CABLEVISION HAD AN OUTAGE, EVERYTHING WENT OUT AND YOU KNEW IT AUTOMATICALLY, MY PHONE STOPS WORKING AND I DIDN'T KNOW UNTILL I CAME HOME AND TRIED TO CHECK MY MESSAGES. WHAT IF I HAVE A {word filter avoidance} EMERGENCY. WHO'S GONNA KNOW VERIZON. BACK UP BATTERY, PHONE WILL ALWAYS WORK......MORONS! AND HOW EXACTLY DO YOU KNOW THE OUTAGE WILL BE FIXED AT 12:26 PM  6/9/2010????? 

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4 Replies
mark417
Newbie

This was posted a long time ago, but here is the scoop.   Most alarm systems have backup battery to power them for 12 hours or more during a power failure.  Your alarm company should be able to give you an idea how long your battery will last - depends on amount of current draw that your alarm system uses (amount of equipment) and how old your battery is (average life of battery is 3 to 5 years).   Now your phone - be it cable, fios, or pots (Plain old telephone!)   Fios and cable depend on power in most cases from the electric in the house, and if power is off,  FCC requires the vendor's equipment to have  battery backup to be six (6) hours.  Now at the switch, they have to have 24 hours.  Pots is powered from the central office usually.  I am not sure what is required for power supplies located at streetside poles and buildings, but I would think they would want to have 12 hours.   Most cell tower sites are good for six, unless they have a generator, as do most  telephone company and cable company switches.   Now getting back to your problem, the alarm system should dial OK as long as your telephone provider's equipment has battery backup.  Many alarm control panels have monitoring circuits to advise if the telephone power (that 48 volts dc it puts out for dialtone) but that doesn't mean you have DIALTONE.  Many times I see Verizon turn of dialtone to leave voltage on the circuit.  Same with cable modems.  Power cycle the modem, it starts working.   Now you could ask your alarm company if they can do "daily test" when the alarm panel checks in everyday by calling out (usually in the "wee" hours of the morning) and some panels show failed communicate, others start beeping, if they fail to send a signal.   Normal residential monitoring usually only provides for a monthly test.

You could also ask your alarm company about cellular or radio monitoring, where if the phone doesn't work the signal should still be transmitted.   It's also good for homes without telephone service. Or in the case of my mother-in-law where I had to call Verizon every week because the phone quit.

I've been in the alarm industry over 30 years, so I think I have seen it, done it, but still am learning. Any ?'s, feel free to ask.

{edited for privacy}   of course, if I am wrong about something, I want to hear also!!!  

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TxWireHead
Newbie

Just as many people use cell phones for backup, most alarm systems can also use cellular backup.  You may want to check with your alarm monitoring company about availability of such.  Many alarm monitoring systems are now taking signal over IP, as well.

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spacedebris
Master - Level 2

if the phone service is down, then no the alarm will not work.

the battery is only to provide power for the dial tone in the event of a power outage. If the TV and Internet are working, then it is not a "fiber" issue. it will more than likely be a problem on the phone distribution system. the line to your house works fine but the phone system in the CO or regional office is down. And the time that they quote you on a group outage like that is going to be a time that is X number of hours from the time the outage was discovered. Usually this is 18-24 hours. These issues are usually fixed earlier than that but they quote longer just to be safe.

And this happens to all companies. How do you tell with any company that the phone is not working? You pick it up and find it doesnt work. Just because your using the fios system doesnt mean that is going to change.

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lasagna
Community Leader
Community Leader

... and while VoIP  phone service is generally very reliable, they are subject to Internet outages and other things beyond their control.   These types of issues  are disclosed in their digital voice agreement -- for example all that lingo about E911 vs regular 911.    Alarm systems are one of those items which are also covered I'm sure -- and if not by Verizon, most likely by the alarm service company who will tell you not to use a VoIP service.   Most people nowadays, having cell phones as a backup phone and having their home number ring thru to their cell phones in the event of an Internet outage, are willing to accept that variability.   Those that can't -- choose to remain on traditional copper POTS service for the phone and pay the additional cost for that reliability.

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