Cellular Alarm Communicators Posts

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Back in January of 2013, we discussed the compatibility issues with earlier revisions of the VISTA-21iP alarm system with the VISTA-GSM4G. Traditionally, Honeywell creates a new firmware revision to clearly mark which panels are compatible with specific features. In this case, we found out that revision 3.13 had some panels that supported the 4G communicator and others that did not.

At the time, we explained that Honeywell started tagging the panels with stickers that read, "Supports VISTA-GSM4G." Although Honeywell offers PROM chip upgrades for the VISTA-15P and VISTA-20P there are no PROM upgrades for the VISTA-21iP. The update meant that VISTA-21iP owners without this sticker would need to upgrade their entire alarm panel in order to integrate 4G cellular connectivity.

 The biggest factor in this discussion is the "2G sunset." AT&T announced that they have already started phasing out their GSM 2G cellular network. The kicker is that every 2G cell tower in the nation will be upgraded by the end of 2016. This may have seemed far way but it is only around the corner. So this discussion relates to any VISTA-21iP system owner using cellular communication; not just those looking to upgrade to a faster 4G communicator. The original post seemed like a doomsday if your panel did not have the sticker. Well think again...

Now for the good news! The VISTA-GSM4G is considered an internal communicator for the VISTA-21iP. It is designed to be used as a backup to the built-in IP communicator. However it can be used as a stand alone cellular communicator as well. The important thing here is that the VISTA-21iP supports external Honeywell communicators as well.

The GSMV4G is an external cellular communicator which can be used with any VISTA-21iP revision. If you plan to use the internet as your primary communication path with cellular as secondary, you can use the iGSMV4G instead. In order to tell your panel to use an external communication path you need to disable the internal communications by physically moving a jumper pin on the board. 

There is an "Internal IP/GSM Jumper" that is in the 'on' position by default. This jumper powers the internal communicators: Internet communicator on the panel, the VISTA-GSM4G or both if you have a dual path setup. The jumper is located just beneath the RJ-45 jack which can be found on the top left side of the board. In the 'on' position, the panel powers the internal communicators. In the 'off' position, the panel cuts off power to the internal comm paths.

If you would like to use an external communication path like the iGSMV4G you must power down the system and move the jumper to the 'off' position. Doing this will shut down both the IP and GSM internal communication paths. So if you were already using the on board IP communicator simply disconnect the ethernet cable from the panel and land it on the iGSMV4G!

Similar to a wired keypad, external communicators require a 4 wire connection to the panel's ECP bus which is located on terminals 4-7 on the VISTA-21iP. There is a power connection on terminals 4 and 5 on the panel and a data connection on terminals 6 and 7 on the panel. Although the communicator is already connected to ECP power, it still requires an AC power connection on terminals 1 and 2 of the communicator.

The GSMV4G and iGSMV4G are shipped with their own Honeywell 1361 AC transformer. You can wire the communicator directly to the transformer or you can use a shared transformer with the panel. If you do the shared transformer setup, you need to swap in the beefier 1361 that comes with the communicator. Simply swap the wired connections over to the new transformer. Then land terminals 1 and 2 from the communicator on terminals 1 and 2 on the panel. You can land them in parallel, right on top of the existing connections to the transformer. 

We have made available detailed instructions for installing the iGSMV4G. The wiring is exactly the same for the GSMV4G. The only difference is that you need to connect an Ethernet cable on the RJ-45 port on the iGSMV4G. 

We've already begun to see an increase in people with the older non-4G capable VISTA-21iP panels asking us for upgrade opportunities. We don't like being the bearers of bad news and having to tell those people that they need an entire new alarm control panel and a new cellular communicator so we have begun offering this as a less expensive alternative to upgrade to 4G cellular communications.

While Honeywell engineers didn't design the original VISTA-21iP panel with the option to support the future VISTA-GSM4G communicators, the flexible design of the 21iP, which allows for an internal or external communicator means that their oversight won't have to cost you anymore than the price of a new external 4G communicator.

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Honeywell 4GL

The new Honeywell 4GL communicator released from Honeywell is an updated 4G communicator made specifically for the Honeywell L7000 security system. To date, Honeywell's GSMVLP5-4G has been the cellular communicator for the LYNX Touch units. And while the GSMVLP5-4G will work inside of the L5200 security system, that older communicator will not work int he new, bigger L7000 systems.

Because the 4GL works for both the L7000 and the L5200 we will be shipping it with all kits for both units as soon as our supply of GSMVLP5-4Gs is exhausted. In the meantime, the L5200 kits will come with the older communicator.

If you have the older Honeywell L5100, the GSMVLP5-4G isn't going away any time soon. So if you are interested in upgrading your system to take advantage of all that the cellular communication pathway has to offer, you will be able to do that for the foreseeable future as. Just make sure to get the right communicator for your system.

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Keep moving. Nothing much to see here... except a lower price Honeywell's super popular GSM communicators. These Honeywell cellular communicators are used on a majority of Honeywell's wired security systems, including the 10P, the 15P, the 20P and more.

We are lowering the price from $229.99 on the GSMV4G to $213.99 (-7.4%), and the GSMX4G from $224.99 to $200.99 (-11.9%). The GSMX4G-TC2 was $237.99 and will now be $213.99 (-11.1%), and the GSMV4G-TC2 will now be priced at $226.99, down from $252.99 (-11.4%).

Ultimately, these are small changes. But we want to make sure that we are giving you the best deal that we can possibly offer on all of our products. A home security system is a wonderful luxury that gives all of its owners the peace of mind that can only come from knowing that your property and family are safe and secure. The cellular pathway is the most secure available in consumer grade security systems. So we're glad to be able to offer these communicators at such a great price.

If you're in the market for a home security system and all of this is just a little bit over your head, just pick up the phone and give us a call. We will gladly explain the difference between a GSMV4G and an iGSMV4G or any of the other communicators you're interested in learning about.

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AlarmNet's family of 4G cellular alarm communicators is finally complete! First we got the GSMVLP5-4G cellular communicator for the L5100 LYNX Touch wireless security system. Then the GSMX4G and GSMV4G cellular communicators that work with the VISTA Series alarm control panels came next. After a bit of delay, the iGSMV4G was released and brought the first communicator that used internet communications and 4G cellular communicators all in one device. Now, with the eagerly awaited release of the iGSMHS4G dual path communicator, there is a 4G cellular communicator that meets UL's strict line security requirements. The iGSMHS4G is the last 4G cellular communicator to be released but like the old saying, last is not least with this device!

Boasting the most secure alarm communications available today, the iGSMHS4G makes use of two communication paths and is supervised by AlarmNet servers every 200 seconds. If a signal is not received after 200 seconds go by, the AlarmNet servers will send out a ping to the iGSMHS4G. If that ping is not received back successfully, a communication failure signal is generated so that your central station can let you know there is something wrong with your security system.

Banks, jewelery stores and government facilities typically require an alarm communicator that meets the high security communication designation. While waiting for the iGSMHS4G, these facilities have had to live with using the older iGSMHS to meet the high security requirements. Unfortunately, as the 2G cellular network is nearing retirement, the people at these facilities that require the most secure alarm communications have been left wondering which day their iGSMHS would stop working. Now, with the iGSMHS4G, those people no longer have to worry. They can confidently upgrade to the iGSMHS4G knowing their Honeywell security system will be connected to police response when needed!


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Ever since AT&T announced that they would be discontinuing their 2G cellular network, Honeywell security system owners have been eagerly waiting for a new 3G / 4G dual path alarm monitoring communicator. While the 7847i internet alarm communicator provides a sole path internet solution and the GSMX4G and GSMV4G devices provide an option for cellular communications, AlarmNet has been lacking a 4G capable dual path option to round out it's fleet of alarm communicators.

A LYNX Touch security system could use both an L5100-WIFI internet communicator and a GSMVLP5-4G cellular communicator for dual path alarm monitoring and a VISTA-21iP with an added VISTA-GSM4G module was available as well, but for anyone with a VISTA-15P or VISTA-20P security system, there hasn't been a good dual path option up until now. Considering the VISTA-20P is arguably the most popular security system in America, there were a lot of people relying on the discontinued iGSMV, wondering when their cellular back up would stop working. Now, all of those people can upgrade to the iGSMV4G with confidence knowing that the 2G / 3G / 4G capable device will continue to provide industry leading alarm communications for their systems for many years to come. 

At the same time, anyone that has been holding off on signing up for monitoring service because they couldn't decide between the faster internet alarm monitoring path and the more reliable cellular path can now order the iGSMV4G without having to make that decision. With both an internet and cellular alarm communicator built into one device, the iGSMV4G brings together the advantages of both communication paths. The internet communicator is the primary path and provides the added speed of IP communications for anyone that has Honeywell's Total Connect service. With an iGSMV4G, your Total Connect remote control commands and instant email and text messages notifications will come through faster than if you just have a cellular alarm communicator. At the same time, there is a back up cellular communicator ready to take over if the less reliable internet path fails for any reason.

Honeywell has not released a Total Connect 2.0 upgrade kit for the iGSMV4G but we anticipate that will be coming soon. In the meantime, if you want to add dual path alarm communications to your VISTA Series control panel and you also want to upgrade your system to be compatible with Total Connect 2.0, you can add a PROM chip upgrade to your iGSMV4G order. There is a chip upgrade available for the VISTA-15P and VISTA-20P panels so that you can bring your system up to speed with the latest technologies without having to change out any equipment or reprogram your entire system!

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We are proud to announce the release of the long awaited GSMVLP4G cellular alarm communicator for the L3000 LYNX Plus wireless alarm system!

The GSMVLP4G replaces the discontinued GSMVLP. While Honeywell has been focusing on the more advanced security systems, like the L5100, in their bid to replace all 2G cellular alarm communicators with 4G compatible communicators, they finally got around to releasing the GSMVLP4G. Now, all L3000 owners have a cellular alarm monitoring communicator that will work well into the future. Before the release of the GSMVLP4G, the GSVMVLP was the only option for cellular alarm communications using the L3000 security system. Unfortunately, as the GSMVLP is a 2G cellular communicator, it will no longer work at the end of 2016. In fact, certain areas of the country have already lost 2G cellular coverage and therefore GSMVLP's in those areas are already obsolete. If you have a GSMVLP installed currently, and you have experienced issues with your cellular alarm communications, please give us a call today so we can help you with an upgrade to the GSMVLP4G.

All of Honeywell's AlarmNet cellular alarm monitoring communicators are powered by AT&T's powerful and, most importantly, reliable cellular network. A cellular alarm communicator connects your security system to a central station with a wireless cellular communication path. Cellular alarm communicators are the safest and most reliable form of alarm communications because there is no physical wire that can be cut to defeat the system.

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GSMVLPThe GSMVLP was a wonderful device that allowed Honeywell's LYNX Plus L3000 panel to communicate with AlarmNet using the cellular communication pathway.

As Honeywell transitions to AT&T's fast and reliable 4G network in anticipation of the end of the older 2G network, they have begun discontinuing the antiquated 2G communicators and replacing them with 4G compatible communicators.

We're sad to see this communicator go as we have loved the amazing security it has provided for Alarm Grid's many monitored clients. However, this is one of the final communicators to be put to rest and its replacement, the GSMVLP4G, will join Honeywell's growing pantheon of 4G communicators: the GSMVLP5-4G for the L5100, the GSMV4G or GSMX4G for a majority of the VISTA panels, and the VISTA-GSM4G for the VISTA 21iP.

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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!

UPDATE: The information from this post is now outdated. For information on how you can test drive Total Connect 2.0 now, please check this more recent post.

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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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