White Paper Panel-Based vs. Remote Cell Communicators

White Paper Panel-Based vs. Remote Cell Communicators
White Paper
Panel-Based vs. Remote Cell Communicators
Many security system suppliers continue to believe that the practice of locating cellular communicators
remotely from the panel provides a necessary or higher level of security. This is true for installers that are still
using old-style slave cellular communicators. When using the current generation of communicators, which are
tightly integrated with and installed internal to the panel, the greatest security is created by locating the
communicator in the panel enclosure. Remotely locating the communicator merely increases the complexity
and cost of the installation, with absolutely no benefit to security. In fact, it could make the system less
secure, particularly with the older slave or slow retransmission-type cell communicators.
Old School Thinking
The fundamental fallacy of the remote-from-panel theory is that the security is in the communicator. The
theory holds that if you protect the communicator, you ensure it will be able to transmit an alarm even if the
panel is attacked. Therefore, the theory claims, isolating the communicator at some distance from the panel or
carefully hiding the communicator enhances the security of the system.
This incorrect belief goes back to older slave communicators that are/were not designed specifically to work
with a particular panel. This was the first generation of cellular communicators that have been widely used for
many years in our industry. For applications that demand the highest levels of security, like financial
institutions, this older technology is no longer the best method. The current generation of cellular
communicators is designed specifically for a particular control panel, and offers many improvements over slave
type-systems. In these newer systems, the panel programming provides for regular check-in messages. Included
are device-to panel check-ins, as well as supervised check-ins between the panel and the Central Station.
In such systems, if any component in the system is attacked, the Central Station will become aware of the issue
immediately or as soon as the expected check-in message is missed. If a perpetrator attacks the panel and
renders it unable to communicate, an alarm will be triggered by the receiver in the Central Station. The
security at that point is in the receiver, not in the panel.
When an intruder trips one of the premise’s sensors, whether a door or window contact, glass-break, or motion
detector, the panel will immediately signal the Central Station. This alarm may be received much faster than
that provided by a missed check-in (depending on the Supervision Programming). Therefore, it is still a
recommended practice to design your installations so the panel is wrapped in multiple layers of protection. The
attack-grade panel enclosure is installed in a locked room protected by door contacts, motion detectors, etc.
But in the event of an attack on the system, security is still ensured. In most cases, the panel will have
sufficient time to transmit an alarm to the Central Station since it needs less than a second to communicate via
network. Even if the intruder is successful in destroying the panel and/or the communicator before an alarm
can be sent, the Central Station still becomes aware of the situation when the next-scheduled check-in fails to
occur.
The location of the communicator has no bearing on the level of security or speed of the response in the event
of an assault on the panel. In fact, having the cell communicator in the attack-grade enclosure, powered by
the panel and backed up by the full system battery, provides fewer points of potential system failure.
DMP White Paper
Panel-Based Vs. Remote Cellular Communicator Modules
Multi-layer Communication
The most capable panels permit the creation of a multi-layer communication approach that provides in-depth
security with reduced communication costs. In these panels, the primary path for panel-to-Central Station
communication is network. If that path becomes unavailable for any reason, the panel switches to a secondary
path. Additional paths can also be created and programmed in these panels. This approach makes it virtually
impossible to disrupt all panel communications. It also minimizes cellular signaling and the related cost,
because the cellular communicator is sending data only when needed.
A more advanced implementation of this backup-path approach is DMP’s Adaptive Communication. For most
panels, the failure of a communication path generates a Panel-Missing message before the backup path
connects to the Central Station. This is because the device/path is too slow or the retransmission of the signal
creates a delay. DMP panels adapt more quickly to the new backup cell path, which continues to fulfill the
check-ins at the receiver and therefore avoids that panel missing message. The rapid switch to an alternate
communication path avoids the need to respond or, in some high-security applications, saves the responsibility
of sending a runner to the alarm premises.
When the primary path is restored, the panel again adapts and reverts back to that primary path. In the
meantime, the Central Station will receive a trouble message for the failed communication path, notifying
them of a switch in the communication paths.
DMP’s large commercial panels provide as many as eight communication paths. Users of these systems have
tremendous confidence in the availability of reliable, unbroken connections to their Central Stations.
Added Costs of Remote Installation
Systems buyers who employ the remote-communicator approach not only fail to improve their security but also
pay more for their systems than necessary. Locating the cellular communicator remotely means they will
typically buy a second, hardened enclosure for it. They also have the cost of installing the communicator and
running the necessary wires and conduit to connect it to the panel.
When installed remotely, the communicator requires its own battery, adding to the initial costs. The second
battery also has to be maintained and replaced on a maintenance schedule, adding service costs. When located
inside the panel, the cellular communicator relies on the panel’s backup battery for power.
From a hardware, installation, and wall-space perspective, housing the communicator inside the panel is
clearly preferable.
Other Speed and Reliability Concerns
Users interested in the fastest and most secure communications should be aware that most older cellular
communicators actually communicate via a third-party network operations center (NOC). These communicators
send the cellular message to the NOC which may convert it into a Contact ID message and relay that via dialer
or some other method.
While these intermediary communication points are generally secure and reliable, they nevertheless represent
additional retransmissions in the communication process that create delays and are subject to potential
failure. The DMP cellular communicator connects directly from the panel to the receiver at the Central Station,
without any relaying or retransmission providing a shorter, faster, and more reliable messaging approach.
A More Effective Approach
Old habits die hard and so many end users continue to be sold on the idea that the most-effective security
approach is to locate their cellular communicators remotely from the panel. Smart system integrators are
aware that the security isn’t in the communicator; it’s at the Central Station. With the current generation of
communicators, locating the communicator inside the control panel optimizes security while minimizing the
cost to remotely install, wire, and maintain their cellular communicator.
DMP White Paper
Panel-Based Vs. Remote Cellular Communicator Modules
DMP 463C/263C/263H
Cell
Telular TG-4 Cell
DSC 3G3070
Uplink 4550 Cell
Upload DMP Panel Programming via cell connection
YES
NO
NO
NO
Download DMP Panel Programming via cell connection
YES
NO
NO
NO
Make programming changes while connected
Arm/disarm, update time, lock/unlock doors, control outputs/Z-wave
over cell
Able to perform diagnostics & send test signal through keypad via
Diagnostics menu.
YES
NO
NO
NO
YES
NO
NO
NO
YES
NO
NO
NO
Yes (jumper into test
mode, LED bars
only)
Yes, LED indicator
Yes (jumper into test
mode, LED only)
AT&T, T-Mobile
AT&T, T-Mobile
AT&T, T-Mobile
Anti-jamming technology?
Yes (built into
Diagnostics actual dB
level)
Verizon, AT&T, TMobile
Yes (with CDMA)
NO
NO
NO
Time for message transmission to monitoring center after primary failure
less than 10 seconds
minutes
minutes
Either way, customer's
preference
Required
No (utilizes panel
power)
NO (built-In Battery
Charger, Battery no
included)
minutes
NA (not able to
support DMP format,
IP Data)
Yes & No (Unit does
not ship with AC
Transformer or
battery, but has builtIn Battery Charger)
NO
NO, but uses dialer
capture in DMP
format
No, but uses dialer
capture in CID format
for DMP panel.
No, but uses dialer capture
in CID format for DMP
panel.
Yes
NO, re-transmitted
YES
NO, re-transmitted
YES
NO
NO
NO
Programmable Check-In & Failure (from 2 to 240 minutes) as primary
and/or back-up
YES
NO
NO
NO
Supports SMA messaging and SMA commands
YES
NO (not with DMP)
YES (w/DMP
format)
YES with limited
options
NO (not with DMP)
NO (not with DMP)
NO (not with DMP)
NO (not with DMP)
Yes with limited
options
YES with limited options
NO
NO
NO
NO
NO
NO
NO
NO
NO
Able to provide Installer/Service Cell Signal
Networks
VPN Communication
Extra power supply required?
Phone line required?
Direct communication to Monitoring Center?
Adaptive Technology™, cell changes from back-up to primary with
same check-ins
Full data with complete area, zone, user names
Able to be primary or back-up
Able to change from back-up to primary, when primary fails
Listings/Approval California State Fire Marshal (CSFM)
YES
YES with extensive
programmable options
Yes (when
programmed)
YES
NA (not able to support
DMP format, IP Data)
Yes & No (Unit does not
ship with AC Transformer
or battery, but has built-In
Battery Charger)
Listings/Approval New York City (FDNY COA #6123)
YES
Listings/Approval Industry Canada: (4160A-CNN0301 263C/463C)
Listings/Approval ANSI/UL 365 Police Station Connect Burglar Alarm
Systems
YES
NO
YES
NO
YES
YES
YES
NO
Listings/Approval ANSI/UL 985 Household Fire Warning System Units
YES
YES
YES
NO
Listings/Approval ANSI/UL 1023 Household Burglar Alarm System Units
Listings/Approval ANSI/UL 1076 Proprietary Burglar Alarm Units &
Systems
YES
YES
NO
NO
YES
NO
NO
NO
Listings/Approval ANSI/UL 1610 Central Station Burglar Alarm Units
Listings/Approval ANSI/UL 864 Control Units for Fire-Protective
Signaling Systems
YES
YES
NO
YES
NO
NO
NO
NO
Listings/Approval ULC Subject-C1023 Household Burglar
YES
NO
YES
NO
Listings/Approval ULC/ORD-C1076 Proprietary Burglar
YES
NO
NO
NO
Listings/Approval ULC S304 Central Station Burglar
YES
NO
YES
NO
Listings/Approval ULC S545 Household Fire
Listings/Approval ULC S559-04 Fire Signal Receiving Centers &
Systems
YES
NO
YES
NO
YES
NO
NO
NO
LT-1288 (5/13) © 2013 Digital Monitoring Products, Inc.
Function, Feature and/or Listings
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