In the June 24 newsletter Mark Buckley quotes an article is SSI: “the alarm industry shouldn't be too concerned with the end of POTS because market trends in the alarm industry are making broadband favorable to copper-wire transmissions…..”

    While many of us are embracing the new technologies for NEW installations, what about the hundreds of thousands of presently installed legacy dialers now in place – no, actually what about the hundreds of thousands of legacy dialers now producing millions of dollars of recurring revenue?

    Industry “experts” have made similar statements.  For those of us who have built our businesses on the basis RECURRING REVENUE we have to be concerned about maintaining that revenue WHEN, (not IF), POTS goes away.  If it is 2014 (which I doubt) there is simply not enough time and horsepower to convert all the existing customers to alternative forms of communication.  I would anticipate that once the FCC does mandate the end of POTS (and it is highly likely that they will) most companies will start then to scramble to get customers converted.  I would put money on a five (5) year phase-out period and there will likely be an extension of no more than two years – POTS could be gone in seven years!  Govern yourselves accordingly.

Dave Currie

Damar Security Systems

Sarnia Canada.



    I would like to thank everyone who sent responses to the sunset of POTS lines and NFPA codes.  Greater minds than mine can’t agree in the right or wrong way or the future, we deal with the technology of the here and now.  Broadband connection of alarm systems represent 2% of our customer base and creates 10% of our head aches. Voice over IP seems to work ok but the cable company does not represent their equipment accurately (battery back-up) or do their inside connections correctly if at all.

    The jury is till out on critical response time for outages for both internet monitoring and voice over IP.  I look at the central station reports for internet monitoring com fail and restores can fill a page on regular bases from telephone based broadband or cable (business class).  Internet monitoring will bring the alarm industry a new class of

installer. As we ramp up to have installers Nicet certified, we will have to look for network certified technicians also.

    Technology and building codes raising the bar for our industry.  As the tight rope walker said “if were easy anybody could do it”.

Lawrence Weinstein

Law Security & Channells Locksmith

Hanover, PA



    In my opinion MFVN is a single technology communication and any DACT connected to it should be held to the 5 minute testing requirements.

     [ Note - I asked David to define his terms; his response:  MFVN=Managed Facility Voice over IP Network. Basically it is cable and phone providers new method of distributing phone lines to the public over their fiber optic networks. MFVN has replaced the POTS and PTSN lines. The MFVN uses a single connection to the phone companies network. A modem/black box is used at the customer's premises that connects to the network of the phone company/cable provider. The modem has outputs that act as phone lines. This arrangement is known as MFVN. MFVN has replaced nearly all of the POTS lines in Florida where we are. Each day more and more are replaced. Also the POTS that are left at some point jump on the providers network so even the POTS lines of yesterday are now in a sense MFVN to a certain degree.

    DACT=3.3.61 Digital Alarm Communicator System (DACS). A system in which

signals are transmitted from a digital alarm communicator transmitter (DACT) located at the protected premises through the public switched telephone network to a digital alarm communicator receiver (DACR). (SIG-SSS) ]   

    When we used POTS lines for the DACTS there was a clear dual pathway for communications. Now with MFVN a single failure of power at the premises or a single failure of the network supporting the MFVN can cause both pathways to be knocked out. The way of the future is clearly to use the IP-Communications. Most of the part numbers for these items are IP-DACTXXX. Not to be confused with the DACT acronym the IP-DACT is not a DACT and does not have to meet the requirements that the DACT has to. There is no way for the DACT to start communicating a test signal every 5 minutes so the technical committee had to just use affirmative action’s to allow the DACTS to remain in service even though the communications companies blindsided us with changing how the world communicates without creating a more stringent standard before removing POTS lines from service. It is clear that even in locations where POTS lines seem to be still in service, they are not really POTS lines anymore. They may look like copper at the premises but a short distance away from the site they change to MFVN by jumping onto the ISP’s network. Nodes in the ISP’s network are only backed up with possibly 2 hours of secondary power. It is ridiculous to consider MFVN standards of secondary power at the premises to be more than 2 hours because the ISP will not give you more than 2 hours through their network nodes. They may have a substantial secondary power source at their head offices but in the field their nodes are limited to 2 hours for almost all ISP’s. The IP-communicator or IP-DACT devices are the way of the future. It is regrettable that NFPA had the chance in the 2010 version of 72 to set a standard for secondary power of the shared equipment at the protected premises and they left it very vague. It is difficult to conceive that all ISPs only give a limited 2 or less hours of secondary power through their network yet the 2010 version of NFPA tries to infer that the local area network shared equipment that the IP-Communicator uses has to meet a 24 hour back up. The 24 hour back up was an old standard for the use of POTS and DACTS whereby the DACT was only going to check in every 24 hours. Now that an IP-Communicator checks in every 5 minutes or less (most models are 15 to 90 seconds) that standard of 24 hours should be tossed to the side. The 2010 code acknowledges that there is no way to regulate the local area networks and says that they are basically out of their control yet there is a vagueness to the code that infers that you need 24 hours of back up on the shared equipment of the LAN. The code does not indicate how the back will take place nor does it create a standard. In order to get 24 hours of back up for even the smallest of local area networks the router and switches can demand a significant amount of power. 25 Watts of power does not seem like an awful lot but when you start to provide 25 watts for 24 hours all of a sudden you have some hefty car sized batteries to provide that secondary power source. 600 Watts at 12 volts and you have 50 amp hour of battery to back up the local area network. 25 Watts is probably the smallest of routers and switches that you will find. I find it hard to believe that the MFVN is allowed to be considered a dual technology communication and the IP-communication is held to the 24 hour standard that the DACT and POTS lines created. We are using the IP-DACT products and I can tell you that they are wonderful. They remind me of the old reverse polarity BA lines that we used to have. The speed is incredible and a failure is recognized almost immediately. We are headed in the right direction with the IP-DACT product but we need some intelligent and deductive forward thinking to create the standards that we will use to go forward with this product that can save the older systems from the loss of POTS lines. Almost all IP-DACTS use the phone line connection from the fire alarm panels to convert the information that was once sent across phone lines and convert it to Packets to be sent over the internet to the receiver that converts the packets back to the standard alarm formats. If a building is using MFVN then it has the internet because MFVN is an ISP’s version of phone lines. At some point a hard core stance could be taken and all older systems could be forced to use the internet. The IP-DACT allows for this upgrade to take place. If dedicated lines were being used there is a cost savings for the end user because one internet connection is cheaper than two dedicated phone lines. If the lines were not dedicated then the end user has to absorb the cost of the new IP-DACT. At least they have the comfort of knowing that their system is being monitored properly and will have immediate notices of a any failure to communicate. IP-communications are the future. We need to demand that a standard be set soon before too many systems are allowed to be installed incorrectly. Or before too many municipalities (AHJ’s) make the wrong interpretations and make it too difficult to put in the superior IP-DACTS. Anyone that does not consider the IP-DACT to be superior compared to the DACT with MFVN has to take a few more classes to fully understand where we are headed and what is available to us currently.


David Perna

Fire Brigade Alarm Systems


Hi Ken—

    Thanks for your e-newsletter outlet  keeping all us updated from all the view points on the crossover to IP (cell) Broadband .   I feel far before January 2014 sunset of POTS lines the US homeowner and business will make the change to IP Networks---over 60% of the US communication market has switched to IP Networks.   Data /Video Speed for e-mail & web sites for home and office now also comes with bundling  of phone & cable services.  Soon IPTV will bring two- (2) way video PC (video Phone) to all of us at the home ,office and on the road.   The alarm Industry growth using IP Video will increase RMR  and the regulatory issues will be worked out for the good of all. 

    However, Network Risk’s using IP broadband need to be Noted;  The phone and cable broadband services can disconnected alarm systems as homeowners switch over to IP bundling without notification, Standby power for on-premise equipment and from ISP / Network providers can effect security disconnects, Network Virus Infection or hacking can cause  software / Hardware Network  “Breach” of Office Computers Data ( Unauthorized Transfer of Bank Funds) or  Denial of Monitoring Services ,  Identity Theft—including Biometric Access data  Liability  from both clients and employee information is real, the FTC, Fed. & State  “Breach” reporting requirements are also real,  Network RMR Business Interruption and Physical  property “virus” damage can be a big cost factor and Network Media Liability of e-Hosting, e-Learning , e-Mail & Web Sites have exposures with Copyrights , Liable, slander---these are a few of the Network Risks to review with your Insurance Agency /Broker. You can contract Mike Kelly for more information at

Best to all

Mike Kelly


re Line Seizure


Hi Ken,

    I enjoy your articles & find them very informative. Can you create more dialog on the subject of line seizure capabilities, or lack there of as it pertains to VoIP, DSL, FIOS and how different installers are wiring their panels to attempt to provide the true line seizure that we used to be able to provide to customers who had POTS lines.



CHS, Inc.