ADT Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VoIP FAQs

Our VoIP FAQ's section is designed to answer your about service, installation, and other common questions regarding Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VoIP service.

What is VoIP/Digital Phone Service?

Voice over Internet Protocol (also known as VoIP) and Digital Phone are forms of phone service provided by cable companies, telecommunications companies and, in some cases, independent providers. Rather than use telephone lines when an alarm from home security systems is triggered, these companies use the Internet connection that is already present in your home to provide home phone service. Although these technologies provide a form of telephone service, there may be differences in their range of features and reliability *. * Aspects of these considerations may vary dependent upon your VoIP or other Non-Traditional Telephone Service provider and change with new developments in technology. You should always check with your VoIP or other Non-Traditional Telephone Service provider to confirm any advantages and limitations of their service.

Will switching to VoIP/Digital Phone service affect my ADT security system?

It could, depending on which provider service you use. For this reason we recommend that before you consider a change in telephone service you contact us ADT at 1-800-ADT-ASAP. We can tell you which VoIP/Digital Phone service providers in your local area meet the necessary characteristics to become a Qualified Managed Facility Voice Network (MFVN). Those providers that qualify are included in ADT’s policy and are rated as an acceptable primary method of transmitting alarm signal to ADT’s monitoring centers.

How does my ADT security system work?

Most alarm system control panels, including ADT’s, communicate with customer monitoring centers through a telephone line. During an alarm event, the control panel seizes control of this telephone line (referred to as “line seizure”), which should allow an alarm signal to be sent even if a telephone receiver in the home is off the hook.With some VoIP/Digital Phone services, ADT’s ability to receive an alarm signal may be impacted if there is a power outage at your home or if the VoIP/Digital Phone service is temporarily unavailable due to scheduled or unscheduled network outages. These risks vary widely among the VoIP/Digital Phone technologies used today.

What is ADT’s policy on VoIP/Digital Phone Services?

ADT’s policy requires that VoIP/Digital Phone services that at least one of the following system be used as the primary method for transmitting alarm signals to ADT’s Customer Monitoring Centers: 

  1. Traditional Telephone Service
  2. Cellular Communications Service such as Safewatch® CellGuard®
  3. A phone service provided by a Qualified “Managed Facility Voice Network (MFVN)” provider.**
Other methods of communication, beyond the three listed above, may not be used as the primary means for transmitting an alarm signal to ADT’s monitoring centers. In addition, regardless of the type of telephone service that you have, ADT always recommends that customers use an additional back-up method of communication to connect their alarm system to ADT’s monitoring center, such as ADT Safewatch® CellGuard®.
** Transmission of fire alarm signals by means other than a traditional telephone line may not be in compliance with some local fire codes.

What is Safewatch® CellGuard®?

Safewatch® CellGuard® is a cellular product offered by ADT that enables your home security system to communicate with ADT’s customer monitoring centers. It has become a popular option in home security systems because it helps provide protection should your home telephone service be disrupted due to fallen lines, storms or construction.*** *** Cellular connection relies on operating cellular device and network services. ADT does not warrant that cellular service will be error free or interrupted as such services are provided by the carriers.

What is a Qualified “Managed Facility Voice Network (MFVN)”?

A Qualified “Managed Facility Voice Network (MFVN)”includes the following:

  1. Has a physical facilities network which is managed and maintained (directly or indirectly) by the service provider. Can ensure service quality from the service subscriber location to the PSTN or other MFVN peer network.
  2. Utilizes similar signaling and related protocols as the PSTN with respect to dialing, dial plan, call completion, carriage of alarm signals and protocols, and loop voltage treatment.
  3. Provides real-time transmission of voice signals, carrying alarm formats unchanged.
  4. Provides professional installation that preserves primary line seizure for alarm signal transmission.
  5. Has major and minor disaster recovery plans to address both individual customer outages and widespread events such as tornados, ice storms and other natural disasters. This includes specific network power restoration procedures that are comparable to those of traditional landline telephone services in the same geographic region.
  6. Has informed ADT that its network meets the characteristics of a MFVN.

Contact us ADT at 1-800-ADT-ASAP to find out which VOIP/Digital Phone service provider network meet the necessary characteristics to become a Qualified Managed Facility Voice Network (MFVN).

Is the phone service I want included in ADT’s VoIP/Digital Phone Policy?

ADT keeps a database of the phone services that are in and out of ADT’s policy for the transmission of alarm signals. This database changes over time as more phone service providers inform ADT that they meet the definition of a Qualified Managed Facility Voice Network. ADT customers can call one of our ADT customer monitoring centers at 1-800-ADT-ASAP to ask which local VOIP/Digital Phone service provider networks meet the necessary characteristics to become a Qualified Managed Facility Voice Network (MFVN).