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The former has partnered with more than 2,500 dealers and the latter with ADT and Comcast. Among other things, you’ll have to decide between a “cellular primary” or “broadband primary” system. The former is a wireless connection to the monitoring station, making it immune to power outages or someone cutting a cable. It is limited, however, with regard to transmitting large quantities of video, so many cellular primary systems incorporate broadband for video. Broadband primary services, on the other hand, have cables running down the side of a house that can be cut, thereby disabling the system. Some services offer cellular back up should this occur. Look for a home security system with a full line of wireless peripherals, including modules for controlling lights and appliances, thermostats, cameras, motion sensors some can distinguish between a pet and a person, water sensors, and glass break and vibration sensors. Look for long life battery power, too. Lithium sensor batteries, for example, can last three to five years. When they do run low, the system lets you know well in advance. Choose a controller with back up battery so the system will stay active in the event of a power outage or if the Internet is down.

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Instead, you can just get the equipment and set everything up on your own. It’s great for people who are on a budget, and it’s also great for people who rent—You can take the equipment with you when you move, and won’t have to worry about being charged another installation fee for setting things up in your new location. If you choose SimpliSafe, you also won’t have to worry about canceling a contract and paying a high fee if you move to an area where a service provider doesn’t operate this system. You have to buy the equipment upfront, but that means you own it, and it reduces the monitoring costs every month. That can make things easier for anyone who’s on a monthly budget and don’t want to spend a lot of money on monitoring. You can pay as little as $15 to $25 a month for SimpliSafe monitoring, depending on whether mobile access is important to you.