Learn Why GSM Radio Technology is Quickly Replacing Landlines in Fire and Security Systems

Posted on: July 10, 2017

How does fire and security monitoring work without a phone line? And what are the benefits?

For the past several decades, most fire and security systems used POTS (aka “plain old telephone service”) lines to communicate with a central-monitoring system. But the way our society connects is changing. According to a Pew Research Center study, more than two-thirds of individuals now own a cell phone, and traditional landlines are being dropped altogether in huge numbers. The fire safety and alarm monitoring industry is following suit, with cellular or Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) technology becoming increasingly popular.

Why GSM radio technology is taking over

Traditionally, digital and wireless alarm systems were used as a backup to phone lines to prevent issues caused by power outages or cut lines. Now, they are becoming the main way to connect. Technological advances have made mobile GSM extremely reliable, and its expanded use is saving business owners significant money while offering a variety of features not possible with fire or security systems that use a traditional POTS to communicate with a central monitoring station.

The primary benefits of GSM radio monitoring

  • Cost: Businesses which choose a GSM monitoring solution can eliminate their landlines, saving significant monthly fees. The two landline systems required by regulatory agencies cost an average of about $120 per month; using GSM communicators instead can lower monthly monitoring fees by as much as half. In addition, GSM-based systems can often be serviced remotely – eliminating expensive service calls.
  • Reliability: With GSM radio technology, your system is much more secure than one using a landline. A cellular-based solution eliminates the threats from power outages or severed phone lines.

In addition, GSM communicators have been tested for fire code compliance (NFPA 72 and UL 864) and can be employed in a cellular-only configuration or with multi-path redundancy through the use of IP internet in addition to GSM transmission. The GSM wireless connection itself is also redundant: if a cell tower goes offline, your radio automatically connects with another one to maintain coverage.

And while a traditional landline communicator likely checks in with a central monitoring station only once every 24 hours, a GSM communicator will check in about every five minutes, allowing you to more quickly address any potential issues with your fire alarm system. GSM has become the safer, more reliable alternative.

How to add GSM technology to your fire and security systems

There are two primary ways to add GSM monitoring to your current system:

1. Retrofit your current solution with a GSM radio that allows your system to communicate without a traditional phone line. Many existing systems can support an updated communicator, making this a cost-effective option.

2. Upgrade your existing solution with an entirely new model that includes a GSM radio communicator. While this method costs more than retrofitting an existing system, it gives you a variety of new features not found in older fire and security solutions.

Don’t let your system become compromised due to a faulty landline

Wireless technology will prevent your business from ever being compromised by a faulty phone line. GSM technology enhances the reliability of your fire and security systems, while giving you added features and benefits not possible with landline connection. Even if you plan to continue using POTS communications, it’s important to have wireless technology as a backup to ensure that an alert never gets missed.

For more information about how GSM technology can improve your fire and security systems, don’t hesitate to contact LifeSafety Management at (800) 330-1158 or through our online contact form. We’re offer a full range of life safety solutions, including security products and services, security alarm systems, and system design and installation with complete system monitoring.