January 2013 Archives

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If you have been thinking about upgrading your existing Honeywell security system, now is the perfect time. In the past, Honeywell security systems did not see major new features added with newer versions of the alarm control panels. Aside from minor tweaks to the programming options, there was never really a compelling reason to spend the money and get a brand new control panel. However, there have been some recent technological changes from Honeywell and their AlarmNet division that finally give customers a real reason to look at making a change.

First, Total Connect 2.0 was released in 2011. Total Connect is an interactive monitoring service that allows you to remotely arm and disarm your security system from any computer or smartphone. It also allows you to receive instant emails and/or text messages whenever new security system events occur. The original Total Connect service was Honeywell's first offering that allowed customers to get more out of their alarm monitoring service but like most new technologies, it needed to be polished. Total Connect 2.0 is bright and shiny and gives customer what they want. Unfortunately, when AlarmNet released the new Total Connect 2.0 service, it was only compatible with newer Honeywell security systems.

The other major technological change that requires a Honeywell security system owner to consider upgrading is the development of 4G cellular alarm communicators. We have talked in the past about how AT&T is discontinuing their 2G cellular network at the end of 2016. The 2G cellular network was very popular in the past before cell phones turned into mobile computers. All cellular alarm manufacturers, including Honeywell, built their communicators to work on the 2G network. Now that AT&T has but announced an end to the network that these communicators work on, everyone that has an existing cellular communicator needs to start thinking about upgrading to a communicator that will work past 2016.

Instead of dealing with the large expense of buying a new security system and a new cellular alarm communicator to take advantage of both these advancements, the GSMV4G-TC2  and GSMX4G-TC2 provide an easy and inexpensive way to upgrade to Total Connect 2.0 and 4G cellular communications. Both AlarmNet Total Connect 2.0 upgrade kits include a 4G cellular alarm communicator and PROM chips for both a VISTA-20P and a VISTA-15P. The PROM chip upgrades an older model VISTA panel so that it will be revision 9.12 and compatible with the newer Total Connect 2.0 service. No wiring changes need to be made and the existing system programming even stays the same. Upgrading couldn't be easier. If you have a VISTA-20P that can't do Total Connect 2.0 or a cellular alarm communicator that will need to be replaced, stop thinking about upgrading and get a new GSMV4G-TC2 or GSMX4G-TC2 today!

  

While Honeywell won't officially endorse this, we have found that the PROM upgrade chips that come with the GSMV4G-TC2 and GSMX4G-TC2 will even work with an older model ADT Safewatch panel. Therefore, any VISTA-15P or VISTA-20P, even branded versions, can take advantage of the amazing cost savings that these upgrade kits provide.

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Honeywell's Total Connect 2.0 service is the best upgrade to your security system that you can make. With Total Connect 2.0 you can arm and disarm your system with the touch of a button from any computer or smartphone app. You can also have the system send you instant emails and text messages whenever a new security system event occurs. You can get a text message with the actual zone description of the device that went into alarm, the actual name of the user that armed or disarmed, even a message when your teenagers opened the liquor cabinet in the middle of the night. Once you try Total Connect 2.0 you will never look at your security system the same way again.

Of course, don't just take our word for it, try it out yourself. We now have a Total Connect Instructional demo that you can use to explore all of the exciting features of Total Connect 2.0. Even if you have already signed up for Total Connect, this demo can show you some features that you may not even know existed.

Once you have gone through the demo, go one step further and actually log into a live Total Connect 2.0 account at www.totalconnect2.com. Use 'alarmgrid' for the username and 'P@ssw0rd' for the password.

Don't forget that none of our alarm monitoring plans require a contract so if you are still on the fence about whether or not Total Connect 2.0 would work for you, try it risk free today! We even have a standalone Total Connect plan for people that don't want central station monitoring but would like the interactive features that Total Connect provides. If you decide it's not worth the cost, simply let us know and we would be happy to stop your plan.

Call us today to find out how easy it is to get fully connected to your security system with Total Connect 2.0!

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We have already talked about the phase out of AT&T's 2G cellular network, but if you haven't read our previous article about the new GSMX4G and GSMV4G cellular alarm communicators, then you may not know that all existing AlarmNet cellular alarm communicators will become obsolete by the end of 2016.

Here at Alarm Grid, we urge everyone looking for a new cellular alarm communicator to only invest in 4G capable communicators. AT&T has formally announced that they will have completely dropped support of the 2G cellular network by the end of 2016. As cellular data use increases, AT&T has to find ways to add new throughput to their most advanced networks. One easy way to expand that throughput is to cannibalize their older and slower 2G network. As it is extremely rare to find a cellular phone in use today that still uses the 2G network, AT&T has no problems sacrificing the older 2G network to make the newer 4G network bigger and faster. Unfortunately, the alarm industry will be affected by the discontinuation of the 2G network as nearly all cellular alarm communicators in existence today use the 2G network. Since the difference in speed between the 2G and the 3G or 4G network wasn't needed when transmitting alarm signals, cellular alarm manufacturers never bothered to upgrade their communicators to support the faster networks. Now however, all alarm companies must act and act quickly. While the end of 2016 is the formal end of the 2G cellular network, certain areas of the country will lost 2G support well before 2016.

For most people, upgrading to the newer cellular network will be as simple as swapping their existing communicator to a newer communicator that has 3G and 4G support. Unfortunately, for everyone that invested in Honeywell's VISTA-21iP alarm control panel, the change to 4G cellular alarm communications won't be so easy. The VISTA-21iP is a great security system because it has a built-in internet alarm communicator.

While internet alarm monitoring is fast and inexpensive, it is not as reliable or secure as cellular alarm communications. Therefore, the VISTA-GSM was available as a snap-on module to the VISTA-21iP to provide an integrated back up cellular communication path. For some reason, Honeywell's engineers did not design the new VISTA-GSM4G to be backwards compatible with existing VISTA-21iP security systems. Therefore, all people that have dual path alarm monitoring using a VISTA-21iP and the VISTA-GSM cellular communicator will have to replace both their VISTA-GSM communicator AND their VISTA-21iP alarm control panel if they want a system that is supported by the 3G/4G cellular network.


We are fully aware of the burden this will place on people looking to upgrade to the future of cellular communications and we will do everything we can to help those people that are left having to replace their system and their communicator. If you have a VISTA-21iP and you are wondering if it is compatible with the VISTA-GSM4G cellular add on, you will have to look at your VISTA-21iP circuit board. If there is a sticker that says "SUPPORTS VISTA-GSM/4G" then it is compatible. Without that sticker, your system will not accept a new VISTA-GSM4G. We are not sure of the exact date that Honeywell began manufacturing the new VISTA-21iP panels, and the model and revision number are the same, but we do know that it was sometime in November. Chances are, unless you got your VISTA-21iP from a reputable source in the past month or so, your system will not support the 4G cellular communicator.

Of course, here at Alarm Grid, we only ship brand new VISTA-21iP panels that have the sticker and do support the VISTA-GSM4G. If you have questions about upgrading your VISTA-21iP, please call us today.

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Here we thought the LYNX Touch was just the star of the security world. Now, it looks like the L5100 LYNX Touch is branching out to show biz too!

After dominating the security industry with it's ease of use and simple installation, the LYNX Touch is looking for new ways to impress. Starting this weekend, the LYNX Touch will be the star of the show on PBS' Hometime. Hometime is hosted by Dean Johnson and with almost 700 episodes and 25 years on the air, it is one of the longest running home improvement shows on television. The show helps do-it-yourselfers improve their homes and this weekend a LYNX Touch installation in a log cabin will be featured.

The installation will include various wireless sensors that are compatible with the LYNX Touch, such as the popular 5816 wireless door and window sensor as well as the wireless security cameras that are powered by Honeywell's AlarmNet division.

They will also go over how no LYNX Touch installation is complete until you add the amazing Total Connect service that provides access to your LYNX Touch from any computer or smartphone app.

We invite you to check out the Hometime episode and see how the LYNX Touch does in front of the bright lights of the TV cameras. Local showtimes may vary based on where you live so check Hometime's website for schedules.

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