I wanted to do a deeper dive into the article embedded in the Tweet from the last post I made.

REVEALED: WiFi went down ALL DAY at LA cash storage facility as thieves stole $30m in daring heist

Neighbors of a cash storage facility robbed of $30 million claim internet signals went down and they heard an explosion during the daring heist.

The FBI and LAPD are still trying to piece together how burglars breached the roof of GardaWorld in Sylmar, Los Angeles, on Easter Sunday without triggering any alarms.

Issa Alhosry, 22, co-owner of the nearby Kwik Market Deli said their WiFi, phones, and servers were down for hours on Sunday morning and into the evening.

‘We couldn’t get or make calls, not even on my cell phone,’ Alhosry told DailyMail.com.

It does sound like the thrives used signal jammers to disable security measures or prevent people from calling the police if they saw something.

Cellphone jammer can be bought on Amazon, and they are becoming popular in robbery and home invasions.

I understand why wifi based security system are popular, they are much cheaper that hard wiring a home.

However, the technology to defeat them has also become cheaper and more prevalent.

If you are at all serious about security, a hardwired system tied to a landlines is much more secure.

Reactivating a home landline for emergencies might also be a good idea.

(I invite our resident security camera expert to do a follow-up post on this)

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By J. Kb

12 thoughts on “Landlines”
  1. I dumped my landline because it was even worse reception than my cell (which is none too good). Numerous complaints to the phone company brought no relief. The joys of semi-rural living. We have a few dogs and, although it is my policy to neither confirm nor deny the presence or absence of firearms at my residence or any other property that I control, lets just say that both I and my neighbor have small shooting ranges.

    I dispatched for a local law enforcement agency for 35 years, so am aware of response times (they try, but have a fair amount of area to cover).

  2. VoIP can be fickle..

    A local pharmacy seemed to be having phone trouble when I called them, so I wandered in.

    They had connectivity to the internet, and you could ping pretty much any website I tried, but it seemed to be a bit ‘odd’ with round trip times varying all over the place.

    Long story short, there was a ‘backhoe fade’ down somewhere near Seattle, (125 miles away,) and it got a fiber bundle. Apparently, they didn’t have a backbone redundancy setup correctly. Once they got the fiber backup, the phone system in the pharmacy came back up.

    All the phones went into a local appliance of some kind, and that must haven been connected to a remote phone switching site. Maybe a SIP trunk between the local and the remote switch? I dunno…

    They were running on PERSONAL cell phones, and I told them they should get three or four El Cheapo phones (Trak Phone, etc.) and have the failover numbers pointed to those phones.

    Might cost them couple of C notes for the year, but at least they wouldn’t be down.

    Same thing for internet. Get an auto switching cellular based network gateway box, stuff in a SIM card with a 50gig plan, and away you go. It would ping remote hosts out on the internet to determine connectivity, and switch to the cell system if it couldn’t see those several hosts. (I used to have a Teltonika box that would work even behind a CGNAT cloud and allow an inbound VPN tunnel to the device, and then on to the local network. I think the cost was $2.50 a month for the service.)

  3. Good luck with the home landlines.

    Landlines are generally getting more expensive and less available. AT&T has been discontinuing residential land lines for several years now, recently hitting San Francisco. That trend will not slow.

    Much of the infrastructure is old and the cost of maintaining it goes up. Combine that with fewer landline subscribers, more cell towers than ever and the nearly-universal availability of internet in this country and discontinuing land lines just makes good business sense.

    Businesses will keep them for some time but even those will go away. I work at a large factory in a small city and we went to a private VoIP system years ago. No power = no phones.

    1. We still have a home land line BUT when the power goes out, now the phones go out too. The “battery backup” in the system doesn’t work, or is never charged, or someone just didn’t bother to connect it. So the one time I really need a land line, it is gone. With cell following shortly behind as the local towers lose power.

      Either someone didn’t think about second order consequences, or more likely, they just didn’t care.

  4. Another thing with landlines vs. cells … generally speaking, in more densely populated areas, a higher fraction of landlines on a given interchange can be “active” (e.g. people talking) before the switch hits capacity. And cell networks have more ways to fail. It’s yet another example of higher efficiency during normal times, coming at the expense of reliability in extreme circumstances.
    I understand why AT&T and the baby bells want to move away from landlines … but especially in areas that are either subject to “normal” natural disasters, or known to be at-risk for major disasters (e.g. San Francisco vis. earthquakes), it has the potential to come back and bite us.

  5. I absolutely guarantee that there was at least one person involved in this that either works for or used to work for this company and had intimate knowledge of the security systems in place. That’s a finite number and the police SHOULD be able to find out who that was and crack this case. If they don’t it will be because they don’t actually try to solve it.

  6. Landline is not an option in my community.
    The telco service dropped them about 10 years ago. They went digital, some kind of VOIP, but with a dedicated connection to the coax that did not require the modem. If I understand correctly, they dropped that service as well.
    Unfortunately, analog is going away in all too many places. Have backups that do not rely on any tech. Good locks, secondary security, etc…
    And, as noted earlier, a dog will alert if something is not right.

  7. We still have a landline, but it fails about every other month. The wire plant in our area is 50+ years old. Fortunately most people have dropped the service so there are plenty of spare pairs…

    The company is busy installing fiber, and supposedly in a year or so will be able to offer phone and Internet over fiber (all the way to the house). That’s an attractive option. We currently get Comcast Internet service but that’s fiber on the road and coax to the house (“HFC”) so they have power boxes all over the place to drive the electronics that does that. And while those boxes have batteries, they are only good for 24 hours or so. After that, the Internet fails until some staff with a pickup truck full of small generators go around to hook up a generator to each power box. I expect the phone company fiber option will be fiber straight from the CO, so no pole mounted powered equipment. And they are quite good about keeping the CO powered properly.

    As for cell jammers and WiFi failures — most people don’t realize that WiFi is an “unlicensed” service. It sits on a set of frequencies available for lots of different applications, with NO protection against interference. While it’s still illegal to deliberately jam WiFi, it’s perfectly legal to run some other (licensed) service that unfortunately happens to take out a nearby WiFi network. Some of the WiFi frequencies overlap ham radio bands, for example, and if a ham is running a 1 kW transmitter trying to bounce a signal off the moon and your WiFi network happens to be in the beam (or a side lobe) you’re SOL, no protection provided by the law.

  8. I’m in the same boat as CBMT. Local Telco dropped the landline service here. And yes, you lose the internet, you lose VOIP. One thing to remember is that even if you cannot make a cell call, there IS a possibility that a text message will go through.

  9. Last time I looked at the unused local TelCo box on my house it looked like I could hardwire an old non-battery powered landline phone into the system if there was an extreme emergency. I didn’t see any filters. Just different connection blocks.

    Does anyone know if that would work for say a 911 call?

  10. I can’t afford it. I live in a semi-rural area and just last year, after living here for a decade, ATT ran cable into my neighborhood. I thought it would be a great time to get cable and a landline — until then I had been forced to use the hotspot on my phone for internet access (thank God I have Starlink now). The ATT guy came out and said that they would be happy to give us service, but they would not run a line to the house because the house was surrounded by asphalt and concrete. I have a long driveway. He said I’d have to hire a different company to cut the asphalt and concrete, and drop a conduit with a pull through. I called a couple of contractors. The average cost they quoted was $6500 to do the excavation and drop the conduit, *not* including repairs to the walkway and driveway. Ain’t gonna happen.

Only one rule: Don't be a dick.

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