Wireless Mesh Radio Networks provide the most comprehensive offering for the alarm industry by overcoming the drawbacks associated with alternative offerings.
The upfront investment in establishing a wireless mesh network is relatively small compared to traditional communications systems. A typical field installation can be done in one day and is not dependant on third parties. There are no recurring monthly costs, such as those associated with phone or cellular time or leasing radio tower space since a wireless network provides its own communication medium. The network provides high levels of redundancy and reliability at low operational costs. As additional subscribers are brought on line the network naturally expands. Every additional remote site expands the network allowing signals to be “smartly routed” to the receiving center via the most efficient path. Thus, as the network grows it becomes more redundant and reliable. The operator is also the owner and maintains complete control over the network
- Telephone Line – Has the advantage of being available in most places but has a relatively high monthly recurring cost, installation may take weeks, and there is no redundant communications path even if two phone lines are engaged. Neither the end user nor the Central Station operator have any control over the network and are subject to line cuts, weather, and equipment malfunction. With new laws enabling cell phone users to keep their telephone numbers even when they change carriers, many have disconnected their landline based home phones, cutting their connection to the central alarm monitor.
- Direct Wire – An antiquated technology provided by telephone companies, Direct Wire circuits connect a premise to a monitoring station utilizing a supervising current. Direct Wire has limited availability, is expensive by comparison and provides little critical event information.
- Derived Channel – Derived Channel circuits were prevalent in major market centers and established between the protected premise and Telco Central office by use of a poll-response protocol and sub-audible tone on POTS circuits. The telephone companies are currently eliminating Derived Channel offerings due to low customer volumes and technological incompatibilities with multiplexing technologies used today in the ordinary routing of phone calls.
- Cellular – Installation can be done in one day as opposed to standard telephone lines, but this option still has a high monthly recurring cost and network coverage is far from everywhere, particularly in rural areas. Transmission times can often be lengthy as the call traffic is routed through multiple centers prior to arriving at the monitoring sites. Cellular frequencies are publicly known meaning jamming devices may be easily purchased to interfere with signals. Operators have no control over the transmission network.
- Satellite – Network coverage is pretty much everywhere including rural areas, but it has a very high monthly cost and the equipment can be quite costly. There is, therefore, very little implementation in the life safety industry.
- Private Tower-Based Radio – There is a high upfront investment in the receiving equipment at the monitoring site and repeater tower space is prohibitively expensive, as rental fees have escalated dramatically in the last 24 months. Extending geographic network coverage requires significant capital and operating expenses from the licensee as well as a high level of radio and engineering expertise. Private radio towers offer the ability to interrogate network devices.