How will the PSTN switch off affect security systems?Posted on 11 May 2021 by Beaming Support
Will the PSTN switch off affect security systems? The short answer is yes, many existing security systems in the UK currently rely on the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) to literally raise the alarm when a security incident occurs.
When an alarm is triggered at a remote site, or something unusual is detected by CCTV, a signal is sent via the PSTN phone line to a 24/7 monitored alarm receiving centre.
Soon, these alert systems will need to be upgraded because the copper PSTN network is to be switched off.
Why is the PSTN going to be turned off?
PSTN and ISDN technologies can no longer sustain the amount of data (not just phone calls but internet traffic, too) being shared in the 21st century, so there’s a drive to replace them with modern, internet based (IP) solutions such as full fibre broadband and fibre leased lines.
When will this happen?
You will likely have heard about the “full fibre roll-out”; this is the government’s aim to have 85% of the UK’s homes and businesses connected to a network capable of 1Gbps data speeds by 2025. It has been agreed that when an area reaches 75% coverage with a gigabit capable network, no more copper lines will be sold in the area in anticipation of the eventual switch off of the PSTN in 2025. In areas that have already met this goal, old fashioned copper lines are no longer being sold.
Although support for the network will not officially be withdrawn until 2025, those who wait until the last minute to make this change are likely to find it increasingly difficult to get faults fixed, and in some cases a major fault may lead to a forced, rushed migration to an all-IP service.
How will the PSTN switch off affect security systems, companies and installers?
The quality and availability of the connection that links an alarm system to an ARC can be a matter of life and death, so security companies and installers need to start acting now to ensure their customers are fitted with an all-IP solution to maintain these vital links.
In some cases, customers may not be aware that the end of PSTN is nigh, or simply do not know that their alarms or CCTV are connected to this soon-to-be legacy network. It is the job of security companies and installers to make customers aware of the change and help them implement new technologies.
What new technologies can be used to replace existing links between alarms or CCTV and monitoring centres?
Clearly, the PSTN switch off will affect security systems negatively. Connectivity will need to be updated to a technology that does not include copper – so that rules out ISDN phone lines, ADSL broadband and superfast FTTC “fibre broadband”, which uses copper to cover the distance between the end destination and the local green cabinet.
The options for moving away from copper are as follow:
Ultrafast FTTP broadband is a “full fibre” technology used for accessing the public internet, often used by residential customers and small businesses.
The FTTP connection installed for the new IP based alarms and/or CCTV cameras to communicate with the ARC should be kept separate from the connection used by the business day-to-day. Internet of Things devices – networked CCTV cameras, alarms and “smart” tech like speakers and building controls – are a key target for hackers, who use these devices to gain access to the network and steal or hold data to ransom. By installing a separate broadband connection for the CCTV and/or alarm system, company data is better protected and both daily work and security systems are able to run more smoothly and reliably.
Fibre optic leased lines
When the connection to the ARC needs to be watertight and there’s no room for downtime, businesses should consider a leased line, also known as dedicated internet fibre, fibre ethernet, dedicated internet access or direct internet access.
While you may associate leased lines with extremely high data transfer rates – and they can definitely provide them – it is possible to take a leased line service with relatively low data speeds which can easily be scaled up in future if necessary, and may be more affordable than you think as gigabit capable connections are becoming more widely available.
Mobile broadband – 4G or 5G
4G or 5G broadband may be used to connect alarm systems to the ARC, though we’d usually recommend this as a backup service in case of a fault with the primary connection. This is because mobile broadband can achieve high speeds but latency is also high, so there is more of a delay before sending a signal. In emergency situations, it is of course best to keep delay to a minimum.
Private Cloud – ProtectNet
ProtectNet allows remote access to networked devices including computers used for home working, CCTV cameras and security alarms, without compromising on security.
When employees or third parties who are based off site – such as remote workers, alarm installers or equipment manufacturers –need remote access to your network, what do you do?
Opening up the network could mean exposure to external threats, but Beaming has a solution to this problem: ProtectNet. ProtectNet provides a secure, fast and reliable method of transmission to one or many remote locations and is set up so that only authorised staff can access the network remotely, without jeopardising any security or exposing data to anyone outside of the organisation.
With ProtectNet in place, installers are able to do their job without fear of compromising security, while security companies and their customers have the peace of mind that comes with knowing the network is water tight.
- Leased Lines
- Data Security
Beaming worked with key security industry players to develop the ProtectNet service. For businesses like Corps Security, it protects their network, and their reputation.
More about what the ISDN switch off means for business
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