The answer to this as with a power outage it depends on the home security system you have as to how it operates when there is an internet outage.

It will depend if they use the internet to run the system or whether they use the internet or cellular or landline to communicate with those monitoring the system.

It is important to know how a security system works when there is an outage so you can understand and manage the risks when there is one.

Some of the latest systems can also be compromised when the suppliers servers are down which is another dependency to be aware of.

Fortunately internet outages don’t happen that often for most people but if you are in an area where it happens regularly it is a good idea to choose one that is not affected by the internet or it has a backup plan.

There is a scale of how systems are affected by internet problems from no effect to completely down.

Landline or Cellular Network

Starting with the systems that an internet outage doesn’t affect the ongoing operation of the system are those that use landline or cellular network.

In these DIY wireless home security systems the control panel communicates with the sensors and sirens using its’ own wireless network. When one of the sensors is tripped a message is sent to the control panel to sound the alarm and send out notifications to those monitoring the system that there has been a security breach using a landline or cellular network. This all happens independent of the internet.

This is the way older systems operate and they do miss out on some of the functionality you can have with being able to use an App on your smarthphone to monitor and control the system but they do avoid the risk of not being able to contact those people programmed into the system.

An example is the PiSector PS03-M Security System where it uses a landline to get notifications so is unaffected by an outage.

However many people don’t have a landline these days and use VOIP instead for this connection.
In this situation when the internet connection is lost the system can’t connect with those set up in the system. The rest of the system continues to operate and it will still sound the alarm locally.

Next are the systems that use cellular network alongside a landline. Basically they operate along the same lines as the landline version but can also get notifications out over the cellular network.

This is the set up that the Fortress Security Store GSM-B Wireless Home Security System uses. It adds the security that if the landline is down or if VOIP is not working due to an internet outage it will use the cellular network to get the notifications out of any security breach.

Similar to this is the Simplisafe 2 Home Wireless Security System except it has no landline connectivity and uses cellular network for communication. But again it works without the internet so you are fully protected if there is an internet outage. This system is different in that it is professionally monitored and not self-monitored so there is a monthly fee for the service. This fee is charged by the month and can be cancelled at any time.

Internet For Communication

These alarm systems use the internet for communicating with those monitoring the system only , so are not 100% dependent on the internet being up to perform all of their functions.

So, if the internet is down, when the sensor is triggered the alarm will sound but won’t notify the person or persons set up in the system.

This type of arrangement is common with newer systems such as iSmartAlarm, Oplink and Scout. When the internet not working you do get a notification sent to your phone that the system is down.

The iSmartAlarm does not have a backup plan to continue to notify you of security events but they are stored and once the internet is backup you can see what has happened.

With the Scout Alarm System and Oplink Security System you can upgrade them by paying a monthly fee and you get access to a cellular network backup which can send out notifications when the internet is not working.

Need The Internet To Operate

These types of home alarm systems are the most dependent on the internet as they need it to operate. If you have a lot of internet outages these systems are not going to that reliable due to this.

The SmartThings Know And Control Your Home works this way. It also comes with home automation features. So if there is no internet your home security doesn’t work but also none of the devices and rules you’ve set up to automate your home – such as smart locks or light switches.

You do get sent a notification to let you know that this is the case. However, if you are away from home there is not much you can do especially if you are on vacation overseas or out of state.
The internet is going to continue to play a more important part in home security systems as it can offer more features and controls for the owner at a more affordable price than that offered by many of the large monitored security system companies with their expensive long term contracts.

It is important to understand the options you have with home security systems and how they are affected by the internet not just locally but with the supplier’s servers. The best DIY wireless home alarm systems do provide at least a backup option if there is an outage.

The internet adds many benefits but also adds risk as well and this needs to be taken into account when wanting to protect your family, home and valuables.

Filed under: Buying Advice

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