Alarm Grid vs. SimpliSafeBy Michael Goris
Two of the most popular options for alarm monitoring are Alarm Grid and SimpliSafe. Today, we will be looking at both options to see exactly how they compare. You will then be able to make an informed decision regarding the best security and protection option for your unique needs.
SimpliSafe requires you to use their own proprietary SimpliSafe Base Station. This central hub measures in at 8.25"L x 4"W x 4"D. The system is controlled on-site using a numeric keypad. The keypad is sleek and simple to understand, but it may not be as inviting as a touchscreen keypad. There is also a mobile app available that you can use to control the system from your phone. The SimpliSafe Base Station is made for SimpliSafe monitoring services only. You will not be able to take your SimpliSafe Hub to a new monitoring company if you ever decide to terminate your service.
Alarm Grid supports a variety of security systems, including the popular Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and the Honeywell Lyric Alarm System. These are both wireless all-in-one panels with built-in touchscreen controllers. Most users find that a touchscreen controller is more inviting and easier to use. The panels we support are all universal and can be supported by any alarm company that is willing to monitor them. When you buy a system from the Alarm Grid website, it does not necessarily need to be monitored by Alarm Grid. We also take over many older security systems, which eliminates the need for replacing a system. You can also control your Alarm Grid System remotely using a mobile app like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com.
SimpliSafe is partnered with COPS Monitoring Services, while Alarm Grid is partnered with Criticom Monitoring Services. Both COPS and Criticom are UL-certified and operate multiple monitoring centers across the country. In the event that one monitoring center goes offline for any reason, calls can be re-routed to a different monitoring center. This redundancy helps ensure that your home or business always remains protected.
Remember though that when you get a SimpliSafe System, you are required to use it with their monitoring services. You cannot take your SimpliSafe Panel to a different monitoring company if you decide to end your service with SimpliSafe. Every system supported by Alarm Grid can be taken to a different monitoring company if desired. When you get a system from Alarm Grid, you are not married to us, and you can take your system elsewhere if you want.
Both SimpliSafe and Alarm Grid offer month-to-month, no-contract monitoring services. You can cancel your service with either company before your next billing cycle, and your service will be terminated with no questions asked. Just keep in mind that your system with Alarm Grid is free to be taken to a new security company. With SimpliSafe, you can easily cancel your service, but then you are stuck with a system that cannot be monitored elsewhere. A SimpliSafe System is for SimpliSafe Monitoring Service only.
If you like keeping your options available, and you want more freedom as a consumer, then you will want to go with Alarm Grid. You can take your Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, your Honeywell Lyric, or whatever system you are using with Alarm Grid and have it monitored somewhere else. And since Alarm Grid service is on a month-to-month basis, you can conveniently cancel before your next billing date and move on. Although SimpliSafe is also no-contract, you are essentially married to them, as long as you use your existing SimpliSafe System.
The SimpliSafe Base Station supports its own lineup of proprietary wireless sensors. These sensors operate at a wireless frequency of between 400 and 500 MHz. SimpliSafe does not disclose the exact frequency used with their sensors. The SimpliSafe Sensors have a wireless range of about 400 to 500 nominal feet from the base station. These sensors are designed exclusively for use with the SimpliSafe Base Station. If you ever decide to leave SimpliSafe and replace your system, you will need to replace your sensors as well.
The sensors you use with Alarm Grid will depend on which system you are using. Our two (2) most popular systems are the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and the Honeywell Lyric Controller. The IQ Panel 2 Plus can support PowerG Sensors, which offer a range of up to 2,000 feet away from the panel. There are three (3) versions of the IQ Panel 2 Plus for supporting a legacy sensor frequency (319.5 MHz, 345 MHz, or 433 MHz), in addition to the PowerG Sensors.
The Honeywell Lyric Controller supports Honeywell SiX Series Sensors, which offer a nominal range of roughly 600 feet. The Lyric is also backwards compatible with the popular Honeywell 5800 Sensors. The PowerG Sensors and the 5800 Sensors are both compatible with a selection of security systems, and you can bring them to a different compatible system if needed. The SimpliSafe and SiX Sensors are more restrictive, and they cannot be used outside of the respective panel for which they were designed.
The SimpliSafe Security System uses encrypted sensors that operate at a wireless frequency of somewhere between 400 and 500 MHz. However, SimpliSafe does not identify the type of encryption that is used. It is safe to say that they are more secure than non-encrypted sensors like the Honeywell 5800 Series Sensors and the 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors. But without more transparency from SimpliSafe, it is impossible to know just how secure these sensors really are.
The Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus uses DSC PowerG Sensors, while the Honeywell Lyric Controller uses Honeywell SiX Series Sensors. Both DSC PowerG Sensors and Honeywell SiX Series Sensors use military grade 128-bit AES encryption. AES stands for Advanced Encryption Standard, and it is widely used by the United States government for military and secret service applications. It is extremely secure and virtually impossible to hack or take over. By going with PowerG or SiX Sensors, you can rest assured that nobody is taking control over your system or blocking sensor communication with the panel.
Additionally, the PowerG Sensors utilize Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) to prevent any RF jamming attacks that can disable other sensors. These sensors hop between 912 MHz and 918 MHz wireless radio frequencies 64 times every second. It is simply impossible to stop the signals across all frequencies. The Honeywell Lyric can display a Check 990 Error when an RF Jam attack is attempted against its SiX Series signals. This trouble condition can trigger an alarm on the system and be reported to the central station so that you are notified if someone is trying to use "advanced means" to beat your system. For an intruder, it simply will not work.
Whether you decide to go with Alarm Grid, SimpliSafe, or a different monitoring company entirely is up to you. We can say that if you go with Alarm Grid, our highly trained technical support team will be happy to help you every step of the way. We offer remote support online and over the phone to walk you through installation, programming and troubleshooting. We also have a huge selection of FAQs and online videos to help you as well. If you want to learn more about what Alarm Grid offers, check out our monitoring page, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also reach us over the phone at (888) 818-7728. We operate support hours from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to working with you and hopefully helping you get started with Alarm Grid monitoring services.