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Steps To Building The Perfect Alarm Monitoring Headend Unit For You

By Ziad Alezabi

January 18, 2024

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Building the perfect Master Alarm Monitoring station should be a careful process. Take everything into consideration, like how efficient your head-end unit is and how well can it integrate all of your security operations.

The head-end alarm monitoring system unit is the most important foundation on which you can build your alarm monitoring network. Understandably, however, finding the right fit for your needs can be a difficult and daunting task. This is because every situation has its unique circumstances.

Today we are going to look at a guide that simplifies the process by providing you with every important aspect such as hardware and software that should be taken into consideration when shopping for a new master station. Whether you are a beginner in the industry, or someone looking to scale their business' alarm monitoring system to the next level.

Hardware Customization

The first step to finding the right head monitoring station for you is shopping for hardware requirements. This is because you can quickly narrow down alarm monitoring system manufacturers that are competent enough for your needs.

A good alarm monitoring system manufacturer that can help you scale up your business' monitoring solutions while future-proofing your network will be able to customize your equipment for you. Beware of any manufacturer that tries to convince you that their device is a one-size-fits-all solution.

In the case of master stations, you want a manufacturer that provides you with head-end units that can fit your needs without breaking your bank or making you spend money needlessly.

Hardware Questions To Ask

Ask yourself the following questions when looking at the hardware aspect of an alarm monitoring system manufacturer's master station:

  1. Do they have different master station variations? There is no need for a start-up business with one small site to monitor their alarms with a master station that has one million alarm points. Likewise, a master station with only 10,000 alarm points might not be enough and cause you to decentralize your central monitoring by buying more master stations. This completely defeats the purpose of a master station. You should follow the same logic when looking at how many RTUs a master station will support.
  2. What redundancy capabilities does the master station have? Downtime is expensive in more than one way. Two factors will help you not freak out during downtime situations: An alarm monitoring system manufacturer with adequate tech support and redundancy capabilities. Does your manufacturer have automatic synchronization modules that automatically sync your dual-redundant master station? Will it start up your slave master station when the main one goes offline?
  3. How is the processing power? Your master station will be processing endless tasks and you need to be sure that it can handle all of its responsibilities. You will more than likely require a multi-core processor to improve your master station multi-tasking requirements. Look for manufacturers that provide you with 6-core processors on their top-of-the-line master station. You can always go lower from there to fit your budget's needs.

These are 3 out of many other considerations. You can also look at other things like power supply redundancy, form factors, customizable mounting, GUI (Graphical User Interfaces), etc. The more variety the better.

Software and Protocol Requirements

Once you have decided that a manufacturer is competent enough to customize your equipment to your specific needs, you need to look at how stable and secure their software and protocol on the master station is.

What alarm protocols does the master station support? alarm protocols have an inbound and outbound section. The inbound protocols should include ASCII, DCM, DCP, DCPf, DCPx, E2A, Email, NEC, Pager, Ping, SMTP, SNMP, SQL, TABS, TBOS, Teltrac, and any other additional customized protocols that are often introduced by manufacturers that know what they're doing.

The outbound protocols will include protocols that are included in inbound protocols, as well as Badger, Cordell, Felix, FX8800, Granger, Larse, Modbus, NTP, POP3, Pulsecom, Syslog, and other special protocols provided by the manufacturer.

Ask yourself the following questions when looking at the software and protocol aspect of an alarm monitoring system manufacturer's master station:

  1. Does the master station have protocols necessary for forward and backward integration? This includes protocols such as MODBUS for example, which is a widely used protocol in SCADA systems. Modbus is great because it has very few restrictions and uses simple message structures that make it much easier to deploy.
  2. Do you have protocols based on open standards? Look to see If the master station uses open standard protocols such as DNP3, Modbus, and SNMP. With open standard protocols, you can avoid vendor lock-in, gain high flexibility, and guarantee that you are communicating on a universal standard that is used by everyone. Beware, however, that this comes with an increase in your network's security risks. This can easily be avoided by ensuring that your manufacturer equips their master station open standard protocols with the latest and most secure versions, such as SNMPv3 for example.

You can also check for other things such as interoperability with other devices and systems from other manufacturers. Beware of manufacturers that try to hamper your interoperability, this will cause vendor lock-in. Any good manufacturer should retain you in the long run due to their quality of service, not your inability to leave them due to needing total system replacements.

DPS has Monitoring Stations For Every Scenario

DPS Telecom has over 40 years of experience. It was built from the ground up by engineers and other professionals who know their products inside and out. DPS Telecom's policy is to make everything as customizable as possible for you.

We provide you with a comprehensive lineup of master stations, also called T/MONs. These include:

  • T/MON BAS (Building Access System) that is meant to take care of your building's security alarm system needs.
  • T/MON Mini, a mini version of the top-of-the-line T/MON LNX. It has the LNX's full power but is scaled down for the needs of smaller sites. This is meant for starter monitoring.
  • T/MON Slim G2 is a full power master station that is scaled to Regional/Local network monitoring needs. This is best fitted for mid-level monitoring needs.
  • T/MON LNX is our top-of-the-line master station. This provides you with millions of alarm inputs, supports thousands of RTUs, and is meant for someone looking for a full-capacity monitoring solution.

Our T/MONs support redundancy, interoperability, integration, and any other protocols that you may need. DPS Telecom will provide you with tech support, in-depth documentation, training, and on-site visits to set you up for future success.

T/MON LNX

If you have any further questions regarding purchasing the correct master station unit for you, please call or email me today. Even if we can not find a compromise, I will do my best to point you in the right direction.

Call me at 1-800-693-0351 or E-mail me at sales@dpstele.com

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Ziad Alezabi

Ziad Alezabi

Ziad Alezabi is a Application Documentarian at DPS Telecom. He reviews successful DPS client projects and reports on the best practices that you can use to successfully reach your own project goals.