IPDACT vs. VoIP
For a long time, your only choice for monitoring fire alarm systems was to use a POTS (plain old telephone system) line. The bigger the fire alarm system, the more dedicated phone lines the system would need. I do not have to tell you how expensive that can get. However, now that we live in a digital age, fire alarm monitoring options are much more reliable and cost effective.
Many devices in a fire alarm system, including the control panel in some cases, still operate through analog signals. With telecommunications companies switching to digital signals, this has posed some problems in fire alarm communications. “VoIP” lines tend to cause communications problems by how their signal is sent across the lines. VoIP sends analog tones that are cut up into several digital samples of data and sent through the internet. It’s not unusual for a few of these digital samples to be dropped during transmission, which causes a communication error on the receiving end of the signal. Put simply, if the VoIP communicator sends a sentence, a few words may be dropped during transmission. This is problematic when it comes to fire alarm communication.
The alternative to using VoIP for transmission is to use a device called an IPDACT. The IPDACT also uses the internet, but transmits the information differently. The IPDACT packs all the analog information at the panel up into a digital packet and sends the entire packet over the internet. When the signal reaches its destination, the IP receiver unpacks all the information without losing any information. The difference is a complete digital signal of the alarm tone, and not bits and pieces of the signal. Popular belief suggests that all this packing and unpacking of communication slows down the server or network. This is simply not the case.
When it comes to fire alarm communication, the IPDACT is the superior method. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. The cost to install an IPDACT fire alarm communicator is slightly higher, and requires an already existing internet connection. However, you only need one internet connection for the system to be functional as opposed to having a dedicated phone line for each of your fire alarm panels. It is our experience that the IPDACT pays for itself in saved POTS line fees, and is significantly more reliable.
If you have any questions about fire alarm systems, don’t hesitate tocontact us. We are West Texas’ premier fire alarm design and installation company and one of our experts will be able to answer any question you may have.