The Future of Your Fire Alarms Using Mesh Radio Technology

By Andrew Erickson

May 28, 2023

A relatively new development that has significantly impacted fire alarm monitoring systems is mesh radio technology. With its inherent redundancy, mesh radio is improving the way fire alarms are monitored, providing increased reliability and faster response times (via that increased reliability).

Before we dive into the specific role of mesh radio technology in fire alarm monitoring, let's first understand what it is and how it operates.

What is Mesh Radio?

Mesh radio, also known as mesh networking, is a communication model that involves multiple nodes (devices) that can all interconnect directly, dynamically, and non-hierarchically. Each node is capable of self-discovery and adapts to route data to the destination using the best available path. This is where the term "mesh" applies. Instead of a chain that can be broken in one place, imagine a net (mesh) that will still remain intact if you were to cut one single point.

Your radio mesh network can and will reconfigure itself automatically as nodes are added or removed. This means, if one part of the network fails, the data can be "routed around the problem" via other nodes. This gives you uninterrupted communication for any mission-critical data in any industry, including life-safety communications like fire alarms.

Mesh Radio Technology in Fire Alarm Monitoring

In the context of fire alarm monitoring, mesh radio technology serves as a critical enhancement to traditional systems, offering several advantages:

  1. Network Reliability: Due to the nature of the network, mesh radio technology provides a high level of redundancy. If one node goes down, the network self-adjusts to continue the data transmission, significantly minimizing the risk of communication failures. This is similar to what you might do when driving long distances. If one road is under construction, you can simply route around the problem on other roads. Mesh radio nodes use that same technique.
  2. Speed: Mesh radio technology typically offers faster transmission speeds compared to telephone-based systems. This speed is crucial in fire alarm systems, where every second counts. Consider the 10 seconds or so required for a system to dial, be answered, and then transmit modem data. That's 10 seconds you no longer need to waste.
  3. Resilience: Radio networks of all kinds, including mesh, do not have wiring that is a possible failure point during a building fire. This characteristic makes them particularly suitable for fire alarm systems that need to maintain functionality under adverse conditions.
  4. Scalability: As your mesh network allows for adding or removing nodes dynamically, it's a highly scalable solution that can accommodate growth or changes in the monitored area. It's much simpler to add one more node to an existing mesh than it is to add wiring to a building, think about zone wiring, etc.

Implementing Mesh Radio Technology is a "Game Changer" for Fire Alarms

Incorporating mesh radio technology into fire alarm systems is a substantial improvement.

A mesh radio-enabled fire alarm system in a large commercial building can alert the fire department almost instantaneously when a fire is detected. By speeding up the notification process, there is more time for the building's occupants to evacuate, and for firefighters to respond. This potentially saves lives and limits property damage.

Mesh radio technology can also replace or supplement the traditional telephone lines often used for fire alarm monitoring, which are vulnerable to physical damage and can be a single point of failure.

There Are Still Common Pitfalls You Must Avoid

Despite the benefits of mesh radio technology in fire alarm monitoring, your implementation needs careful planning and expert handling:

  1. You must have knowledge of the building's infrastructure.
  2. You'll need an understanding the local codes and regulations.
  3. You'll also need foundational technical expertise in both fire alarm systems and mesh radio technology.

Digitize is Championing Mesh Radio Technology for the Future

Digitize has a 46-year history in fire alarm monitoring. We've seen a lot of different technological eras come and go. One of the most recent technologies we've added to our product portfolio is mesh radio.

The origin of Digitize's commitment to mesh radio technology is our understanding that fast, dependable communication is critical when a fire incident occurs. It's why we've developed a line of products that seamlessly integrate with existing fire alarm systems, enhancing their efficiency and reliability.

At Digitize, we have a plan for the future and it involves mesh radio technology (right down to the power supplies for mesh radio transceivers). As an early adopter of this technology in the fire alarm monitoring space, we continue to stay at the forefront of innovation and offer our customers state-of-the-art solutions that protect life and property.

Digitize's mesh radio devices are built in the USA to deliver critical alarms rapidly, reliably, and securely.

Choose an Equipment Vendor with a Plan for the Future

As you may have seen, Digitize became a DPS Telecom company in 2022 when our founder, Abe Brecher, retired. This was great news for our current and future staff, as we've continued our work seamlessly.

The investment by DPS (a manufacturer of related-but-different monitoring equipment for remote telecom sites) gives us a clear path to the future. DPS has a substantial manufacturing facility and engineering process that we're already using to keep moving forward.

As you consider your next steps forward for your fire alarm system, always verify that you're working with a manufacturer with an eye on the future. Buying legacy technology packaged and sold to you as "brand new" is not going to serve you well in the long term.

Speak to an Engineer Today about Mesh Radio and/or Fire Alarm Monitoring

Any time you're considering a new technology rollout, your best next step is always to speak with an expert about your important first steps.

Compare that to just blindly guessing. You're pretty much guaranteed to waste a decent fraction of your effort (and, sadly, also your budget!).

Digitize engineers are available for you to call any time during standard business hours. You can also email us at any time.

To get a fast answer to any question you have, call Digitize at 1-800-523-7232. You can also email the team at

I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

Andrew Erickson

Andrew Erickson

Andrew Erickson is an Application Engineer at DPS Telecom, a manufacturer of semi-custom remote alarm monitoring systems based in Fresno, California. Andrew brings more than 17 years of experience building site monitoring solutions, developing intuitive user interfaces and documentation, and...Read More