Collecting more information about my security system

I’ve amassed a whole lot of information about my security system over the last few days. I’m starting to feel better and better about switching to VoIP and ensuring that my system will be able to communicate.

First off. my “ADT Focus 32” system is really a close of the DSC Power832, which is very commonly deployed. After scouring some websites for a while I managed to snag the Programming Worksheets and the Installation Manual for this unit, which I’m going to need if I want to program the thing myself.

Secondly, I finally found good information about what protocols exist for security system communication and what will work for VoIP.

This report from the Canadian Alarm and Security Association (Google cache) shows that they did a little test of what protocols will work with VoIP. Here’s the Coles Notes edition:

  • The Contact ID protocol sucks, it won’t work with VoIP. DTMF Express didn’t work either. There’s too much echo coming back to the security system for it to receive signals from the monitoring station. In the case of Contact ID, your system won’t be able to receive the “OK” from the monitoring station, so it will keep on retransmitting until a counter is reached, and then your panel will display an error.
  • Pulse formats like 10, 20, or 40 pps should work fine. 4×2 and 1400Hz handshake seems to be the “standard”. However pulse is the slowest of all formats.
  • SIA format will work as well. Apparently this is because the VoIP hardware thinks that it sounds like a fax transmission, and switches the protocol for the VoIP signal to a type specifically for modem/fax type transmission. SIA is basicially bursts of modem transmission, so it works.

This posts on dslreports is where I got some good info as well.

So now from here, I’m going to call ADT and see if I can get them to program my panel remotely to use the SIA protocol. Then we should be hunky-dory when the VoIP switch happens.


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