How Does a Cellular Alarm System Work

As technology in the security sector advances, so does the intelligence of the burglars in beating this technology. Gone are the days when a simple alarm system, connected to your phone line, was sufficient to protect you from potential intrusions. Criminals have figured out a way around it – Cut the phone lines, and render the security system practically useless.

So what now?

Now is the time for bringing cellular technology into the picture.

What is a Cellular Alarm System?

Cellular alarm systems are a replacement of the traditional wired phone line security networks. These systems work just like your cell phone. A cellular module is installed in the main control panel and it sends signals, without the use of wires, to the monitoring station.  The cellular signal is sent via the data part of a cellular signal, much like a text message.

How Does a Cellular Alarm System Work

  • Emergency Occurs: The first step requires the occurrence of an emergency. This could include a variety of situations, such as a break-in through a window or a door, a fire or a gas leak or even someone trying to force open a security safe.

  • Sensor Triggered: Sensors can be placed anywhere in your house.  Whenever there is an instance of emergency, the relevant sensor picks up the unusual activity and is triggered.

  • Control Panel: The control panel serves more than one purpose:

  • Sounding the Alarm: The triggered sensor sends a cellular signal to the main control panel, where it is registered to sound the alarm. The alarm could be in the form of high-pitched sirens, turning on and off lights, in or around the house or flashing probe lights.

  • Alerting the Authorities: The control panel simultaneously sends a cellular signal to the monitoring service at the back end. The monitoring service, subsequently, informs the relevant authorities. In case of a fire, this would be the fire rescue services; in case of a break-in, it would be the local Police and so on.

  • Help Arrives: Typically it takes a few minutes for emergency services to arrive at the scene. Depending on the efficiency of your monitoring service and the local authorities, help should arrive soon and deal with the potential threats.

Added Benefits:

  • Emergency Notification: It can be programmed to notify you of an emergency via text, call or email.

  • Remote Monitoring: It allows you to monitor your house remotely. Even if you are far away from your home, you can still look at what’s going on inside the house. All you have to do is simply access the cameras from your phone and keep a check for any unusual activities while you are not around.

  • Simple Installation: One of the best parts about going for wireless technology with your home security is that you don’t have to go through the process of an extensive rewiring of your entire house.   The installation procedure is also very simple. 

  • Peace of Mind: With cellular technology securing your house, you don’t have to worry about power outages or even burglars cutting your phone lines. In addition to that, wireless systems are safer and more dependable, giving you a genuine sense of security.

Will the Cell Service Make a Difference?

A common misconception about cellular alarm system revolves around the strength of signals of the cellular service. To clarify, as long as you can make calls and send texts with your cell service at home, you are good to go. And in case the cell service coverage is not very strong at your home, you can always request for having a particular provider’s cellular module inserted.

What About Burglars Using Jammers?

Jammers can easily scramble the communication channel and disrupt cellular signals, giving the burglars a window of opportunity to rob your house. With a jammer in place, the burglar can simply break-in to your house and there would be no notification generated via your alarm system and therefore the monitoring service would not have any knowledge of an intrusion.

To combat this, a lot of alarm companies use a ‘dedicated channel’ to communicate with your alarm system’s control panel. This ensures that there is no disruption in services due to consumer cell phone signal outages. So, be sure to ask your carrier whether or not it provides this service.  

A Quick Word of Caution:

With a cellular alarm system, there are a few things you should keep in mind:


  • Batteries: Since these systems operate on batteries, you should be cautious about when the batteries die out. Most alarm systems would beep to notify you, but ideally, you should check the batteries after every few weeks.

  • Potential Signal Disruption: There might be other appliances in the house that can cause disruption. Keep an eye out for any equipment in the house that uses radio wave technology including microwave ovens and wireless internet. Try and ensure that your cellular alarm system’s range is not affected by the presence of these appliances.

  • Cost: Wireless systems are usually more expensive than wired systems, due to the more advance technology and the convenience they offer.

  • Security: Some of the relatively cheaper and low quality versions of cellular alarm systems operate with a narrow band of security codes.  Other users with the same model may be able to disarm the system with nothing more than a remote control. For this purpose, when you go out to the market, make sure you buy your security products from a trusted supplier that offers a warranty for its products.

  • Installation: Many homeowners tend to go for wireless systems due to the ease of installation factor. However, keep in mind that a non-professional installation might actually leave the system vulnerable to tampering, and unintentional damage.


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