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Post new topic   Reply to topic  Vonage® VoIP Forum - Vonage News, Reviews And Discussion » Fax - Tivo - Alarms
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dblatt
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Joined: Jan 07, 2006
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 6:49 pm    Post subject: NextAlarm getting through Reply with quote Back to top

've been using Nextalarm for almost a year and have been happy with the service. I also recommended a friend signup just a couple of weeks ago. He was told (quite frankly to their credit) that their new account activation staff had been overwhelmed with signups over the holidays and were backlogged. The good secret apparantly is that their head of network operations (for the ABN service, not for landline accounts) is named Brian and if you aren't getting due attention then make a trouble ticket to his attention and you'll get it.

Good luck, the service works well.

Derek
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mrsed
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:41 pm    Post subject: NextAlarm -- Thumbs Down Reply with quote Back to top

I've been using the NextAlarm - Vonage combo now for almost 1-year. My biggest gripe is NextAlarm's piss-poor customer service. They worked with me to get my system up and running but beyond that, nothing. They simply, flat-out, do not return my calls or respond to the 'tickets' that I open via their web site. I experienced a period of ~ 2 weeks when my Abbra panel was off-line due to a communications error. During this time I had no clue what was going on or how I could remedy the problem, as NextAlarm never responded. Then one day everything mysteriously began working again. I called and submitted tickets in an effort to find out what they did to fix the problem and never received a response. The low price is definitely appealing ($8.95), but that's about all they seem to be able to offer. We're switching to another alarm company the next time something like this happens.
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rblinzl
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 12:29 pm    Post subject: NextAlarm alternate? Reply with quote Back to top

I am a new Vonage customer and just found out that my existing alarm company does work with Voip - too bad Vonage didn't mention this as a potential problem somewhere during the sign up process. I guess I should have read the forums first. Fortunately this discovery was made as the result of a false alarm and nothing was lost and no one was hurt.

My alarm monitoring company is WatchLight in San Diego. Their standard fee is $8.95/month (paid annualy) and so far the customer service has been really good. Keep in mind that I am an "advanced" do-it-yourselfer and will spend the time to figure something out on my own even if it takes longer than calling for help might (I usually learn enough new things while researching or troubleshooting that I feel the extra time is justified). What I'm saying is that, yes I have contacted WatchLight for help a few time and they have always been helpful with prompt replies, but I probably don't call as much as someone else might when installing a new system. That said, WatchLight has been great during the past 17 months I've been a customer. I've had two false alarms and one smoke alarm during that time so I can attest to the professionalism during those calls.

When I called them this week to troubleshoot a "communication failure" I again received immediate help from live people who explained that they can't communicate over Voip. Within 5 minutes I received emailed documents explaining my options for communications with their central station now that I've switched to Voip. One option is to hook up a POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) landline again with basic service just for monitoring the alarm. Not very likely to happen for me. Another option is a cellular adaptor I can connect to my panel that will send signals via cell phone to WatchLight. (I have been thinking about installing a cellular adaptor since I installed the system but just haven't taken the time to sit down and do the research on them). The cost of this adaptor is steep at $275 and the monthly service fee will increase to $14.95/month (which is still very reasonable), but as long as you have cell coverage this is a more secure way to go since there is no line that can be cut and cell service is typically more reliable than my broadband internet connection has been (I live in country and used a fixed wireless provider).

I was thinking about NextAlarm as another option and I like their Internet interface, but after hearing about the customer service problems, I'm wondering if paying the added cost to stay with WatchLight isn't a better way to go?
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rblinzl
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 4:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

After reading a lot of forum posts, having Vonage customer service set my packetization to 10, checking wires, and system testing, I finally got my alarm system to communicate with the central station.

As I said above, my monitoring company is WatchLight, I have a GE Simon panel, an RJ-31x jack and a DLink VTA adapter, and I live in the country where I use a fixed wireless broadband provider. My configuration is external wireless antenna > router > VTA > Simon > RJ-31x > rest of the phones in the house. The VTA can only be placed after the router because it only has one RJ-45 jack.

The key is to program the Simon so that it sends reports to the Central Monitoring Station in SIA format. My Simon was originally programmed to report in "Contact ID" format. When I reprogrammed option #12 (Phone 1 Reports) to code "00" (content = all reports, format = SIA), the communication test finally worked.

I'm still thinking about a cellular transmission module, but at least I won't HAVE to install one right away now.
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mrpants
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Joined: Dec 26, 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2007 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

A more rich featured alternative to NextAlarm is uControl. Like NextAlarm, they have a device that attaches to an existing security system. They differ, though by having more features: zone notifications, remote arming/disarming, arm/disarm notification, system event notification (and explanations of what they are!), "real time monitoring" (they know when your system is no longer talking with the monitoring company and 3 redundant communication channels (broadband, optional cellular and traditional phone line).

I have been using them for months now and have been real happy with it... they are cheaper than ADT, Brinks, etc.

You can find them here: http://www.ucontrol.com
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TLWelch
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 1:50 pm    Post subject: Also had issues with NextAlarm Reply with quote Back to top

I had the same bad customer service issues with NextAlarm. I often wonder if anyone worked there?

I actually switched to a company names ucontrol. The had a similar product to NextAlarm - they also work with your existing alarm system. Although they were more per month than NextAlarm, I have found that you definitely get what you pay for!

Works great with my Vonage line and very cool online features like being able to arm your alarm system from work. I can't tell you how many times that little feature has come in handy - (my short term memory isn't what it used to be).

Anyway - here's the web address if anyone is interested:http://www.ucontrol.com.
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BryanFE
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Joined: Jun 19, 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2007 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Mr. Welch,

It's unfortunate that you had a bad experience with NextAlarm. We work hard to make every customer happy with our service.

I've just tried to contact you to discuss whatever problems you may have had. However, to my surprise, I've found that we have no record of any former customer whose last name is Welch and first initial "T". All other Welch's in our system are currently active customers.

If in fact you are an actual former customer of NextAlarm, I invite you to contact me at: bryan@nextalarm.com to discuss your service issues, and if we can't win your business back, we'll at least be glad to hear you out more fully (since you were completely non-specific in your last post).

Thank you,

Bryan
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