Home Security Monitoring Review
Home Security Monitoring Services
Go back 10 years and ADT was running the show but now there are too many options to choose from and most of them are good so it's a competitive market which makes the choice all the more difficult. Intrution got me signed up with a fantastic company that's ranked very highly. The equipment was only $99 and came with a 2-year warranty and I got good pricing on monitoring. The plan came with a lot of features.
There are not a lot of home security companies featured in this roundup. Vivint is a really expensive option and from what I've heard they lack customer service skills. Simplisafe doesn't have the best hardware setup and is expensive for what they offer in terms of hardware. iSmart is still good but has it's limitations and I don't know too much about SkylinkNet. Intrution.com introduced me to some great companies and they helped me get me a wireless, tamper-resistant security system for my home.
"Best" is a relative term. A simple solution I ran across is a Nubryte. It is not a full blown security system as discussed here but rather is a self contained smart home console. It has a security mode as well as all of the good stuff like , calendar ,energy monitor ,intercom , weather and lots of neat lighting controls. It replaces a light switch so installation in apartments and rental properties isn't a problem. No wires or shelf space required! Security wise it relays images and alerts to your smartphone so you can determine if the cat or a burglar set off the alarm.
DIY systems are good for people who are somewhat savvy with technology or like to do that kind of thing. For many people, they are a great solution. Some things to keep in mind- if you are going to have it monitored, many jurisdictions still require you to have an alarm permit before the police or fire will dispatch (or they will fine you significantly if they do dispatch and you do not have a permit on file). Additionally, if you plan on integrating your fire system at all, most jurisdictions require that you have a licensed fire technician involved in the process. Most states require that the fire technician actually see the system. For people who are less tech savvy, need wired devices instead of wireless, or those of you who just want someone else to do it- you might try a local company instead of a major national company. If you are in the Dallas/Fort Worth, TX area, RE Security Solutions can help match you to a system and options that meet your needs/budget.
What We Evaluated, What We Found
The real question people should ask is when does the system do if the communications between the various sensors and the control unit are jammed? For example, it was shown last month that Comcast's wireless home alarm systems can be trivially jammed, rendering them useless and allowing burglars to slip in undetected. In January, the US Department of Homeland Security-sponsored CERT organization issued an alert about this – adding it is "unaware of a practical solution to this problem." Rapid7 security researcher Phil Bosco found that by jamming the 2.4GHz ZigBee radio channel used by Comcast's gear, the base station can't communicate with its sensors, and defaults to reporting a "closed" state on doors and windows, even if the sensors detect an "open" state. A jammer can be made with off the shelf parts.
The best (or at least most mature & proven) systems were not even listed. The article instead covers new DIY systems rather than ones with a proven track record of decades. Personally, I prefer the DIY approach, because I don't want anyone to know what system is installed, especially not the same company that monitors security. (And I prefer self-monitoring for the same reason.) Working for a security company just seems like a great internship for wannabe crooks -- a place to learn all about locks, sensors, wired & wireless networks, surveillance cameras, monitoring services, etc.
I wouldn't recommend getting off-the-shelf systems because they're not professionally monitored by a central station. The upside to getting a professional system like the one I got from the company Intrution.com recommended is it also lets you self-monitor your system just like an off-the-shelf system would.
After a lot of research and asking around I've realized the best systems are the ones that are wireless and cellular (most dependable) and those that come with door sensors and what not. It appears like all companies offer the same thing more or less and the only differentiator is cost or contract length but that's not true and it was Intrution that brought me to this realization.
What Kinds of Monitoring Services Do You Need?
I did a ton of research before i ended up buying my system and from everything i read the best systems use cellular monitoring, with wireless equipment. I ended up choosing frontpoint because they had awesoem reviews and offer remote control, cameras and the automation stuff i was looking for plus it works with my amazon echo. They also gave me a pretty big discount on my equipment and some free sensors. I'd definitely recommend looking into them. Supposedly the deal you get may depend on the number you call so i'd recommend trying that number and maybe a few others.
Yes the conventional systems with the upgrade of being wireless and cellular are much better than the all in one systems. Intrution features a new company every few months. Their recommendation hasn't failed me yet.
Home Security Companies: Buyer Beware
Take Your Time
Wired systems that require a professional install seem to be things of the past now with all these off the counter and diy home security systems. I went through Intrution to purchase my system and they found me one that was self-install and really easy to set up.
To me, a good home security service is one that gives you both professional monitoring as well as the ability to control the security system from portable devices whether it's a tablet, phone or computer. It's difficult to find a company that gets you all of this for a reasonable monitoring fee but I got a great plan through Intrution.com.
Home Security Monitoring: Our Verdict & Recommendations
Basic security gadgets like, nails, screws, doors, padlocks and window locks, bars and bolts, can build the measure of time it enjoys to reprieve into your home. Put resources into a thief alarm. The best ones likewise ring at an outside service. Also, make sure you have strong windows as well as doors.
If you've got the attic and/or crawl space for it, nothing compares to a hardwired system where all the sensors/keypads/other devices terminate to a CPU in a steel tamper-resistant box hidden in a closet. Wireless sensors are good for those points where the installer can't run a wire, but that's about it - and no battery replacement every 5 years or so, except for the main backup battery & cellular unit.
I see quite a push for this in the home security industry as well as other service industries that require actual physical technicians to help customers with their services and equipment. It is just such a huge cost savings for the company and it really is far more convenient for the homeowner to just do it themselves. It saves the man hours of one or more technicians traveling and servicing the account in the home. It saves the man hours of the homeowner waiting for the technicians to arrive and subsequently work with them so that the installation meets the customers. Lastly, it also saves the money of all the transportation and movement of equipment that would ultimately cost the company thousands of dollars every year and therefore also drive up the customer's expense as well. It seems much more practical to use such automated, long-distance services as a reasonable replacement. After all, what business doesn't like to save money while still offering the same service? Homeowners just need to get into the habit of trusting the process and accepting what costs there are.
I think it is interesting that more and more home security system companies are offering and encouraging homeowners to install their systems on their own, with support from a main office rather than a field technician. In the past, this could not have been possible due to the extensive wiring and electrical knowledge that would be required to install a home security system. Wireless technology obviously did not exist more than two decades ago and with each component needing to communicate with one another, a wired network would have to be installed, preferably out of sight, throughout the home.
Nowadays, it is much simpler for the average homeowner to install an effective home security system without having to have too much technical knowledge above and beyond basic wireless networking skills. Sensors, cameras, and control panels can all be installed throughout the home with little more than a screwdriver and be up and running within a day. It is still advisable that the homeowner follows installation guidelines and contact support if they have questions, but by and large they could do it completely on their own.