September 14, 2011

FrontPoint Security Review, Wireless Home Security

Are you looking to add monitored Home Security for your home? Want to add video security? Do you want the monitoring done over a wireless network (GSM) rather than the less secure phone lines?  Then take a look at FrontPoint Security, a provider of wireless home security service.



FrontPoint uses GE Security equipment and Alarm.com to provide a monitored security service.

FrontPoint security service is wireless within the home (sensors to control panel) and outside (control panel to monitoring center). With a wireless setup, there are no wires to lay and you can complete a DIY installation easily – no technicians required.

FrontPoint on DIY install
We offer the first completely "plug and play" solution. The system takes about a half-hour to have up and running. It takes three steps: Plug in the control panel to an electrical outlet, either using the provided tabletop stand or by mounting the panel on a wall. Place the sensors around the house with the high-grade adhesive backing; just hold them in place for 30 seconds and they're ready to go. And lastly, call us to activate the system remotely and answer any questions.

FrontPoint also highlights its “pending alarm” feature, which will be useful if bad guys break into your home and destroy the security panel to prevent an alarm from being raised. The pending alarm will trigger an alarm even if the panel is destroyed.

FrontPoint Security Cost
With FrontPoint, you’ll buy security components, install them yourself and then pay FrontPoint monthly for the monitoring services.

FrontPoint requires a 1 to 3-year contract. Expect to get package deals based on the type of monitoring selected and the length of the contract (the contract will have early-termination-fees).

FrontPoint Component Costs
  1. Control Panel - $240

  2. Door and Window Sensor - $33
  3. Motion Sensor - $65
  4. Glass Break Sensor - $75
  5. Smoke and Heat Sensor - $65
  6. Carbon mono oxide Sensor - $90

Many other types of sensors are available. You can pick the number and type of sensors based on requirements for your home.

If you add video security, then you’ll also need to buy the IP cameras from FrontPoint
  1. Fixed Wireless IP camera - $180
  2. Pan-Tilt Wireless IP camera - $280
  3. Outdoor camera - $400 – a Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) camera, connected to your home router via ethernet cable.

The cameras provide basic features. The live video from the cameras can be viewed remotely over the Internet. The cameras can be set to record short clips upon motion or an alarm. The clips can be stored online. The storage budgets are available at the links above.

Installation Cost
Zero, as you install it yourself.
The sensor installation is straightforward. Installing the IP cameras is a little more work – you have to configure your Internet router 
  1. reserve a static IP address for each camera on your router.
  2. setup port forwarding for each camera, so the live video from the camera can be accessed remotely.

Usage Cost
Frontpoint charges a monthly fee based on the plan selected
  1. protection monitoring - $35/mo - burglar, intrusion, fire, environmental, life safety
  2. interactive monitoring - $43/mo – protection monitoring +
    remote alarm system access, pending alarm, security alerts, light control
  3. ultimate monitoring - $50/mo – interactive monitoring + video security, z-wave locks and thermostat

The plans are on a 1 to 3 year contract and have an early termination fee.

The Good
  1. Easy, DIY installation
  2. Fully wireless system
  3. Many different type of sensors
The Bad
  1. Requires a long-term contract – may be a problem especially for renters
  2. If the cellular signal is weak at your home, then the remote monitoring will not work.

Should I Buy
FrontPoint provides an easy to use home security service. If you are considering adding a monitored home security service, then FrontPoint is worth considering.

Alternatives to FrontPoint Security
Alternatives include
  1. ADT Pulse and Vivint, which include more home automation features
  2. SimpliSafe, another wireless home security service, which has two big differentiators – lower costs and no long-term contracts.
  3. AlarmRelay (using Alarm.com) provides monitoring service for $9/month.
  4. others such as Logitech Alert, MiCasaVerde, LifeShield etc.