Alternative Offered To Analog Alarm Owners - InformationWeek
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Alternative Offered To Analog Alarm Owners

LaserShield Systems' product promises to keep older security systems operating after the Feb. 18 analog cellular sunset.

As of midnight on Feb. 18, cellular carriers will no longer be required to provide analog services, which means analog-based alarm systems will be disabled. LaserShield Systems on Wednesday said it has a solution for people affected by the shutdown.

Telephone companies this month will pull the plug on their analog services in what is known as the analog-to-digital transition set by the Federal Communications Commission. Most wireless phone service users, including Sprint and T-Mobile subscribers, won't be affected by the transition, often referred to as the "analog cellular sunset," because they already use digital handsets and services.

However, those who use an analog-only handset and receive services from AT&T (and former Dobson Communications), Verizon Wireless, Alltel, and U.S. Cellular, or use analog cellular radio equipment like an alarm system or an in-vehicle OnStar system, should consider switching to digital.

People who have installed expensive equipment in their homes, such as an alarm system, or in their vehicles, such as OnStar's communication system, will have the toughest time.

Some alarm systems use analog radio equipment and send out a wireless signal using the 800-MHz spectrum, according to the FCC. These are generally wireless alarm systems installed before spring 2006.

For those who will be affected, LaserShield is offering its Instant Security System that includes the Cyclone Cellular Adapter, which uses digital cellular GSM networks, and the Sparrow Internet Adapter, which uses a high-speed Internet connection. If a home is broken into, LaserShield transmits an alert either over a cellular network or the Internet to a professional monitoring station, the company said.

LaserShield also comes with a panic button and motion detectors that are placed in areas where intruders are most likely to pass through.

The LaserShield security system costs about $200 and includes a master alarm unit, a wireless motion detector, and two keychain remotes. Here's where it gets a bit expensive. Those who want cellular service need to purchase the Cyclone adapter for $230, or a $130 Sparrow adapter for Internet connectivity. LaserShield also offers a Rapid Response Monitoring Service for $30 a month to cellular or digital phone customers.

There are other alternatives that offer digital alarm systems. Unfortunately, the analog-to-digital transition won't come cheap to nearly a million wireless security system customers who have installed the equipment.

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