This is a question I am asking for my in-laws, so excuse me. They hav
a whole house alarm system with a phone dialer. The installer sai
they should have the junction box for the phone line (underground
placed in their basement so it couldn't be cut or disconnected. The
called the telephone company, and they said the box had to be mounte
outside above ground. Can you think of a good way to protect this uni
from having a thief disarm it by cutting the wire or opening the cove
on the connector? My father in law is kind of set in his ways, an
doesn't want me to tamper with it (I would just move it and tell th
phone company to pound sand). My idea was to cover the wire with
slotted pipe or such (still doesn't take care of the connector cover.
Another idea was to install a fake but visible wire and cover, an
camoflage the other so it wouldn't be visible. I can't be the firs
with this problem, so please give me some ideas! I like to keep peac
in the family and also come up with answers to their concerns.
In my area, phone cable comes to house underground, but the box is
mounted on the wall outside above ground. It is enclosed in a conduit,
and box is semi-sealed with special screws which needs special tool.
I guess only way a thief can cut wire is smashing the box or breaking
Chances are, rather than go to the trouble of cutting the phone wire, the
burglar will just smash a window, walk in (alarm notwithstanding), take
what they like, and leave well before the police show up. The average
smash-and-grab takes no longer than a couple of minutes, far less than
the average police response time.
I'd suggest saving the time, effort, and money that you would otherwise
use moving the junction box and put it into the installation of other
things that will deter a thief, like stronger locks, window bars on
easily-accessible windows, reinforced door-lock strike plates, and
improved lighting. The idea is to make your house seem less appealing
than that of your neighbours - most thieves will target the "easiest"
house on a street rather than trouble themselves with one that is harder
Run an additional alarm wire as a seperate zone outside to the phone
box. If the thief tries to cut the phone line, he will not know which
wire is which so he will cut all the lines. Once he cuts the alarm
wire, the alarm will go off. Of course the dial tone will be dead at
that point, but at least it would scare off the thief when he heres the
It's likely that any thief that is professional enough and determined
enough to plan to cut phone lines will figure a way around any simple
solution you put in place. I also think that for the typical home,
it's not too likely you'll find this level of determination. Even
after cutting the phone lines, a well placed siren is still effective.
As another solution, most alarm companies now offer a radio unit that
can be installed in the home as a back up which will contact the
Talk to one of the major alarm companies or even one of the
monitoring services for recommendations. There are some good
ways to do that without a lot of expense, but I'm not going to go
into them here.
Radio links are the best bets: No wires to cut, they're pretty
well hidden, and battery-backed. Also of course, the TYPES of
sensors etc. needs to be considered carefully - is that a
professional install or a diy install?
If it's a diy, stop now - it's likely not a very secure sysem.
I've moved them myself (in the capacity of a professional alarm installer), of
course we didn't tell ma-bell in advance. They want the ability to service the
line unimpeded. That works out great for them - for maybe the one time in ten
years they actually come on the property.
I would move the NID inside the basement or garage - whatever, that's just me.
If the alarmco won't do it you'll have to do it yourself. Alternatively, you
could place the NID in a lockable NEMA box outside the premises and wire tamper
switches on *both* sides of the box (in case they beat it off the wall, or open
it). The tamper circuit can come in on a spare pair from the dialer cable. Of
course, you'll want to protect the exposed wiring in conduit.
Your kinda in a bad place if the father in law doesn't want you to screw with
it, the alarmco refuses to move the NID, and we know the ma-bell wont do it.
There are backup reporting options like cellular, long range radio, and
What brand of system do they have?
If you feel compelled to render the NID less accessible then you install
rigid metallic conduit to a height that makes it inaccessible from the
ground and install the NID at that height but still outdoors. In most
places the utility can not insist that the NID be accessible without a
Relocating the Network Interface Device (NID) to the inside of the
building is not an option in most states. The NID is the demarcation
point between the wire that the building owner is responsible for and
the wire that the utility is responsible for. The NID is utility
responsibility equipment. If you damage it or affect the outside plant
in any way you can be billed for the entire cost of normalizing the
installation. Use a wireless back up and leave the NID alone.
Not in the couple of states where I work. I have nothing to do with alarms
but sometimes have to get involved with data circuits. Standard practice on
a multiple line commercial installation is to put a metal cabinet on the
*outside* of the building. The telcos will not install anything new inside a
I am a self employed electrician. I have worked as a construction
industry communications wireman but I have never been employed by a
utility. What I have said has nothing at all to do with making my job,
or the utilities job, easier. I was only trying to avoid the major
expense to the OP of having a violation of their states utility tariffs
corrected at their expense. In most states the utility is not allowed
to have their NID inside of any portion of a domicile. We are talking
about a house so what is done for commercial customers has very little
bearing on the question. A change in the NID location must be done by
utility personnel at the customers expense. If you DIY and the utility
decides to make an issue of it that will get rather expensive very
What Tom Said.
Also, a tamper switch in the NID is quite silly anyway:
1) Loss of phone signal on an armed system will raise an alarm, on a
disarmed system will raise a trouble code.
2) Kinda hard for me to believe that a burglar is going to open the NID
to disable the phone line.
Don't move the NID. Bad, Bad idea.
I was talking about tampering an outdoor NEMA type enclosure, that the NID would
be mounted inside. The service drop would be in pipe leading up to it. It's
disguised and hardened that way.
As far as moving the NID inside the premises, that is a risk I'm willing to
take. But your advice and Horn's is a valid point.
Our phone line runs from the service wire to the eaves, then down behind the
siding in a conduit, terminating in a box, with lock, on the side of the
house. The telephone wires then run out of the box, along a horizontal seam
in the siding.. The alarm signal wire goes from the box to the garage alarm
switchboard by a devious and disguised route, but mostly along the exterior.
The line tends to follow natural grooves in the siding. I used tiny staples
to tie it down, then ran acrylic caulk over the line where it was visible,
then painted. Just about invisible now.
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