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Security and Monitoring Systems for the Homestead

Many modern devices will track temperature and movement around your home.

| June/July 2020

Photo by Getty Images/dszc

On a warm and sunny day in January, my wife and I sat on the porch of our friend’s home in Arizona. We live in a rural area in northern Minnesota, so we felt like we were in paradise compared with the frigid weather and heavy snow back home.

As we were sitting there, my cellphone notified me of an incoming email, and I took a quick glance at the message. The email had been sent from my house by my Wi-Fi enabled thermostat. It was warning me that the temperature in my house was down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit. With the outside temperatures at 10 below zero and falling, if I didn’t get my furnace restarted and running, I could possibly experience frozen pipes and the potential for thousands of dollars in repair costs. Fortunately, because I was notified of the problem, I was able to call a local repair company and get it fixed in time to avert any damage.

Rural homeowners — especially those in areas of the country with extreme weather conditions — are sometimes reluctant to travel because they worry about what could happen to an unattended home while they’re away. Security and monitoring systems have come a long way in recent years, enabling services that allow you to monitor your home’s heat, electricity, and security.

Internet Access

Many options are available for monitoring and receiving notifications for your rural property, but almost all rely on good internet access. In my home state of Minnesota, 90 percent of all residents have access to high-speed internet, but only 79 percent of rural residents have the same bandwidth. High-speed internet usually has the ability to download information at 25 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload at 3 Mbps.

While not having high-speed internet doesn’t preclude you from taking advantage of some automation options, some products require high-speed connections to function properly. The four connection options usually available to rural internet users are: DSL, cable TV, satellite, and Wi-Fi. Here’s a brief primer on the various methods available for receiving internet in rural locations.

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