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Alarm.com is phasing out support for the Microsoft Edge Legacy Web Browser. Anyone using the browser to access Alarm.com may soon notice a pop-up message suggesting that they switch to a more optimized web browser instead. Alarm.com access will be denied entirely starting in February 2021.


According to Alarm.com, the appearance of the warning pop-up message suggesting the use of a different browser will appear to anyone who logs into Alarm.com using the Microsoft Edge Legacy Browser on or after Monday, December 21, 2020. The user will then be able to access their account like normal. This is being done to prepare users for the eventual plan to drop support for this browser entirely.

Then, starting in February 2021, any user who attempts to log-in using the Microsoft Edge Legacy Browser will be denied access to the Alarm.com servers entirely. The user will still be able to successfully access their Alarm.com account by using an approved web browser or the Alarm.com Mobile App on an Android or iOS device.

Alarm.com recommends using the latest version of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple Safari to access their web servers. The latest version of Microsoft Edge is also supported and recommended for use with the Alarm.com website. Please note that Alarm.com dropping support for the Microsoft Edge Legacy Web Browser should not be confused with them dropping support for the Internet Explorer 11 Web Browser. Alarm.com dropped support for IE11 back in late June of 2020. You can read about that in this prior blog post.

Using a recommended web browser with the Alarm.com website will help ensure that you have the best possible end user experience. This includes optimized video viewing for Alarm.com Cameras and a better, smoother experience when using the Alarm.com website to control your security system. Alarm.com also promises fewer service disruptions when using the latest version of a recommended web browser, or the latest version of the Alarm.com Mobile App.

Alarm.com says that they will keep us informed regarding the upcoming Microsoft Edge Legacy Sunset, as well as the Adobe Flash Sunset. The Microsoft Edge Legacy Desktop App will reach its end of life on March 9, 2021. Adobe Flash is set to reach its end of life after December 31, 2020. We will update this blog if we learn any new important information regarding these respective sunsets.

If you have any questions regarding the use of Alarm.com, or if you are interested in starting new alarm monitoring service for accessing the Alarm.com platform, please email our team at support@alarmgrid.com. We're here to check and respond to your emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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A few months ago, I got my first 5G phone. I didn't go out of my way to upgrade. I had simply broken my old smartphone and needed a new one. While I would love to tell you that it has made a huge difference, that is simply not the case. I have only noticed a slight uptick in speed at most.


But this post isn't designed to serve as a review for my newest smartphone. It's just to put the latest cellular technology into perspective. And the truth isn't all that shocking. 5G will not revolutionize how you use your security system. That's true from both a security perspective and from a smart home automation perspective. The reality is that the faster speeds that come with 5G cellular communication will not have a major impact on the usual tasks associated with alarm monitoring and remote automation connectivity.

It's hard to quantify just how much faster 5G is than 4G LTE. A brief bit of research will typically reveal that the new technology is supposed to be roughly 5 to 10 times faster. And you have likely heard the incredible promise that a 5G phone will be able to download a two-hour long movie in under 10 seconds, compared with roughly 7 minutes for a phone using 4G LTE. Of course, testing 5G speeds in practice has produced mixed results, but we'll give the cellular companies the benefit of the doubt in that they're still fine-tuning their 5G networks. The point is that 5G promises to be considerably faster than 4G LTE once the network issues are fully sorted out. And really, most speed tests will already show quantifiable improvement when comparing 5G with its predecessor.

But how does that translate into your security system communicating with the central station? Or what about using Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com to perform a smart home automation command remotely? Really, not in any manner that you are likely to notice. As we have mentioned before, alarm systems send and receive very small amounts of data when communicating with a central monitoring station and/or an interactive platform like TC2 or ADC. While the faster speeds of 5G communication technically improve data transfer rates, it honestly doesn't matter too much when you're considering data transfers this small.

The bigger benefit of 5G when it comes to security systems is associated with its reduced latency. If you are not familiar with latency, it refers to the amount of time it takes a connected device to make a request from the server and successfully receive a response. This initial request and response must occur before any actual data transfer can take place. Obviously, a low latency rate helps make a faster response possible. And while 4G LTE latency was already quite low - we're talking milliseconds here - the latency of 5G is almost nonexistent. That in itself is probably the best argument you can make for 5G connectivity improving your day-to-day security system experience once 5G radios are available.

Returning to my phone example from earlier, I haven't noticed much difference between when I was using 4G LTE connectivity and when I upgraded to a 5G model. The tasks I perform on my phone are much more demanding in terms of data transfer requirements than what you would ever conceivably request out of your alarm system. I have been known to use my phone for live-streaming events, such as sporting matches and concerts. With a 5G connection, it's maybe a second or two faster, but it's nothing life-changing like when my family upgraded from dial-up to high-speed internet during the days of my youth. And if a second or two is all I'm getting out of demanding tasks like live-streaming long events, then any difference for the routine security and automation tasks performed by your alarm system's cellular communicator (which is usually just a backup to its internet communicator anyway) will be negligible.

What does all of this mean? There are a few takeaways that we can apply to the alarm industry. First, if you are holding off getting an LTE communicator for your alarm system because you are "waiting for a 5G model to arrive", then don't bother. The difference will be virtually unnoticeable. An LTE communicator will almost certainly offer you the high-quality performance you expect, provided that you live in an area with decent cellular connectivity, which is roughly 98% of the United States. We have stressed the importance of upgrading to LTE sooner rather than later many times before, especially with the 3G sunset closing in on us. And remember that LTE is not going anywhere any time soon. Therefore, upgrading to LTE is still our recommended method for "future-proofing" your alarm system.

Now, once 5G communicators are readily available, should you get one? It's still a bit early for us to answer that question, but we will try our best. Our take is yes, you should get one, but don't go out of your way. By that we mean, if you are (at that point in the future) readily in the market for a cellular security system, then yes, by all means, get a 5G cellular communicator. Getting the latest available cellular technology is always a good idea. There may be a slight mark-up in price between the older LTE models and the newer 5G models, much like the same mark-up exists if you go shopping for a smartphone right now. But in the case of cellular alarm monitoring communicators versus your cherished smartphone that you literally carry everywhere, the price mark-up for a 5G communicator versus an LTE communicator should be significantly less. And if it's within your budget, then yes, absolutely get a 5G communicator once they are available, assuming that you are actively looking for a new alarm system communicator. The 5G networks are going to be continuously improved and rigorously maintained, so it makes sense to get on-board if you are in the market.

But if you already have a perfectly capable alarm system using an LTE communicator, then honestly, there's not much of a need. A 5G communicator won't change how you use your security system, and it won't significantly improve your day-to-day operation. Unless you really want to brag to your friends, neighbors, and colleagues that "your security system uses 5G", then there's pretty much no need to upgrade just for the sake of it. There may come a day in the mid-to-late 2030s where we're urging you to "upgrade to 5G" in light of an "LTE sunset", but you have more pressing things to worry about right now. Real talk, if you have anxiety over the thought of your system's LTE communicator no longer being supported in 2035, then we promise you, it's going to be okay. We will have you covered when that time comes.

5G communicators for alarm systems are going to come. It's inevitable. But if you're wondering why they aren't already here yet, it's mostly because they honestly aren't going to provide that big of a difference over the current LTE models that we all know and love. If you're holding your breath waiting for one, then just don't bother. Get an LTE communicator if you haven't already, and rest easy in knowing that you have an effective, reliable, and trustworthy security system protecting your home or office.

And if you need someone to monitor your security system, that's where we come in! Our team at Alarm Grid would love to help protect you and those around you. Check out this page outlining all our monitoring plans for more information. Make sure to choose a plan that includes cellular connectivity if you plan to use a system with an LTE communicator, or eventually a 5G communicator. If you have any questions or concerns, then we invite you to reach out to us by emailing support@alarmgrid.com, and our team will be happy to help. This is also a great contact email to use if you are interested in signing-up for new alarm monitoring service. Our team is here to check your incoming emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F, so please expect all replies to come within that timeframe. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Many of you have noticed that the last week our service has been a little bit lackluster. We apologize for this. More than half of our support team has been hit with COVID-19. The result is that our tickets are taking a bit longer to get to, and we are a bit slower to answer support calls. We appreciate the high level of support our customers have come to expect, and we will, hopefully, be back up and running at the same support level within the next week or two. In the meantime, we sincerely apologize to anyone who has experienced an interruption due to the current circumstances.

In the meantime, we ask for your patience, understanding, and good thoughts and prayers for those on our team who have fallen ill. Everyone here is expected to make a full recovery, which we are exceedingly grateful for.

As our team members get back, we will begin the process of catching up, and getting back to supporting customers at the same high level we are known for.

Thank you for your understanding.

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Today, we're discussing the upcoming Qolsys IQ Hub Security System to share our thoughts and feelings on the much-anticipated alarm panel. Qolsys has regularly impressed us during their young tenure as a system manufacturer. Can they continue their hot streak with the new IQ hub?


To start our discussions on the IQ Hub, we first want to consider what it is. From what we understand, the IQ Hub is not necessarily meant to serve as a replacement or a successor to the wildly successful and versatile Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. Instead, the widespread belief is that the Qolsys IQ Hub will serve more as a budget or entry-level system, while the IQ Panel 2 Plus continues to serve as the main panel.

This line of thought is not shocking. Security systems have gotten sleeker and more slimlined in recent years, as aesthetics have become more important than ever for a panel designed to be placed prominently on your wall. When comparing the IQ Hub and the IQ Panel 2 Plus, the IQ Hub is the larger of the two systems. And its design looks more like something to come out of the mid 2010s than fresh out of the early 2020s. Indeed, the IQ Hub is bulkier, more obtrusive, and less adaptive to its surroundings than the IQ2+. From that perspective alone, it would be odd to see something like the IQ Hub take the reins from the current Qolsys entry.

We don't have all the details on the specifications and capabilities of the Qolsys IQ Hub at this time. Our understanding is that many of the great features from the IQ Panel 2 Plus will return to the IQ Hub. These returning features include built-in WIFI and cellular connectivity, integrated automation capabilities, disarm photos, optional automatic Bluetooth disarming, and the ability to interface with Alarm.com. While these features are great, they aren't anything new from what the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus already offers.

We are also unsure of some more advanced features returning, such as Alarm.com Camera streaming, facial recognition, the wellness platform, partitioning, and the ability to perform Alarm.com Smart Scenes right from the panel. Users might not need these extra features, so Qolsys offering a stripped-down version makes sense. In that way, the IQ Hub might indeed fulfill an important role. Sometimes we forget the fact that not every installation requires a superpower or beast of a panel. Being able to offer end users something simple and basic without all the bells and whistles is good once in awhile. With that in mind, we totally appreciate what the IQ Hub is supposedly going to offer.

We're also not entirely sure what automation will look like on the IQ Hub. Will it use 500-Series Z-Wave Plus, or the new state-of-the-art 700-Series? Will we be able to control devices and scenes locally at the panel, or will we be restricted to using Alarm.com? Will there be any important limits or restrictions on the number of automation devices that can be paired, beyond the standard 232 device limit? All of these are important questions that have yet to be answered.

Sensor compatibility is also still a question mark. From what we hear, the IQ Hub will only support the PowerG frequency sensors. This means that your only options will be to use wireless PowerG Sensors, and/or wired sensors through the PowerG wired to wireless converter, assuming that support for the module is added. In other words, non-encrypted, legacy sensor support will be dropped for the IQ Hub. This probably won't matter much for users starting from scratch, but it may discourage users with older wireless systems from upgrading to the IQ Hub. They will probably choose the proper IQ Panel 2 Plus model instead. Also, there won't be any taking advantage of sweet deals or discounts on older, non-encrypted sensors with the IQ Hub.

But besides all of this, the single most polarizing issue with the IQ Hub remains the big grey speaker on the front. It's very in-your-face and almost impossible to ignore. When we ask other people their thoughts on the speaker, they either call it ugly, or they simply don't care one way or another. But almost nobody we have asked has called it attractive. With that in mind, we beg Qolsys - please put the speaker to use. If you're going to have such a polarizing, glaring design feature, then at least make it functional. Have the system double as a Bluetooth speaker. That would be a cool feature. You have your IQ Hub on the wall, you pair your phone, and you begin playing music. To us, that idea sounds neat. The line between security and entertainment is becoming increasingly blurred anyway. Why not make this possible for the IQ Hub. And yet, we keep hearing that Qolsys has little interest in turning the IQ Hub into a mini boombox. We really hope they change their tune.

One other thing we have heard about the IQ Hub is that it cannot be opened. The replaceable battery slides in using a side compartment, and the panel is never designed to be opened up or for the panel's interior to see the light of day. That's fine, especially with all the struggles users have had closing the IQ Panel 2 Plus, but we do question the inability of the system to have its inner components replaced if something goes wrong. Is the IQ Hub really being seen as that disposable? The system's build-quality and final price point should determine that. But Qolsys is clearly taking a risk there.

Also in limbo is the release date for the IQ Hub. Originally, it was set for a Q1 2020 release. But with the pandemic, that date came and went. We (along with the rest of the world) had bigger things to worry about. Now our best guess is that it will hit the market early in 2021, roughly a year and a half after we first spoke of it in September 2019. Qolsys insists that it's still coming whenever we bring it up, and they seem genuinely enthusiastic about it. Here's hoping that we see it soon. And hey, with the 2GIG Edge also set for an early 2021 release, we expect that next year could be an ultra-competitive time for the security industry. Do you think we're excited? You bet we are!

Overall, there is a lot to look forward to in regard to the Qolsys IQ Hub. If all goes well, it could definitely become the Qolsys System we recommend for users on a budget or in an apartment or starter home. Even if it doesn't become the new flagship Qolsys Panel, there are still plenty of things to like. Email us at support@alarmgrid.com with any questions or thoughts you have about the IQ Hub. We would love to hear what you have to say. Our team is here to check email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Today, we're going to discuss three (3) security and automation predictions that are almost certain to occur next year. As the title implies, these predictions aren't anything too bold or revolutionary, but they should get you prepared for next year. Let's get into predicting and discussing!


1. Continued Rush to Upgrade to LTE

One topic that we discuss very regularly in this blog is the 3G Sunset and the importance of upgrading to LTE as soon as possible. If you have been living under a rock, then the "Sunset" refers to the impending shut down of older 3G and CDMA cellular networks. Once these networks are shut down, any equipment that uses them will no longer work properly. This includes any cellular security systems. As such, there is currently a big rush to upgrade existing security systems to use LTE communication so that they can remain online and connected for monitoring service.

This obviously won't change in 2021, as cellular service providers remain determined to achieve their goal of completing the transition by the end of 2022. But what is going to be unique about 2021 is that it will be the final full year for users to make the transition, before there is inevitably a final scramble at the very end. If you thought that LTE upgrade talk was inescapable throughout the industry in 2020, well just look forward to 2021. Next year represents the final year for users to make the switch before they are considered to be doing it "last minute". AT&T is slated to shut down its 3G equipment in the first quarter of 2022. Verizon is waiting a bit longer, shutting down the CDMA network in Q4 of that year. Keep in mind that by upgrading early, you are not only saving yourself the hassle, you are also preventing yourself from being left behind later when a big chunk of procrastinators are all trying to upgrade at the last minute, and there just aren't enough resources and/or manpower to get everyone in before the cutoff. Long story short, do not wait to upgrade!


2. New "Big 3" of Alarm Grid Security Systems

Let's shift focus to something a bit more positive than the eventual shutdown of older technology. One thing you can almost bank on for 2021 is the rise of three (3) new security systems. These are the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS, the Qolsys IQ Hub, and the 2GIG Edge. While they probably won't replace the Lyric, the IQ Panel 2 Plus, and the GC3e entirely, there is a good chance that they will become our top recommended system picks by the end of next year. Whether or not all of them succeed remains to be seen, but we will say that the future looks bright. Though, we must admit there is still some uncertainty.

Of these "next generation" systems, only the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS is currently available. And until it gets local end user programming (supposedly coming early next year), we can't exactly give it a ringing endorsement. But with its sleek design, support for up to 250 zones, and Z-Wave Plus capabilities, the system is no slouch. It's also heavily rumored that it will soon gain Apple HomeKit support, much like its Lyric predecessor. Once that happens, the sky is the limit.

The Qolsys IQ Hub has more questions than answers at this time. Qolsys seems to get excited about it whenever it is discussed. But there is also this notion that it will end up being the "budget" system for Qolsys, while the IQ Panel 2 Plus remains their flagship alarm panel. And while there's nothing wrong with an affordable alarm system, it's hard to say whether or not we'll be able to recommend it over the IQ2+. But with PowerG Sensor support and possibly other features waiting in the wings, we won't count this system out just yet. We really hope that Qolsys puts that large, prominent speaker on the front to good use. To us, it screams Bluetooth speaker. Remember, if your security system is only used for security purposes in 2021, then you're doing it wrong. We look at the IQ Hub and see three things - Security Controller, Automation Controller, Bluetooth Speaker.


Lastly, the 2GIG Edge is the one shrouded in the most mystery. Apart from its edgy website, we still don't know a lot about it. 2GIG and Nortek Control have been mum on releasing pertinent information. We've even reached out to them personally via phone, and we keep being told to just "be patient". The air of unknown around it and the artsy promotion sure has 2GIG talking a big game, but we're really hoping they can walk the walk when it comes time. If there's one thing that's often true about the security industry, it's that gimmicky promotions and slick advertisements don't usually work on their own. People want products with proven reliability, strong performance, and quantifiable specifications. The 2GIG Edge looks like it's going to have its outer presentation down pact. Now we're ready to see what make it unique.




3. More 700-Series Z-Wave Devices

You can pretty much always count on Z-Wave smart home technology to keep moving forward. And while we saw some innovations in 2020 for Z-Wave - namely the rise of the s2 Security Protocol, and QR scanning becoming more commonplace - we didn't necessarily see the big leap into the 700-Series. In fact, the only 700-Series Z-Wave Device that we recall from this past year is the 2GIG STZ-1 Smart Thermostat.

Will 2021 be the year of the 700-Series? We're not entirely sure, but there's a good chance it will. There's no stopping the momentum that home automation carries, and as we move past an unprecedented 2020, smart home companies will be looking to get back on track this year. And what better way for Z-Wave to make a big splash than touting its next upgrade?

The 700-Series of Z-Wave promises to be the most efficient and most powerful yet. With the right hardware, users will enjoy extended wireless range, better battery life, and security that can be trusted. Whether or not we see alarm panels adopt 700-Series technology next year could be a different story. But for individual devices and dedicated automation controllers, this upcoming year seems to be the prime time to get heads turning. Don't be surprised to see some 700-Series lights and locks, as well as some more thermostats. And from there, it won't be long before alarm panels also get in the game.


We hope you found some amusement out of these three (admittedly, not so bold) predictions. If you are surprised by anything we said here, then 2021 is really going to knock your socks off. Technology is only getting better, and more innovations are on the way! Remember to email us at support@alarmgrid.com if you have any questions about what's coming soon to the exciting world of security and automation, or if you just want to learn more about our monitoring services. Our team is here to check email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm Grid is aware of Technical Notification #55 that identifies possible premature low battery warnings for Honeywell Combination Smoke and CO Detectors. Affected products include the Honeywell 5800COMBO, the Honeywell SiXCOMBO, and the new Honeywell Home PROSIXCOMBO for the PROA7PLUS.


According to Technical Notification #55 from Resideo, most instances of a premature low battery condition occur after replacing the batteries in a Honeywell 5800COMBO, Honeywell SiXCOMBO, or Honeywell Home PROSIXCOMBO. This notice pertains only to a low battery condition that occurs immediately, or almost immediately, after replacing the batteries in a sensor that has been in use for several years.

Each of the aforementioned combination smoke/CO detectors uses four (4) lithium 3V CR123A batteries for power. A premature low battery condition is when the sensor falsely indicates that the batteries inside the sensor are low on power, and a corresponding trouble condition is displayed for the associated zone(s) on the panel. But while the sensor is falsely indicating low batteries, the actual reality is that the batteries are still at, or near, full power.

Resideo states that the false low battery condition is the result of intermittent connectivity between the batteries themselves and the nickel battery contact points inside the sensor's battery compartment. The best way to verify that the low-battery condition is indeed false is to take a voltmeter reading of the batteries. If you find that the reading for each battery is at or above 3V, then you can confirm that the low battery condition is false. Any one of the four (4) batteries that reads below 3V could cause a low battery indication.

Additionally, Resideo suggests taking the following steps to see if a low battery trouble condition can be cleared:

  • Make sure each battery is properly seated and secured in its holder.
  • Make sure the battery contacts are snug with no movement.
  • Make sure the battery as well as the battery contacts are clean, and wipe them with alcohol or a mildly abrasive cloth if necessary.
  • Remove and reinstall the batteries to try and clear the trouble condition.
  • Replace old batteries with fresh ones to see if the trouble clears.

As a reference, the aforementioned sensors will typically report a low battery condition once the detected voltage drops below 2.3V. If you have a premature low battery condition on one of these sensors that you cannot otherwise clear, then make sure to check the batteries regularly and replace them as soon as necessary. If possible, try performing the steps above to see if you can correct a premature low battery condition. It may be necessary in a worse case scenario to replace any sensor affected by this condition. Attempting to use a sensor displaying a consistent low battery trouble is certainly not ideal, even if that condition is known to be false. Remember that these are life-safety sensors, so keeping them consistently powered on and functioning properly is crucial.

If you have any questions about this issue, then please not hesitate to email our support team at support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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In order to reboot a router remotely using a VISTA P-Series Panel, you will manually activate an output, which will fault a zone. The zone fault will be programmed to activate a Z-Wave switch, which is powering the internet router or modem. A cellular connection is required to do this.

And there you have it, that's how you do it! Just kidding! We're going to cover exactly what you need to do. Alarm Grid had this scenario come up recently and thought it would make a good case study to cover.

First, we wrote an FAQ that covers how to manually control a programmable output through the keypad. But then we thought that putting the FAQ together with information outlining the exact problem that we resolved by using the manual output command might add some much-needed context and show how this command can really come in handy. This also outlines one of the reasons why a cellular communicator is so important to have as a backup to an internet connection!

Let me set the scene: The hero in our case study spends several months each year away from his primary residence. The system installed in this residence is a Honeywell VISTA-20P with a Honeywell Home Tuxedo installed, as well as an LTE dual-path communicator. The Honeywell LTE-IA or the Honeywell LTE-IV are equally suitable for use in this scenario. In addition, any of the compatible automation controllers, such as the Honeywell VAM or the older Tuxedo Touch WIFI, could be used instead of the newer Honeywell Home Tuxedo.

The Problem

While our hero is enjoying his time away, he discovers that his internet connection at home is down. Of course, if he were at home, the first thing he would do, after verifying that his ISP isn't experiencing an outage, is reboot his router to see if the connection comes back up. But he's not at home, and furthermore, there is no one he can send to his home to perform this task for him. Now, since he has a dual-path communicator with the cellular connection enabled and active, he doesn't have to worry that his panel won't be able to communicate a signal if the alarm goes off. He's safe in that regard. However, in addition to the alarm panel's ability to send signals through the internet when it is available, the Tuxedo also uses the internet to provide a communication path to Total Connect 2.0 so that he can control his Z-Wave automation devices remotely. This is a problem, and it's the problem we're here to solve.

Just to recap, we have a VISTA-20P Panel that is working, and it can communicate alarm signals via the cellular path. It can also be controlled via Total Connect 2.0 through the cellular path. We have a Honeywell Home Tuxedo that is working, and it can communicate with the panel through its hardwired keypad bus connection, but it can't communicate to TC2 through the internet. This means there is no way to remotely control Z-Wave Automation devices. Finally, we have an LTE dual-path communicator that is working on the cellular path, but not on the internet path.

The Solution

Basically, what this requires is a way to send a command from Total Connect 2.0 to the VISTA-20P Panel through the communicator's cellular connection. This command must be something that the panel can perform based on an entry from a keypad. In this case, we are going to enter a command via the TC2 keypad that will cause a programmable output to change state. This output is connected to a zone on the panel. When the output changes state, it will fault the zone. Then, based on the programming in a scene, the Tuxedo will turn the Z-Wave Module that is connected and providing power to the router OFF. This will drop power to the router. After a few seconds, another command will be entered through the keypad which will restore the zone, and a second scene will tell the Tuxedo that a restore on the zone causes the Z-Wave module to turn back ON. This will restore power to the router.

Here are the full details for this solution:

The first step in setting this up is making sure that you have an available zone to use as your triggering zone. If you have one of the hardwired zones on the panel available, then you can actually use Output 18, Trigger 2 for this purpose. Any of the hardwired zones 2 thru 8 can be used with this trigger. You can also use Output 17, Trigger 1, but it provides more current than Trigger 2, so we recommend that you save it for other potential uses. If you don't have one of these zones available, then you can use a zone on a Honeywell 4219 or 4229 8-zone expander, but this will also require the use of a relay instead of a trigger. If you are using the 4229, it has two (2) programmable relays built into it. If you are using the 4219, then you will need to add a Honeywell 4204. It is also possible to use a zone input from a wireless zone, such as a Honeywell 5816, along with one of the above mentioned relays.

One reason we love using Trigger 2, Output 18 for this is because it's so simple. Output 18 is already enabled in panel programming location *79, and as long as its programming hasn't been changed from the default, no additional programming is required for the output to work. However, there is still the matter of programming the zone to be used. In our example, we show Output 18, Trigger 2 connected to Zone 03. As you can see in the diagram below, we have connected the trigger to the Hi side of the zone, on terminal 12. As mentioned before, you can use this configuration on any of the Zones 02 thru 08, connecting the trigger wire to the Hi side of the zone. The reason you can't use this on Zone 01 is because the Zone 01 negative is completely isolated from all other negative terminals on the board. In order for the trigger to work to fault the zone, it must be common to the zone negative when the trigger is activated.


If you need to use a relay instead of the trigger, you will need to wire the relay to the zone so that when you turn the Relay ON, it faults the connected zone, and when you turn the Relay OFF, it restores that zone. The way this must be done will depend on the type of zone it is being connected to. When using a 5816 with the input terminals, you will need to wire one terminal of the transmitter to the relay's Common (C) and the other terminal to the relay's Normally Closed (NC). If you're using an expansion zone on a Honeywell 4219 or Honeywell 4229, then the wiring used for this zone, and whether or not an End-of-Line Resistor (EOLR) is used, will depend on how the rest of the zones on that expander are configured, as well as on the age of the expander. Earlier versions required an EOLR for each zone, while newer versions provide an option not to use the EOLR, based on the setting of a dip switch. The important thing to know here is that when a 4204 or 4229 relay is OFF, it has continuity between Common (C) and Normally Closed (NC). When it is ON, it has continuity between Common (C) and Normally Open (NO).


With the output wiring out of the way, we can move on to programming the zone. We're not going to go through the entire zone programming process. You can find information about how to program a zone on a VISTA-20P Panel in this FAQ. The two important things to know when it comes to zone programming are the Zone Type and the Hardwire Type. The Zone Type should be set to Zone Type 23, No Alarm Response. This Zone Type was specifically created to allow the panel to activate outputs based on a zone's change of state. Basically, Zone Type 23 allows the panel to recognize that a fault and/or fault restore has occurred on a zone, without it having to display a fault for that zone, or take any other action with regard to the zone itself. Zone Type 23 will never show a fault, and it will never cause an alarm condition. The Hardwire Type should be set to Normally Open (Entry 2 when prompted). Again, see the FAQ linked above for full details on zone programming. The Hardwire Type programming of Normally Open is specifically meant for use with the trigger connection shown above. If using a relay instead of a trigger, the Hardwire Type or Input Type setting may need to be different, depending on your wiring configuration, and the zone number.

The next step is to pair the Z-Wave module with the Honeywell Home Tuxedo. As always, we recommend that you first Exclude or Remove the Z-Wave device using the Tuxedo, before attempting to Include or Add the device. The reason we always recommend doing this is because devices are often joined to a Z-Wave network at the factory as part of Quality Assurance (QA). In many cases, once the device has been successfully joined to the test network, it is never cleared, and is simply packaged and sold as it is. Once a Z-Wave device has been paired with a network, it holds onto that network information until it receives a command telling it to forget the old network so that it can join a new one. The process of Excluding or Removing, is what tells a Z-Wave device to forget the old network. It's fortunate that any Z-Wave controller can tell any Z-Wave device to forget its old network!

A word about which Z-Wave module to use. You can use either an in-wall switch, or a plug-in module. If your Z-Wave Automation Controller supports Z-Wave Plus, then we always recommend using a Z-Wave Plus device. Although any Z-Wave controller can support just about any Z-Wave module, a Z-Wave Plus module loses its Z-Wave Plus attributes, including extended range and battery life, when used with an older Z-Wave controller. We like the idea of using a plug-in module, as it allows you to easily move your router if you begin to have range or interference issues.

Once the Z-Wave module has been learned into the Tuxedo, VAM, or Tuxedo Touch WIFI you then need to create a scene which will tell the module to turn OFF when Zone 3 (or whatever zone you choose to use) is faulted. You will need to program a second scene to tell the same module to turn ON when Zone 3 is restored. The easiest way to perform this programming is through Total Connect 2.0. We like to program scenes using the website, the examples that follow will assume that is how the scenes are being setup.

After logging into Total Connect 2.0, choose the menu option for scenes. If you do not see this option, contact your alarm dealer, and be sure that your account is properly configured, and that your monitoring plan includes access to Automation. For Alarm Grid customers, this would be our Silver Plan (Self or Full), or higher. After clicking on Scenes, choose Create Scene.


This will take you through a scene creation wizard. The first step is to name the Scene. This should be something easy to distinguish from other scenes, such as "Router Off". After choosing Continue, you will see where you can choose how the scene will be triggered. In our case, we want Triggered by a device, and when we expand this option, we then want to expand the section titled Sensors. Under Sensors, we see Zone 3, which we have named Router. When we expand this option, we can choose that this scene will activate when Zone 3 is Open (faulted) or Closed (restored). We intend to turn OFF the Z-Wave device when Zone 3 is faulted, so we will choose "When it is open".


After choosing which zone(s) you want to trigger the Z-Wave device, you will be taken to Step 3 of the scene creation wizard. In this step, you will choose which device (or devices) you want to control, and whether you want them to turn ON or OFF. This is our Router OFF scene, so we set our action accordingly.

Now that we have created an initial scene, in order to add the second scene (the one that will turn the router power back on) we need to click the + symbol in the upper right of the Scenes screen.


The programming for this scene will be almost identical to the first scene. We still want to trigger by device. The device is Sensor 3, which we named ROUTER, and we want the Z-Wave device to be turned ON when Sensor 3 is Closed, meaning the fault on the zone is restored. Here's the summary for the second scene.


That is the end of the programming and wiring for this solution. The final step is for our hero to manually activate Trigger 2, Output 18 through the keypad screen in Total Connect 2.0. Do this by entering the following command:

4-Digit Code + [#] + [7] + [18]

By entering this command, we're telling Output 18, Trigger 2 to activate. When it activates, it connects to ground. This ground is common to the Lo side of Zone 3. This causes a short on the zone (which is why we programmed it as Normally Open), which in turn causes it to fault. The fault on Zone 3 causes the Z-Wave device being used to power the router to turn OFF, powering the router down.

After around 20 seconds, our hero should enter the following command to restore Zone 3:

4-Digit Code + [#] + [8] + [18]

By entering this command, we are telling Output 18, Trigger 2 to deactivate. When it deactivates, the trigger disconnects from ground. This opens the circuit on Zone 3, causing it to restore from a faulted condition. This in turn causes the Z-Wave device being used to power the router to turn it back ON, powering the router back up. Once more, keep in mind that this option is only available because the customer in question, our hero, chose to use a dual-path communication method. If he had chosen to use an IP only connection, there would be no way for him to initiate the keypad command through Total Connect 2.0 that gets this ball rolling.

If you happen to be using a relay instead of the trigger output, there will be a few minor tweaks that you will need to make to this process. One of those tweaks will be the output number that you will use when performing this command. The FAQ that we linked in the second paragraph above goes into more detail on how to set this up using a relay, including covering the programming required in programming location *79.

If you need further assistance using this setup with a relay, feel free to reach out to us at support@alarmgrid.com. Our technical support staff are available M - F from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm Eastern. We will have some closures soon due to the holidays, so pay attention to our blog for information about when those will be. As always, we look forward to hearing from you!

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We know that 2020 has been a crazy year for all. And now we're right in the thick of the holiday buying season. We wanted to take a brief moment to collect our thoughts and make things a bit more organized so you can decide which route to take for your security and automation shopping.

First of all, if you haven't checked out our 2020 holiday buying guides, then that's a great place to start! We put together five (5) guides this year.

But before we close out this post, we want to stop and make some special notes. If you are still left wondering what to buy this holiday season, then we have two (2) recommendations. First, we've been stressing all year about the importance of upgrading to an LTE cellular communicator if you are still using an older 3G or CDMA module.

If you still have any doubts, then yes, now is the best time to upgrade. Older cellular modules are going to stop working. There is going to be a big rush for users to keep their systems connected at the very last minute. Make things easier on yourself (and us) by upgrading early. And if you're still running an IP-only panel, then getting started with cellular monitoring is a huge upgrade in itself. This is the best way to keep your system online in the event of an internet or power outage. That's our first recommendation - UPGRADE YOUR SYSTEM TO LTE IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY.

Second, we want to close out our holiday recommendations with a bang. We understand that getting a new communication path for your system might not be the most exciting thing in the world. But here's something that is. If you are looking for the single, sexiest, new product that we have the capacity to promote at this time, then we have your answer. Right here, right now. Alarm.com ADC-VDB770 Video Doorbell Camera.

We've been promoting doorbell cameras for quite a while now. But the ADC-VDB770 is different. We've never seen a doorbell camera output video at quite this level before. To see a doorbell camera with 1440x1920 resolution and High Dynamic Range is pretty insane. This nifty gadget outputs video nearly as well as what a state-of-the-art 4K TV can even display! And it backs up its talk further with its crazy 150° Field of View, astounding 15 foot night vision range, and its ability to utilize the full suite of Alarm.com Video Analytics features. This doorbell camera has taken what you would expect out of a top-of-the-line security camera and turned it into an ultra-convenient front-of-home monitoring device! Wow!

There are some drawbacks. One is that it's for Alarm.com only. Unfortunately, this means that TC2 users can't play with this fun new toy. Second, at this time, we can only support it on a Platinum Level Monitoring Plan. But we are exploring our options, and there may soon be a way that we can support a single ADC-VDB770 device on a non-video account, much like what we have been able to do with SkyBell Video Doorbell devices. It's too early for us to make any promises, but we hope to expand the reach of this doorbell camera so that more of the world may appreciate its glory. But if you want our second recommendation - ALL ALARM.COM USERS SHOULD GET THE ADC-VDB770 DOORBELL CAMERA.

For now, that concludes our post-buying guide holiday thoughts. Get on LTE! And if you're on ADC, then get that doorbell camera! You'll be thrilled that you did! And as always, don't hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. The best way to contact us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. Our team responds to emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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If you recall last week, we put out our 2020 holiday buying guide for smart home automation. Today, we wanted to focus on a very small aspect of that buying guide and explore some quick possibilities on how your can use some smart automated plug-in modules around the holiday season.


Plug-in modules couldn't be more convenient. You simply plug one into your standard outlet, enroll it with your smart home network (we like Z-Wave Plus), and connect the device(s) you want to control. And just like that, you can take virtually any connected device, and turn it into a smart device. The possibilities around the holiday season are particularly cool.

But before we get into some creative ways to use your plug-in modules, let's take a look at a few of our favorites. You should recall all of these from our buying guide if you read through that, but it never hurts to reintroduce them.

And we also want to give an extra special shout-out to the Resideo Z5SWPIO Z-Wave Plus Outdoor Plug-In Switch. Unlike the other three plug-in modules mentioned here, the Resideo Z5SWPIO is the only one that can be used OUTDOORS. This can certainly come in handy around the holiday season with lighting displays set up outside for the world to see. We can imagine many of you out there will want to bring smart automation to the holiday lights you've worked so hard on. You may as well do things right with an outdoor smart plug-in switch!

But across the board, the name of the game here is scheduling. If you want to have your lights turn ON and OFF automatically on a set schedule, then Z-Wave Plus plug-in modules are the way to go. Sure, you could rely on traditional timers and relays, but this makes things so much easier! And assuming you have your plug-in modules set up with your monitored security system, then all of this can be conveniently done through Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. All you need to do is build a smart scene that sets a time for your devices to turn ON, and another for them to turn OFF later on. It's that simple.

Now, let's think about what you can include in these scenes. We'll start simple. How about your Christmas tree? Turn it into a Z-Wave Plus Christmas tree! This can be very nice if you are away from home for the holidays. By having your Christmas tree turn ON and OFF automatically, you can make it appear like someone is home, even if not a creature is stirring. If you have some other electronic holiday gear, then there's a great chance that it can be included in this setup as well.

If you really want to make things extra special, then get that Resideo Z5SWPIO Outdoor Module we talked about earlier, and use it to put your home's entire holiday lighting display on a schedule! Even if you're away seeking warmer weather, you can still have the best holiday display on the block. With Z-Wave Plus technology, you can ensure that your home lights up the cul-de-sac at night, and then safely powers down once morning arrives. You can even set specific scenes for sunset and sunrise to make scheduling a bit more customized.

And you don't even have to stop with the lights. If you have one of those giant inflatable outdoor snowman, then put that on your plug-in module too. As long as you don't exceed the load limit, then you're good to go! A few plug-in modules will really allow you to get wild. And it's all super easy to set up! If you have any questions about automation, then forward them over to support@alarmgrid.com, and we'll be happy to help. Our team is here from 9am to 8pm ET M-F to answer your questions. We look forward to hearing from you!

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You may recall how we recently discussed the prospect of Panama City, FL introducing false alarm fines. As expected, the city did go through with the plan, as the city announced a new fining structure for false alarms. Only repeat offenders can be fined under the new city ordinance.


According to the new policy, security system users in single-family homes will be provided with three (3) warnings for causing false alarms. Another offense after that will result in a $250 fine. Any subsequent false alarm will result in a $500 fine. As for multi-family homes and businesses, users in these locations will only be given two (2) warnings before fines start occurring. The next false alarm will result in a $500 fine, and all subsequent false alarms will result in $1,000 fines.

City manager Tony O'Rourke explained how false alarms waste resources, stating, "That’s not only an inherent risk for our first responders, but also it is taking away valuable resources in true emergency situations.” O'Rourke also stated that the fines provide a strong incentive for users to verify that their systems are working as intended. Records indicate that roughly 2,200 false alarms occur each year.

Panama City, FL Mayor, Mark Sheldon added, "When the chiefs are going out and their teams are going out, they don’t know if it’s a false alarm or not... They respond with the utmost urgency to every call, and 2,200 times this year, they got there for nothing. They put themselves in danger and everyone else that they passed along the way.”

From our perspective at Alarm Grid, this newly enacted policy is tough, but fair. Giving three (3) warnings for residential end users is quite generous. This allows for some occasional mistakes to be made, without punishing an end user too severely. The fines are admittedly quite steep, but it is very unlikely for a responsible end user to reach that threshold where they begin being fined. A good monitoring company will do its part to properly train end users so that false alarms are kept to an absolute minimum. With the right training, a user should never expect to be fined under this policy. However, the policy is still there to help ensure that users act responsibly.

We have said many times before that we at Alarm Grid always do our part to educate and train our customers so that they do not cause false alarms. We strongly advise checking out this informative guide to preventing false alarms. Additionally, all Alarm Grid monitored customers are invited to email us at support@alarmgrid.com if they are any questions or concerns about preventing false alarms on their systems. Our team is available to answer your email inquiries from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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