Do you know how your security system is powered? Whether you have a home or commercial security system, it may be affected as your premises moves over to the nbn™.

nbn™ has slowly rolled out across Australia over the past decade, so most of the country has had a great deal of time to prepare. This is to our advantage, as it means that manufacturers of the many technologies we use in day to day life have already begun adapting and adjusting these items to be suitable for use on the nbn™.

This extends to security systems. Anticipating the changes, security companies are already well prepared to get homes and business connected via the nbn™. There are nbn™-ready devices that might suit, or there are potential fixes for your existing technologies.

You’ve likely already investigated how your phone and Internet service will change on the nbn™, but will you need to make adjustments for a home or business security system as well? Let’s find out.

Who will be affected?

To know if you will be impacted by these changes, you have to know how your current security system operates. Many systems operate using existing phone lines, or the copper wiring network. Because the nbn™ is essentially replacing the copper network, such systems will no longer work properly, if at all. More specifically, they will cease to work within 18 months of nbn™ reaching your area, which is when the copper lines are shut off after the nbn™ arrives in a given area.

Unfortunately, this means that your alarm system could be affected. There’s no simple answer to which systems and products will no longer work. The reality is complex and based on a number of factors, including what type of nbn™ network technology is in place in your area and the brand/model of your alarm system. To get the most reliable answer, you’ll want to contact the company or provider who sold you your security system.

Why won’t some security systems work?

The nbn™ is shifting a lot of our telephone and Internet technology and this applies to security systems too. Essentially, here’s why your phone-based security system won’t work on the nbn™:

While many communication services used to utilise a standard copper analogue telephone line, via the nbn™, these services will have to use VoIP (Voice over IP) technology. Unsurprisingly, the majority of alarm systems are designed for use on the old system and not over VoIP based systems.

All Internet and phone technology will be adapted to this new approach, which no longer uses copper wiring---or at least not as heavily or exclusively. The nbn™ is built to connect the whole of Australia, and to achieve this it must incorporate and combine a wide range of connection types and technologies. Among those being used are fixed fibre optic cable, copper cable, fixed wireless broadband, and satellite.

If you’ve got a security system that is built to work on classic copper cabling, there’s a very good chance that it will not pair with the nbn™. All or part of your alarm system could fail, or be unable to communicate with the monitoring centre in the event of an alarm activation.

Having a security system connected via copper wiring used to have the benefit of operating independently of the main power source. This meant that a power blackout wouldn’t impact the security system. Yet now, in the event of a power outage your system may not work altogther on the nbn™. Clearly, it’s important to find alternative ways to power your all-important commercial or home security system.

What should I do?

If you’ve found out that you’re in need of an nbn™ security upgrade, don’t panic. The changes may be less intensive than you might think.

First, be sure to contact your security company prior to moving over to the nbn™. This ensures that there is no downtime for your security system, keeping you and your family (or your business) safe without interruption.

If you do need to make changes, your security company can advise on the best solutions for you. You may not need to overhaul your equipment or invest heavily in updates; sometimes there is a fairly easy fix.

It is imperative to contact the security company, as they will know what products and setups are most suitable for your situation. Because there is such a wide range of security alarms on the market, there is truly no one-size-fits-all solution.

Security Systems in the Age of nbn™

Many security companies are recommending, among other options, wireless security networks. They suggest transitioning to a wireless security solution, using 4G rather than connecting directly to the nbn™ network.

There are several benefits to going wireless, but perhaps the most relevant from a safety perspective is that a wireless connection is not physical, and therefore can’t be physically cut.

Wireless security systems are usually battery backed, so you can feel confident that your security system is live and functioning even in a power outage.

There are other options for security systems on the nbn™. Your security provider can suggest options for a backup power supply, such as a battery backup. This will keep your system going during any power outages that may arise.

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