The future of self-monitored security systems is going to be full of systems that work over the Internet and connect directly to your smartphone. For customers of Fortress Security Store, the future is now!
In this week's blog post, we'll talk a little bit about the details of networking, and show some tips and tricks for making your connection as reliable as possible.
How Does My System Notify Me When I'm Away From Home?
When you purchase one of our WiFi-enabled security systems, such as the Total Security WiFi System or the Ani Security System, you'll be able to download a free mobile app for your iPhone / Android smartphone. You can then go through the connection steps to get the main panel synced with the app.
( Total Security WiFi mobile app | Ani mobile app )
When the main panel connects for the first time, it sends a signal to our secure push notification server in the cloud. The server then also receives a signal from your smartphone, and it pairs your main panel with your smartphone so they can then communicate with each other. During this process, the smartphone and the main panel will be connected to the same WiFi network (wherever the system will be located). After they are connected for the first time, you can then take your phone with you anywhere and it will remain connected. All communications sent to and from our security systems and our servers are encrypted.
If and when an event occurs that you need to know about, the system sends out a signal over the Internet, and our secure server then sends a notification which pops up on your phone. You can launch the app, check out the details in the event log, and then take any appropriate actions needed
What Is An IP Address And Why Are They Important?
An Internet Protocol (IP) Address is a string of numbers that is assigned to a device on a network, and which uniquely identifies that device on the network. Just like other devices such as laptops, PCs, phones, and tablets, your security system will also be assigned an IP address on your network.
DHCP must be enabled on your network in order for our system to connect and receive an IP address from your router. Sometimes even when DHCP is enabled, there may not be any IP addresses available to be assigned to your security system. We recommend reserving an IP address on your network for your security system, so that if the network goes offline, your security system will be guaranteed to be assigned the same IP address that it had before.
All of the devices on your local network receive their own "private" IP addresses. In the same way, your network has a single "public" IP address which uniquely identifies your network on the larger, global network known as the Internet. Many times, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will provide your network with an IP address which would stay the same for some time, but could have the potential to change. Customers who would like to make sure that their public IP address doesn't change over time can ask their ISP for what's known as a Static IP Address. For your security system from Fortress Security Store, making your public IP address static should not be necessary, but it can potentially help in some cases to improve the reliability of the connection between your security system and your smartphone.
Note that there are some rare cases in which your network might have more than one public IP address, but this type of setup is not very common. You can consult your network administrator for more information about "Dual WAN" configurations. If your network does have Dual WAN, you should ensure that your Fortress security system only communicates using one public IP address.
What About Firewalls?
We're glad you asked. A firewall on a network prevents unwanted or uninvited signals from entering your network and potentialy causing damage. Most likely, your network will have a software firewall built in to the router. In some cases, the firewall might even be a separate physical device. Firewalls are definitely good things to have, and if you don't have one in place, we recommend putting one in place as soon as possible!
In some rare cases, your network's firewall might be configured in such a way that it accidentally blocks communications to and from your Fortress security system. You'll want to make sure that your firewall is not blocking communications over "UDP Port 48899." This is just one of many ports through which data can be sent, and our Fortress systems just happen to use that one.
What If My Internet Connection Goes Down?
If you happen to lose your connection to the Internet, then your Fortress security system would also be disconnected until the Internet service is restored.
Fortunately, our systems also offer the option to connect using alternate means. Both the Ani Security System and the Total Security WiFi System can be connected to a land line phone line, if you have one available. Additionally, the Total Security WiFi system can use a GSM SIM card to make calls and texts over the cellular phone network.
Is There Anything Else I Should Know?
We have a detailed list of required and recommended network settings for our customers, listed in our FAQ pages.
Post your questions and comments below!