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For the past several years, the security industry has experienced a major shift in favor of DIY users. While alarm systems once required professional installation and programming, that is no longer the case today. The DIY route is now the optimal option for nearly any new alarm system user.

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In order to understand this concept, it's first good to look at how security systems have changed. Old alarm systems were not user friendly. These were hardwired panels that featured intricate and complex programming options. This was not stuff that a user could figure out on their own. On top of that, sensors has to be wired directly to the panel, and wires had to be run throughout the building. Again, the average user was not able to complete these tasks on their own. This made professional installers a necessity. This was fine at the time, and many companies established thriving businesses around this model.

However, the security industry has been gradually evolving to favor DIY users. Wireless all-in-one panels began featuring touchscreen controls that made it possible for everyday users to perform their own programming. Sensors became wireless so that complex wire runs were no longer needed. The rise of IP and cellular communication allowed users to establish effective and reliable communication paths for their systems with minimal assistance. Smart home automation exploded in popularity, and many users got on board for these features alone. Today in 2019, alarm systems have truly become easier to use and more accessible than ever.

At Alarm Grid, we want you to understand that you can perform your own security system installation. You don't have to be a professional. You don't have to understand electrical theory or wiring. You don't have to be tech savvy. The key is to choose equipment that makes the process as easy as possible. Yes, there are still hardwired systems available that are truly best-suited for professional installations. Those systems are still very popular in their own right, and they are perfect for certain situations. But that doesn't mean they are right for the average home user. If you're a DIY user, a wireless system is almost always the way to go.

There are a few things you should get to accompany a wireless security system. The most obvious is wireless sensors. These are the devices that report to the panel when an event occurs inside the home. What's great about wireless sensors is that they can typically be mounted using a double-sided adhesive that comes often included. There's no need to drill any holes, and they only tool you will need is a screwdriver to install the batteries. You might also want a Honeywell LT-Cable to wire the panel to its plug-in power supply. This wire comes pre-prepared, and a screwdriver can complete the connection. Finally, a table or desk stand can prevent you from having to mount the panel to a wall.

A control panel. Wireless sensors. A desk stand. A screwdriver set. That's really all you need to get started. We have seen users achieve complete installations with those items alone. You don't need to pay for an installer. You can do this yourself. And if you're new to alarms, then what better way to get acquainted than installing your own system? If you're starting from scratch, you may as well design your own security system and build it the way you want it. This is truly the age of the DIYer, and we're here to help you.

The best way for a new user to get started is to reach out to Alarm Grid. Our security system planning team can help make sure that you get all the equipment you need and also that you avoid wasting your money on what you don't need. Then sign-up for an Alarm Grid monitoring plan. We provide top-quality alarm monitoring services, and we are partnered with one of the best alarm monitoring centers in the world. Plus, we offer free online and phone support and assistance for all of our monitored customers. So if you ever need any extra help installing or configuring your own system, our team will be ready to assist.

If you're new to home security, then a DIY installation is right for you. We know that taking the first step can be a little scary, but our team is here to help! The alarm systems of today are easy to work with, and they are perfect for new users. We encourage you to contact us through email at support@alarmgrid.com. You can also call us at (888) 818-7728 during our normal business hours of 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We look forward to working with you and helping you design the perfect security system for your home.

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Hi DIYers! Have you ever thought about using a security system to monitor your boat or camper? It's a little bit out of the ordinary, but it's a great way to ensure that your property is protected. It's almost no different from using a standard security system, you just need to get creative.

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If you're ever away from your boat or camper, having alarm monitoring can provide you with peace of mind in knowing that your property is safe. Although people usually think about security systems for homes and businesses, there's no reason why an intruder couldn't break into a boat, yacht, RV or camper to steal property and cause damage. And with the technology available today, it is certainly possible to achieve a great setup. We recently heard about one boat owner who keeps his yacht protected using a 2GIG GC3 Security System. Why not do the same for your boat or camper?

There are just a few things to keep in mind if you decide a alarm system for your boat or camper is right for you. First is the equipment. The alarm panel you use will likely be no different than one used in a conventional setting. You will definitely want to use a wireless system since internal wiring will be difficult or impossible. This is fine since wireless systems are easy to use, and they offer tremendous performance. Most wireless systems can be installed without a professional, and they are rugged enough to withstand continuous travel.

For sensors, you really won't have to add too many. A good door contact sensor can immediately let the system know if someone enters your vessel. If you are afraid that the sensor might be exposed to water, then an outdoor contact might be a good idea. A great sensor for this purpose is the Honeywell 5816OD. Some users may want to add a motion sensor as well, but they should make sure it won't cause false alarms from its mounting location. You might also want to add a smoke detector and a CO detector to monitor for environmental issues as well. The Honeywell 5800COMBO can detect for both fires and carbon monoxide outbreaks.

We strongly recommend that any security system used for a boat or camper to use a cellular connection. Even if your boat or camper is equipped with WIFI, cellular connectivity can't be beat in terms of reliability. Plus, the WIFI service might be inactive or go out when the boat or camper is not in use. Cellular communication will keep your system monitored no matter where you take your vessel, provided that there is adequate cell signal in the area. So if you're out camping, and someone else opens your camper or RV, then you will know about it. This is also perfect for when you leave your boat docked during the off-season.

Most boats and campers with a security system will use a self-monitoring plan. This type of monitoring means that the user will receive a text alert whenever their security system is activated. The user will then need to alert the proper authorities to the situation. While central station monitoring is technically possible for a boat or camper, it can be very tricky if the boat or camper isn't always left in the same location. You would also need to provide a valid address for the vessel so that emergency services can reach it. For those reasons, self-monitoring is usually the way to go here. You can learn more about Alarm Grid's monitoring plans by checking our monitoring page.

One major perk of having an alarm system for your boat or camper is that you can use it for Z-Wave smart home automation. Every boat and camper has lights, and you can use smart home functionality to control them remotely or have them activate automatically with predetermined events. You can also get a smart thermostat for your yacht or RV and integrate it into the network as well. Everything will be controlled right from your phone using Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. With Z-Wave functionality, your boat or camper will be ready to party as soon as your disarm your system!

If you have a boat or camper that you'd like to get protected, we would love to help you out! Our security system experts are happy to help you design a new security system for your boat, camper, RV or yacht. We know exactly what you need to achieve a robust and reliable setup. If you would like to get started, please send an email to support@alarmgrid.com, or call us at (888) 818-7728 from 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Hi DIYers! We are happy to announce that we now offer Replacement Adhesive Tape for the Qolsys IQ DW MINI-S and a Replacement Magnet for all Qolsys Door and Window Contact Sensors. Both of these convenient accessories from Qolsys are available for purchase now from the Alarm Grid site.

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Using double-sided mounting tape to install wireless sensors is a convenient option for many users. This way, a user will not have to use any screws or drill any holes into their wall. But if a user tries to adjust the sensor or mount it in a new location, they might find that the double-sided adhesive does not work as well the second time around. In that case, they might want to replace the double-sided mounting tape.

This mounting tape is specifically designed to fit the Qolsys IQ DW MINI and IQ DW MINI-S Sensors. Two pieces of double-sided are included - one for the sensor and one for the magnet. While this adhesive can technically be used with other sensors, a user might be better off getting a custom-sized piece of adhesive from their local office supply store if they have non-Qolsys sensors. Still, this is a convenient option for owners of an IQ DW MINI Sensor who want to easily re-mount and adjust their sensor.

The Qolsys Replacement Magnet is a relatively standard magnet for door and window contacts. This accessory is normally installed on the moving portion of the door or window. When the door or window is closed, the magnet should be placed within a half-inch of the sensor for proper operation. When the door or window is opened, the magnet will become separated from the sensor. This will release a reed switch inside the sensor and cause it to alert the security system. This way, the system will know that the door or window has been opened.

Although the Qolsys Magnet is specifically designed for Qolsys Sensors, a user should have no problem using it with door and window contacts from other manufacturers as well. The device is nothing more than a simple magnet that keeps the reed switch for a door and window contact closed. Still, this is a great accessory if you ever lose or damage your original magnet. Now you don't have to spend the money on a completely new sensor just because a small replacement component is needed! Alarm Grid also offers the Honeywell 5899, which is a similar magnet designed by Honeywell.

You can get the Qolsys Replacement Mounting Tape and the Qolsys Replacement Magnet right now from the Alarm Grid website. Also make sure to check out our monitoring page for more information about our monitoring services. As always, thanks for checking out Alarm Grid!

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Hi DIYers! We are very excited to announce that Qolsys has released the Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F Wired to Wireless Converter. This module replaces the IQ Hardwire 16-S, and it adds the ability to use 2-wire smokes with a compatible wireless system. It features 16 hardwired zone terminals.


The Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F works similar to any wired to wireless converter module. The hardwired sensors will connect directly with the 16-F converter. The converter will then send out a wireless 319.5 MHz signal to communicate with compatible alarm systems. This makes the IQ Hardwire 16-F perfect for users of old hardwired systems who want to upgrade to a newer wireless system. The user will be able to bring all of their old hardwired security sensors to their new system.

The 319.5 MHz signal makes the 16-F compatible with many great systems. These include the Qolsys IQ Panel 2, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus with 319.5 MHz Daughtercard, the original IQ Panel and the Interlogix Simon Series Systems. The module will use rolling code encryption when communicating with the IQ2 and IQ2+ Systems. However, the signals will not be encrypted when used with other systems. Please keep frequency compatibilities in mind when purchasing a wired to wireless converter. If you have a 345 MHz system, a Honeywell 5800C2W will work instead. However, that module will not support 2-wire smokes.

The first 15 zone terminals on the IQ Hardwire 16-F are for Normally Open or Normally Closed hardwired security sensors. But the support for 2-wire smokes is what really helps the IQ Hardwire 16-F stand out from other converters. The 16th zone on the module is specifically designed for Normally Open 2-wire smoke detectors. This versatile zone is capable of supporting up to ten 2-wire smoke detectors when they are wired in parallel. Please note that 4-wire smokes and carbon monoxide sensors cannot be used with the IQ Hardwire 16-F.

Alternatively, the zone can also be used with any Normally Open sensor if the user would prefer that instead. Each zone requires a 4.7k resistor wired in parallel (NO) or series (NC). This is true even if the zone is not used. All of the necessary resistors come included with the device. Note that a 4.7k resistor with a 5% tolerance is color-coded yellow-violet-red-gold if you ever need to find a replacement.

The Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F is available for purchase now from the Alarm Grid website. This is a great module for anyone upgrading from an older hardwired system to a new Qolsys IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus. Get the Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F now!

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Hi DIYers! One of the best services we offer is video surveillance. This feature lets the user view the live feed for compatible security cameras that are installed throughout the property. Video surveillance truly represents an outstanding addition to nearly any alarm monitoring setup.

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With our video cameras, you can get a live look at your property from anywhere at any time. All you have to do is pull up Alarm.com or Total Connect 2.0 on your smartphone, login to your account, and navigate to the video section to view the camera feed. This is super convenient for checking to make sure that everything is alright inside your home or business when you receive an unexpected notification. Both Alarm.com Security Cameras and Honeywell Total Connect 2.0 Security Cameras are available.

One of the most important factors for us when providing you with video surveillance services is making sure that only you can view your security cameras. The video cameras we support are encrypted, and they only communicate across protected servers. There is no way for anyone other than the customer and those who are granted special permission to view the camera. This includes both the live video feed and any still images that are produced.

Many of our customers will be happy to know that there is no way for Alarm Grid technicians, employees or management to view your cameras. Both Alarm.com and Total Connect 2.0 maintain these conditions for the privacy of their users, and we would not have it any other way. If we ever need to access your account, we will only be able to load a "read-only" version, and any video device on your account will not be accessible. An example from Alarm.com can be seen in the picture below:

There may occasionally be situations where we need to access the customer's devices and settings for troubleshooting purposes. Even then, we still need the customer's permission to access this information. We can do this by requesting access, which the customer would then have to approve via email. If we obtain access in this manner, then it would still only be temporary for a set amount of minutes. After that, the customer would have to approve of us accessing their video devices.



Both Alarm.com and AlarmNet operate extremely secure severs, and their cameras utilize encrypted communication signals. Outsiders will have no way of accessing the video, and the user can have proper peace of mind in knowing that their privacy is always maintained. Alarm Grid takes the privacy of its customers very seriously, and we choose to work with Alarm.com and AlarmNet because of the high protection standards they maintain. We work very hard to ensure the security of all our customers whenever they receive video surveillance services from us.

In order to receive video surveillance, you must sign-up for one of our Platinum Level Monitoring Plans. These plans include all of the same great features of our lower level monitoring plans, along with support for video recording devices. However, there is an exception for the SkyBell DoorBell Cameras. These devices can be used with any existing monitoring plan, without having to upgrade to Platinum. The SkyBell Cameras provide an easy and efficient way to monitor the home's entryway and quickly see who is at the door.

If you have any questions about how we protect the privacy of our customers, or if you would like to learn more about our monitoring services, please reach out to us. You may email us any time at support@alarmgrid.com, or you may call us at (888) 818-7728 from 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We look forward to working with you!

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Hi DIYers! It was a productive week for our video team, as several new videos were released. We figured we would get you caught up with a quick video recap for the week. Most of the week's videos feature Joe, but Jarrett made an appearance as well. Let's check out our newest videos:

Enrolling the 2GIG SP2 in Access Point Mode

Joe shows how users can pair a 2GIG SP2 Touchscreen Keypad with a 2GIG GC3 Alarm System. The SP2 Keypad is normally paired with the GC3 System through a WIFI connection. But if the WIFI is weak or the building does not have WIFI, then it may be better to use Access Point Mode. The Access Point must be enabled, and the SP2 will connect to the associated SSID. Just remember that using the GC3 Access Point will disable WIFI communication for the system.


FireFighter Product Overview

Joe teaches users about the Encore FireFighter Takeover Modules. These devices allow existing hardwired or conventional life-safety sensors to work with wireless security systems. They work by listening for the unique temporal sound of an activated smoke detector or carbon monoxide sensor. Once it detects this sound, the sensor will send a wireless alert to the panel to let it know about the emergency. There is a 319.5 MHz version, a 345 MHz version, and 433 MHz version of the FireFighter Module. The user must choose the one that is compatible with their system.


Which Sensors Are Compatible with the Simon Series?

Joe explains which wireless sensors will work with an Interlogix Simon Series System. Each Simon Panel has a built-in 319.5 MHz wireless receiver for supporting compatible sensors. Some of the sensors that operate at the 319.5 MHz frequency include those from Interlogix/GE and Qolsys. These 319.5 MHz wireless sensors can be learned-in by putting the system into its wireless enrollment mode and then activating the tamper cover on the wireless sensor to have it auto-enrolled.


Is There an AUI Keypad For The Lyric Security System?

Jarrett outlines the keypad options for a Honeywell Lyric Security System. The only official keypad for the Lyric is the Honeywell LKP500. However, the LKP is not an AUI keypad, as it does not feature an Advanced User Interface in the form of a touchscreen. But a user can use an Android Tablet or iPad and the Honeywell My Home Controller App to serve as an AUI touchscreen keypad. Additionally, the Lyric Panel itself is technically an AUI controller since it includes a touchscreen.


Setting Up The 5800C2W with a Lyric Controller

Joe demonstrates how to set up a Honeywell 5800C2W Wired to Wireless Converter with a Honeywell Lyric Controller. The 5800C2W is a converter module that allows hardwired sensors to be used with a compatible wireless alarm system. The wired sensors will connect directly with the 5800C2W, and the module will send a wireless 345 MHz signal to the Lyric Security System. All of the wired sensors can then be learned in using the wireless system zones.


How To Safely Remove an iControl from an Existing System

Joe shows users the correct process for removing an iControl module from a Honeywell VISTA Alarm System. Many users try to remove iControl modules from their Honeywell VISTA Panels, only to find that their keypads would not work properly afterwards. Following the correct steps when removing the iControl device can prevent this from happening. The VISTA System must be powered down when doing this. The keypad cable must be reconnected to the ECP bus after removing the module.


Explaining A Trouble Condition On A 5800C2W Zone

Joe explains how trouble conditions work on a Honeywell 5800C2W Wired to Wireless Converter. Users should remember the 5800C2W trouble conditions appear on the lowest calibrated zone for the device. In other words, just because the trouble appears on the lowest calibrated zone doesn't mean that the zone itself is the cause. For example, if the 5800C2W module itself experiences a tamper, then the trouble will still appear on the lowest calibrated zone. The 5800C2W also features LED lights that can be used to diagnose trouble conditions.

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Hi DIYers! You may have heard the term "Dual Tec Motion Sensor" being tossed around at some point or another. The term refers to motion detecting sensors that use two forms of detection for picking up movement. Usually, these two methods are passive infrared sensing and microwave detection.

Honeywell 5898 wireless dual tec motion detector

A common complaint with motion sensors is that they are known to cause false alarms when mounted improperly. This is usually caused by having the motion sensor placed near a window, a ceiling fan or an air vent. The motions that cause these false alarms are usually PIR-exclusive sensors that use only one method for detecting motion. Now, these sensors will generally work very well and won't cause any false alarms when mounted properly.

The reality is that most false alarms caused by motion sensors are the result of poor mounting. But having a second detection method for verification can go a long way towards preventing any system false alarms. Although proper mounting is still very important, you might be able to save yourself some major inconvenience by springing for a more-advanced motion detection sensor. This is where Dual Tec Motions can come into play.

Honeywell Dual Tec Motion Sensors use passive infrared (PIR) detection and microwave detection when looking for movement. In order for one of these devices to activate and alert the alarm control panel, both the PIR sensor and the microwave sensor must activate. Nothing will happen if only one part of the sensors is triggered. This can be very useful if a single technology sensor is prone to randomly activating due to local environmental sources. The name "Dual Tec" comes from the fact that the sensors use two technologies in detecting motion.

The PIR sensor in a Dual Tec Motion will work by looking for changes in infrared (IR) energy that occur with movement. Every person, animal and object gives off some amount of IR energy. If a large mass of IR energy from a person or large object moves within the field of view of the PIR sensor, then it will signal that motion is present. Meanwhile, the microwave sensor will send out continuous signals that are designed to bounce off of objects and return to the sensor at a consistent rate. If the signal pattern changes, then the sensor will assume that motion is present.

Although a PIR sensor can technically work by itself, a microwave motion sensor would cause too many false alarms on its own. This is because microwave signals can pass through objects and walls, and they could very easily detect movement that occurs outside the building. But the PIR sensor will not work through walls, so it will only detect motion that occurs from the inside.

However, pairing a PIR sensor with a microwave sensor in a Dual Tec Motion Sensor results in the perfect team. Even if the PIR sensor responds to flowing air or sunlight or some other local change in IR energy, the microwave sensor will keep it in check. Likewise, the PIR sensor will not respond to the outside movement that may trigger the microwave sensor. But both sensors will still respond very reliably to any real motion that is actually present in the building. And once that happens, it's game over for any intruders!

Honeywell offers Dual Tec Motion Sensors of all types. Their Dual Tec lineup includes wireless motion sensors like the Honeywell 5898, as well as wired motion sensors like the Honeywell DT8035. There's even a long range Dual Tec Motion, the Honeywell DT906, that is perfect for large commercial settings that require the highest level of protection possible. Honeywell has truly covered all their bases here!

Honeywell dt906 dual tec long range motion detectorYou can get all of these great Honeywell Dual Tec Motion Detecting Sensors from the Alarm Grid website. If you need help deciding on a perfect motion detector, please reach out to us by emailing support@alarmgrid.com, or by calling us at (888) 818-7728 during our normal business hours of 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Throughout the years, there have been many security companies that have offered alarm systems that will only work with their monitoring services. These are known as "proprietary systems", and they greatly reduce the freedom and flexibility that a consumer has in choosing a security plan.

There are many tactics that companies use when providing proprietary systems for their customers. One common strategy is to entice users with a "free security system" in exchange for signing-up for monitoring services. Although a free security system certainly sounds exciting, it doesn't give the user very many options if it will only work with that particular monitoring company. If the user wants to use that system, then they essentially become married to that monitoring company. This presents them with very little flexibility in the long-run.

Another common tactic for these monitoring companies is to lock their customers into contracts so that they are obligated to pay for service for an extended period of time. If a user tries to cancel their plan, they might be on the hook for heavy cancellation fees. Then when the contract expires, the user will still not be able to choose a different monitoring company, as their proprietary system will only work with that company. Again, the user is still married to that company if they want to keep using that system. Make sure to always read the terms carefully before signing-up for monitoring service to ensure that you don't lock yourself into a contract. It can be very tricky to get out once you are locked in!

Not all monitoring companies that offer proprietary systems use these tactics. The important thing to remember is that the system will only work with their particular monitoring service. If a user tries to bring that system to a different company, then it will not work. Some companies will even up the game by using proprietary sensors that only work with their system. These sensors cannot be recycled and brought over to a new system, which means a user looking for a new monitoring provider has to start from scratch. Another strategy is to use a proprietary alarm system communicator. In some cases, it is possible to simply replace the communicator so that the system itself can be taken over. But it isn't always this easy.

We strongly encourage everyone in the market for a new security system to obtain non-proprietary equipment. It's very important to conduct proper research beforehand to make sure that you know exactly what you are buying. You should also obtain monitoring service that does not require you to lock yourself into an extended contract. That way, if you are ever dissatisfied with your monitoring company, you can easily take your system to a new company. You will not have to replace your existing equipment, and you will be able to make a seamless transition to a new company.

Alarm Grid only supports non-proprietary systems, and we never lock our customers into contracts. Our customers are free to terminate their service at any time if they believe they can obtain better monitoring services somewhere else. All of the systems we support can easily be taken over by a different monitoring provider if a user decides that switching is in their best interest. While we don't offer any free security systems, we will do our best to perform a takeover of existing equipment if possible. But keep in mind that we cannot do this with proprietary alarm systems, as they will not work with our services. While we would love to takeover existing proprietary alarm systems and equipment, it is simply impossible for us to do so.

If you ever need help choosing or designing a security system, we invite you to send us an email to support@alarmgrid.com, or call us at (888) 818-7728 during our normal business hours of 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We have a team of security experts who are happy to help you find the perfect non-proprietary alarm system for your needs. We also invite you to check our monitoring page for more information. The entire Alarm Grid team looks forward to providing you with top-quality monitoring service, while also ensuring that you always have the freedom of choice that you deserve as a consumer.

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Hi DIYers! Today, we're taking a close look at the Honeywell SiXPIR Lyric Smart Motion Sensor and all of the great features it offers. The wireless encrypted sensor was designed exclusively with the Honeywell Lyric Alarm System in mind, and it works exclusively with that security panel.

Honeywell sixpir lyric smart sensor motion

The Honeywell SiXPIR is perfect for any Lyric user looking for an effective residential motion sensor. It offers a coverage area of 40 feet by 56 feet, which is great for monitoring a living room, basement, hallway, office or other restricted area. This max coverage area can be easily achieved by mounting the sensor from a recommended height of 7.5 feet high. The sensor also offers a convenient walk test mode that features a red LED light whenever motion is detected. This is great for ensuring that you have mounted the sensor in a good location. The Lyric System includes an option within programming to initiate the walk test at any time.

Pet-owner will love the fact that the SiXPIR includes pet immunity for small animals weighing up to 80 pounds. Again, mounting the sensor from a proper height and angle is important for this feature to function properly. With pet immunity, small animals will walk underneath the detection pattern of the sensor. However, a human walking upright will still cause a change in infrared (IR) energy that sets off the sensor. Users should make sure though that their pets cannot get in the field of view (FOV) of the sensor by climbing up the stairs or on top of the furniture. The sensor should also not be placed in view of active vents or ceiling fans that could cause false alarms.

Remember, the SiXPIR is designed exclusively with the Lyric System in mind. Users of older Honeywell Panels can achieve great results with the Honeywell 5800PIR-RES, which provided much inspiration for the SiXPIR Sensor. But only the SiXPIR Sensor offers 128-bit AES encryption for added wireless security. The SiXPIR is also a "smart" sensor that knows when it has been programmed to a Lyric System. It will then not be able to be enrolled with a new system unless it is deleted from the old one. The device is powered using a single lithium CR123A battery. In its default setting, the sensor will be enrolled as an interior zone and only remain active when the system is Armed Away. When Armed Stay, the sensor will remain active so that the user can move freely throughout the building.

You can get the Honeywell SiXPIR and the Honeywell 5800PIR-RES Motion Sensors from the Alarm Grid website. They make a great addition for nearly any Honeywell looking to expand upon their current setup. Buy one now to help keep your home safe!

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Hi DIYers! Even though 4G and LTE communication have both been around for quite some time, there is still much confusion associated with these terms. We thought that it would be nice to take the time to cover these terms in a little more detail and explain what they mean for alarm monitoring.

Recently, we came across an article that covers the 4G standard in great detail. The term "4G" is nothing more than a certain standard of wireless communication. The standard was established to avoid confusion as cellular communication speeds reached unprecedented levels. When 4G first came out, there was no established standard. For marketing purposes, cellular carriers and manufacturers were applying the 4G label to devices with widely varying speeds. The standard was established to avoid confusion and to give a more formal definition of what is "true 4G". In order to comply with the 4G standard, a given wireless protocol must meet a certain speed or bandwidth.

Meanwhile, "LTE" is a specific wireless protocol that comes very close to meeting the 4G standard. In fact, before "true 4G" was established, most experts considered LTE to represent 4G speeds. That is why you will commonly hear the term "4G LTE" tossed around. It's really just marketing. Many protocols are allowed to use the 4G label without actually reaching 4G standards. This is because they arrive so painstakingly close that the issue is really overlooked. In reality, very few wireless protocols have actually reached the true 4G standard. Some examples of protocols that have achieved the true 4G standard include LTE-Advanced and WiMAX 2.0.

Long story short, 4G is a communication standard, while LTE is an actual type of wireless communication.

At this time, we do not offer any cellular communicators that operate at speeds that officially meet the true "4G" standards. Despite the name, 4G LTE is not actually up to the true 4G standard, unless it is LTE-Advanced. However, not reaching true 4G speeds is of very little concern for the typical security system. An alarm system only needs to send very small amounts of data at a time. This is no where near the amount needed for more data-heavy activities, such as streaming a movie or real time gaming. Even live streaming for security cameras is still being done across IP networks, which offer faster speeds than cellular networks.

With the extremely small data packets that are used for alarm monitoring, increasing speeds and overall bandwidth will not do much for improving overall user experience. Instead, it's more important to reduce latency, or the delay between signal transmissions. Remember, there is a lot that goes into any system transmission. It must go from the security system, to an interactive service like Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com, and finally to either a central station or the end user. If any of these transmissions experiences high latency, then the overall process takes longer. Fortunately, the industry has taken great strides to reduce latency in recent years. We can now confidently say that alarm systems now communicate faster and more reliably than ever before.

In the near future, it's fair to expect the term "5G" to be thrown around as well. Just like with the hype that came from "4G LTE", it's probable that the initial "5G Networks" won't actually hit the true "5G Standard". Keep in mind that this doesn't really have a large effect on alarm systems. Any network that even comes close to 5G will be ridiculously fast for an alarm system. Again, the key is to reduce latency, not necessarily increase speed - though increased speed is never a bad thing.

The introduction of 5G Networks should still bring good things for the security and smart home industries overall. Most notably, it will allow smart home devices to respond even more quickly upon inputting a command. It will also allow for more reliable streaming of security cameras through mobile apps. But it's still safe to assume that 5G communicators will still not be made available for quite some time. However, we are looking forward to the new and incoming technology just like everyone else. We hope that you will continue to join us for the ride as we provide you with the protection and security you deserve.

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