Why Should I Pay Extra for Cellular Alarm Monitoring Service?

You should pay extra for cellular alarm monitoring service because it offers superior reliability when compared with other communication paths. The reason why cellular alarm monitoring is more expensive is because there are added fees that must be paid to the cellular service provider.

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A monitored system is able to send outbound signals during alarm events. To do this, the panel will need an active communication path. One of the most popular communication paths for alarm systems is cellular communication. This involves sending out signals across a cellular network. The panel must have a cellular communicator installed. The communicator will need to be activated by an alarm monitoring company, such as Alarm Grid. Some panels, like the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, come with a cellular communicator already installed. Other panels will need to have one added separately.

The cellular networks that the alarm panels use for cellular communication are maintained by cellular service providers. These are the same companies that provide cellular service for anyone who uses a mobile phone. This includes AT&T and Verizon. These companies are the most common service providers for cellular alarm communicator in the United States. When a system uses cellular communication to connect with a cellular network, the associated cellular service provider charges a service fee to the alarm monitoring company. To cover this fee, alarm monitoring companies like Alarm Grid charge their customers a higher rate for cellular monitoring service.

We are often asked why it is a good idea to pay extra for cellular monitoring service. The reason is because cellular monitoring offers the best reliability and consistency. The other communication path options are internet monitoring and phone line monitoring. Internet (IP) monitoring can work quite well, but there is always the risk of an internet outage. There is also the concern of an electrical outage that takes the router offline. As for phone line monitoring, that practice is strongly discouraged. Phone lines represent an outdated technology, and it is common for telephone signals sent out from alarm systems to fail to reach their intended destination. It is also very slow compared with other communication paths.

Cellular monitoring is extremely reliable, as cellular service almost never goes down or becomes unavailable. This can come as a surprise to some people, as they might associate cellular service with dropped calls. The reason why calls are dropped is due to poor signal reception. If you and the other party are both in an area with strong signal reception, then it is nearly impossible for you to experience a dropped call. Many people in rural areas have trouble with their cellular service because they are located far away from a cellular tower.

When cellular service is used with good cellular reception, then it is extremely reliable. For most users, going with an LTE cellular communicator will provide the very best service available. Cellular service almost never goes down. It still works great when the power is out, as long as a properly maintained battery is installed. This is true as long as strong signal reception is maintained. If you live in an area with poor cellular reception, then this can be a legitimate concern. This can also be a concern if you install your communicator in the basement or another area where the signal is weak. Fortunately, there are ways to overcome issues with poor signal reception.

Alarm Grid will check the signal strength for any customer who uses cellular monitoring service. If we determine that the signal strength is inadequate, then we will recommend a cellular antenna or a cellular amplifier to boost the signals. A cellular antenna will connect directly with your system's cellular communicator and boost the cellular signals for only your system. A cellular amplifier is a module that is placed in the general area and boosts the compatible cellular signals for any devices in the area using an antenna that is installed on the roof. Both options work quite well, but many users prefer cellular amplifiers to improve the reception for their smartphones as well.

If you do decide to go with cellular monitoring service from Alarm Grid, then you will need a monitoring plan that is of the Gold level or higher. These Gold Plans also include access to an interactive service platform like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com and smart home automation capabilities. More information is available on our alarm monitoring page. Alarm Grid also offers a less expensive standalone cellular monitoring plan that does not include smart home automation or access to an interactive service platform. This can be a good option for users who want protection from a central monitoring station and nothing more.

Additionally, many customers with cellular monitoring choose to use dual-path communication with both cellular and internet. This provides an added layer of reliability, as the internet path and the cellular path can back each other up in case one goes down. IP monitoring is included with any cellular monitoring plan at no additional cost. This includes the standalone cellular monitoring plan. The end user will just need to establish an IP communication path for their system and activate it with Alarm Grid. Some panels may need to have a dual-path communicator added to make this possible.

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