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#35858 by tjkirk
Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:49 am
Hi Larry, I was thinking about trying to get my alarm system to work thru the Telo, but your experience is not encouraging. :cry:

I'm just curious, why not retrofit your alarm system to use wireless/cellular monitoring? It may save you a few headaches and $90/hour service bills. Of course, the wireless option isn't cheap (ADT will convert mine to wireless, but at $199 up front, then $5 per mo more for monitoring), but might save you some headaches and some ZZZs. And that may be cheaper in long run than maintaining a landline just for your alarm system, depending on what your landline provider charges (Verizon want $30 just for basic landline service). Currently I'm looking into Alarm.com as a possible option, as ADT is just too much. And to heck with Verizon too. :P
#35864 by murphy
Fri Dec 04, 2009 9:43 am
I'm paying Verizon $16.34 for a basic phone line for my alarm system. And over half of that is FCC fees and taxes.
#35941 by larry j
Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:34 pm
tjkirk:

I am considering Broadband's cellular option. But it's $300 or a 3 year contract extension + $10 a month. But I think I'm going to go with that if I can't get the Ooma to work with my alarm.

But I haven't had any problems since the alarm successfully made an update call on Wednesday morning (~2.5 days ago). I don't understand why, but after the Broadview technician left, my alarm system used my Ooma line to call the update number every 3.5-4 hours. I think it was successful until it woke us up at 1:30 am the next morning flashing a 'CH' message. It continued to call every few hours, flashing that 'CH' message until.... At around 10 am on Wednesday, the call was successful. I assume it was successful because all of the previous update call attempts were in pairs. This one was not and after the call, my keypad stopped flashing the 'CH' message.

I expected the alarm to wake us up at around 1:30 the following morning, but it hasn't done that since. I've been checking my Ooma call logs several times a day and the alarm hasn't dialed the update number since either. I thought it was supposed to check for updates daily.

So to summarize:

Monday - Broadview changes my phone jack wiring so the alarm is fed by the jack that the Ooma is plugged into. Everything checks out fine. I thought I had my Ooma setup to use the 'enable high-bandwidth audio codec' option checked, but I realize later (after Broadview leaves) that it is not selected. I change it to selected, assuming that this will help the alarm system call Broadview. I notice that the alarm is calling the 800 update number every few hours, in pairs. No error messages on the keypad though. At 1:30 am Tuesday morning, the keypad wakes us up, flashing the 'CH' code and the 800 number.

Tuesday - The alarm calls the 800 update number every few hours, calling twice (back-to-back calls) each time. I disable the 'high-bandwidth audio codec' option, thinking maybe I'm better off without it. Later I decide that the alarm should work better with it enabled and turn it on (after confirming that it 'sticks'). It wakes us up again on Wednesday morning at around 1:30 am.

Wednesday - I notice in the Ooma call log that outbound calls to the Broadview update number stop after 1 call at around 10 am. I check my keypad. No more 'CH' code. I test the alarm and it checks out fine (indicating successful communication with the home office).

Thursday and Friday - I check my Ooma call logs several times a day. No outbound Broadview 800 outbound calls attempted. Alarm keypads continue to show no issues. I test several times and the alarm returns a successful test indicator.

I've been running tests on the alarm and those go through fine. According to Broadview, that confirms that my alarm system can dial the central office in the event of an emergency. I'm fairly confident that if someone were to try to break in or I had a fire, the alarm system would contact Broadview who would in turn notify my local police/fire department. Until the other day I wasn't confident that the alarm was successfully checking for software updates. I guess I'm not 100% confident that it's happening now, but alarm tests continue to be successful and my keypads aren't flashing error messages.

Note that all of this is without the alarm system using any kind of special dialing prefix. If my problems come back (alarm keypad indicating some kind of issue/waking us up in the middle of the night), I have to decide if I want Broadview to come back and change the dialing prefix to ",,TT*99," which others have had success with, or if I want to just go with their GSM option. If it's the latter, I then have to decide if I want to keep Ooma or just use cell phones for phone calls.

Note - As I understand it, Broadview/Brinks alarm systems dial out with 2 different 800 numbers - One for alarm events/testing and another number for 'updates'. All of my testing has been successful and those calls do register in my Ooma log as outbound calls. The number I've been tracking and paying closer attention to is the 'update' number. I assumed that if all was well, I would see 1 of these a day. I'm just confused as to why I haven't seen that number dial out since my successful update call on Wednesday morning.

If only Windstream would offer a metered line for a reasonable price, I would just stick with them for my alarm and use Ooma for calls. But they charge a minimum of $33 a month and I just can't justify that for nothing more than monitoring the alarm system (we never use our landline any more). I'd rather pay Broadview for their GSM option. :)
#35945 by Magus
Fri Dec 04, 2009 8:56 pm
What happens if many units call for updates at once and hug the number of lines available? Or if the number just does not answer? Would the failure of the update cause the alarm to be set? It could be that that evening the update system was not connecting, but they reset their lines in teh morning and so the fault may have been entirely external.
#35948 by larry j
Fri Dec 04, 2009 9:17 pm
Magus wrote:What happens if many units call for updates at once and hug the number of lines available? Or if the number just does not answer? Would the failure of the update cause the alarm to be set? It could be that that evening the update system was not connecting, but they reset their lines in teh morning and so the fault may have been entirely external.


Lots of guessing on my part coming...

I don't think the update calls are critical. They just set the time and check to see if any software updates are available and if so, download them. If that's the case, I don't understand why my system was calling every 3.5 - 4 hours (with 2 calls attempted at each interval) while the keypads showed no indication of a communication issue.

My theory is that the update calls can fail forever with no impact on your alarm's ability to notify the authorities in the event of an emergency. But it will let you know when it can't make the update calls (daily?) by beeping the keypad. That sucks when it happens at 1:30 in the morning. I'm pretty sure I can call Broadview and they can send another technician out to change the daily update call to a more reasonable hour. Before they came out on Monday, my alarm would beep at 9:35 pm every night, letting me know that it couldn't make the update call. I hit cancel twice and it was fine after that. At the time, I had no monitoring as the alarm wasn't connected to a phone line.

But my theories fell apart when the alarm made an assumed successful call on Wednesday morning and hasn't dialed that number since.
#35964 by doctorwizz
Sat Dec 05, 2009 5:59 am
You need to do alarm tests and call Broadview to verify the data sent is valid.

I just installed ooma hub with my Ademco Lynx alarm. Some of the tests I have done send invalid data to my alarm company. www.alarmrelay.com I tried it with and without the high bandwidth codec in https://my.ooma.com/system and both send invalid data. The alarm will keep calling until it sends valid data. Just takes 2-5 calls. This is with the ooma behind the router. I will test again today with the ooma behind the cable modem. Then, if I still get invalids, I will call AlarmRelay and they can walk me through alarm programming to put a *99 in the dailing sequence. The tech's there know about ooma. They like it and say it work great with their monitoring.
#35971 by murphy
Sat Dec 05, 2009 7:09 am
Be sure to put a pause after the *99. Hopefully Alarm Relay can tell you how to do that.
On an Ademco Vista 20P the entire sequence would be
#11 99 #13

#11 enters an *
#13 enters a 2 second pause
#35999 by doctorwizz
Sat Dec 05, 2009 10:23 am
Putting the ooma behind the router still produced invalids.
Waiting on AlarmRelay to call me back for programming. They may not call back until Monday. IDK

I'm still not sure that *99 is necessary since you can enable the high bandwidth codec in my ooma.
Make sure the ooma connection tone is set to off.

I re-wired my alarm panel so I could listen in on the alarm call with landline. It made one call. There were 4 sets of DTMF tones. There was a beep after each of the 4 set of tones. With ooma connected, there were very few times that it would beep after each set of DTMF tones. And it would make 2-8 calls. I'm hoping the *99 will improve this.
#36064 by RickO
Sat Dec 05, 2009 7:29 pm
larry j wrote:My theory is that the update calls can fail forever with no impact on your alarm's ability to notify the authorities in the event of an emergency. But it will let you know when it can't make the update calls (daily?) by beeping the keypad. That sucks when it happens at 1:30 in the morning. I'm pretty sure I can call Broadview and they can send another technician out to change the daily update call to a more reasonable hour. Before they came out on Monday, my alarm would beep at 9:35 pm every night, letting me know that it couldn't make the update call. I hit cancel twice and it was fine after that. At the time, I had no monitoring as the alarm wasn't connected to a phone line.

But my theories fell apart when the alarm made an assumed successful call on Wednesday morning and hasn't dialed that number since.


I asked the Broadview technician to program my system to have updates come in at noon instead of at night. He told me that there isn't a way to control the update schedule.
#36110 by larry j
Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:08 am
Well, even though the Ooma seems to be playing nice with my alarm now (no update calls in a while though, but no issues), I think I'm going to have to return it.

The main number we call is my parents. They have a VOIP solution too, but it's provided by their phone company (small company which just happens to be using fiber to the house carrying VOIP, TV and internet).

Calling them on my Ooma line just has too many problems. The calls get dropped, or it rings with no answer. They say they always have to say 'hello' three or four times before I can hear them. Sometimes there is static on the call. Also, caller ID isn't working (they don't see my name or number on their caller ID).

As much as I want it to work, the Ooma just isn't providing a quality phone line for my situation. Maybe it's my my connection or network (I get 8 megs down, around 6 megs up and sub-50 ms pings) or maybe it's something with their phone line, but it seems like calling my parents is just too frustrating - related to the Ooma, not normal parents stuff. :)
Last edited by larry j on Sun Dec 06, 2009 5:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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