Alarms & Monitoring: R.I.P. for TDM

FCC says legacy time-division multiplexing technology must go

First, keep in mind that this is not something that will happen in three months or six months; but, it will happen, McVeigh assures. It will certainly affect alarm companies, but maybe not as much as some might fear. Security Solutions owns its own central station so McVeigh knows that any dealer who uses a central station more than one town away already is using IP.

What will be lost is the guarantee of the old POTS networks. Hurricane Sandy proved the resiliency of POTS services, which kept working even when all the IP-based services were washed out. “That resiliency will go away,” McVeigh confirms. “We will not have it in the future.”

Second, keep in touch with your telco and try to understand what your carrier is likely to do. Remember that your local contact might not be on top of the plans being made back in the telco’s headquarter; however, if enough dealers ask questions, the security community should be able to get a feel for the pulse of the decision making bodies.

Look for the transition to come to the networks sometime in the next three to four years. That is when telcos will force their customers to switch over. “The good news is they have improved their networks,” McVeigh says. “The smart dealer is migrating his client base to something that will be more reliable: IP, radio or GSM. The difficulty is establishing pricing. Dealers will be charged more by their third-party central stations, so they need to figure how they will compete.

“It’s kind of a shell game,” McVeigh adds. “You need to stay competitive in the marketplace and still deliver a quality product and make a profit. Dealers should be figuring who to do that right now.”


Curt Harler is a technology writer and regular contributor to SD&I magazine. Email him at