With the aid of modern technology, home security today is better and smarter than it’s ever been before. And while a land line was once required to get a home security system installed in your home, that’s not the case any longer. Security has grown up quite a bit over the years – from a bulky guy standing outside the front door with a large club; to a neighborhood patrol service; to forced-entry bell alarms and video cameras; to automated and sophisticated systems that let homeowners lock and unlock doors, arm the system, and monitor the entire property with the simple touch of a button from anywhere in the world.
And, at the same time, this level of home security protection has never been more necessary than today. An FBI study reports that any home without alarm system is nearly 3 times more likely to be burglarized. So, let’s show you how you can use modern technology to your advantage to stay as secure as possible.
The 4 Main Types of Modern Home Security Technology
Modern communication methods and devices such as traditional phone lines, cellular radio signals, VoIP, and high-speed Internet give you a number of popular options for keeping your home safe. However, it’s important to note that each home security technology comes with its own pros and cons. So, let’s dive in deeper to help you figure out which home security system is best for you.
Home Security with a Traditional Phone Line
How It Works: This technology uses a standard, copper phone line to send a communication signal to your alarm monitoring company. A household typically uses the same phone line for both the alarm system and for making actual phone calls.
Pros: Traditional phone lines are known for offering the most reliable of monitoring services, as phone lines are already in nearly every home and the security system can continue to operate during electricity outages.
Cons: Since they utilize physical, copper wires, traditional phone lines are vulnerable to both natural outages (say from a knocked down tree) and deliberate outages (from a burglar). Also, since traditional phone lines depend on dial up, the connection is slower than other services.
Home Security with a Cellular Connection
How It Works: This technology uses wireless digital transmission, just like your cell phone does, to transmit alarm signals to your monitoring company.
Pros: In comparison to a land line phone service security system, cellular radio signals can carry more data at greater speeds. Plus, since the connection is wireless, it’s generally tamper-proof, so deliberate outages are extremely rare.
Cons: Cellular radio devices require power at home to operate. And in the case of a power outage, its back-up battery generally only lasts anywhere from 2-4 hours max. Also, if you happen to live in an area with spotty cell service, then your security service signal may be just as spotty.
Home Security with a VoIP Connection
How It Works: This technology uses analog audio signals, like what you hear when you talk on the phone, and turns them into digital data that can be transmitted over the Internet in a method known as VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) to communicate with your home monitoring company.
Pros: VoIP security is often more affordable and feature-rich than land line phone service. Plus, most traditional home alarm panels can connect to a VoIP phone system without your needing to upgrade any of your panel’s hardware.
Cons: Power to your VoIP security system is dependent upon the power that runs into your home, so your system may go down if the Internet or power go out. Also, some VoIP systems compress their voice signals to make it easier and faster to transport voice traffic. However, this can cause signal distortion, which effectively disables the system’s remote monitoring feature.
Home Security with an Internet Network Connection
How It Works: This technology uses the power of a high-speed Internet connection – such as cable, DSL, or fiber – to bring your home some of the most advanced security options possible and to communicate with your monitoring company.
Pros: Internet services are extremely feature rich, giving you the ability to access and control cameras, entry systems, lighting, thermostats, and a number of other smart home devices from any web browser or smartphone device.
Cons: Security systems monitored via the Internet require specific hardware to enable the connection, so you’ll likely need to upgrade your system’s panel. Plus, while the Internet is awesome, it sometimes lacks the reliability necessary for security applications since it requires constant power and Internet connectivity to operate. For example, many Internet providers use throttling during peak hours to ensure enough Internet data bandwidth for all of their customers, which can cause unpredictable problems with security signals.
Smart Home Security and Automation
This bevy of smart devices listed above (and many more as well) syncs with a home automation smart hub, which you can configure to send alerts to your smartphone via WiFi when any alarm is tripped. Some even employ wireless-interconnect technology, so that if one alarm sounds, all interconnected units (such as multiple fire alarms throughout the house) will sound as well.
In fact, some security systems can take that cross-communication a step further. With interconnection across smart home devices – like a home alarm system and door locks, for example – you can enable the alarm to trigger the outdoor siren and unlock the front door for speedier access when help arrives, or to make for a speedier escape.
All these smart security devices wind up paying for themselves many times over during their lifespans. So, click the links below to learn more about some of the more common smart home security devices and for our recommendations as well.
And whether they include a home phone line or an Internet connection – securing your home is now easier and cheaper than ever before with a home utilities bundle.
So, Which One’s the Best Home Security System?
For the most reliable and secure alarm communication system, consider combining two technology types in one unit. For example, you can use a traditional phone line or VoIP as the primary method of communication, and couple that with a cellular radio as a backup. Thus, in the event that the primary connection goes down, the system can still communicate with the alarm monitoring station through the secondary one.
Overall, any of these home security systems are a much smarter move than crossing your fingers and hoping that no one ever tries to burglarize your home year after year. So they choice is up to you for whatever your household requires. And while some systems employ a bigger army of alarms, sensors, and assorted devices than others, they all help give you peace of mind and a sense of security – whether you’re at home or far from it.