POTS (plain old telephone lines) also known as copper lines or land lines, were ubiquitous up until the turn of the 21st century, when VoIP began making inroads. POTS lines are often used for alarms (fire and burglar), elevator phones (to make 911 calls) and other mission critical applications. The reason is because POTS lines draw their power from the edge equipment so when the power in your home or business go out, the POTS lines still work. Conversely, VoIP is dependent on Internet access and if the lights go out and you don’t have a UPS or generator to keep the routers and switches on, it’s a vulnerable time if you have an emergency or get burglarized.

With that said, POTS lines are also becoming a thing of the past. They have been replaced by fiber based Internet and VoIP (Voice over IP). Subsequently, telephone companies find that maintaining the POTS infrastructure for an ever decreasing number of customers in not cost effective. If it wasn’t for government mandates and special taxes that subsidize POTS lines, the phone companies would probably get rid of them altogether. It’s difficult to order a POTS line and they get pricier and pricier… eventually they will be a thing of the past.

Are Fire and Burglar Alarms VoIP compatible?

Many alarm companies will tell you that your current alarm system is not VoIP compatible. They will try to sell you a newer alarm that uses a SIM card for communications. If you can go that route,believe me it’s the better way to go. Not only is it newer and more supported technology, but if the power goes out, the alarm can still make calls because the alarm and cell phone tower both will not be affected by a short-term power outage. While this is a better solution, some people & small businesses may not be able to afford a new alarm system. For those people, a VoIP solution may work just fine as long as you are willing to accept the issue surrounding power outages.

If you connect your alarm to an ATA converter (VoIP) the alarm may not be able to call out. This is because some alarms are set to use pulse dialing instead of touch tone. If you run into such a situation (read your alarm manual), check if the alarm mainboard has a switch labeled P/T. If it’s set to P (pulse) change it to D (dial tone) and try again. You can also try a pulse to tone converter which can be easily found on-line.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Sorry, copy/paste is disabled
Skip to content