In today’s environment everything is moving to IP for alarm signaling, because it’s more reliable, dependable and scalable than traditional methods of communications, such as toll-free numbers. Manufacturers are pushing this new wave of technology so end users can take advantage of their feature-rich systems on the network and IP is available in more places at higher speeds than any other method.
In technical terms every device on an IP network is assigned a numeric address: XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX. While this is efficient it is also unrealistic for the general public to remember these numbers, especially if they needed to change for any reason.
In order to not only make it easier to remember where things were but also to allow for emergency moves or changes to networks, URL’s (Uniform Resource Locators) were created, so as an example, instead of typing in 188.8.131.52 you could just type www.coke.com.
The Internet has been engineered to use URL’s through a very complex system called DNS (Domain Name Servers) and while this works well for Internet browsing and sending emails there are a number of problems such as speed, reliability and security when it comes to sending critical signals to the central stations. Because of this the industry has not allowed the use of DNS servers, only static IP addresses for alarm signaling.
The role of the central station
The original IP addressing scheme (IPV4) uses four groups of numbers ranging from 0 to 255 (example 216.064.210.028) this gives you a total of addresses available worldwide 4,294,967,296. We are getting to the point where there are real shortages. The next scheme which is out there is IPV6 and this configuration allows for eight groups of four hexadecimal value’s (example 2001:0db8:85a3:0042:0000:8a2e:0370:7334) it’s unlikely we will ever run out in the foreseeable future.
Presently in the alarm industry, the current offering of IP-based alarm equipment (alarm panels) are ones that use anywhere from one to 16 hard-coded IPV4 addresses. Normally two are used as primary and a secondary for backup. These addresses have traditionally belonged to the central station or more accurately to the ISP (Internet Service Provider) serving the monitoring center.
With toll-free numbers used for dial-up panels you could change the ownership or where they were terminated easily, and many times, instantly. This is not true with IP, as most IP addresses belong to or are registered with the ISP so these addresses are not portable at all. If the dealer wants to change central stations or the central station wants to, or has to switch ISPs these static IP addresses all have to be reprogrammed in the field equipment, something that could cost an installing company hundreds of thousands of dollars and take months to do.
Even if the central station was set up for the special BGP (Border Gateway Control) routing that an installer could route IPV4 addresses to, it’s too cost prohibitive and there are not enough IPV4 addresses left in small blocks where an installer could afford to obtain his own IPV4 address space from ARIN (American Registry of Internet Numbers).
This is where Keep Your IP (KYI Inc.) comes in. The company has its own ARIN IP addresses they lease to alarm installation companies or central stations. The addresses work just like the current toll-free numbers in that they are re-routed in real time with no special equipment at the CS or being forced to use BGP, or incur the expense of ASN’s (Autonomous System Number).
This gives the installer or central station the freedom to use IP-based panels without the concern of reprogramming field equipment in the event they need to move central stations or change ISP’s. Central stations also like the idea of being able to move a client base of accounts to another disaster recovery site in a matter of minutes versus relying on a carrier to make that change.