Protecting Your Home During A Power Outage

Lightning-Anthony QuintanoWe all know the weather is unpredictable no matter how many radars or meteorologists tell us otherwise.  Mother Nature is impulsive and she strikes at will.  A common and sometimes unpleasant result of severe weather is power outages.  During a thunderstorm outages may last a couple of hours but extreme weather conditions have been known to leave civilians without power for weeks at a time.  The 2008 ice storm that swept the Northeast region of the United States is a perfect example of how detrimental volatile weather can be.  It left over a million without power, some for weeks.  How fast power can be restored really depends on the weather conditions and the resources available in each location.

While extreme weather is not necessarily an everyday issue-and it varies by location-there is still an impact incurred by smaller and more frequent storms that cause power outages.  Power outages affect not only lighting but heating, electric water pumps, and your home security system.  Does that mean you will be unprotected during an outage?  That depends on what type of system you have.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. we provide customized security systems that help protect you and your family even in the direst of situations.  Our experts have been securing homes in northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  As we are based in New Jersey, we are no strangers to the inclement weather and its effect on local residences.

What happens during a power outage?  Everyone goes scrambling for lanterns, candles, and maybe a puzzle to pass the time, right?  Okay, so you have the entertainment portion down, but what about the safety of your home.  Will your security system still work during a power outage?  As previously mentioned that really depends on what type of system you have.

Some of the most common operating modes for security systems are through phone lines, cellular radio, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), and the internet.  With an alarm system that operates through traditional phone lines, it will continue to communicate with monitoring services even during a power outage as phone lines typically stay up and running.  Like many systems, the central control panel will continue operating off its backup batteries.  How long the backup batteries last varies; some may last hours, others may last days.  Your security system provider should have information on how long your backup batteries will last.  A system that runs off cellular radio capabilities will also rely on backup batteries during a power outage.  This is a wireless system so communication would be unaffected.  VoIP wireless systems rely on internet and phone lines for power and communication so if power is out and internet is out, you can lose communication with monitoring services.  Internet based systems have been touted as the least reliable during an outage.  The reason being they lose communication capabilities if the internet is out, which if the power is out the internet typically follows.

To ensure that you will be covered during a power outage it’s best to be prepared.  To be prepared you should know what type of system you have and talk with your provider to find out what would happen if an outage occurred.  You don’t want to assume you’ll have 2 days of backup battery when you really only have a few hours.  Stocking extra batteries isn’t a bad idea, especially if you live in an area that is prone to inclement weather.  Knowing your systems capabilities and limitations will leave you better prepared in the event of an outage or any emergency for that matter.  Aside from knowing the ins and outs of your security system you could invest in preparatory measures like alternative exterior lighting.  One of the best crime deterrents, besides a comprehensive security system, is lighting.  Burglars don’t want to break-in to homes that are well lit, it leaves them too exposed.

You can’t predict the weather, but you can be prepared for it.  Knowing the limitations of your home security system will help prevent panic during power outages and other weather related incidents.  No security system is infallible, but having one significantly decreases the chances of catastrophe.  Whether you are considering a security system for the first time or looking for expertise do not hesitate to call on our team of professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc..  We have been providing comprehensive security solutions to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey for over 20 years.  Our specialists can guide you through the process from an initial assessment to final installation.  It’s important to note that every home is different therefore each security system should be individually tailored.  Don’t fall for a “one size fits all” solution.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by Anthony Quintano-Flickr-Creative Commons

What is VoIP and how will it affect my security system?

Telephone-Billy BrownWe live in an exciting time where it seems every day a new technology is being born.  Everything from our computers to our phones to our everyday accessories are advancing at a rapid pace.  The implications of a technology may not be fully realized until after the fact, and it may not always be an issue with the technology itself, but how it interacts with existing components of our already complex systems.  This is especially true of security system components.

In a comprehensive security system there are access controls, burglar and fire alarms, video surveillance, a monitoring service, and sometimes motion/glass break detectors.  With all of these moving parts security integrators have to understand the functions of each component and how they will affect one another.  As licensed security systems integrators our professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc. we deal with the changing technological environment by being educated and thoroughly evaluating what technologies will actually benefit our clients.  Our integrators have been providing comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.

Many, if not most, security systems are migrating to a network based solution where system components are tied to an internet network.  This is where VoIP technology may come into play.  What is VoIP?  It stands for Voice over Internet Protocol.  Essentially VoIP technology allows voice signals to be transferred over a network versus the traditional POTS (plain old telephone service).  How does this tie into security systems?  In the not so distant past security system components were hardwired and heavily relied on traditional phone lines for communication capabilities.  Even with the surge of wireless components available there are still many hardwired systems that rely on the dependability of a phone line connection. VoIP technology essentially replaces the traditional phone line and can be used to bundle all communications, like cable and internet, into one service.

Sounds convenient, but like any technology there are bound to be issues, particularly with how it can potentially interfere with security systems.  Where you might run into trouble is when an alarm is triggered.  Typically, when an alarm is triggered a signal is sent to the monitoring station prompting them to alert the proper authorities.  Depending on the installation and the service, it could cause unpredictable or failed communication of alarm signals to the central monitoring station.  Some VoIP services can’t connect directly to 911 and on the dispatchers end they might not be able to see your phone number or address when you call, which is problematic when a response is needed.

The reasons why VoIP can cause unreliability are not always obvious especially to the end user.  According to Kenneth L. Gentile, a senior consulting engineer for Rolf Jensen & Associates Inc., “Digital alarm communication transmitters (DACTs) and other alarm transmitters initiate tones designed for transmission over POTS.”  Sometimes these tones meant for the monitoring station do not translate properly over VoIP lines due to signal distortion.

Installation error can be a factor in the reliability, or lack thereof, in VoIP services as well.  If the initial alarm wiring was installed on the existing telephone service it could prevent the alarm from transmitting properly and it’s up to your security systems integrator to recognize that. Alarm system tests can typically be run to ensure its operability, but according to Gentile, an on-site test with a VoIP service can’t always determine proper function or what the problem may be.  Instead he suggests VoIP service providers and the alarm monitoring service should be asked to conjointly demonstrate transmission of alarm signals under normal circumstances, when there is a power failure, and when VoIP is in use.  Doing so should help point out any potential issues with alarm signal transmission.  Gentile says, “VoIP service must be engineered so as not to jeopardize the essential emergency communications upon which public safety depends.”

Issues aside, VoIP service promises to be a beneficial technology.  Apparently it comes with great cost savings.  According to Eduard L. Telders, director of enterprise information security at T-Mobile, “VoIP can eliminate the entire expense stream of establishing and maintaining a circuit-switched network for telephone connections.”  Being able to bundle all communications into one service is appealing to end users and vendors alike.  It makes maintenance and service calls more convenient, having to call only one provider versus one for each service.  Facilities that employ VoIP technologies in conjunction with their security systems have the advantage of real-time response to criminal activity.  With VoIP, central monitoring stations can actually speak directly to an intruder caught on camera, transmitting a voice message through speakers installed at the subscribers on site location.

While it may have yet to be perfected VoIP technology seems to be a leading change in communication capabilities.  The implications it may have on security system transmissions and emergency responses are critical issues that need to be addressed by VoIP providers, security system integrators, monitoring services, emergency responders, and industry professionals.  Keep in mind that just because something is available, doesn’t make it the best option for your specific needs.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators believe in providing comprehensive security solutions that will enhance the safety and security of your facility, not hinder it.  We have been installing comprehensive security systems at businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992, we have the experience and knowledge to design a system that will work best for you.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by Billy Brown-Flickr-Creative Commons

When Lightning Strikes

Lightning-Anthony QuintanoWe all know the weather is unpredictable no matter how many radars or meteorologists tell us otherwise.  Mother Nature is impulsive and she strikes at will.  A common and sometimes unpleasant result of severe weather is power outages.  During a thunderstorm outages may last a couple of hours but extreme weather conditions have been known to leave civilians without power for weeks at a time.  The 2008 ice storm that swept the Northeast region of the United States is a perfect example of how detrimental volatile weather can be.  It left over a million without power, some for weeks.  How fast power can be restored really depends on the weather conditions and the resources available in each location.

While extreme weather is not necessarily an everyday issue-and it varies by location-there is still an impact incurred by smaller and more frequent storms that cause power outages.  Power outages affect not only lighting but heating, electric water pumps, and your home security system.  Does that mean you will be unprotected during an outage?  That depends on what type of system you have.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. we provide customized security systems that help protect you and your family even in the direst of situations.  Our experts have been securing homes in northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  As we are based in New Jersey, we are no strangers to the inclement weather and its effect on local residences.

What happens during a power outage?  Everyone goes scrambling for lanterns, candles, and maybe a puzzle to pass the time, right?  Okay, so you have the entertainment portion down, but what about the safety of your home.  Will your security system still work during a power outage?  As previously mentioned that really depends on what type of system you have.

Some of the most common operating modes for security systems are through phone lines, cellular radio, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), and the internet.  With an alarm system that operates through traditional phone lines, it will continue to communicate with monitoring services even during a power outage as phone lines typically stay up and running.  Like many systems, the central control panel will continue operating off its backup batteries.  How long the backup batteries last varies; some may last hours, others may last days.  Your security system provider should have information on how long your backup batteries will last.  A system that runs off cellular radio capabilities will also rely on backup batteries during a power outage.  This is a wireless system so communication would be unaffected.  VoIP wireless systems rely on internet and phone lines for power and communication so if power is out and internet is out, you can lose communication with monitoring services.  Internet based systems have been touted as the least reliable during an outage.  The reason being they lose communication capabilities if the internet is out, which if the power is out the internet typically follows.

To ensure that you will be covered during a power outage it’s best to be prepared.  To be prepared you should know what type of system you have and talk with your provider to find out what would happen if an outage occurred.  You don’t want to assume you’ll have 2 days of backup battery when you really only have a few hours.  Stocking extra batteries isn’t a bad idea, especially if you live in an area that is prone to inclement weather.  Knowing your systems capabilities and limitations will leave you better prepared in the event of an outage or any emergency for that matter.  Aside from knowing the ins and outs of your security system you could invest in preparatory measures like alternative exterior lighting.  One of the best crime deterrents, besides a comprehensive security system, is lighting.  Burglars don’t want to break-in to homes that are well lit, it leaves them too exposed.

You can’t predict the weather, but you can be prepared for it.  Knowing the limitations of your home security system will help prevent panic during power outages and other weather related incidents.  No security system is infallible, but having one significantly decreases the chances of catastrophe.  Whether you are considering a security system for the first time or looking for expertise do not hesitate to call on our team of professionals at Perfect Connections, Inc..  We have been providing comprehensive security solutions to homes throughout northern and central New Jersey for over 20 years.  Our specialists can guide you through the process from an initial assessment to final installation.  It’s important to note that every home is different therefore each security system should be individually tailored.  Don’t fall for a “one size fits all” solution.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by Anthony Quintano-Flickr-Creative Commons