DSL Alarm Filter FAQ

An informational page about the Pulse Electronics Excelsus® Alarm Panel DSL Filter
(US and Mexico part # Z-A431PJ31X-A / Canada part # KA431-L01)

Excelsus DSL Alarm Filter

~Disclaimers~
>>>Please read this section before proceeding through the FAQ!<<<

I am posting this FAQ list on my own personal website, which is not affiliated with or supported by Excelsus® or by Pulse Electronics Corp. in any way. Opinions expressed here should be viewed solely as the personal opinions of Earl Langenberg. The FAQ is posted entirely for public benefit as a hobby of mine. As such, I make absolutely no personal warranties, guarantees, or claims here on my behalf or on behalf of Pulse as to the accuracy of any information posted herein. If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact Pulse directly for confirmation. With that said, I welcome your comments to me personally if you find this information to be helpful in your search.

I hope that you, dear reader, can appreciate that it has taken substantial time and effort for me to compile the information posted here, so I kindly request that the information on this page not be reproduced or distributed, except for private non-commercial use, in any form without my prior written permission. As this FAQ list may be subject to periodic updates, maintaining a single version at this URL is the ideal way to ensure that the information presented is kept up-to-date. If you would like to link to this page from your website, please advise me and I will be happy to notify you if the URL for this FAQ moves. I am happy to assist in your efforts to further the education of the public about the compatibility issues between DSL and alarm systems, as well as how to solve those issues.

Excelsus® is a registered trademark of Pulse Electronics Corporation.

Link to Jump Directly to the Summarized FAQ

Getting assumptions out of the way

If you have found your way here, the odds are good that I can make some fairly accurate assumptions about you. You are likely to be an individual who has either...

1) Recently signed up for Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) service at your home and you also have a monitored security system

~OR~

2) Recently signed up for a monitored security service for your home and you also have a broadband DSL Internet connection

In either scenario, you have probably encountered difficulties getting these two services to work together properly. You may have attempted to question your alarm and DSL providers to get to the bottom of the issues and, quite possibly, have not received a satisfactory response from either party yet. In your quest for answers, you have ventured to my little corner of webspace here and it is my sincere hope that the page I am posting will provide not only valuable information towards ending your troubles, but also relieve your mind so that you can spend less time worrying about fixing your DSL and alarm services and more time enjoying the freedom and peace of mind that these two services together will allow you. If this is the case, I would like to start by saying, "RELAX!", because there *IS* a solution to your problems and I hope to shed light on it for you!! Of course, if the above assumptions are not right-on, you are certainly welcome to read more and learn about it anyway...

As the product champion for the Excelsus DSL Alarm Filter from 2001 through 2008, I have had the pleasure of working with people from all walks of life to get the word out about this product. My interactions with people from these diverse groups have allowed me to piece together the information I have collected below about the most common questions that I hear regarding DSL and alarm systems. Giving credit where credit is due, I must first thank all of the people I have spoken with over the past several years in my capacity at Excelsus for asking the tough questions. I believe that the truism of "teaching is the best way to learn" certainly applies to this endeavor. I have organized this page into a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) format to categorize many of these common questions. I purposely strive to keep the language flow pretty light-hearted, so as to provide some technical detail for the gadget-hound, without losing the average Joe or Jane along the way -- the end-user being the most likely demographic to visit this site. However, I have included a section specifically for security professionals. Since much of this information could also be useful for the consumer to know, I am posting those FAQs publicly for all to read. You may notice that some questions sound a great deal alike and may even be duplicated amongst these areas. I find that it is often interesting to view a response from a different perspective as it provides an opportunity to stand in the other person's shoes, so to speak.

Some notes on navigating this FAQ list

The major section headings (1.0, 2.0, etc.) are hyperlinked in the Index. Click on a heading to proceed directly to the top of that section.

The Question numbers to the left of each question are hyperlinked in the Index. Click on the number to jump directly to the top of that question and response.

There are hyperlinked options after each FAQ answer to: Return to the FAQ Index, Return to the very top of the FAQ page, or Return to the top of the current section that you are reading.

Any hyperlinks that refer to a site outside of Earl Langenberg's website are set to open in a new browser window. Any hyperlinks within FAQ responses that refer to a question elsewhere in the FAQ are set to open in a new browser window. I have opted to set new window targets, rather than open links in the parent frame, in order to allow you to view the referenced material without losing your place in the FAQ.

The Brief FAQ Summary (Section 6.0) contains its own mini-index which contains hyperlinks to each Question in that section.

If you are not interested in all of the Q&A's and just want to get directly to the most basic answers for how to solve your problem...
Click here to skip to the summarized version of the FAQs.

FAQ Index

The original posting date of this FAQ was May 10, 2003

The most recent updates to this FAQ page were posted on
July 14, 2014 at 18:00 Pacific

Background Questions (Section 1.0)

1.1 What is DSL and how does it work?
1.2 What is a monitored security system and how does it work?
1.3 Why do DSL and monitored security systems seem to not get along very well with one another?
1.4 What is the Excelsus Alarm Filter and how does it work?
1.5 Why is Earl Langenberg posting this FAQ list?

General Questions (Section 2.0)

2.1 What are DSL filters and why are they needed?
2.2 I received DSL filters from my Internet Service Provider, but my security system plug does not fit into the filter's connector. What do I do?
2.3 Why does the alarm panel have to have a special connector?
2.4 What is "line-seizure" and why should I be concerned with it?
2.5 If I use the Alarm Filter, do I still need to use the RJ11 filters throughout my house?
2.6 Why bother with DSL? Do cable modems have these issues?
2.7 I have heard that the Alarm Filter is difficult for end-users to get. Could I purchase it and resell it to end-users?
2.8 Can I just use another Excelsus filter or a competitor's alarm filter to solve my problem?
2.9 I don't have an RJ31 socket anywhere. What am I supposed to do?
2.10 I was told that I need an RJ45 filter. Where can I find a filter with RJ45 connections?

Technical Questions Asked By the End-User (Section 3.0)

3.1 If all of the phone lines have to go through the alarm panel before going through to the home, what happens to DSL when an alarm occurs?
3.2 If all phone lines go through the RJ31 jack before going to the home, and I place a filter there, will I be blocking DSL from my whole house?
3.3 How is the Excelsus Alarm Filter better than other filters being marketed for alarm panels?
3.4 Can I just use a second phone line that is dedicated to the alarm panel and avoid the problems?
3.5 My phone company (or ISP or alarm company) says that I should install a filter ahead of the alarm panel and run a separate wire to my DSL modem to solve this issue. What do you think?
3.6 I do not have DSL yet but might subscribe to it in the future. Will putting in an Alarm Filter now do any harm?
3.7 I don't have an RJ31 socket anywhere. What am I supposed to do?

Practical Questions - Getting the Excelsus Alarm Filter (Section 4.0)

4.1 My alarm company says they have never heard of an "Alarm Filter" and that I should contact my ISP for DSL filters. What should I do?
4.2 Can my Internet Service Provider send me the Alarm Filter?
4.3 Can I get the Alarm Filter in retail stores? If not, why?
4.4 My alarm company wants to charge me a high price for the Alarm Filter. What is up with that?
4.5 Can I just use another Excelsus filter or a competitor's alarm filter to solve my problem?

Questions Asked by Security Professionals (Section 5.0)

5.1 I have solved this issue in the past by installing one filter ahead of the RJ31 jack to isolate DSL from the alarm panel and running a dedicated line up to the DSL modem. What do you think of this?
5.2 As an alarm dealer, how can I purchase the Excelsus Alarm Filter?
5.3 Does the Excelsus Alarm Filter comply with all applicable standards?
5.4 I usually recommend that my customers get/keep a second phone line, which is dedicated to the alarm panel. Does that solve the problem?
5.5 How can I find out more information about the Excelsus Alarm Filter?
5.6 I believe I could have some customers who may not know that they have a problem with their DSL/alarm service. Can Excelsus help me educate them?
5.7 I am an alarm installer and would like to get a sample of the Alarm Filter to test prior to using it for my customers. How do I get one?
5.8 I have a customer that might get DSL some day, but does not subscribe yet. Will installing the Alarm Filter for them before they get DSL have any adverse affects?
5.9 How does the Alarm Filter affect compliance with the ANSI T1.421 standard for microfilters?
5.10 When I installed my customer's alarm panel, I did not use an RJ31 jack, opting to hard-wire into the phone system instead. What should I do?
5.11 Why is it important for me to make sure that DSL is not impacted by the alarm service? In other words, I am concerned with the performance of my alarm system, but not necessarily with whether the DSL functions according to the phone company or ISP's Quality of Service guarantees.
5.12 After I have installed the Alarm Filter, does my customer still need to use the RJ11 type filters throughout their house?
5.13 I installed an Alarm Filter at a customer site recently and my full system test has failed. What should I do?
5.14 How is the Excelsus Alarm Filter better than other filters being marketed for alarm panels?

The Brief FAQ Summary (Section 6.0)

6.1 I am an individual. How can I get my hands on the Alarm Filter?
6.2 I have contacted my alarm provider and they do not know about the Alarm Filter, will not provide it, told me to buy it from Excelsus, etc. What do I do now?
6.3 I am an alarm provider and have not seen the Excelsus Alarm Filter before. How do I get it?
6.4 As an alarm provider, can I refer my customers to purchase the Alarm Filter directly from Excelsus?
6.5 I represent a security parts distributor interested in carrying the Excelsus Alarm Filter. How do I proceed?
6.6 How can I find out more information about the Excelsus Alarm Filter?
6.7 Why should I use the Excelsus Alarm Filter (as opposed to another Excelsus filter or a competitor's alarm filter)?

Additional Information Resources (Section 7.0)

7.1 Internet Resources
7.2 Excelsus Contact Information

1.0 Background Questions

1.1 What is DSL and how does it work?

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) is a high-speed or "broadband" Internet connection that uses the high-frequency spectrum of your telephone line to transmit and receive data over the Internet. Voice telephone calls transmit and receive in a lower-frequency spectrum of that same phone line. Thus, you are able to talk on the telephone and surf the Internet at the same time on the same phone line. DSL is an "always-on" connection, meaning that you have a continual link to the Internet as long as your DSL modem is powered and connected to the network. The link is present whether or not you are browsing the web and even if your computer is turned off.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

1.2 What is a monitored security system and how does it work?

A monitored security system is an alarm system with a built-in modem that is supported by a monitoring service. When an event triggers the alarm system into action, the modem inside the panel takes control of the phone line (terminating any phone calls, if necessary), dials in to the alarm service provider's central station, and communicates information about the event to the monitoring service. Just like the original PC fax/modems, the modem in the alarm panel communicates using computer-generated tones within the voice-band frequency range of the phone line. The monitoring service then evaluates the data and acts to coordinate an appropriate response based upon the information transmitted by the alarm panel. Some examples of responses that the monitoring service might coordinate are summoning police, fire fighters, and/or paramedics to the scene, according to the type of emergency reported.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

1.3 Why do DSL and monitored security systems seem to not get along very well with one another? Can't they all just get along?

The answer to this question hearkens back to the FAQ responses for Question 1.2 and Question 1.3. DSL carries Internet traffic along the same phone wiring that the alarm panel needs to use in order to transmit its alarm information. The constant data stream of DSL will often interfere with the alarm panel's internal modem if it is not properly filtered, preventing the modem from recognizing a dial tone on the phone line and/or disrupting the data communications between the panel and monitoring station. Thus, the alarm panel is stopped from communicating reliably with the monitoring service to report events. Additionally, when the alarm panel attempts to communicate with the monitoring service, it will cut the link between the DSL modem and the Central Office (CO), preventing any Internet traffic from passing through to the home. To understand why the DSL is cut off, see Question 2.4 and Question 3.1, explaining "line-seizure" and its effect upon DSL. Besides the obvious problem of severely curtailing the alarm system's reliability, this situation also raises substantial concerns for people who are dependent upon a permanent Internet connection for medical-monitoring devices and remote video feeds (for verification of alarm events). It is also, quite simply, a nuisance to have your DSL connection interrupted unpredictably. You can be assured that the alarm panel will, on at least one occasion, decide to conduct a system test, knocking you offline, while you are in the middle of uploading that critical report moments before a deadline! The Excelsus Alarm Filter is designed to isolate and protect the DSL and alarm systems from one another, as described in response to Question 1.4.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

1.4 What is the Excelsus Alarm Filter and how does it work?

The Excelsus Alarm Filter is a complex DSL filter that connects to nearly all alarm panels via the industry standard RJ31x jack. It contains three separate filters to address the concerns of the DSL provider, the alarm company, and the homeowner using the service. The first filter protects the alarm panel from DSL. This allows the panel's internal modem to see a clean phone line and recognize the dial tone when it is ready to report (the alarm company's concern). The second filter protects the return path from the alarm panel into the house wiring. This filter prevents impedance changes in the alarm panel from escaping into the home. If left unchecked, those impedance changes could reduce the available bandwidth for data communications and occasionally interrupt DSL. In layman's terms, this second filter keeps your DSL data rate at its optimum level and prevents the alarm panel from kicking your DSL offline (the DSL provider's concern). The third filter allows the high-frequency data signal to pass through the filter and out to the rest of the home, bypassing the panel itself. This part protects the alarm panel's "line-seizure" feature by allowing the RJ31 jack to remain at the forefront of all of the home's phone wiring while allowing DSL to carry through to the rest of the house. It also provides the added benefit of preserving the data link, even during line-seizure. It should be obvious that the "homeowner's concern" extends to all three of these areas. The Excelsus Alarm Filter is the only alarm panel filter which addresses all three areas of concern.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

1.5 Why is Earl Langenberg posting this FAQ list? Oh, and who is he, by the way??

Despite the wide acceptance of the Alarm Filter throughout the security and telecom industries since its release in 2001, I continue to find that there are quite a few alarm technicians, employees of DSL providers, and homeowners out there who are not yet aware of the compatibility issues between DSL and alarm systems. Some of those key parties remain unaware that the Excelsus Alarm Filter is available to solve the issues and, even among those who do know about the filter, there are many oft-asked questions and misconceptions about what the product actually does. Accurate information about subscribing to DSL and monitored alarm services is scarce on the Internet. Some of the information that is posted tends to be either out of date (last updated prior to the Alarm Filter's release) or misleading due to approaching the problem from only a single perspective (e.g. an alarm provider devising a solution that protects the alarm panel but does nothing to address the integrity of the customer's DSL connection). Some information resources, which appear to be analytical about the concern and how to resolve it, are actually inaccurate and potentially harmful in recommending solutions that fail to consider the consequences of tampering with the sacred rule of placing the RJ31 jack ahead of any and all other devices in the home network. My hope in posting this FAQ is that people who have been frustrated in trying to track down information about this solution will finally have a resource available to them to resolve the many questions that they are asking.

Earl Langenberg was the product champion at Excelsus® (a brand of Pulse Electronics Corporation, then known as "Pulse Engineering, Inc.") for the DSL Alarm Filter from its pre-launch beta trial in 2001 until November 2008. This FAQ is being posted as part of a personal hobby of mine - designing web pages and writing (this effort is not sponsored by or affiliated with Excelsus or Pulse in any way). Personal info about me is available elsewhere on this site. As far as this FAQ page goes, I will keep the rest of it fairly impersonal, as this page is not about me. My goal in maintaining this FAQ resource is to inform about the compatibility issues to consider when subscribing to DSL and alarm service, as well as how to successfully resolve those issues.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

2.0 General Questions

2.1 What are DSL filters and why are they needed?

A DSL filter, which may be referred to as a "low-pass" filter, should be designed to allow the low frequency signals (voice spectrum) to pass through and to block the high-frequency (data spectrum) transmissions from reaching the phone equipment installed behind the filter. The filter should also prevent changes in the status of phone equipment (such as taking a phone set off the hook) from interfering with data transmissions. The filters should be placed on all telephone equipment (typically referred to as "analog equipment") in the home. Examples of analog equipment include regular telephone sets, CallerID boxes, answering machines, 56K fax/modems, DirecTV boxes (or similar Pay-Per-View equipment that connects to a telephone line for communicating data) and (drum-roll, please!)..... monitored security systems! Typically, your DSL provider will supply you with RJ11 filters - RJ11 being the techie name for your standard, run-of-the-mill telephone connector. This connector works just fine for most of the analog equipment in the list above, except for one device that looks a bit different --- the alarm panel. Which leads me to Question 2.2.

Photo of some typical DSL phone filters (Photo 2.1)
>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

2.2 I received DSL filters from my Internet Service Provider, but my security system plug does not fit into the filter's connector. What do I do?

Most security systems have an RJ31x or RJ38x type connector (in Canada, CA38) for interfacing to the phone system. For simplicity's sake, I will refer to these Registered Jack types collectively as an "RJ31" throughout this FAQ. The filters you received in your DSL kit probably have a standard telephone connector (type RJ11). The RJ31 is larger than a standard RJ11 telephone connector and looks a lot like the Ethernet (or RJ45) type connector you are probably very familiar with from looking at the back of your DSL modem or from the connections to your computer network at the office (reference the diagram below). Since the alarm panel is an analog telephone device, it needs to be filtered from DSL to work properly. You will need a DSL filter that will interface correctly with the alarm panel's RJ31 connector.

Comparison of alarm panel connector vs. standard telephone connector (Photo 2.2)
>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

2.3 Why does the alarm panel have to have a special (RJ31) connector? Is it just to make things difficult?

In a word, no. Actually, there are very good technical reasons for the alarm panel's connector to be different. When installing the RJ31 jack, your alarm provider has a couple of goals in mind. First, the alarm provider wants to make sure that you can easily troubleshoot your phone system without assistance in case you ever have problems with your phones. A plug-in jack allows the homeowner to quickly plug or unplug the alarm panel from the phone network to assess whether the problem lies at the panel or some place else. Otherwise, the alarm company would need to arrange an appointment with you to visit your house and assist you in troubleshooting. Such an appointment would be inconvenient for you because you may need to be home when the technician visits, chances are very slim that you would be able to arrange for immediate service and you would most likely pay a pretty penny for the service call. The RJ31 jack is a convenience for the homeowner to allow quick troubleshooting and a convenience for the alarm installer to prevent unnecessary service visits. Secondly, the RJ31 jack is enlarged to support a basic alarm panel feature called "line-seizure", which is described in detail in Question 2.4.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

2.4 What is "line-seizure" and why should I be concerned with it?

"Line-seizure" is the term that security professionals invoke to describe how the alarm panel seizes control over the phone line and uses the line to report alarms. Since the alarm panel relies upon the telephone line for communicating with the monitoring service, it is absolutely essential that the alarm panel is able to dial out immediately when called upon. If you are talking on the phone when an event occurs, the panel needs to be able to kick you off of your phone call so that it can use the line to report the alarm. If, during your extended vacation away from home, your beloved pet knocks a phone off its cradle shortly before kicking a lit lantern towards those thick drapes covering the window (it may sound far-fetched, but this sounds a lot like that cow that nearly burned down Chicago, eh?), the alarm panel needs to be able to hang up on that phone set so that it can summon the fire trucks in the nick of time. To accomplish this feat, the alarm panel contains a switch that temporarily severs the connection to all of the phones behind the switch, rendering them useless until the panel has sent its information to the monitoring station. Afterwards, the connection is restored and phones will function normally. In order for all of this to work right, the RJ31 jack must be the very first device connected to the phone network after the phone line enters the home (see below for a crude diagram to illustrate this). The RJ31 jack is larger than a regular phone jack because it must allow all of the phone lines to enter the jack, go through the panel, through the "line-seizure" switch, back out through the jack and finally on to the rest of the phones in the home. In other words, this jack must accommodate TWO pairs of wires for every ONE phone line in the house - one pair is used for wiring inbound toward the alarm panel and the other pair is used for wiring outbound toward the house phones. Without line-seizure, your alarm panel could easily be prevented from reporting alarms by a chatty teen, an errant pet with a penchant for knocking over lit lanterns or a clever burglar simply taking any telephone set in the house off the hook.

Diagram of RJ31x jack in relation to rest of phone wiring (Figure 2.4)
>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

2.5 If I use the Alarm Filter, do I still need to use the RJ11 filters throughout my house?

Yes. The Alarm Filter allows the data signals of DSL to bypass the alarm panel, while passing through to the rest of the home. Therefore, it will still be necessary to connect filters to all of the other phone devices that you use throughout your house.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

2.6 Why bother with DSL? Do cable modems have these issues?

Cable modem service does tend to coexist a bit more peacefully with alarms than DSL. However, for people concerned with security, cable modem service has its own set of issues. Without delving deeply into the cable vs. DSL debate, I will say that DSL is likely to become a much more attractive option, in terms of affordability, speed and security options over the course of the next few years due to substantial infrastructure investments by telephone companies in their networks, technology developments in the security industry to take advantage of video streaming to verify alarms before dispatching responses and the economy of scale advantage that the large DSL players will probably be able to achieve, relative to cable companies, in coming years. Competition also plays a role in this, as cable companies still retain exclusive rights to provide cable services in most areas. On the other hand, if DSL is available in your area, you will probably have several competing DSL providers offering service to your home. One caveat for cablemodem users is the increasing push of cable companies providing local phone service. Rumors are that, with these installations, the cable company will bring the phone line directly into the home (along with the cable/CATV connection) and then branch out from this point to all other phones in the home. If true, this wiring scheme would place the branching point as the first device connected to the phone network, ahead of the alarm panel's RJ31 jack, which would compromise "line-seizure" (reference Question 2.4 for detail). If you do order phone service from your cable company, please do yourself a favor and check to make sure that your alarm panel is able to seize control over any phone anywhere in your home. If you are able to prevent the alarm from dialing by having any of your extensions off the hook, notify the cable company immediately to come out and fix the problem by wiring the phone path through the RJ31 jack before distributing the phone line through to the rest of the home (again, reference Question 2.4 for detail and a diagram showing the proper phone line path)!

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

2.7 I have heard that the Alarm Filter is difficult for end-users to get. Could I purchase it and resell it to end-users?

Although your interest is appreciated, Excelsus does not offer the Alarm Filter for retail sale. It is sold exclusively through licensed alarm dealers and their distributor suppliers. Please refer to Question 4.4 for additional discussion about this. Due to the potential liabilities involved with an end-user installing the Alarm Filter without the knowledge and cooperation of the alarm service provider, direct sales to the public are not encouraged by Excelsus. Any such sales would be undertaken solely upon the seller's own risk and liability.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

2.8 Can I just use another Excelsus filter or a competitor's alarm filter to solve my problem?

The patented Excelsus Alarm Filter is the only alarm panel DSL filter to adequately address the concerns of all three of the major parties involved: the DSL provider, the alarm company and the homeowner using the service (reference Question 1.4 about what the Alarm Filter is and how it works). Other filters will typically only attempt to address one area of concern, such as protecting the alarm panel from DSL, while completely neglecting the others, such as providing a through-path for DSL during line-seizure and protecting the home from impedance changes in the panel. Excelsus, an ISO9001:2000 Certified Company, has a strong commitment to product quality and must answer to the most demanding of business customers - public telephone companies which are subject to stringent governmental regulation and the alarm service providers who understand that the provision of reliable emergency and medical response services is not only a business, but an obligation and trust placed in them by their customers. These motivations have driven Excelsus to test, re-test and test again to ensure that the solution provided to the market place is, in fact, a complete solution. Prior to releasing the product, Excelsus conducted an extensive beta test process over the course of nearly a year and involved many of the major players from the telephone and security industries throughout the United States and Canada. Only when these players were in unanimous agreement that Excelsus' solution performed as required, was the product finally released. Since its release in August 2001, the Excelsus Alarm Filter has been successfully deployed throughout North America and is the standardized solution for DSL/alarm issues for all of the largest alarm service providers within the United States and Canada. No other DSL filter designed for alarm systems has undergone a similar beta test process to ensure compatibility with the wide variety of DSL deployments and security equipment that is deployed into field service. In the end, the price of the Alarm Filter is a small one to pay for total and complete peace of mind that your alarm system will function reliably when it is called upon to communicate an event.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

2.9 I don't have an RJ31 socket anywhere. What am I supposed to do?

It is crucial for monitored security systems to interface with a properly installed RJ31 connector in order to assure reliable communication with the monitoring center (reference Question 2.3 and Question 2.4 for more on why). If your security system was professionally installed, the odds are very high that you do have an RJ31 (it just may not be placed in plain sight). If you are certain that there is not an RJ31 connector, it is recommended that you have one installed at the demarcation point where the phone line enters the house. The RJ31 installation should be performed by a professional as it usually requires taking a wire from the telephone company's Network Interface Device (NID) outside the house to connect to an RJ31 socket. The Excelsus Alarm Filter and alarm system may then be connected to the RJ31 and tested to verify total functionality. [This FAQ entry contributed by AB of New Mexico]

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

2.10 I was told that I need an RJ45 filter. Where can I find a filter with RJ45 connections?

It is likely that you were told this by a technician who does not specialize in alarm systems, such as a phone company repairperson or an Internet service provider's customer service agent, or as a means of someone else saving time in describing the connection to you. If wired properly, the connection on your alarm panel is not an RJ45 and is, in fact, an RJ31x or RJ38x type jack (in Canada, CA38). An RJ45 jack is an 8-pin jack that is used primarily for Ethernet networking. An RJ31x (or RJ38x or CA38) jack is an 8-pin jack that is used primarily for monitored security systems. An RJ31x looks just like an RJ45 (Ethernet) jack upon casual inspection and the physical sizes are the same; however, the RJ31x wiring pin out differs in order to support alarm panel functions. The difference in nomenclature is a technical one and, hopefully, this answer will serve to clear up some of the confusion. For a more detailed discussion of what is special about the RJ31x jack, refer to Question 2.3 and Question 2.4.

Technicians will often refer to the alarm panel connection as an "RJ45" because the two jack types look so alike and most of us are already quite familiar with the RJ45 term from our experience in connecting together computers, DSL modems, networking cards, and the like. Have no worries here. The filter that you actually need for your alarm panel is the Excelsus DSL Alarm Panel Filter, model Z-A431PJ31X-A. I would encourage you to contact your alarm service provider to request it by part number. If they are unfamiliar with the part or why you would require a special DSL filter for your alarm panel, it may help to refer them to this FAQ page and, specifically, Question 4.1 may be beneficial.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

3.0 Technical Questions Asked By the End-User

3.1 If all of the phone lines have to go through the alarm panel before going through to the home, what happens to DSL when an alarm occurs?

If the Excelsus Alarm Filter is properly installed at the RJ31 jack, the DSL data stream is allowed to continue uninterrupted, even during line-seizure (read: nothing happens to DSL). Otherwise, the alarm panel's line-seizure feature will cut off all wiring behind the "line-seizure" switch while it attempts to phone in the alarm (reference Question 2.4 for detail). Since the DSL modem is installed behind this switch, it is also cut off and prevented from communicating for the duration of the alarm and approximately 30 seconds to 5 minutes afterwards, depending upon how long it takes to resynchronize the DSL link with the telephone company Central Office (CO). This may not be an issue for some people (other than an occasional nuisance), but it is a very serious concern for those who rely upon a permanent Internet connection for medical monitoring devices or video feeds, as mentioned in Question 1.3. It is important to note here that there are a couple of competitive filters available which only filter the alarm panel from DSL but do not provide for a continuous path for DSL during line-seizure or protect the home's internal wiring from alarm panel impedance changes. If those competitive filters are used, they will not prevent DSL from being cutoff whenever the alarm panel attempts to communicate and your DSL data rate may be significantly reduced by the impedance changes generated within the alarm panel.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

3.2 If all phone lines go through the RJ31 jack before going to the home, and I place a filter there, will I be blocking DSL from my whole house?

This is a very good question and the fact that you are asking it, shows that you are really grasping the concept of these filters -- Kudos! Logically, it makes sense to think that this would be the case. However, the Alarm Filter is very different from your typical filter - and not just cosmetically. The Alarm Filter actually contains three separate filters to keep all of your systems working right. The first filter protects the alarm panel from DSL. This allows the panel's internal modem to see a clean phone line and recognize the dial tone when it is ready to report. The second filter protects the return path from the alarm panel into the house wiring. This filter prevents impedance changes in the alarm panel from escaping into the home. If left unchecked, those impedance changes could reduce the available bandwidth for data communications and occasionally interrupt DSL. In layman's terms, this second filter keeps your DSL data rate at its optimum level and prevents the alarm panel from kicking your DSL offline. Finally, the third filter allows the high-frequency data signal to pass through the filter and out to the rest of the home, bypassing the panel itself. This part protects the alarm panel's "line-seizure" feature by allowing the RJ31 jack to remain at the forefront of all of the home's phone wiring while allowing DSL to carry through to the rest of the house. It also provides the added benefit of preserving the data link, even during line-seizure.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

3.3 How is the Excelsus Alarm Filter better than other filters being marketed for alarm panels?

The Excelsus Alarm Filter is the only alarm panel DSL filter to adequately address the concerns of all three of the major parties involved: the DSL provider, the alarm company and the homeowner using the service (reference Question 1.4 for detail about what the Alarm Filter is and how it works). Other filters may only address one area of concern, such as protecting the alarm panel from DSL, while completely neglecting the others, such as providing a through-path for DSL during line-seizure and protecting the home from impedance changes in the panel. The Excelsus Alarm Filter was the first to market, but it took a long development effort to get it there. Prior to releasing the product, Excelsus conducted an extensive beta test of the Alarm Filter throughout the United States and Canada, involving a wide cross-section of interested parties, including telephone companies, other DSL providers, alarm panel manufacturers, alarm panel installers, monitoring service providers and even end-users. Upon its official release, at the ISC Expo in New York City (August 2001), the Excelsus Alarm Filter was honored with the New Product Achievement Award within the False Alarm Reduction category of the New Product Showcase (click here for the press release on this award). Since that time, it has been successfully deployed throughout North America and is the standardized solution for DSL/alarm issues for all of the largest alarm service providers within the United States and Canada.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

3.4 Can I just use a second phone line that is dedicated to the alarm panel and avoid the problems?

Answer? A qualified maybe. In some cases, this solution would work. However, sometimes the strength of the DSL signal may cause it to bleed over (technically speaking, "cross talk") to the other phone line and cause the same problems for the alarm panel. Similarly, impedance changes in the panel could also impact the rest of the house wiring, causing a consistent reduction in the data rate you are able to achieve with your DSL connection. Even if you are able to successfully use a dedicated second line for the panel, I would have to ask why you should wish to do so. One of the strongest selling points of DSL is the idea that you can surf the Internet and be on the telephone at the same time, on a single phone line (no tying up your phone line for hours, no need for two or more lines, etc.). A dedicated second line will result in a recurring charge that you pay each and every month, just for the privilege of having your alarm system. If you really do not mind spending the extra money each month, I will be all too happy to provide you my address so that you can send the excess cash to me. Of course, I would truly prefer that you use the Excelsus Alarm Filter, save the extra cash for yourself and help the economy grow in other ways!

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

3.5 My phone company (or ISP or alarm company) says that I should install a filter ahead of the alarm panel and run a separate wire to my DSL modem to solve this issue. What do you think?

This was a common solution prior to the release of the Excelsus Alarm Filter. However, there are a couple of technical problems with this solution, as well as some logistical ones. First off, whenever any device is installed ahead of the RJ31 jack, the alarm panel's "line-seizure" feature may be compromised (reference Question 2.4 about "line-seizure" for detailed discussion). Since they do not support the alarm service, the phone company or ISP representative you reach may not be cognizant of that fact. The dedicated line that would run to the DSL modem is capable of carrying both voice and data. An analog telephone device attached to this line and in an off-hook position would prevent the alarm panel from being able to dial out. Splicing a filter into the network this way would negate another key advantage of the RJ31 jack - simplified troubleshooting. Since your home phone network would contain more than one distribution point with alternate paths, a spliced filter installation makes it more difficult to isolate the individual phone devices from one another when trying to locate the source of a problem. Logistically speaking, the concerns include the following: this type of installation typically involves a substantial amount of labor, in terms of running the dedicated line to the DSL modem; you would lose the ability to connect your DSL modem to any phone jack in the home (it would only function at the dedicated line that is run off from the filter); and it will almost certainly void the warranty of the filter that is being used for this purpose. By comparison, if the alarm panel and RJ31 are correctly wired according to industry standards, the alarm provider should be able to install and test the Excelsus Alarm Filter without running any new wiring in your home and with minimal labor, with the added assurance that your alarm panel will be able to reliably conduct line-seizure whenever necessary in the future.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

3.6 I do not have DSL yet but might subscribe to it in the future. Will putting in an Alarm Filter now do any harm?

No. The Excelsus Alarm Filter is compatible with the existing phone network and should not cause any adverse affects whatsoever in your home. In fact, several alarm companies are currently installing it in this proactive manner to assure their customer's peace of mind and save themselves a return service call somewhere down the road, if that customer ends up getting DSL. If you think you will probably get DSL eventually, installing the Alarm Filter now would save the need to have a technician come out for the install later on and allow you to begin enjoying your new DSL service that much faster once you do sign up!

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

3.7 I don't have an RJ31 socket anywhere. What am I supposed to do?

It is crucial for monitored security systems to interface with a properly installed RJ31 connector. Connecting via an RJ31 is the only way to reliably protect the alarm panel's ability to relay event data to the communication center, especially when the panel must perform line-seizure in order to dial out (reference Question 2.4 for more details about line-seizure and how it works). The RJ31 also facilitates troubleshooting the in-home phone network by providing a quick means of isolating the alarm panel from the rest of the network. If your security system was professionally installed, the odds are very high that you do have an RJ31 (it just may not be placed in plain sight). If you are certain that there is not an RJ31 connector, it is recommended that you have one installed at the demarcation point where the phone line enters the house. The RJ31 installation should be performed by a professional as it usually requires taking a wire from the telephone company's Network Interface Device (NID) outside the house to connect to an RJ31 socket. The Excelsus Alarm Filter and alarm system may then be connected to the RJ31 and tested to verify total functionality. [This FAQ entry contributed by AB of New Mexico]

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

4.0 Practical Questions - Getting the Excelsus Alarm Filter

4.1 My alarm company says they have never heard of an "Alarm Filter" and that I should contact my ISP for DSL filters. What should I do?

All of the largest alarm service providers in the US, Canada and Mexico have now standardized use of the Excelsus Alarm Filter to resolve DSL/alarm issues. However, the vast majority of monitoring services in both countries are provided by either small independent alarm companies or by franchisees of the major companies that operate mostly on a local basis. As a result, it takes some time to get the message out to the folks who actually perform the alarm service installations. If you are getting this response in talking to your alarm company, it is quite possible that your local dealer has not encountered this issue before or is not yet aware that the national parent company has a solution. In this case, I would encourage you to be persistent with your alarm company. Some suggestions: Refer them to this FAQ page by URL (http://www.travelearl.com/alarmfilter.htm), Refer them to the Pulse Excelsus Alarm Filter data sheet, ask them to contact their local security parts distributor for information, or refer them to contact the Pulse sales team with questions. My experience with this has been that providing the alarm company this type of information demonstrates to them that you have done your homework and that your problem deserves further investigation on their part. Alarm installers are generally very helpful people and have a strong connection to their local clientele. If you get back to them with this info, you will typically see them spring into action to help you out of your bind. As time goes on, you will be doing a great service to your neighbors because the next time your alarm service provider encounters the issue, the alarm company representative will remember the info you provided and be able to get said neighbor fixed up in a hurry!

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

4.2 Can my Internet Service Provider send me the Alarm Filter?

When you sign up for DSL service, your ISP will typically send you a "DSL Welcome Kit" that includes a DSL modem, software, manuals and some RJ11 type filters for your telephones. Odds are high that your RJ11 filters bear the Excelsus name, as well, but I digress. In most cases, your ISP is not in the business of providing monitored security service. Since they do not provide alarm services to you, they will typically refrain from doing anything to either support or disrupt your alarm service, due to liability concerns and the potential for interference with the business of another company (your alarm provider). As such, your alarm service provider is the right place to go for the Excelsus Alarm Filter.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

4.3 Can I get the Excelsus Alarm Filter in retail stores? If not, why?

The Alarm Filter is available exclusively through licensed alarm dealers and installers. There are no plans to make it available in a retail environment. Installation of the Alarm Filter requires the temporary disconnection of the alarm panel and a full system test afterwards. This step is necessary to verify that the Alarm Filter is installed properly and that all systems are functioning as they should, especially the alarm panel's ability to conduct "line-seizure" (reference Question 2.4 for detail) and to quickly and faithfully transmit a simulated alarm event. Many alarm panels have an integrated self-test feature which serves as a basic system check and will not test all of the features of the alarm panel, typically omitting some features that DSL may hamper the most. A full system test of the alarm panel requires the cooperation of the alarm service provider. Because of this, Excelsus sells the Alarm Filter exclusively to licensed alarm dealers and their distributors. It is recommended that security service subscribers purchase the product only from their alarm service provider to ensure a thorough system test and to receive any needed support or product update information in the future.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

4.4 My alarm company wants to charge me a high price for the Alarm Filter. What is up with that?

When the alarm company sets its pricing for the Alarm Filter, keep in mind that they need to cover the cost of acquiring and stocking the material (including shipping and handling) along with any costs associated with installing it, walking you through the full system test and supporting the product should you have any questions afterwards, whether or not those questions have anything to do with the alarm service they provide. Additionally, the Alarm Filter is much more complex than a typical RJ11 type filter (reference Question 3.2 about whether the Alarm Filter replaces all of the other filters for details). You may be inclined to feel a bit of sticker shock if you are comparing the Alarm Filter's pricing against the simpler RJ11 filters. However, when you consider that there are actually three filters inside there, working in tandem, the pricing should appear much more reasonable to you.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

4.5 Can I just use another Excelsus filter or a competitor's alarm filter to solve my problem?

The patented Excelsus Alarm Filter is the only alarm panel DSL filter to adequately address the concerns of all three of the major parties involved: the DSL provider, the alarm company and the homeowner using the service (reference Question 1.4 about what the Alarm Filter is and how it works). Other filters will typically only attempt to address one area of concern, such as protecting the alarm panel from DSL, while completely neglecting the others, such as providing a through-path for DSL during line-seizure and protecting the home from impedance changes in the panel. Excelsus, an ISO9001:2000 Certified Company, has a strong commitment to product quality and must answer to the most demanding of business customers - public telephone companies which are subject to stringent governmental regulation and the alarm service providers who understand that the provision of reliable emergency and medical response services is not only a business, but an obligation and trust placed in them by their customers. These motivations have driven Excelsus to test, re-test and test again to ensure that the solution provided to the market place is, in fact, a complete solution. Prior to releasing the product, Excelsus conducted an extensive beta test process over the course of nearly a year and involved many of the major players from the telephone and security industries throughout the United States and Canada. Only when these players were in unanimous agreement that Excelsus' solution performed as required, was the product finally released. Since its release in August 2001, the Excelsus Alarm Filter has been successfully deployed throughout North America and is the standardized solution for DSL/alarm issues for all of the largest alarm service providers within the United States and Canada. No other DSL filter designed for alarm systems has undergone a similar beta test process to ensure compatibility with the wide variety of DSL deployments and security equipment that is deployed into field service. In the end, the price of the Alarm Filter is a small one to pay for total and complete peace of mind that your alarm system will function reliably when it is called upon to communicate an event.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

5.0 Questions Asked by Security Professionals

5.1 I have solved this issue in the past by installing one filter ahead of the RJ31 jack to isolate DSL from the alarm panel and running a dedicated line up to the DSL modem. What do you think of this?

This was a common solution prior to the release of the Excelsus Alarm Filter. However, there are a couple of technical problems with this solution, as well as some logistical ones. First off, any time you install a device ahead of the RJ31 jack, you risk compromising the alarm panel's "line-seizure" feature. When installing a filter in this manner, this is especially true. The dedicated line that would run to the DSL modem is capable of carrying both voice and data. Many end-users will keep a telephone at or near their computer desk. Now that they have extra filters laying around, it is not a big stretch of the imagination for them to wonder what would happen if they plugged a filter in to their DSL modem jack and connected a phone to it. Lo and behold... the phone will work! Wonderful for the user, right? Now they have a working telephone at their computer workstation! Unfortunately, this line, having been split off ahead of the RJ31 jack, will be completely outside the control of the alarm panel. If this phone is off hook when an alarm event is triggered, the alarm panel will be unable to conduct line-seizure on that line, thus disabling the alarm. Splicing a filter into the network this way would also make it more difficult for the homeowner to troubleshoot the phone network themselves by establishing multiple distribution points for the phone line with alternate paths through the home. Logistically speaking, the concerns include the following: this type of installation typically involves a substantial amount of labor, in terms of running the dedicated line to the DSL modem; it puts the alarm provider in the tricky area of potentially conducting troubleshooting on the customer's DSL service (which is really the DSL provider's domain); and it will almost certainly void the warranty of the filter that is being used for this purpose. By comparison, if the alarm panel and RJ31 are correctly wired according to industry standards, you should be able to install and test the Excelsus Alarm Filter much more quickly, with the assurance that the integrity of line-seizure is completely protected and with the knowledge that you can leave support of the DSL service to the DSL provider, where it properly belongs.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

5.2 As an alarm dealer, how can I purchase the Excelsus Alarm Filter?

Due to the large numbers of hard-working alarm dealers like yourself out there, Excelsus has opted to supply its Alarm Filter via distribution channels. Excelsus is primarily a telecommunications company, specializing in the RJ11 type filters that telephone companies provide their customers that sign up for DSL. Recognizing that the needs of the security industry differ significantly from the needs in telecomm, this model appears to be the most efficient and effective way of supplying you with Alarm Filters quickly while utilizing the strong relationships you have with your distribution suppliers. The Excelsus Alarm Filter is available from nearly all major security industry distributors in the US, Canada and Mexico, with more being added regularly. Please contact your favorite distributor for pricing and ordering information or contact the Pulse Excelsus sales team for a referral to a distributor servicing your area. The Excelsus part number for the Alarm Filter is Z-A431PJ31X-A in the US and Mexico and KA431-L01 in Canada. Many distributors will also recognize it by name, "the Excelsus DSL Alarm Filter".

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

5.3 Does the Excelsus Alarm Filter comply with all applicable standards?

Yes, the patented Excelsus Alarm Filter complies with applicable safety standards in the US, Canada and Mexico, including FCC Part 68, UL60950 and CSA. The Canadian part number, KA431-L01, includes an Industry Canada Certification label which is required for importation into Canada. The Excelsus Alarm Filter will accommodate standard alarm panel interfaces of type RJ31x through RJ38x, inclusive, as well as the Canadian equivalents to these interfaces. For the sake of clarity, I have referred to this connector type simply as "RJ31" throughout this FAQ document.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

5.4 I usually recommend that my customers get/keep a second phone line, which is dedicated to the alarm panel. Does that solve the problem?

Answer? A qualified maybe. In some cases, this solution would work. However, some times the strength of the DSL signal may cause it to bleed over (technically speaking, "cross talk") to the other phone line and cause the same problems for the alarm panel. Similarly, impedance changes in the panel could also impact the rest of the house wiring, causing a consistent reduction in the data rate your customer is able to achieve with their DSL connection - in Excelsus' tests, it could reduce the data rate by as much as 40%. If they contact their phone company about this, you can be assured that they will be told that the alarm panel is responsible for the slowdown. Even if you are able to use a dedicated second line successfully, I would have to ask you to re-evaluate the recommendation you are making for your customer. One of the strongest selling points of DSL is the idea that you can surf the Internet and be on the telephone at the same time, on a single phone line (no tying up the phone line for hours, no need for two or more lines, etc.). A dedicated second line will result in your customer paying a recurring fee every month to the phone company, just for the privilege of having your alarm system in their home. In their mind, the customer would logically figure that into how much your alarm service costs them every month, but the phone company would receive the revenue for it! Based upon going rates, the cost of the Alarm Filter to the end user will typically be approximately equal to the cost of carrying a second phone line for two to four months. After only three to five months, the Alarm Filter will have paid for itself in the eyes of the consumer and that consumer will be grateful to you for having made the cost-saving suggestion!

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

5.5 How can I find out more information about the Excelsus Alarm Filter?

For starters, Excelsus has posted a brief, but very helpful, video on its website that details how the Alarm Filter works, how it is installed and how to get it. The video can be accessed by clicking this link and selecting the "Download Video" link. The Excelsus Alarm Filter data sheet is available for download at this link. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact the Pulse Sales Team via email.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

5.6 I believe I could have some customers who may not know that they have a problem with their DSL/alarm service. Can Excelsus help me educate them?

Yes. Excelsus has produced a flyer in a statement-stuffer format for this purpose (8.5" x 11", edge to edge, 3 statements per page, Adobe PDF format), designed for inclusion in your monthly invoice statements. The piece advises the recipient that the alarm provider is aware that issues may exist between alarm service and DSL. If the customer has already installed DSL (or is signing up for DSL), it advises them to contact their alarm service provider to ensure that their alarm panel will function properly if called upon to report an alarm. Email the Pulse Marketing Group and request the "Alarm Filter Statement Stuffer" to receive this helpful piece.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

5.7 I am an alarm installer and would like to get a sample of the Alarm Filter to test prior to using it for my customers. How do I get one?

Prior to releasing the Alarm Filter, Excelsus conducted an extensive beta test of the product throughout the United States and Canada. Participants in the testing phase included major telephone companies, alarm panel manufacturers, alarm panel installers and end-users, among others. These tests were conducted to ensure that it functioned correctly in various environments and to assure the industry of its results. Recognizing that there are potentially tens of thousands of alarm dealers who, quite understandably, would want to trial the product before using it, it was very important to the industry to go through this process, as the sheer volume of dealers requesting trial units would have prevented the product from ever coming to market profitably. After a very successful beta test, the Alarm Filter was released at the August 2001 ISC Expo in New York, where it was awarded the New Product Achievement Award for False Alarm Reduction (click here for the press release). Since that time, it has been deployed by the largest alarm service providers in North America and has a strong proven track record of solving the DSL/alarm issues. With this background of data, Excelsus has made the product available through distribution so that alarm dealers who may not yet be aware of the product will be able to procure it in very small quantities for evaluation purposes. If you are looking to evaluate the Alarm Filter, I suggest you contact your preferred distributor to purchase a small quantity which you can then test in an environment that you control. In any case, Excelsus always welcomes new feedback from alarm dealers who have recently discovered the product!

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

5.8 I have a customer that might get DSL some day, but does not subscribe yet. Will installing the Alarm Filter for them before they get DSL have any adverse affects?

No. The Excelsus Alarm Filter is compatible with the existing phone network and should not cause any adverse affects whatsoever in the customer's home. In fact, several alarm companies are currently installing it in this proactive manner to assure their customer's peace of mind and save themselves a return service call somewhere down the road, if that customer ends up getting DSL. It is also a nice touch to mention to the customer that you are well versed about this potential issue and are taking care of them well in advance of any problems cropping up!

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

5.9 How does the Alarm Filter affect compliance with the ANSI T1.421 standard for microfilters?

The ANSI T1.421 specification specifically states that alarm panels are outside the scope of the specification. However, when using filters throughout the home, it is ideal to use as few filters as possible to achieve filtering on all of the phone equipment. For best results, when an Alarm Filter is installed in a home, it is recommended that only Excelsus T1.421-compliant filters, model # Z-330P2J [in-line] and Z-330CW [wall-mount], be used inside the house for other filtering requirements. These filters are designed to meet or exceed T1.421 requirements so they will yield better overall performance than competitive filters, most visibly with improved reliability for CallerID service and voice service quality.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

5.10 When I installed my customer's alarm panel, I did not use an RJ31 jack, opting to hard-wire into the phone system instead. What should I do?

The Excelsus Alarm Filter is designed around the RJ31 interface because it is the industry standard. The RJ31 jack was standardized to support the alarm panel's line-seizure functionality while simplifying the installation process for alarm panels. It enables the customer to easily troubleshoot their phone network on their own, should the need ever arise, and vastly reduces the incidence of unnecessary service calls for the alarm provider to assist the customer in this regard. Since the Excelsus Alarm Filter is available exclusively in an RJ31 housing, the service call for this part represents a good opportunity for you to upgrade the customer's alarm panel to meet widely accepted industry standards. In this case, Excelsus recommends rewiring the alarm panel with an RJ31 jack before proceeding with the installation of the Alarm Filter.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

5.11 Why is it important for me to make sure that DSL is not impacted by the alarm service? In other words, I am concerned with the performance of my alarm system, but not necessarily with whether the DSL functions according to the phone company or ISP's Quality of Service guarantees.

It is important to make sure that DSL is not disrupted by the alarm service because this consideration is important to the customer. If DSL is impacted, either by a slower data rate than promised or outright disruptions, the customer is likely to contact the DSL provider for assistance. The phone company or ISP will question the customer about their phone network. In many cases, when they discover that an alarm system is installed in the home, they will ask the customer to disconnect their alarm system and re-test. If that step resolves the initial problem, it may allow the DSL provider to defer the problem towards you, the alarm service provider, to either remove or fix the alarm system. The customer should not be made to choose between either having DSL or having monitored security service - especially, when it is so simple to allow them both. In addition to protecting the alarm panel from DSL, the Excelsus Alarm Filter protects the customer's DSL from the alarm panel in two critical areas. It prevents alarm panel impedance changes from escaping into the house wiring, where they would otherwise disrupt DSL or reduce the customer's data rate. It also allows a continuous path for the data stream, even during line-seizure. This means that customers with medical monitoring devices and remote video feeds, which depend upon a permanent and stable DSL uplink, will continue to operate before, during and after alarm events.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

5.12 After I have installed the Alarm Filter, does my customer still need to use the RJ11 type filters throughout their house?

Yes. The Excelsus Alarm Filter allows the data signals of DSL to bypass the alarm panel, while passing through to the rest of the home. Therefore, it will still be necessary for your customer to install filters on all of the other phone devices that are connected throughout the home. This also serves to limit your area of interest specifically to the customer's alarm panel, leaving any and all issues concerning the DSL service and phone wiring beyond the RJ31 jack to be handled between the customer and their DSL provider.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

5.13 I installed an Alarm Filter at a customer site recently and my full system test has failed. What should I do?

Some alarm panels must recycle power in order to function properly after they have been disengaged. Also, when installing the Alarm Filter, the customer's DSL service may experience a brief disruption. These are the most common causes for a test failure immediately upon installation. To resolve this, simply cycle down the alarm panel's power after you have installed the Alarm Filter, allow the panel to completely reset and repeat the full system test. The test should then report successful results. If you continue to experience difficulty after performing these steps, please contact Pulse Telecom Division - Product Marketing or (800) 457-0967 (option 2) (858) 674-8100 (ask for "Excelsus Tech Support") for assistance.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

5.14 How is the Excelsus Alarm Filter better than other filters being marketed for alarm panels?

The Excelsus Alarm Filter is the only alarm panel DSL filter to adequately address the concerns of all three of the major parties involved: the DSL provider, the alarm company and the homeowner using the service (reference Question 1.4 about what the Alarm Filter is and how it works). Other filters will typically only attempt to address one area of concern, such as protecting the alarm panel from DSL, while completely neglecting the others, such as providing a through-path for DSL during line-seizure and protecting the home from impedance changes in the panel. Since its release in August 2001, the Excelsus Alarm Filter has been successfully deployed throughout North America and is the standardized solution for DSL/alarm issues for all of the largest alarm service providers within the United States and Canada.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

6.0 The Brief FAQ Summary

Brief FAQ Mini-Index
6.1 I am an individual. How can I get my hands on the Alarm Filter?
6.2 I have contacted my alarm provider and they do not know about the Alarm Filter, will not provide it, told me to buy it from Excelsus, etc. What do I do now?
6.3 I am an alarm provider and have not seen the Excelsus Alarm Filter before. How do I get it?
6.4 As an alarm provider, can I refer or authorize my customers to purchase the Alarm Filter directly from Excelsus?
6.5 I represent a security parts distributor interested in carrying the Excelsus Alarm Filter. How do I proceed?
6.6 How can I find out more information about the Excelsus Alarm Filter?
6.7 Why should I use the Excelsus Alarm Filter (as opposed to another Excelsus filter or a competitor's alarm filter)?
6.99 My question is not addressed or is not answered in enough detail in the "Brief FAQ Summary" above.

6.1 I am an individual. How can I get my hands on the Alarm Filter?

The Excelsus Alarm Filter is available to individuals exclusively through licensed alarm service providers. You are encouraged to contact your alarm provider for pricing and ordering information. Please reference Question 4.3 for additional background as to why it is not available through retail channels. If you have encountered trouble getting information from your alarm company, proceed on to Question 6.2.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

6.2 I have contacted my alarm provider and they do not know about the Alarm Filter, will not provide it, told me to buy it from Excelsus, etc. What do I do now?

If your alarm provider responds along these lines, chances are that you are the first person with whom they have come across this issue. In this case, you are encouraged to remain persistent with them by supplying them additional information. This will demonstrate that you have investigated their suggestion and convince the alarm dealer that they will need to look into your issue in greater detail. Some helpful resources to show that you have looked into this might include referring them to this FAQ page (http://www.travelearl.com/alarmfilter.htm), referring them to the Pulse Excelsus Alarm Filter data sheet, asking them to contact their security parts distributor about the product or directing them to contact the Pulse Sales Team for more info.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

6.3 I am an alarm provider and have not seen the Excelsus Alarm Filter before. How do I get it?

The Excelsus Alarm Filter is available via security industry distributors throughout the US, Canada and Mexico. The US and Mexico part number is Z-A431PJ31X-A. The Canadian part number is KA431-L01. Many distributors will also recognize it by name, "the Excelsus DSL Alarm Filter". If your preferred distributor does not carry the product, please contact the Pulse Sales Team for a referral to a distributor that services your area.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

6.4 As an alarm provider, can I refer or authorize my customers to purchase the Alarm Filter directly from Excelsus?

Excelsus refers all end-user requests for the Alarm Filter to the alarm provider. Installation of the Alarm Filter requires the temporary disconnection of the alarm panel and a full system test afterwards. Of course, this full system test requires your cooperation, as the service provider. Therefore, Excelsus does not sell the product directly to end-users due to liability concerns that could arise from consumers modifying their alarm system without your knowledge and cooperation.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

6.5 I represent a security parts distributor interested in carrying the Excelsus Alarm Filter. How do I proceed?

Pulse is pleased to work with various distributors who cater to many niches within the security community. Please contact the Pulse Sales Team about your interest in distributing the product.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

6.6 How can I find out more information about the Excelsus Alarm Filter?

For starters, Excelsus has posted a brief, but very helpful, video on its website that details how the Alarm Filter works, how it is installed and how to get it. The video can be accessed by clicking this link and selecting the "Download Video" link. The Excelsus Alarm Filter data sheet is available for download at this link. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact the Pulse Sales Team via email.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

6.7 Why should I use the Excelsus Alarm Filter (as opposed to another Excelsus filter or a competitor's alarm filter)?

The patented Excelsus Alarm Filter is the only alarm panel DSL filter that has undergone an extensive beta test to ensure compatibility with the wide variety of DSL deployments and security equipment that is in use today. This beta test process occurred over the course of nearly a year and involved many of the major players from the telephone and security industries throughout the United States and Canada. Only when these players were in unanimous agreement that Excelsus' solution performed as required, was the product finally released. Since its release in August 2001, the Excelsus Alarm Filter has been successfully deployed throughout North America and is the standardized solution for DSL/alarm issues for all of the largest alarm service providers within the United States and Canada. In the end, the price of the Alarm Filter is a small one to pay for total and complete peace of mind that your alarm system will function reliably when it is called upon to communicate an event. For a more detailed discussion, please visit Question 1.4, Question 3.3 and Question 2.8.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

6.99 My question is not addressed or is not answered in enough detail in the "Brief FAQ Summary" above.

This section is just for the basics and the most concise answers. Your question may be referred to or answered in greater detail in another section of this FAQ. Return to the FAQ Index to see if I have your question there. If not, please jump to Question 7.2 below for contact information for asking your questions.

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

7.0 Additional Information Resources

7.1 Internet Resources

Pulse Electronics Home Page
Excelsus Product Group Home Page
Excelsus Alarm Filter Product Data Sheet
Canadian Alarm and Security Association (CANASA)
Security Industry Association (SIA)
Broadband Forum (formerly known as the DSL Forum)

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<

7.2 Excelsus Contact Information

Sales Team
Product Marketing
Technical Support
(800) 457-0967, option 2 (858) 674-8100 (ask for "Excelsus") - NOTE: It appears that Pulse has discontinued their toll-free number for Excelsus® products

>Return to FAQ Index< / >Return to Top of Page< / >Return to Top of This Section<
Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional Valid CSS!

Excelsus® is a registered trademark of Pulse Electronics Corporation.
This FAQ page is not affiliated with or supported by Pulse Electronics in any way. Please see Disclaimer Statement for more details.

© Earl Langenberg - 2003, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2014. All rights reserved.