Background: Old, Hard-to-use Home Security System

We moved into a house with an existing "wired" home security system. This system includes an circa-1991 panel from Ademco (model 4140).

The wires are in place; the sensors work. We could use it "as is".

The UI on the panel however, lacks the user friendliness one would expect in 2010. So we looked at upgrading the control panel and the keypads.

Here's the question: I'm looking for a wired panel that also has ethernet or 802.11.n (g/b, i.e. wifi) connectivity plus a webserver so that I can check it from my phone.


  • Wi-fi connectivity
  • Embedded Web server
  • Messaging capability when intrusion happens ("Rear Door Open")
  • Secure (or at least as secure as my network)

Nothing from the major manufacturers (Ademco/Honeywell & GE) offer any wi-fi, internet-base d monitoring/embedded web servers/etc. (Actually one does, but the details are really murky. It's clearly not for home users and they offer very little technical information)

The situation reminds me of blu-ray players circa 2003 ago: they had no network connectivity. A few years later some had an ethernet port. Today, 3Q 2010, many $200 units have built-in 802.11n.

Summary When will internet-connected home security systems hit the streets?

  • 2
    I don't have an answer for you but personally, I prefer wired security systems simply because they provide slightly more physical control over access to the relevant systems. I think wireless management/integration via standard protocols would provide a larger potential for hacking (consider the security degradation of WEP and WPA over the years). On a somewhat related note, I'm intrigued with the potential of ZoneMinder surveillance. There's an interesting how-to article here: howtoforge.com/video_surveillance_zoneminder_ubuntu
    – Mike B
    Nov 18, 2010 at 4:01
  • 4
    WiFi on a security system sounds like a bad idea, even a wired internet connection; while convenient, is iffy at best. I don't want the kid next door monitoring my system from his laptop, so I don't think I want my security system talking to the internet.
    – Tester101
    Nov 18, 2010 at 13:02
  • @tester101 - Agreed. A security system is something you want to be as isolated as possible. =)
    – Mike B
    Nov 18, 2010 at 16:55
  • 6
    I don't have any suggestions for a specific panel, but there is no reason to believe all the negative nancys on this one.. encryption and security are advanced to the point now where you could feel moderately secure having a web interface to your security system.
    – Zach
    Nov 22, 2010 at 18:04
  • 2
    @Zach - Can't speak for everybody, but I personally don't want my security system blasting out information over the air where any passing Google van can grab it ;)
    – Tester101
    Mar 4, 2011 at 21:13

5 Answers 5


I've not used it myself, but ELK seems to do SOME of what you are after.


I used Front Point


All the modules are wireless; an iPhone app is provided by Alarm.com for free and it now even does some home automation; lights, thermostat, etc...

Can arm / disarm from the iPhone app and receive notifications when the alarm goes off; like the 5th time since i've had it when my cats set it off this last week.

They even offer some security camera's that work over wifi

I too, considered a ethernet / wifi security system as I'm a systems admin / engineer - couldn't find anything I like and in the end, what happens if you loose power? What happens if the internet connection goes down? Power is 1 issue; can put in a UPS; but most residents don't have redundant internet connections. And, if you really did it yourself, you'll have no insurance for theft / damage.

But, I am considering going outside of front point for security camera's - I like and use Axis network camera's at work, which can also be reached over a smart phone. I'm just extremely paranoid :)

  • My biggest problem with those types of systems is the major design flaw in putting the keypad on the control panel. If you mount it anywhere obvious, someone breaking in just has to smash it within 30 seconds (or however long the entry delay is) and that's it: no alarm. At least they have a remote keypad option though (touchscreen). -- Edit, oh, they did think of this, but it's an extra $43/month.
    – gregmac
    Jul 22, 2011 at 22:22

Check out Simplisafe. They've been quite good, connect via a cellular connection, sleek design, etc.

  • Are you affiliated with this product/service in any way? If so, we ask that you disclose that information see our faq.
    – Tester101
    Apr 6, 2012 at 12:39
  • Not affiliated. Happy customer. Apr 30, 2012 at 15:07

Vivent (http://www.vivint.com/), formerly Apex Alarms, has control panels that can be accessed via the web, smart phone (app-based), etc. They also have thermostats and other automation that can be accessed in the same way.

I've been a happy Apex user for a few years now, haven't upgraded to this net-enabled option, but it's something I'm considering.


I recently updated the security system at our home for those same features. This security monitoring services was very helpful in installing the wireless system with video monitoring. There area also a number of other apps and functions that are compatible with the system, such as remotely arming and disarming the system. There are some functions that I don't even bother with, thermostat control, and turning lights on and off.

  • This is a complete monitoring/install service that does everything for you. Kind of goes against the whole do-it-yourself theme of this site.
    – gregmac
    Jul 28, 2011 at 19:18
  • If you are affiliated with this company can you please make it clear. Otherwise your answers will be deleted as spam and your account blocked.
    – ChrisF
    Jul 28, 2011 at 19:33
  • Sorry this is the company that I used when I went to get video monitoring for my home. Wireless security monitoring like CCTV isn't much of DIY project and better left to professionals, especially with a wired system. Jul 28, 2011 at 19:59
  • 1
    When you're picking an alarm system, having a monitored system is important if you want the insurance discount. This wouldn't be the first answer on the site that suggested getting professional help. But I understand why others raise the issue, product recommendations to an old post by a new user are a red flag.
    – BMitch
    Jul 29, 2011 at 0:54
  • I smell canned spam
    – MDMoore313
    Jan 1, 2014 at 13:35

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