What Happens to My Alarm Monitoring If My Phone Line Is Cut?

Sometimes during burglaries or home invasions, an intruder will cut the phone line to prevent the alarm system from reaching the monitoring center. The lines can also be cut accidentally during construction work. Two common ways to get around this problem are cellular backup systems and wireless broadband systems.

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Cellular backup

In many cases, modern home security systems come equipped with cellular backup. This is a system that routes the signal wirelessly using the same technology as cellphones—no landline required.

Cellular monitoring is a game-changer. It eliminates one of the greatest vulnerabilities of traditional home security systems: the fact that the physical line between the alarm and the monitoring station is vulnerable to breaks. Having the cellular backup option means that if the primary connection goes out, you still have a lifeline.

There are two types of cellular monitoring systems: direct and indirect. Direct systems send their signal straight to the alarm company’s central monitoring station, while indirect systems route the signal to a third-party monitoring station. Some people may prefer the direct method because it has fewer variables involved, but either method gets the job done.

Broadband security systems

There are also fully wireless home security systems that route alarm information through broadband connections rather than landlines, but these systems have the same drawbacks as landline-exclusive systems; that is, they’re one-trick ponies. Wi-Fi connections, while generally reliable, can go out for various reasons. These types of wireless security systems are great options for homes that don’t have landline connections, but they’re not the most reliable setup out there.

In the end, your best bet is a hybrid system that combines multiple options: a hardwired landline connection with a cellular backup in case that wired connection is unavailable, for example.

Check out our How to Choose a Security System page to figure out which monitoring option is best for you.


Compare the best home security systems

Brand
Lowest monitoring price
Starter equipment price
Contract required
Smart home compatibilityIcon Tooltip  Dark
Learn more
Best overall
VivintVivint
$599.00
Icon Yes  LightNo *
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Reader favorite
SimpliSafeSimpliSafe
$229.00
Icon Yes  LightNo
Amazon,
Google
Whole-property pick
FrontpointFrontpoint
$99.00
Icon Yes  LightNo
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Pro monitoring pick
ADTADT
$0.00
Icon No  LightYes
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Customer-focused pick
CoveCove
Quote required
Icon Yes  LightNo *
Amazon,
Google
No-contract DIY pick
Blue by ADTBlue by ADT
$199.15
Icon Yes  LightNo
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Smart home pick
AbodeAbode
$279.00
Icon Yes  LightNo
Amazon, Apple, Google, Z-Wave, Zigbee
Budget pick
RingRing
$199.99
Icon Yes  LightNo
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Sensor selection pick
Link InteractiveLink Interactive
Quote required
Icon Yes  LightNo *
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave
Simple package pick
BrinksBrinks
$199.00
Icon No  LightYes
Amazon,
Google,
Z-Wave

Info current as of 04/12/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*$0 due up-front with consumer financing.
†No-contract options available with outright equipment purchase.
‡Landline monitoring only. Some restrictions apply. (Full disclaimer)
**With $99 installation charge and new monitoring agreement. Early termination fee applies. See full disclaimer for full offer details, terms, and conditions.

Celeste Tholen
Written by
Celeste Tholen
Celeste has dedicated her decade-long career to reporting and reviews that help people make well-informed decisions. She oversees editorial strategy and production for SafeWise, with a goal to help people find the information they need to make their homes and lives safer. Prior to SafeWise, she worked as an editor and reporter for KSL and Deseret News. She continues to report on local news as a volunteer with the community paper. For the last six years, she’s led a Girl Scout troop, teaching girls about safety and preparing for whatever life throws their way.

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