Bosch offers free fix for VoIP signal transmission issues

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

FAIRPORT, N.Y. - Bosch Security Systems in June introduced a free update of its central station receiver software, specifically designed to improve processing of alarm signals modified by VoIP or digital phone networks. According to Bosch, the new software, available for download at Bosch's website, improves VoIP/digital phone reliability issues vis-à-vis alarm signal processing by more than 75 percent.

"So I have an alarm panel at a premise, and I have a receiver at a central station and for the last 40 years I've had a great POTS line and it has worked well, because that technology was regulated and it was very reliable,” posited Bosch product marketing manager Tom Mechler. "Now with the advent of digital phone lines and VoIP, customers are saying, ‘Hey, I can save all kinds of money by switching.' So we're seeing this phone line change. And for voice it works just fine, but try and connect something that uses data - an alarm system or a fax machine - and there're problems.”

The problem, according to Mechler is that such devices use DTMF - or dual-tone multi-frequency signaling - which relies on the timing between pulses to parse the included signal information. When VoIP and digital phone services transmit signals, those signals are compressed and the timing is altered, often rendering the signal nonsensical to the receiver at the central station. Mechler used the analogy of Morse Code. "If you take out the dashes and only leave in the dots, it doesn't make any sense,” he said.

The new software improves the ability of Bosch's Conettix D6600 and D6100i communications receivers to interpret control panel signals even if they do not meet the formatting requirements of a communications protocol, like contact ID, which is among the most prevalent with central stations. The receiver software analyzes the alarm signals to decode those that have been modified by VoIP or digital phone networks.

"So the homeowner gets a new digital phone line or a VoIP system and now their alarm system doesn't work any more,” Mechler said. "We added a compensation mode that allows the receiver to look at the digits rather than the pulse timing and it can get the right message … We've developed this software and tested it, and we've been able to eliminate up to 75 percent of the errors… this solves that problem for most installations.”