Cellular vs Broadband vs Phone Line Security Monitoring

Various Types of Home Alarm Monitoring Technologies

When it comes to home security system technology today, it’s safe to say cellular technology is the quickly replacing the traditional phone based systems out there. To help emphasize the importance of cellular alarm monitoring, we should first consider the alternative home security monitoring technology available out there.

Phone Line-based Monitoring

landline home security systems

The Phone line-based systems proved to be vulnerable when burglars started cutting phone lines and proving how easy it is to defeat even expensive security systems. The weakness here lied in the fact that in order to get a response from the central monitoring station – a signal needed to travel from the location of the burglary through a physical conduit (the phone line) to the central monitoring station. Honest homeowners who invested in the best sensors and home security system design found vulnerability in the most important part of the system. A burglar just needed to find a phone line on their way into the property, phone lines aren’t inconspicuous, so locating them en-route to the back door was somewhat routine practice. What happens next is a $2 pair of wire-cutters defeats thousand dollar security systems with a quick snip.

It took a while to educate the public about this vulnerability. With millions invested in these systems and big home security companies looking to protect their product reputations, it was definitely an uphill battle to inform users about the importance of cellular monitoring.

Broadband or Internet-based Security Monitoring

broadband home security systems

These were proposed as a solution for the issues phone line security systems faced. After all many of the major phone companies were also Internet service providers. It made sense for the security companies to attempt to convert their Control Panels and add Ethernet ports, so Internet lines can connect to them directly. With the increasing popularity of VOIP-based systems the customer base was very accepting of this proposition.

Unfortunately users faced a similar problem with this solution; a more sophisticated burglar could cut off the power to your house. Without power the routers are off, without routers there is no Internet – the same predicament, the signal wouldn’t be sent to the central monitoring station. It’s worth noting that people opted to back up one with the other. Say, an Internet based alarm system with the phone line as a backup solution. Or you had the phone line based security systems, and Internet as a backup. The idea here was a burglar defeats one of the communication methods the other would kick in. The issue with this is users became wary of response times and didn’t truly think two physical layers that were easily defeated evoke peace of mind.

Cellular-based Security Systems

cellular home security systems

Also known as cellular monitoring – not to be confused with wireless alarm monitoring, presented a more reliable way of protecting the home and family. Users who were already seeing the benefits of wireless technology in their day-to-day lives were more susceptible to embrace a cellular form of communication between the security system and the central monitoring station. Without wires to cut, cellular systems seem safer than the other options out there. The cellular service is typically included in the monitoring plan you purchase and may be at least 10% more expensive than a phone line based system in many cases.


While no home security system is perfect, a cellular based security system gives users the safest option for connecting to central monitoring, then they dispatch the police if they confirm an emergency event. Opportunistic burglars are trying to find ways to take advantage of home security technology out there, and while cellular security systems remain a target for burglars, they remain fairly difficult to defeat.

Note: Some home security companies also offer crash and smash technology in case burglars destroy the control panel.

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