Wireless Alarm Control Panels Posts

Posted By

Qolsys IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus users will be pleased to learn that a new firmware update is available! Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Firmware Version 2.6.1 can be downloaded via patch tag right now. Alarm Grid recommends that IQ2 and IQ2+ users download the update at their earliest convenience.

Important Note: For those looking for the 2.6.1 Firmware File needed to update the panel using an SD Card, we will make that file available as soon as possible. Qolsys has not yet posted it. However, when the SD Card method is used, the panel will still need a WIFI connection, and active monitoring in order to be sure the panel updates properly. For this reason, unmonitored systems should not attempt this update method unless the user is absolutely sure the "Firmware2" update is not needed on the system. For those who need the "Firmware2" update, it is recommended that the Patchtag method of updating discussed below be used.

Before we get into how to download Firmware Version 2.6.1, we would like to discuss what the new update includes. This isn't a particularly loaded update, but it still includes some new features, plus some important fixes and general system improvements. For those reasons, updating at your earliest convenience is advised.

There is a new Sensor Group for motion sensors, that being Sensor Group (45) - Away/Stay Instant Non-Follower. This is just like Sensor Group (15) - Stay Instant, except that the new Sensor Group (45) will still have the system go into alarm if the sensor is faulted while the system is armed away or armed stay, even if an Entry/Exit Zone is faulted first. With the old Sensor Group (15), the system will not go into alarm if the sensor is faulted after (following) an Entry/Exit Zone. In other words, if you fault a sensor with Sensor Group (45) while the system is in its Entry Delay countdown, an alarm will occur, but if you do the same with Sensor Group (15) when the system is in its Entry Delay countdown, no alarm occurs.

For SD Card upgrades, there will be an auto-push of the "Firmware2" Patch from Alarm.com, assuming that the patch hasn't already been applied. This patch prevents certain IQ2 Panels from automatically rebooting at times. You can see more information about the Firmware2 fix from this prior blog post. The only other new feature release from the 2.6.1 release is that the IQ2 is now compliant with BS-8243 Standards in the United Kingdom.

All other changes for the IQ2 in 2.6.1 are general system improvements. As listed below:

  • Fixed an issue regarding SRF Sensors, outlined in TSB 210705. This issue prevented legacy SRF sensors from communicating with the IQ2 properly following an AC power loss condition. More information on the issue can be found here.
  • Stability improvements to dual-path communication with Alarm.com.
  • Improved push notification of message center messages while on Photo Frame screensaver.
  • Improved boot-up after performing a software update.
  • Improved doorbell camera streaming and push alerts when the panel is in the lock screen.
  • Alarm.com backend now shows username when arming/disarming from PowerG Keypads.
  • Corrected issue with an improvement from 2.6.0 so that silent and audible panics triggered from the panel are able to properly report as different CID codes to the central station.
  • Corrected issue from 2.6.0 involving daily & weekly communication tests with central station.

With that out of the way, let's explain how to apply the update! Like all of the other recent updates, users on Firmware Version 2.5.0 or 2.5.1 will need to stage upgrade to 2.5.3 first before upgrading to 2.6.1. But if you are on 2.5.3 or higher or on less than 2.5.0, then you can go right to 2.6.1. And as always, your system must be on at least 2.0.1 for any firmware update to be applied.

To get started applying the update, make sure your IQ2 or IQ2+ is plugged in and that its battery is charged. Your system must be connected to WIFI and actively monitored so that Alarm.com can determine if the Firmware2 update is required, and then send it to the panel via WIFI if it is. Begin from the main screen of the system. Press the small grey bar at the top. Pick Settings > Advanced Settings > enter the Installer Code if prompted (default 1111) > Upgrade Software > Patch Tag > enter iqpanel2.6.1 (must be entered exactly as shown) > OK > Upgrade Using Network. The update should then go through. Once it begins, do not touch the panel screen.

Remember, it will usually take about five (5) minutes for the update to be completed. You can then check the Software Version in the About Menu under the Software tab. This is good for confirming that the 2.6.1 Firmware Update went through as intended.


Please leave a comment down below with your thoughts on Qolsys IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus Firmware Version 2.6.1. Don't hesitate to let us know about your experience with the panel or the firmware update. We want to hear your honest opinion and assist with any issues. Like always, stay tuned to the Alarm Grid Blog for more news and updates coming soon!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

Qolsys IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus users will be pleased to learn that a new firmware update is available! Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Firmware Version 2.6.1 can be downloaded via patch tag right now. Alarm Grid recommends that IQ2 and IQ2+ users download the update at their earliest convenience.

Important Note: For those looking for the 2.6.1 Firmware File needed to update the panel using an SD Card, we will make that file available as soon as possible. Qolsys has not yet posted it. However, when the SD Card method is used, the panel will still need a WIFI connection, and active monitoring in order to be sure the panel updates properly. For this reason, unmonitored systems should not attempt this update method unless the user is absolutely sure the "Firmware2" update is not needed on the system. For those who need the "Firmware2" update, it is recommended that the Patchtag method of updating discussed below be used.

Before we get into how to download Firmware Version 2.6.1, we would like to discuss what the new update includes. This isn't a particularly loaded update, but it still includes some new features, plus some important fixes and general system improvements. For those reasons, updating at your earliest convenience is advised.

There is a new Sensor Group for motion sensors, that being Sensor Group (45) - Away/Stay Instant Non-Follower. This is just like Sensor Group (15) - Stay Instant, except that the new Sensor Group (45) will still have the system go into alarm if the sensor is faulted while the system is armed away or armed stay, even if an Entry/Exit Zone is faulted first. With the old Sensor Group (15), the system will not go into alarm if the sensor is faulted after (following) an Entry/Exit Zone. In other words, if you fault a sensor with Sensor Group (45) while the system is in its Entry Delay countdown, an alarm will occur, but if you do the same with Sensor Group (15) when the system is in its Entry Delay countdown, no alarm occurs.

For SD Card upgrades, there will be an auto-push of the "Firmware2" Patch from Alarm.com, assuming that the patch hasn't already been applied. This patch prevents certain IQ2 Panels from automatically rebooting at times. You can see more information about the Firmware2 fix from this prior blog post. The only other new feature release from the 2.6.1 release is that the IQ2 is now compliant with BS-8243 Standards in the United Kingdom.

All other changes for the IQ2 in 2.6.1 are general system improvements. As listed below:

  • Fixed an issue regarding SRF Sensors, outlined in TSB 210705. This issue prevented legacy SRF sensors from communicating with the IQ2 properly following an AC power loss condition. More information on the issue can be found here.
  • Stability improvements to dual-path communication with Alarm.com.
  • Improved push notification of message center messages while on Photo Frame screensaver.
  • Improved boot-up after performing a software update.
  • Improved doorbell camera streaming and push alerts when the panel is in the lock screen.
  • Alarm.com backend now shows username when arming/disarming from PowerG Keypads.
  • Corrected issue with an improvement from 2.6.0 so that silent and audible panics triggered from the panel are able to properly report as different CID codes to the central station.
  • Corrected issue from 2.6.0 involving daily & weekly communication tests with central station.

With that out of the way, let's explain how to apply the update! Like all of the other recent updates, users on Firmware Version 2.5.0 or 2.5.1 will need to stage upgrade to 2.5.3 first before upgrading to 2.6.1. But if you are on 2.5.3 or higher or on less than 2.5.0, then you can go right to 2.6.1. And as always, your system must be on at least 2.0.1 for any firmware update to be applied.

To get started applying the update, make sure your IQ2 or IQ2+ is plugged in and that its battery is charged. Your system must be connected to WIFI and actively monitored so that Alarm.com can determine if the Firmware2 update is required, and then send it to the panel via WIFI if it is. Begin from the main screen of the system. Press the small grey bar at the top. Pick Settings > Advanced Settings > enter the Installer Code if prompted (default 1111) > Upgrade Software > Patch Tag > enter iqpanel2.6.1 (must be entered exactly as shown) > OK > Upgrade Using Network. The update should then go through. Once it begins, do not touch the panel screen.

Remember, it will usually take about five (5) minutes for the update to be completed. You can then check the Software Version in the About Menu under the Software tab. This is good for confirming that the 2.6.1 Firmware Update went through as intended.


Please leave a comment down below with your thoughts on Qolsys IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus Firmware Version 2.6.1. Don't hesitate to let us know about your experience with the panel or the firmware update. We want to hear your honest opinion and assist with any issues. Like always, stay tuned to the Alarm Grid Blog for more news and updates coming soon!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

We want to inform 2GIG Edge users, especially those who may install their own system, to a special warning put out by 2GIG. The warning identifies a potential wiring mistake that could result in permanent damage to the 2GIG Edge Alarm Panel. The entire warning put out by 2GIG can be seen here.


The 2GIG Edge receives primary power from the 2GIG AC1 Plug-In Transformer. This transformer is rated at 14VDC, 1.7A. You must add your own alarm wire to complete the connection. Since DC power is being used, proper polarity must be observed, both at the transformer and at the panel. At the transformer, the red wire should connect to positive (+) terminal, and the black wire should connect to the negative (-) terminal.

Then, at the panel, the red wire for positive (+) power should connect to the DC IN+ terminal. The black wire for negative (-) power should connect to the DC IN- Terminal. Or alternatively, if you are using a Honeywell LT-Cable, then you can simply plug the barrel connector in the DC IN Barrel Port. Following this process correctly will help ensure that you do not accidentally damage your 2GIG Edge.

Where the concern arises is that there are actually two (2) sets of terminal blocks on the 2GIG Edge Panel for connecting wires. And unfortunately, 2GIG didn't exactly make it super clear as to which set of labels goes with which terminal block. The best way to figure it out is in the fact that one set of terminal blocks is shorter than the other terminal block set. The set for providing power is the smaller terminal block with six (6) terminals, not the larger terminal block set with eight (8) terminals. You can see this in the image above.

The DC IN+ and DC IN- Terminals, along with the DC IN Barrel Port, are identified as the Power In Terminals. Those are the ports you want to use when providing power, whether you are using traditional alarm wire and you use DC IN+ and DC IN- (making sure to observe polarity) or you have a Honeywell LT-Cable and simply plug into the DC IN Barrel Port. If you do use DC IN+ and DC IN-, then make absolutely sure you are connecting to the terminal block with only six (6) terminals.

The potential problem arises in the other, larger terminal block with eight (8) terminals. This is known as the DCOUT+ Terminal Bock. And to make matters confusing the top two (2) wire terminals on this set have names that may make you think they are used for providing primary power to the system. But in reality, connecting primary system power here could seriously damage the system. These two (2) misleading wire terminals are labeled GND and AUX+, but these are output terminals.

Simply put, you do NOT want to use these terminals for providing system power. Again, the easiest way to avoid doing this is to make sure you are using the smaller terminal block with only six (6) wire terminals, NOT the larger terminal block with eight (8) wire terminals. Of course, if you use a Honeywell LT-Cable and the panel's DC IN Barrel Port, then this isn't really a potential hazard. There is only one barrel port and no way to mix it up.

The lesson of the day here is to be very careful when you are connecting power wires to the 2GIG Edge. Use the DC IN+ and DC IN- Terminals on the smaller block with six (6) terminals. The red positive (+) wire should go to DC IN+, and the black negative (-) wire should go to DC IN-. Or use a Honeywell LT-Cable and the DC IN Barrel Port. Do NOT use the GND and AUX+ Terminals on the larger block with eight (8) terminals. Making that mistake could potentially damage your 2GIG Edge System. Always be safe and smart, and make the correct wiring connections!

If you have any thoughts on the 2GIG Edge, or if you have any personal experience in wiring the system for power, then please feel free to share what you would like in a comment down below. We would love to hear from you! And remember to stay tuned to the Alarm Grid Blog for more tips and security news coming soon.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

We want to inform 2GIG Edge users, especially those who may install their own system, to a special warning put out by 2GIG. The warning identifies a potential wiring mistake that could result in permanent damage to the 2GIG Edge Alarm Panel. The entire warning put out by 2GIG can be seen here.


The 2GIG Edge receives primary power from the 2GIG AC1 Plug-In Transformer. This transformer is rated at 14VDC, 1.7A. You must add your own alarm wire to complete the connection. Since DC power is being used, proper polarity must be observed, both at the transformer and at the panel. At the transformer, the red wire should connect to positive (+) terminal, and the black wire should connect to the negative (-) terminal.

Then, at the panel, the red wire for positive (+) power should connect to the DC IN+ terminal. The black wire for negative (-) power should connect to the DC IN- Terminal. Or alternatively, if you are using a Honeywell LT-Cable, then you can simply plug the barrel connector in the DC IN Barrel Port. Following this process correctly will help ensure that you do not accidentally damage your 2GIG Edge.

Where the concern arises is that there are actually two (2) sets of terminal blocks on the 2GIG Edge Panel for connecting wires. And unfortunately, 2GIG didn't exactly make it super clear as to which set of labels goes with which terminal block. The best way to figure it out is in the fact that one set of terminal blocks is shorter than the other terminal block set. The set for providing power is the smaller terminal block with six (6) terminals, not the larger terminal block set with eight (8) terminals. You can see this in the image above.

The DC IN+ and DC IN- Terminals, along with the DC IN Barrel Port, are identified as the Power In Terminals. Those are the ports you want to use when providing power, whether you are using traditional alarm wire and you use DC IN+ and DC IN- (making sure to observe polarity) or you have a Honeywell LT-Cable and simply plug into the DC IN Barrel Port. If you do use DC IN+ and DC IN-, then make absolutely sure you are connecting to the terminal block with only six (6) terminals.

The potential problem arises in the other, larger terminal block with eight (8) terminals. This is known as the DCOUT+ Terminal Bock. And to make matters confusing the top two (2) wire terminals on this set have names that may make you think they are used for providing primary power to the system. But in reality, connecting primary system power here could seriously damage the system. These two (2) misleading wire terminals are labeled GND and AUX+, but these are output terminals.

Simply put, you do NOT want to use these terminals for providing system power. Again, the easiest way to avoid doing this is to make sure you are using the smaller terminal block with only six (6) wire terminals, NOT the larger terminal block with eight (8) wire terminals. Of course, if you use a Honeywell LT-Cable and the panel's DC IN Barrel Port, then this isn't really a potential hazard. There is only one barrel port and no way to mix it up.

The lesson of the day here is to be very careful when you are connecting power wires to the 2GIG Edge. Use the DC IN+ and DC IN- Terminals on the smaller block with six (6) terminals. The red positive (+) wire should go to DC IN+, and the black negative (-) wire should go to DC IN-. Or use a Honeywell LT-Cable and the DC IN Barrel Port. Do NOT use the GND and AUX+ Terminals on the larger block with eight (8) terminals. Making that mistake could potentially damage your 2GIG Edge System. Always be safe and smart, and make the correct wiring connections!

If you have any thoughts on the 2GIG Edge, or if you have any personal experience in wiring the system for power, then please feel free to share what you would like in a comment down below. We would love to hear from you! And remember to stay tuned to the Alarm Grid Blog for more tips and security news coming soon.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted

Being in the alarm industry, we get to test out some of the newest security systems first-hand. Today, we will briefly discuss three juggernauts in the DIY security realm - the 2GIG Edge, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, and the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS, and explain why they can all succeed.

Whenever you have multiple companies all putting their best offerings forward to compete in the same field, there is usually the expectation that there will be at least one winner, but also at least one loser. However, in this playing field of three wireless alarm panels, it really appears as though each company has put its best offering forward and presented something distinctly unique that can stand out and succeed in this competitive industry. Simply put, all three of these systems are winners. It was rough getting here at times. There were some mistakes and growing pains along the way. Some were really bad. We can definitely say that it took some perseverance, but we reached a point where our three most prominent security system manufacturers - 2GIG, Qolsys, and Honeywell Home - have all hit their strides. It really is a fantastic sight to behold.

Today, we're not doing an in-depth compare and contrast of these three great systems, nor are we going to provide a definitive "ranking" of these systems. Maybe that can happen another time. What we are going to give you today is just a look at one (1) feature or capability for each system that is not possible for the other two. That is a major reason why we believe all three of these systems will thrive - they each offer something that you aren't going to find or be able to achieve with their biggest competitors. In other words, each system we're discussing today has an important competitive advantage that should keep it relevant for quite some time. Also, note that we're focusing on the positive aspects today. This isn't a wish list, and we're also not going to pick apart these systems to point out any minor flaws or shortcomings. This is just a chance for us to talk about something we like about each system and why we think it's a benefit. Anyway, let's get started. Here is why the 2GIG Edge, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, and the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS can all win.


2GIG Edge - Facial Recognition Arming/Disarming


Our impression of the 2GIG Edge is that Nortek really wanted to bring the alarm industry to the future. The system is loaded with advanced features and functions that certainly work to turn heads and bring the wow factor. None of those features more so than the panel's facial recognition arming and disarming capability. Sure, the IQ Panel 2 Plus also has its own facial recognition capabilities, but their system just generates an email from Alarm.com letting you know that the panel didn't recognize the face the last time someone disarmed. Only with the 2GIG Edge can you have the front panel camera scan your face and automatically arm or disarm the system, all without needing to enter a code. Facial recognition arming comes in handy if the Quick Arm feature (Q113) is disabled in order to provide arming/disarming logs. By default, this feature is enabled, which means that the system can be armed simply by pressing the Arm Stay or Arm Away button. This is convenient, but in some circumstances, such as for a business, you may want to know which user is arming and disarming your system, as well as when the system is being armed and disarmed.

The facial recognition feature of the 2GIG Edge differs from the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus in another way. With the Qolsys panel, all of the heavy lifting is done by Alarm.com. The facial profile and recognition processing all occur on the Alarm.com servers. With the 2GIG Edge, the user's facial profile is stored locally on the panel, and facial recognition processing also takes place locally. This means your facial biometric information stays safe within your own network and is never sent out into the cloud. If you're concerned about keeping your facial biometric information private, then this is very important!

On top of that, the feature works shockingly well and consistently when set up properly, and unless you have an identical twin or a doppelganger hanging around, it's not a security risk in any way. This is the kind of feature that you brag about to your friends, as it's actually cool. Plus, once you get used to it and learn how to position your face just right, the feature is super convenient as well. Being able to arm or disarm your system while your hands are full is something you will absolutely appreciate at some point or another. Manufacturers are always looking for ways to futurize their alarm systems. Well, the 2GIg Edge has done exactly that with its facial recognition feature. We recommend checking our prior blog post dedicated to 2GIG Edge Facial Recognition to learn more.


Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus - PowerG Sensor Range


As the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus is the oldest security system on this list, features that were once exclusive and unique have since been replicated by their competition. That being said, one area where the IQ2+ still reigns supreme is in the wireless range of its PowerG Sensors. With a range of approximately 2,000 feet when used with the IQ2+, you just can't go wrong. Sure, that listed range is assuming a best-case scenario in an open-air environment, with no large metal objects or other obstacles around to cause interference. Still, it blows the other manufacturers out of the water. While we haven't done any of our own testing (that may be a fun experiment for a future blog), the reports we hear from customers seem to indicate that PowerG Sensors on the IQ2+ do indeed offer a noticeably longer transmitting range than what can be achieved with the other panels on this list. We have heard multiple stories of users who have managed to get PowerG Sensors to work in areas such as warehouses and storage facilities where wireless sensors were thought to be completely unviable. If that wasn't enough, there is also the DSC PG9920 PowerG Repeater, which boosts the theoretical maximum wireless range to a distance of up to 4,000 feet!

While all of this doesn't really matter much for most users, as most users don't really need a sensor to work from 2,000+ feet away, the users who do benefit from the extended wireless range find it to be a complete game-changer. Just imagine, an installation that was once only possible with a super complex hardwired polling loop panel can now be achieved wirelessly with the IQ Panel 2 Plus! Not to mention that the PowerG Sensors offer some of the very best protection we have seen, with 128-bit AES encryption and Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) Technology. We're a bit surprised other manufacturers haven't followed suit and offered something comparable to PowerG. It's not to say that their alternative sensor offerings (e.g. Resideo PROSIX and SiX Series Sensors, 2GIG eSeries Sensors) aren't good devices in their own right, but the DSC PowerG Sensors are still at the top of the food chain... at least for now. As a result, there are still occasional installations where our only option is to recommend the IQ Panel 2 Plus with PowerG Sensors. It's totally cool though, as the IQ2+ remains a great panel that is loaded with tremendous features.


Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS - IP-Only Monitoring Option


We have an honorable mention with the PROA7PLUS. Namely, it's the only one of these three systems with replaceable components, meaning that you won't need to replace the entire panel if something like its WIFI & Z-Wave card or its added cellular communicator becomes damaged. While replaceable components are nice to have, they don't necessarily sell panels like the ability to monitor across internet protocol (IP) only. Although we love getting customers on our Gold Plan, and we can talk about the benefits of cellular monitoring until we're blue in the face, the fact remains that there are some customers who just want reliable monitoring service at a low price. We see it all the time - a customer just wants no-frills monitoring service to get a homeowner's insurance discount and to provide a basic layer of protection over their household. To them, the extra cost associated with cellular or dual-path monitoring isn't worth the benefit of their system staying monitored during internet outages. All we can do is try to give these customers what they want - an alarm panel that will allow them to keep their monitoring costs down. That is what they get with the PROA7PLUS, as it is the only one of these three systems that supports IP-only monitoring.

Technically, it's not the doing of the panel that makes IP-only monitoring possible, but rather it's the monitoring platform. The other panels on this list connect with Alarm.com, which mandates that cellular connectivity is set up on all their accounts. The PROA7PLUS on the other hand doesn't use Alarm.com, but rather it uses AlarmNet and Total Connect 2.0. For the most part, Alarm.com and Total Connect 2.0 are relatively equal, but in a rare area of difference, TC2 allows for IP-only service, while ADC requires a cellular connection. The result is that when a customer comes to us wanting low-cost monitoring, after we explain the benefits of cellular, and they still want IP-only anyway, we go ahead with recommending the PROA7PLUS. That's not a bad thing either, as the system is super sleek, and it offers an incredible mix of great features and reliable performance. Though when it comes to the area where the PROA7PLUS stands out the most, it's the system's ability to be set up for IP-only alarm monitoring service. Unless Alarm.com drops its cellular requirement, or 2GIG and/or Qolsys team-up with another monitoring platform, Resideo and the PROA7PLUS will continue to dominate this market segment. There will always be people wanting monitoring service at the lowest possible price, even if it means giving up cellular connectivity. Luckily for those frugal folks, they have an excellent panel that gives them that option in the PROA7PLUS. That alone gives the PROA7PLUS plenty of opportunity to succeed. Also, just to be clear, a user can always add a cellular communicator to a PROA7PLUS and upgrade to cellular monitoring later on. We have many customers who want to start out on a low-cost plan and then upgrade to a more expensive plan later. That's perfectly understandable, and the PROA7PLUS makes that option possible.


What Do You Think?


We mean it when we say that the Edge, IQ Panel 2 Plus, and PROA7PLUS are all fantastic alarm panels. We might do a ranking someday, but to us, they are all winners. The choice really comes down to your unique needs. If the convenience of arming or disarming using your face is most important, go with the Edge. If you need the extended wireless range of PowerG, go with the IQ Panel 2 Plus. If you want low-cost IP-only monitoring, go with the PROA7PLUS. Each panel has its own advantage. There are also many other talking points that we simply don't have time to get to today. However, you can start your own discussion in the comments below! We would love to hear your thoughts, opinions, viewpoints, and personal experiences. If you have used or tested out any of these panels, then we would love to know about it. Also, our comments section is a great place to ask questions. Maybe we have something that we didn't cover that you would like to learn more about? Our team of experts are happy to help you. Leave a comment below, and we will be sure to reply. Plus, don't forget to stay tuned to our blog for more security news and discussions coming soon!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted

Being in the alarm industry, we get to test out some of the newest security systems first-hand. Today, we will briefly discuss three juggernauts in the DIY security realm - the 2GIG Edge, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, and the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS, and explain why they can all succeed.

Whenever you have multiple companies all putting their best offerings forward to compete in the same field, there is usually the expectation that there will be at least one winner, but also at least one loser. However, in this playing field of three wireless alarm panels, it really appears as though each company has put its best offering forward and presented something distinctly unique that can stand out and succeed in this competitive industry. Simply put, all three of these systems are winners. It was rough getting here at times. There were some mistakes and growing pains along the way. Some were really bad. We can definitely say that it took some perseverance, but we reached a point where our three most prominent security system manufacturers - 2GIG, Qolsys, and Honeywell Home - have all hit their strides. It really is a fantastic sight to behold.

Today, we're not doing an in-depth compare and contrast of these three great systems, nor are we going to provide a definitive "ranking" of these systems. Maybe that can happen another time. What we are going to give you today is just a look at one (1) feature or capability for each system that is not possible for the other two. That is a major reason why we believe all three of these systems will thrive - they each offer something that you aren't going to find or be able to achieve with their biggest competitors. In other words, each system we're discussing today has an important competitive advantage that should keep it relevant for quite some time. Also, note that we're focusing on the positive aspects today. This isn't a wish list, and we're also not going to pick apart these systems to point out any minor flaws or shortcomings. This is just a chance for us to talk about something we like about each system and why we think it's a benefit. Anyway, let's get started. Here is why the 2GIG Edge, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, and the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS can all win.


2GIG Edge - Facial Recognition Arming/Disarming


Our impression of the 2GIG Edge is that Nortek really wanted to bring the alarm industry to the future. The system is loaded with advanced features and functions that certainly work to turn heads and bring the wow factor. None of those features more so than the panel's facial recognition arming and disarming capability. Sure, the IQ Panel 2 Plus also has its own facial recognition capabilities, but their system just generates an email from Alarm.com letting you know that the panel didn't recognize the face the last time someone disarmed. Only with the 2GIG Edge can you have the front panel camera scan your face and automatically arm or disarm the system, all without needing to enter a code. Facial recognition arming comes in handy if the Quick Arm feature (Q113) is disabled in order to provide arming/disarming logs. By default, this feature is enabled, which means that the system can be armed simply by pressing the Arm Stay or Arm Away button. This is convenient, but in some circumstances, such as for a business, you may want to know which user is arming and disarming your system, as well as when the system is being armed and disarmed.

The facial recognition feature of the 2GIG Edge differs from the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus in another way. With the Qolsys panel, all of the heavy lifting is done by Alarm.com. The facial profile and recognition processing all occur on the Alarm.com servers. With the 2GIG Edge, the user's facial profile is stored locally on the panel, and facial recognition processing also takes place locally. This means your facial biometric information stays safe within your own network and is never sent out into the cloud. If you're concerned about keeping your facial biometric information private, then this is very important!

On top of that, the feature works shockingly well and consistently when set up properly, and unless you have an identical twin or a doppelganger hanging around, it's not a security risk in any way. This is the kind of feature that you brag about to your friends, as it's actually cool. Plus, once you get used to it and learn how to position your face just right, the feature is super convenient as well. Being able to arm or disarm your system while your hands are full is something you will absolutely appreciate at some point or another. Manufacturers are always looking for ways to futurize their alarm systems. Well, the 2GIg Edge has done exactly that with its facial recognition feature. We recommend checking our prior blog post dedicated to 2GIG Edge Facial Recognition to learn more.


Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus - PowerG Sensor Range


As the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus is the oldest security system on this list, features that were once exclusive and unique have since been replicated by their competition. That being said, one area where the IQ2+ still reigns supreme is in the wireless range of its PowerG Sensors. With a range of approximately 2,000 feet when used with the IQ2+, you just can't go wrong. Sure, that listed range is assuming a best-case scenario in an open-air environment, with no large metal objects or other obstacles around to cause interference. Still, it blows the other manufacturers out of the water. While we haven't done any of our own testing (that may be a fun experiment for a future blog), the reports we hear from customers seem to indicate that PowerG Sensors on the IQ2+ do indeed offer a noticeably longer transmitting range than what can be achieved with the other panels on this list. We have heard multiple stories of users who have managed to get PowerG Sensors to work in areas such as warehouses and storage facilities where wireless sensors were thought to be completely unviable. If that wasn't enough, there is also the DSC PG9920 PowerG Repeater, which boosts the theoretical maximum wireless range to a distance of up to 4,000 feet!

While all of this doesn't really matter much for most users, as most users don't really need a sensor to work from 2,000+ feet away, the users who do benefit from the extended wireless range find it to be a complete game-changer. Just imagine, an installation that was once only possible with a super complex hardwired polling loop panel can now be achieved wirelessly with the IQ Panel 2 Plus! Not to mention that the PowerG Sensors offer some of the very best protection we have seen, with 128-bit AES encryption and Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) Technology. We're a bit surprised other manufacturers haven't followed suit and offered something comparable to PowerG. It's not to say that their alternative sensor offerings (e.g. Resideo PROSIX and SiX Series Sensors, 2GIG eSeries Sensors) aren't good devices in their own right, but the DSC PowerG Sensors are still at the top of the food chain... at least for now. As a result, there are still occasional installations where our only option is to recommend the IQ Panel 2 Plus with PowerG Sensors. It's totally cool though, as the IQ2+ remains a great panel that is loaded with tremendous features.


Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS - IP-Only Monitoring Option


We have an honorable mention with the PROA7PLUS. Namely, it's the only one of these three systems with replaceable components, meaning that you won't need to replace the entire panel if something like its WIFI & Z-Wave card or its added cellular communicator becomes damaged. While replaceable components are nice to have, they don't necessarily sell panels like the ability to monitor across internet protocol (IP) only. Although we love getting customers on our Gold Plan, and we can talk about the benefits of cellular monitoring until we're blue in the face, the fact remains that there are some customers who just want reliable monitoring service at a low price. We see it all the time - a customer just wants no-frills monitoring service to get a homeowner's insurance discount and to provide a basic layer of protection over their household. To them, the extra cost associated with cellular or dual-path monitoring isn't worth the benefit of their system staying monitored during internet outages. All we can do is try to give these customers what they want - an alarm panel that will allow them to keep their monitoring costs down. That is what they get with the PROA7PLUS, as it is the only one of these three systems that supports IP-only monitoring.

Technically, it's not the doing of the panel that makes IP-only monitoring possible, but rather it's the monitoring platform. The other panels on this list connect with Alarm.com, which mandates that cellular connectivity is set up on all their accounts. The PROA7PLUS on the other hand doesn't use Alarm.com, but rather it uses AlarmNet and Total Connect 2.0. For the most part, Alarm.com and Total Connect 2.0 are relatively equal, but in a rare area of difference, TC2 allows for IP-only service, while ADC requires a cellular connection. The result is that when a customer comes to us wanting low-cost monitoring, after we explain the benefits of cellular, and they still want IP-only anyway, we go ahead with recommending the PROA7PLUS. That's not a bad thing either, as the system is super sleek, and it offers an incredible mix of great features and reliable performance. Though when it comes to the area where the PROA7PLUS stands out the most, it's the system's ability to be set up for IP-only alarm monitoring service. Unless Alarm.com drops its cellular requirement, or 2GIG and/or Qolsys team-up with another monitoring platform, Resideo and the PROA7PLUS will continue to dominate this market segment. There will always be people wanting monitoring service at the lowest possible price, even if it means giving up cellular connectivity. Luckily for those frugal folks, they have an excellent panel that gives them that option in the PROA7PLUS. That alone gives the PROA7PLUS plenty of opportunity to succeed. Also, just to be clear, a user can always add a cellular communicator to a PROA7PLUS and upgrade to cellular monitoring later on. We have many customers who want to start out on a low-cost plan and then upgrade to a more expensive plan later. That's perfectly understandable, and the PROA7PLUS makes that option possible.


What Do You Think?


We mean it when we say that the Edge, IQ Panel 2 Plus, and PROA7PLUS are all fantastic alarm panels. We might do a ranking someday, but to us, they are all winners. The choice really comes down to your unique needs. If the convenience of arming or disarming using your face is most important, go with the Edge. If you need the extended wireless range of PowerG, go with the IQ Panel 2 Plus. If you want low-cost IP-only monitoring, go with the PROA7PLUS. Each panel has its own advantage. There are also many other talking points that we simply don't have time to get to today. However, you can start your own discussion in the comments below! We would love to hear your thoughts, opinions, viewpoints, and personal experiences. If you have used or tested out any of these panels, then we would love to know about it. Also, our comments section is a great place to ask questions. Maybe we have something that we didn't cover that you would like to learn more about? Our team of experts are happy to help you. Leave a comment below, and we will be sure to reply. Plus, don't forget to stay tuned to our blog for more security news and discussions coming soon!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

We have a relatively short post today, as we just wanted to say "Thank You" to 2GIG for featuring Alarm Grid on the 2GIG Instagram Page, @2gigsecurity. 2GIG posted our unboxing video of the new 2GIG Edge Security System. Thank you 2GIG, we're glad that you liked our unboxing video!


The 2GIG Edge is a wireless all-in-one alarm panel with a 7-inch touchscreen controller, built-in WIFI and LTE cellular, an integrated Z-Wave Plus V2 700-Series controller, support for up to 100 wireless zones, facial recognition disarming, Smart Area Partitions, optional Bluetooth disarming, full connectivity with the Alarm.com platform, and so much more! The system is available now on the Alarm Grid website in standalone AT&T and Verizon variants, or in one of our complete security system starter kits that include everything you need for alarm monitoring!

The unboxing video that 2GIG reposted is one of our very first in a new series by Alarm Grid, where "James the Video Guy" unboxes various alarm control panels and security system kits to show you exactly what's inside and what comes included. While James is usually known for his work behind the camera, this new series has given him a chance to step into the spotlight and showcase some of the most popular products offered by Alarm Grid. You can see the full 2GIG Edge Unboxing Video down below. We also made a blog post about our new unboxing videos back in April, which you can view here.

Thanks again to 2GIG for featuring us on their Instagram page. If you have any requests for what you would like to see in a future unboxing video from Alarm Grid, please let us know. You can leave a comment down below to make your request. We hope to have more videos like this available in the future. We will be sure to let you know as they come out. You can also leave a comment below to share your thoughts on our unboxing videos or any other videos featured on the Alarm Grid YouTube Channel. Thanks for reading, and we'll be back with more great security system content coming soon!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

We have a relatively short post today, as we just wanted to say "Thank You" to 2GIG for featuring Alarm Grid on the 2GIG Instagram Page, @2gigsecurity. 2GIG posted our unboxing video of the new 2GIG Edge Security System. Thank you 2GIG, we're glad that you liked our unboxing video!


The 2GIG Edge is a wireless all-in-one alarm panel with a 7-inch touchscreen controller, built-in WIFI and LTE cellular, an integrated Z-Wave Plus V2 700-Series controller, support for up to 100 wireless zones, facial recognition disarming, Smart Area Partitions, optional Bluetooth disarming, full connectivity with the Alarm.com platform, and so much more! The system is available now on the Alarm Grid website in standalone AT&T and Verizon variants, or in one of our complete security system starter kits that include everything you need for alarm monitoring!

The unboxing video that 2GIG reposted is one of our very first in a new series by Alarm Grid, where "James the Video Guy" unboxes various alarm control panels and security system kits to show you exactly what's inside and what comes included. While James is usually known for his work behind the camera, this new series has given him a chance to step into the spotlight and showcase some of the most popular products offered by Alarm Grid. You can see the full 2GIG Edge Unboxing Video down below. We also made a blog post about our new unboxing videos back in April, which you can view here.

Thanks again to 2GIG for featuring us on their Instagram page. If you have any requests for what you would like to see in a future unboxing video from Alarm Grid, please let us know. You can leave a comment down below to make your request. We hope to have more videos like this available in the future. We will be sure to let you know as they come out. You can also leave a comment below to share your thoughts on our unboxing videos or any other videos featured on the Alarm Grid YouTube Channel. Thanks for reading, and we'll be back with more great security system content coming soon!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted

A new alarm panel hitting the market often means an old one is discontinued. That is the case here today, as the 2GIG GC3e has been formally discontinued by Nortek Control. The GC3e has been replaced by the 2GIG Edge, which is available in both an AT&T variant and a Verizon variant.

Important Update! The 2GIG GC3e has NOT actually been discontinued. Though it is likely that it will be discontinued upon stock exhaustion it is still available for purchase from Alarm Grid. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused. We currently have excellent pricing on the GC3e, check out this post for more information.

As we look back on the 2GIG GC3e, we gotta admit that the panel was in an unfavorable position from the start. The system was a direct replacement to the 2GIG GC3, as it retained largely the same user interface, and its design only received a minor refresh. The big new addition with the GC3e was its ability to support 2GIG eSeries Encrypted Sensors. Along with the 2GIG GC2e, this marked the first time that 2GIG Alarm Panels could support encrypted sensors.

Unfortunately, 2GIG was late to the party, as other security systems like the Honeywell Lyric and Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus already had encrypted sensor support, not to mention a wide selection of sensors to choose from. Coupled with the fact that Qolsys continued to release new features for the IQ2+, and Resideo (formerly Honeywell) had the PROA7PLUS on the way, it quickly became clear that 2GIG would need to do better in order to keep up.

Thus began development on the 2GIG Edge. We first learned about the system in October of last year. With a bold new website and heavy promotion, hype around the Edge grew quickly. But this also brought questions in the back of our minds - what would happen to the GC2e and the GC3e? These panels had been on the market for less than two (2) years. Would 2GIG really abandon them so quickly? Well, today we have the verdict. The 2GIG GC2e stays, and the 2GIG GC3e heads off to the old alarm system graveyard in the sky.

First released in late July 2019, the 2GIG GC3e became known for its strong build quality and stark similarities to its GC3 predecessor. But it had a hard time competing with fellow Alarm.com Security System, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. Buyers continued to flock to the IQ2+, which offered Automatic Bluetooth Disarming and Facial Recognition. Those features could not be easily added to the GC3e, so 2GIG decided to cut their losses and add those features into a new alarm panel, the 2GIG Edge. 2GIG even one-upped Qolsys by making it so that the Edge's Facial Recognition feature can be used for disarming the system!

With the Edge firmly in place as 2GIG's new flagship panel, and the 2GIG GC2e set as their "budget-friendly" option, some wondered if the 2GIG GC3e might be kept in production as a sort of "middle-of-the-road" offering. But nope, apparently, three panels is too many at 2GIG, and it's the GC3e biting the dust. And now, less than two years after hitting the market, and barely more than two years removed from its unveiling at ISC West 2019, we are saying goodbye to the 2GIG GC3e. It wasn't a long ride, but it was a good one.

If you have an existing 2GIG GC3e, then don't worry! The system will continue to be supported for alarm monitoring and service with the Alarm.com platform. Given the system's great build quality, it's fair to expect that existing GC3e Panels already out in the field will likely stay in service for quite some time, probably for the duration of LTE cellular networks. And speaking of LTE communication, Alarm Grid is continuing to offer LTE communicators for the 2GIG GC3 and 2GIG GC3e. These are the 2GIG LTEA-A-GC3 (AT&T LTE) and the 2GIG LTEV1-A-GC3 (Verizon LTE). If you need to get your GC3 updated, or your GC3e monitored, then either one of these modules is an excellent option. They're super easy to install, and they provide ultra-reliable cellular connectivity for the peace of mind that you deserve.

Meanwhile, the 2GIG GC2e will remain in production as the company's budget panel. However, we don't usually recommend that system for alarm monitoring, as it has no internet connectivity option to serve as an additional communication path, and it is relatively bare-bones in terms of features. But it is still an available option, and many users find that the GC2e is a strong offering as a replacement for the 2GIG GC2 or as a non-monitored system serving as a local noisemaker.

But for our top 2GIG pick, it should come as no surprise that we are recommending the new 2GIG Edge Alarm System. With its great features like 7-inch touchscreen controller, Facial Recognition, optional Automatic Bluetooth Disarming, Smart Area Partitioning support, 700-Series Z-Wave Plus V2 Smart Home Automation, and being dual-path ready right out of the box, we are proud to say that this system is available now on the Alarm Grid website. While we might miss the 2GIG GC3e, the 2GIG Edge certainly fills the void. Time will tell how the Edge fares against other competing systems like the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS.

What do you think of the 2GIG GC3e? Will you miss the system? Are you surprised to see 2GIG discontinue the system after less than two years? Did you ever get to try the system out for yourself? Share your thoughts and experiences in a comment down below. We would love to hear what you have to say. And remember to stay tuned to the Alarm Grid Blog for more security system content coming soon. We promise, we don't discontinue systems every day, but when we do, we always make sure to say a proper goodbye. Farewell 2GIG GC3e!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted

A new alarm panel hitting the market often means an old one is discontinued. That is the case here today, as the 2GIG GC3e has been formally discontinued by Nortek Control. The GC3e has been replaced by the 2GIG Edge, which is available in both an AT&T variant and a Verizon variant.

Important Update! The 2GIG GC3e has NOT actually been discontinued. Though it is likely that it will be discontinued upon stock exhaustion it is still available for purchase from Alarm Grid. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused. We currently have excellent pricing on the GC3e, check out this post for more information.

As we look back on the 2GIG GC3e, we gotta admit that the panel was in an unfavorable position from the start. The system was a direct replacement to the 2GIG GC3, as it retained largely the same user interface, and its design only received a minor refresh. The big new addition with the GC3e was its ability to support 2GIG eSeries Encrypted Sensors. Along with the 2GIG GC2e, this marked the first time that 2GIG Alarm Panels could support encrypted sensors.

Unfortunately, 2GIG was late to the party, as other security systems like the Honeywell Lyric and Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus already had encrypted sensor support, not to mention a wide selection of sensors to choose from. Coupled with the fact that Qolsys continued to release new features for the IQ2+, and Resideo (formerly Honeywell) had the PROA7PLUS on the way, it quickly became clear that 2GIG would need to do better in order to keep up.

Thus began development on the 2GIG Edge. We first learned about the system in October of last year. With a bold new website and heavy promotion, hype around the Edge grew quickly. But this also brought questions in the back of our minds - what would happen to the GC2e and the GC3e? These panels had been on the market for less than two (2) years. Would 2GIG really abandon them so quickly? Well, today we have the verdict. The 2GIG GC2e stays, and the 2GIG GC3e heads off to the old alarm system graveyard in the sky.

First released in late July 2019, the 2GIG GC3e became known for its strong build quality and stark similarities to its GC3 predecessor. But it had a hard time competing with fellow Alarm.com Security System, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. Buyers continued to flock to the IQ2+, which offered Automatic Bluetooth Disarming and Facial Recognition. Those features could not be easily added to the GC3e, so 2GIG decided to cut their losses and add those features into a new alarm panel, the 2GIG Edge. 2GIG even one-upped Qolsys by making it so that the Edge's Facial Recognition feature can be used for disarming the system!

With the Edge firmly in place as 2GIG's new flagship panel, and the 2GIG GC2e set as their "budget-friendly" option, some wondered if the 2GIG GC3e might be kept in production as a sort of "middle-of-the-road" offering. But nope, apparently, three panels is too many at 2GIG, and it's the GC3e biting the dust. And now, less than two years after hitting the market, and barely more than two years removed from its unveiling at ISC West 2019, we are saying goodbye to the 2GIG GC3e. It wasn't a long ride, but it was a good one.

If you have an existing 2GIG GC3e, then don't worry! The system will continue to be supported for alarm monitoring and service with the Alarm.com platform. Given the system's great build quality, it's fair to expect that existing GC3e Panels already out in the field will likely stay in service for quite some time, probably for the duration of LTE cellular networks. And speaking of LTE communication, Alarm Grid is continuing to offer LTE communicators for the 2GIG GC3 and 2GIG GC3e. These are the 2GIG LTEA-A-GC3 (AT&T LTE) and the 2GIG LTEV1-A-GC3 (Verizon LTE). If you need to get your GC3 updated, or your GC3e monitored, then either one of these modules is an excellent option. They're super easy to install, and they provide ultra-reliable cellular connectivity for the peace of mind that you deserve.

Meanwhile, the 2GIG GC2e will remain in production as the company's budget panel. However, we don't usually recommend that system for alarm monitoring, as it has no internet connectivity option to serve as an additional communication path, and it is relatively bare-bones in terms of features. But it is still an available option, and many users find that the GC2e is a strong offering as a replacement for the 2GIG GC2 or as a non-monitored system serving as a local noisemaker.

But for our top 2GIG pick, it should come as no surprise that we are recommending the new 2GIG Edge Alarm System. With its great features like 7-inch touchscreen controller, Facial Recognition, optional Automatic Bluetooth Disarming, Smart Area Partitioning support, 700-Series Z-Wave Plus V2 Smart Home Automation, and being dual-path ready right out of the box, we are proud to say that this system is available now on the Alarm Grid website. While we might miss the 2GIG GC3e, the 2GIG Edge certainly fills the void. Time will tell how the Edge fares against other competing systems like the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS.

What do you think of the 2GIG GC3e? Will you miss the system? Are you surprised to see 2GIG discontinue the system after less than two years? Did you ever get to try the system out for yourself? Share your thoughts and experiences in a comment down below. We would love to hear what you have to say. And remember to stay tuned to the Alarm Grid Blog for more security system content coming soon. We promise, we don't discontinue systems every day, but when we do, we always make sure to say a proper goodbye. Farewell 2GIG GC3e!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments