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NextAlarm down/troubles?

WayneW

Senior Member
Is anyone else having trouble with NextAlarm?
 
Yesterday (Saturday), my Elk M1 tried to do it's 9 AM test call.  It apparently failed and my M1 kept re-trying until I noticed the phone line being active about 2 hours and 300 calls later.  I disconnected the M1 from the phone line to stop the constant dialing so that us humans could use the phone.
 
I tried calling the NextAlarm reporting/central-station number (800-851-6675, what my M1 was dialing) from my cell phone and my house phone.  I hear a weird pair of double chirps, THEN the line starts ringing, then the weird pair of double chirps, then tones that sound more like I would expect (kind of similar to fax or modem sounds).  Is this what a normal central sound phone should sound like?
 
I admit that I am using Vonage VOIP for the house phone and the M1.  It has worked fine for over 10 years, but that doesn't mean that something changed and it isn't reliable anymore.  I am just using NextAlarm's (old?) $5 monthly self monitoring plan.  I also not sure why the M1 keeps dialing over & over, but I don't want to make any changes on my end until I have a little better understanding of what changed.  I plugged the phone line back in today and the M1 immediately seized the line and started dialing out repeatedly, so I unplugged it again.
 
 
 

Digger

Senior Member
The panel will call he central and wait for a "handshake".  Once it gets the handshake it will dump its message (sound like a fax machine) and them wait for a kissoff.  If it does not get the proper handshake or kissoff it will try and try, however, its supposed to stop after a min of 5 and a max of 10 attempts per UL1635.
 
One exception to that is if there are many messages in the M1 que that it is trying to send.  It may only send "X" amount at a time. 
 
My test report went through fine today to them but I use an ABN over the internet.
 

WayneW

Senior Member
Thanks Digger.  I believe that my M1 is only set to retry 2 times, so I am confused by it trying 300 times.  There should have only been the one daily test message in the M1 queue.  I have power cycled the M1 yesterday afternoon, but that didn't help either.
 
Is a central station phne number supposed to answer "weird"?  It seems weird to me that I get a pair of double chirps BEFORE I hear the line ringing.  Is the pair of double chirps supposed to mean something to the M1 to accelerate the message delivery?  Feel free to call the 800 number and listen for yourself.
 

pete_c

Guru
Just called the 800-851-6675 Next Alarm number.  

Never called the number before such that I do not know if the double chirps have always been there or is something new.

I do hear the loud double chirps before it rings.
 
 
I called to hear.
 
Double chirps are normal CS receiver CID handshake and multiple times is also normal. The ringing portion is not, nor is the redirect (handshake repeat).
 
Suspect a receiver hunt group or virtual is the issue on their part. Also don't know the topology of their receivers (physical or virtual) and whether or not they'll go through all the protocol handshakes based on the last transmission from the account/CID/DNIS.
 
As far as dial attempts go, as Dig alluded to, that is a panel setting and not determined by the CS. Is the 2 hour and 300 outgoing call number accurate or an exaggeration? 8 dial attempts would be approximately a half hour or so.
 
The issue is theirs. As far as Vonage adapter, that's on you and you already have the understanding of what may work today may not tomorrow. I'd reset the M1 and verify the MAX dial attempts. Keep in mind, this is also affected if you have multiple routes and accounts on the M1.
 

Digger

Senior Member
The M1 should go off hook, dial the 1-800 number, wait for the handshake, deliver its message and wait for the kissoff from the CS (the kissoff means the CS receiver understood the message).
 
Not sure what is happening here.
 

WayneW

Senior Member
DELInstallations said:
Double chirps are normal CS receiver CID handshake and multiple times is also normal. The ringing portion is not, nor is the redirect (handshake repeat).
 
Suspect a receiver hunt group or virtual is the issue on their part. Also don't know the topology of their receivers (physical or virtual) and whether or not they'll go through all the protocol handshakes based on the last transmission from the account/CID/DNIS.
 
As far as dial attempts go, as Dig alluded to, that is a panel setting and not determined by the CS. Is the 2 hour and 300 outgoing call number accurate or an exaggeration? 8 dial attempts would be approximately a half hour or so.
 
The issue is theirs. As far as Vonage adapter, that's on you and you already have the understanding of what may work today may not tomorrow. I'd reset the M1 and verify the MAX dial attempts. Keep in mind, this is also affected if you have multiple routes and accounts on the M1.
 
re:Double chirps are normal CS receiver CID handshake and multiple times is also normal. The ringing portion is not, nor is the redirect (handshake repeat).
 
Thanks for that knowledge.
 
re: Is the 2 hour and 300 outgoing call number accurate or an exaggeration? 8 dial attempts would be approximately a half hour or so.
 
Accurate, according to the Vonage log.  approx 350 calls in approx 2h40m before I pulled the phone line.  2-3 calls per minute, each about 14-15 seconds long.  Why would 8 calls take 30 minutes?  Is there a retry delay or do calls normally take more than 15 second to fail/abort?
 
According to ElkRP, Open/Close (ie Arm.disarm) is set to go via VOIP, with my redial attempts is set to 2, before it goes to the backup Uplink.  Alarms go to the Uplink first.  This was done to keep my Uplink traffic within terms-of-service.  I forget what generates the daily test signal and what priority it gets.
 
I will open a trouble ticket with Next Alarm to see what they say.
 
There are known limitations when multiple routes are programmed on the M1 and what is deemed primary/backup or dual reporting. You should look at your panel's programming and really should speak to Elk, even if it has been "working" for as many years as you state.
 
The amount of time the system takes to dial and run through it's pace varies, but go through how long the panel takes to dial 10 numbers via DTMF, try to dump it's signal after the handshake and then NA's line card providing an endless ring....you'd have to listen with a butt sett to see how many times the M1 tries to dump the CID signals after the initial handshake before it's deemed a failed attempt, but each attempt, with a pause and going through the whole scenario....the attempts can take a fair amount of time.
 
What Vonage sees as a dial attempt and what the log entails, I can't answer. Keep in mind, if you're using the Uplink as a backup with VOIP as the primary, you should be extra wary as the M1 won't switch over unless there's no voltage and phone trouble is annunciated, which is the issue with most VOIP adapters and cellular backup installation.
 

WayneW

Senior Member
NextAlarm gave me a new reporting phone number to use on Monday.  They have not responded to my followup questions about why the reporting phone number changed without notification or what the backup/secondary number should be.  It is a good thing that I have my ISY and HomeSeer still doing notifications, which is perfectly adequate assuming htat my cable ISP doesn't go down.
 
I configured the new reporting phone number in the M1 and in my Uplink account Monday about midnight.  I then received a "Periodic Test" email from NextAlarm, so I thought I was making progress, but I couldn't test further (such as arming) at that time.  But since then, no communications seem to be processed by NextAlarm.  Vonage shows calls are being made.   The NA web site is not showing any activity since my Tue 12:19 AM test.  Of course, NextAlarm hasn't responded to that email either :(
 
So, I have 3 phone numbers:
800-851-6675 primary - old
800-851-7330 secondary - old
877-477-8937  new number
to my untrained ear, they all sound fairly similar.  Maybe subtle variations, but none are obviously fax or voice or modem numbers.
 
The fact that even if I disconnect the M1 from the Vonage phone line (which should force everything to go thru Uplink) still doesn't get a response from NextAlarm seems to imply that the issue is on the NextAlarm end and my issues cannot be totally blamed on Vonage.  Uplink web site doesn't show central station notifications for the past 24 hours (but the Uplink web site does show that it received events, so my RF connection seems viable), so I assume that means that Uplink is failing to handshake with NextAlarm?  Am I missing something here?
 
It seems that the only progress I have made by changing phone numbers is that it stopped the M1 from doing infinite dialing attempts and seizing my phone line constantly.
 
But, as usual, I am getting very poor customer service from NextAlarm and I am glad that I am not counting on them for a full dispatch service.
 
By the way, one of my emails to [email protected] got a sort of bounce when it apparently tried to forward the email to [email protected]  I thought that was weird as Numerex owns Uplink, and I wasn't emailing Uplink so why did I get a bounce from Uplink/Numerex.  After a little Googling, it turns out that Numerex owns BOTH Uplink and NextAlarm.
http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/nextalarm/nationwide/nextalarm-numerex-monitoring-service-does-not-work-and-they-cant-fix-it-nationwide-1309721
http://investor.numerex.com/secfiling.cfm?filingid=1571049-16-13031&cik=
 
NA is obviously having receiver issues. Give away is they asked you to change phone numbers, which means they're probably moving from physical line cards to a virtual receiver or having a hunt group issue.
 
I'm too tired to dig through who owns what and what is talking to who at this point.....
 
basically, you've got a receiver issue. I don't know how your uplink is ported to the CS, either dialer emulation or direct IP, but that might be a key to look at
 
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