Do Home Security Systems Work with VoIP?

It depends on the security system and the VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) provider. The two most important considerations are the way that your VoIP security system communicates with the monitoring center, and how the VoIP service gets power.

Many security systems depend on standard telephone lines to connect to the monitoring center. Alarm system signals travel as a “sound” along copper wire, just like the buzzing noise of a fax machine or dial-up modem.

VOIP is more like a broadband connection; your voice is converted into digital data at your home and “streamed” over your Internet connection to the listener at the other end. Each VoIP provider uses slightly different technology to accomplish this, not all of which are compatible with every security system. The signal sent out by your VoIP service may not be recognized by the monitoring center as an alarm signal.

Compared to standard phone lines (often known as POTS, for Plain Old Telephone Service) VoIP has another critical consideration: backup power. When you lose electrical power to your home, by natural causes, or intentionally caused by intruders, any device without battery backup will be useless. Any professional security system will have its own dedicated battery backup for just such a situation, and standard phone lines work just fine without power, but most homes don’t have a similar backup for their digital phones or Internet connections.

VoIP phones depend on that Internet connection, and cutting off the electricity will cut off power to the modem or router that connects you to the Internet. This isn’t just a drawback of VoIP security systems; all digital telephones depend on your home’s electrical power. This includes any digital phone service that you get from your Internet, cable or telephone provider, as well as standard phones that offer wireless or answering machine features.

To ensure your safety, most security system providers keep an updated database of the telephone providers in your area. Fully compatible telephone providers are given the status of qualified Managed Facility Voice Network (MFVN). Other VoIP security systems may require additional equipment for battery or communication backup, such as a cellular option or dedicated powered network connection.

If you have a security system and are considering a switch to VoIP, SafeWise recommends contacting your security company to find out which VoIP providers are compatible.

If you are still comparing security systems, start with our system finder to compare the various VoIP security system options and find the right provider for you. For even more personalized information, call us at 855-374-4999 to discuss your VoIP security system concerns with a SafeWise security specialist.

Related pages on SafeWise


Compare the Best Home Security Systems

Luxury smart home pickHigh-end DIY pickReader favoritePro monitoring pickNo-contract DIY pick
BrandVivintFrontpointSimpliSafeADTBlue by ADT
LogoVivintFrontpointSimpliSafeADTblue by adt logo
Lowest monthly monitoring price
Starter equipment price
Contract required
Icon Yes  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightNo
Icon Yes  LightNo
Icon No  LightYes
Icon Yes  LightNo
InstallationProDIYDIYProDIY
Smart home compatibilityAmazon Alexa Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Amazon Alexa Google Assistant
Z-Wave
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Learn more
Read review

Data effective 11/24/20. Offers and availability subject to change.
* Landline monitoring only. Some restrictions apply. (Full disclaimer)

SafeWise Team
Written by
SafeWise Team
The SafeWise Team is here to help you keep your home and family safe. Whether you’re looking to pick a security system or identify and remove common risks in your home, we’re here to help you find the best products and well-researched answers. At SafeWise we combine our years of experience in home safety and security with user reviews and feedback to help take the guesswork out of living safe.