Home Security Blog

Posted By

2GIG has announced the release of their first big firmware update for the 2GIG Edge. This update adds support for image sensors in the form of the 2GIG-IMAGE3. In order to support image sensors, the 2GIG XCVR3-GC3 must be installed. Image sensors can be used without losing any other features.

The 2GIG Edge is a great addition to the 2GIG panel lineup. It has built-in facial recognition, Z-Wave Plus V2 (700 Series) support, up to four (4) Smart Area partitions, Bluetooth disarming, and so much more. One of the disappointing aspects of the panel rollout, is that it didn't support image sensors at the time of its release. That problem is now rectified with the new 3.1.0.011 firmware.

If you have a 2GIG Edge, then there are a couple of ways that you can get your panel updated. Alarm.com is still in the testing phase with this firmware, so it can't be pushed remotely quite yet, but remote over-the-air (OTA) updates will be available soon. Once this form of upgrade is available, you'll need to request the update from your alarm dealer. If your panel has a WIFI connection, the update will be completely free. If your panel connects to Alarm.com via cellular only, then a small fee will be incurred when updating OTA.

If you're an Alarm Grid monitoring customer, you can request the upgrade by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. Once the update is available, we'll verify the cost, if any, and if you give the go ahead, we'll push the update to your panel, and pass the cost along to you on your next monthly monitoring bill, with no markup. Remember, there will only be a fee if your panel connects to Alarm.com via cellular only. The cost for this type of update varies, depending on the size of the file to be downloaded. It could be as little as fifty-cents, or as much as a few dollars.

The other way that your panel can be updated is via USB. There is a USB port on the top of the 2GIG Edge. You can download the firmware update files from Alarm Grid here. This is a free download. Use a standard USB drive with at least 1GB capacity, and not more than 16GB capacity. Be sure the drive is formatted using FAT32, and that it has only one (1) partition. The file you download should be saved to the root directory of the USB drive. Full instructions for downloading and upgrading can be found here.

Once the file has been downloaded to the USB drive, remove the drive and take it to the 2GIG Edge panel. The USB port is on top of the panel, covered by a rubber boot. Remove the boot, and insert the drive. A message should appear on the panel, letting you know that an update is available. Press "Update", enter either the Installer Code (default 1561) or Master Code (1111) and the update will then proceed. Be sure the panel has AC power, and that AC power is not interrupted during the update process. The panel will reboot and provide a message letting you know when the update is complete. Remove the USB drive and reinsert the rubber boot.

If you have a 2GIG Edge Remote Keypad, it will be updated by the 2GIG Edge panel, once the panel has completed updating. Be sure the keypad has AC power and that it is connected to WIFI and to the Edge panel. You can verify this by making sure the keypad shows the panel home screen, and the proper panel status. Once the panel has been updated, it should automatically update the keypad. Again, once the firmware has been installed, the keypad will reboot to complete the update process.

In addition to support for image sensors, this firmware also corrects a few known issues regarding WIFI connection problems, and both remote keypad and main panel touchscreen issues. You can read the full firmware Release Notes Here.

So, what do you think about this firmware update? Do you have a 2GIG Edge and want to share your experience with it? Have you been anxiously awaiting image sensor support? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts. We always look forward to hearing from you.

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

Comments


Posted By

This post is late. It should have been written a week and a half ago.

Michael GorisA week and a half ago, on a Saturday afternoon, Alarm Grid lost one of its youngest, most vibrant employees. For many years Michael Goris has been Alarm Grid's prolific content writer. He is responsible for thousands and thousands of articles, words, FAQs, and more. Sadly, on August 07, 2021, Michael passed away at the age of 28.

I have been thinking for the last week what there is to say about Michael. This blog has thousands of visitors each month. And this site has hundreds of thousands. Michael's writings will never be found bound in a book. He'll never get around to that novel he told me he wanted to write. But here on this site, thousands of words were spilled.

Michael started working at Alarm Grid on August 23, 2017. Since that date, the blog alone has been read by 515,000 unique readers. The FAQs have been accessed by more than 4.5 million unique readers. The products have been accessed by more than 2.7 million unique readers. During his time here:

  • Michael wrote 2096 FAQs; 1,050,000 words at least.
  • Michael wrote 880 blog posts; 440,000 words at least.
  • Michael wrote nearly 700 descriptions for products; 374,500 words at least.
  • Michael wrote descriptions for 80 videos; 40,500 words at least.

There may be, literally, no person on earth who wrote more content about alarm equipment. To give you an idea, Tolstoy's War and Peace contains 587,287 words. Michael wrote more than 3 times that amount about home security equipment.

The industry has lots to thank him for. While many of the people that come to this site are homeowners working to save money on their alarm system, we know that many of you are installers. If you are one of the many installers that have been benefited by any of Michael's writings today or in the future, he has touched your life in a small way. If you are a homeowner, it is our team along with Michael's writings that have kept you and your family's security system in working order.

We will greatly miss Michael as a business. But more than that, Michael was an affable, happy 28 year old whom many of us considered a personal friend. Michael was a quirky man who surprised us at every turn. He loved Pokemon, and would battle opponents online at his desk. He would regularly give me updates on his world rankings as a player. Apparently he was very good. He loved esoteric music that I've never heard, and am not even sure I can describe. I think he liked anime generally, but never really talked about it. He loved his family. Whenever he would discuss things with us that were troubling him at work, he would come back the next day telling us he'd consulted with his mother or sister for counsel. He loved people. I remember in the interview I had with Michael, he said to me, "will I be able to make friends here?" He didn't want to work at a place where he disliked his coworkers or where they disliked him. He requested that his desk be in the support room and not in an office somewhere else.

One of my fondest memories of Michael, however, was one year at ISC West, the security industry's biggest conference. The team had had a late night. The next morning, Michael's roommate awoke. Michael wasn't in his bed. He was nowhere to be found. He reemerged around Breakfast time. Michael had run the ISC West 5k with almost no sleep or preparation. He placed 26 out of 417 runners posting a 21 minute and 59 second time. We were all in awe of the feat.

And so, I will admit, while my business will miss Michael, I will miss Michael as well. In fact, I have already been missing Michael.

For those of you who have been benefited by Michael's work, I encourage you to write his family a note in the official obituary. It would be nice for them to know that even though you didn't know it, your life intersected with his briefly, and to leave a small thank you. Feel free to comment below as well. Alarm Grid's staff is grieving as well and would appreciate any kind words you have for us.

So again, I apologize for the lateness of this post. But as you, perhaps, now understand, it is late because there was no one here to write it.

Comments


Posted By

Today, Resideo and Honeywell Home released Technical Notification #63. This bulletin describes a compatibility issue between some 6160RF keypads and the 5800WAVE and/or 5800RL. Keypad Date Codes D147 - E049 may be affected. Customers with the issue can return the keypad for a replacement.

The 6160RF is one of our most recommended products for those using a VISTA system. It solves two potential problems by providing both a programming (Alpha-Numeric) keypad, and a high-capacity transceiver. High-capacity means that as a receiver it can support as many wireless zones as the panel allows. Depending on the panel, this equates to as many as 249 wireless zones. As a transceiver, it can support all bi-directional 5800 Series devices. It does this using a House ID protocol in most instances.

The Honeywell 5800RL and the Honeywell 5800WAVE are two devices that receive status information from the panel through a transceiver using a House ID. The 5800RL is a wireless relay module with two relays. Relay A activates following the siren output of the panel. Any activity that causes the siren to sound will also cause the relay to activate. When the siren stops sounding, either because bell timeout has been reached, or because someone has disarmed, the relay goes back to its OFF position. The 5800RL is customarily used to add a high-current siren in a location where it is impossible to wire from the desired location all the way back to the panel. Relay B on the 5800RL follows the panel's arming state. This can be used to externally show the panel's armed status using an LED.

The 5800WAVE is a wireless siren. It also follows the panel's siren output. It provides an 85 dB alarm sounder in a location where a wired siren cannot be installed for any reason. It plugs into an AC outlet, and has its own battery for backup power. The problem described in the bulletin exists with only certain 6160RF keypads. These keypads fall within a particular date code range, and have a specific firmware version.

For the affected 6160RF keypads when used with the wireless siren or relay, the 5800RL Armed Status Relay (Relay B) may not provide the proper status. It may show Armed when the system is actually Disarmed, or vice versa. The 5800WAVE siren may also behave improperly, with the siren either continuing to sound when it should shut off or not sounding when it should. Remember, the issue is not with the 5800RL or the 5800WAVE, but with the 6160RF keypad.

To determine if you have a 6160RF keypad that is affected by this issue you need to check two (2) things. The date code of the 6160RF, and its firmware version. To check the date code you must open the keypad. Press in the two (2) locking tabs on the bottom edge of the keypad, then pull the front toward you. The Date Code should be either printed on the circuit board in black ink, or may be on a small white sticker on the board. It will be a letter followed by a 3-digit number. With the letter indicating the year of manufacture, and the number indicating the day of that year. The Date Codes to look for are: D147 - E049. This equates to May 26, 2020 through February 18, 2021. This is a date code range, so if your date code shows D226, then it is within the range. If it shows E037, it is within the range. If it shows D025 or E059, that is not within the affected range.

If you are using a 5800RL and/or a 5800WAVE with a 6160RF, and you are having issues like those described above, and you confirm that you have a keypad within the affected date code range, then you need to confirm the firmware version. Only keypads that fit the date code criteria and have Firmware Version 1.06 are affected by this particular issue. If you are having issues but with different products or with the same products within a different date code range, then you should troubleshoot with your alarm dealer or with Resideo technical support as a separate, unique issue.

However, if you need to confirm the firmware version of your 6160RF keypad, power down and back up. You can either power down the entire system (preferred), or just the keypad. In order to power down the keypad, you would need to remove the power wires at the keypad. To remove the wires at the keypad, you must remove the front as described above. Once the keypad has been taken apart, unscrew the red wire and remove it from the terminal. It is very important that the only thing this wire touches is the terminal you remove it from. Touching anything else with this wire could cause damage as it is a "live" wire. If you choose to power down the entire panel, you may need one person to perform the power cycle while the other person watches the 6160RF, depending on how far the keypad is from the transformer. Upon powering up, the keypad will display its version information. If it displays KeyPad Ver. 1.06, and all the other criteria above have also been met, then the keypad should be replaced.


If any of the criteria mentioned above are not met, if you aren't using a 5800WAVE and/or 5800RL, for example. If your keypad doesn't fall within the date code range, or if it does fall within the date code range, but the keypad firmware version is NOT version 1.06, then you do not need to replace the 6160RF. Only 6160RF devices that meet all of the above criteria should be replaced. In all other ways, the 6160RF keypad should behave as expected. If you would like to read the full Technical Notification, click here.

If you purchased a 6160RF from Alarm Grid and you are affected by this compatibility issue, please reach out to us by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. We will be happy to arrange a warranty replacement of your product once we confirm that the criteria are met. Remember that our support hours are Monday - Friday from 9 am - 8 pm Eastern Time.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

We're back again with four (4) more videos. We rejoin Jorge and Michael with videos on the 2GIG Edge and the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS. Michael discussed the PROA7PLUS support for 5800 series sensors. Jorge provides several tutorials on the 2GIG Edge. Enjoy these videos from Alarm Grid.

Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS: Compatible with Honeywell 5800 Series Sensors

In this video, Michael from Alarm Grid discusses the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS' support for Honeywell's legacy 5800 Series Wireless Lineup. In order for the panel to support these sensors, a Honeywell Home PROTAKEOVER module must be installed. This module allows the panel to support one (1) of five (5) legacy RF frequencies. Only one (1) PROTAKEOVER is supported per panel.


2GIG Edge: Compatibility With 2GIG Sensors

In this video, Jorge discusses the ability of the 2GIG Edge to support both encrypted and unencrypted 2GIG Sensors. It may seem as though it should go without saying that a 2GIG panel supports 2GIG Sensors, but with newer panels supporting encrypted sensors, and new sensor lineups, it's good to be 100% sure before making a purchase, particularly if you have existing 2GIG sensors installed. The 2GIG Edge supports all of the 2GIG sensors.


2GIG Edge: Z Wave Support

Jorge is back again to talk about how the 2GIG Edge supports Z-Wave devices. This panel has the most advanced version of Z-Wave currently available with the 700-Series Z-Wave Plus V2 chip onboard. When used with a commensurate 700-Series Z-Wave device, all of the great new features that are included in this latest version. Some of these features include S2 encryption for all Z-Wave Plus V2 certified devices as well as SmartStart and 128-bit AES encryption. You can see a comparison between all three Z-Wave versions here.

2GIG Edge: Default Master Code

Jorge really knows his stuff when it comes to the 2GIG Edge! Here he is talking about the default Master Code on the 2GIG Edge (1111) as well as information on how to change the Master Code and also what the default Installer Code is (1561). If you happen to be moving and leaving behind an alarm system, please check out this post that discusses proper etiquette when leaving behind an alarm system for a new home or business owner.


That's the recap, we hope these videos will help you with your alarm system. We look forward to feedback, if you have comments or suggestions drop us a comment in the space below. We're here Monday - Friday from 9 am - 8 pm Eastern. You can reach us via email at support@alarmgrid.com

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

Comments


Posted By

On Friday, July 30, 2021, Alarm Grid's monitoring partner CMS announced that this week their standard procedure for handling environmental alarms will officially change. Going forward, environmental alarms will receive one call to each specified number, with a message left where possible.

In the past, it was CMS's standard procedure on environmental alarms to continue calling all available numbers on the customer's specified contact list until a responsible party was reached and had acknowledged the alarm. Processing of the alarm was not considered complete until the operator had contacted and spoken to the property owner, or one of their designees. CMS had reason to review this policy recently, and as a result the standard procedure has been modified.

Going forward, when an environmental alarm is received CMS representatives will attempt to contact all specified numbers on the call list one (1) time. When a contact on the call list can't be reached, if the representative has an opportunity to leave a message, they will. But at that point no further calls to that number are scheduled. The representative will go through the call list in this manner until all numbers specified for environmental alarms have been called with no one being reached and messages left where possible. At this point, processing of the environmental alarm is considered complete.

If the representative receives an answer, they will notify the answering party of the alarm and no further calls will be made. At that point alarm processing is considered complete. All of this information: numbers called, messages left or not, persons reached will be noted to the account. After one (1) call to each number with no one being reached and notations being made in the customer's account regarding messages left, the alarm will be considered finalized with no further action being taken by the CMS representative.

Environmental alarms may include such things as flood detection, and freeze detection. These types of alarms don't customarily require the dispatch of authorities, but a home or business owner usually wants to be notified about them as soon as possible to avoid costly property damage.

The monitoring stations's standard operating procedure for any alarm type will determine how that alarm type is treated in the absence of any other instructions. What this means is, if a customer wants an environmental alarm to be treated differently than what is described above, they can request an alternative procedure. As long as the request is within reason, CMS will gladly follow those instructions rather than their standard procedure. If a request cannot be honored, due to legal issues or company policy, CMS will explain why, and allow the customer to adjust the request until a suitable procedure is determined.

Tags: , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

We missed an opportunity to recap videos last week, but that just means we have more videos to cover this week. Six (6) today, with more to follow. Michael and Jorge share their knowledge of the 2GIG Edge and the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS. Summer's almost over but wade in, the water's fine.

Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS: Resolve WIFI Connection Issues

In this video, Michael discusses the various reasons why the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS might not connect to WIFI. Reasons can include range, environmental issues, and even bad equipment. In addition, there is a specific setting to watch out for on Ubiquiti Access Points. Having this setting enabled can prevent your Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS from connecting to WIFI.


2GIG Edge: What To Expect During AC Loss

During an AC Loss condition, the 2GIG Edge will go into power conservation mode. After a few seconds, the touchscreen will go dark and only illuminate when something occurs that needs to be displayed, or when a user touches the touchscreen. Jorge tells and shows users what to expect as normal behavior when an AC Loss condition occurs.


2GIG Edge: Powering Down Properly

Believe it or not, there is a right way to properly power down an alarm system. In this video Jorge will show you how to properly power down a 2GIG Edge alarm panel. Begin by removing the set screws, pulling the panel off its base then unplugging the battery. Next, unplug the transformer, either at the barrel connector on the panel side, or by unplugging the transformer from the wall. If you can't find the transformer, you can power down by turning power off at the breaker.


Qolsys IQ Remote: Behavior On a Partitioned System

In this video Michael shows you how the Qolsys IQ Remote behaves when it is used on a partitioned system. The IQ Remote will only display the status of the partition to which it is assigned. It will only allow the user to control the assigned partition as well, and only a user with a User Code that has been given access to the assigned partition will be able to interact with the system from the IQ Remote.


2GIG GC3e: Installing the XCVR3 GC3

Michael shows users how to install the 2GIG XCVR3-GC3 to the 2GIG GC3e panel. Unlike with the 2GIG GC2 panel, the installation of the 2GIG XCVR3-GC3 does not require that anything be removed from the GC3e panel first. This transceiver module simply adds 900 MHz 2-way communication capability between the GC3e and the 2GIG TS1 as well as the 2GIG Image Sensors.


Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS: Installing PROTAKEOVER

Michael shows users how to set the dial for legacy RF devices, and then properly install the Honeywell Home PROTAKEOVER module into a PROA7PLUS system. This module allows the PROA7PLUS to support one (1) of five (5) legacy RF frequencies. This allows the panel to support previously existing sensors from Honeywell or 2GIG 345 MHz sensors, existing Qolsys and/or Interlogix/GE 319.5 MHz sensors, DSC 433 MHz sensors, or Bosch 433 MHz sensors. This module allows a user to replace an older panel with the newer PROA7PLUS without having to replace all the existing wireless sensors that are still working.



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

Comments


Posted By

Alarm.com announces new features and device support each week in its Release Notes. Today's post will discuss what we feel are the best of those features for the week of August 2, 2021 with a bit of detail about each one. These are the new features as well as improvements posted this week.

Smart Water Valve+Meter

With a new Usage Graph, customers who use the Smart Water Valve+Meter in conjunction with Alarm.com can track their water usage and see trends in their water consumption. Users on the iOS platform will have access to an interactive water usage bar graph and will have 12 months of usage data that they can review. This will show any water leak reports, and on which days they occurred. The Android version of the app is more limited. Users can view up to 30 days worth of past water consumption. Alarm.com app version 4.20 is required for Android and app version 4.19.4 is required for iOS. These firmware updates should be available soon. From the app Home Screen, click on the Water Card to access usage information.

Below is an example of what the Water Card shows on the Customer Alarm.com App as of the current version:


New Z-Wave Lock Support

Support for Baldwin Model 8252 and 8285 Z-Wave locks has been confirmed by Alarm.com. We will be adding them to our site soon. Baldwin locks are manufactured by Kwikset, and Kwikset locks are known for being easily joined to a Z-Wave controller, and operating without a lot of fuss. These locks will support up to 30 door lock users each. Z-Wave door locks add great convenience when used with Alarm.com and the security panel. Doors can be locked and unlocked remotely, and locks can be used with scenes to automate locking and unlocking automatically based on a schedule, or on other security system events. For example, you can set the doors to automatically lock at a certain time each day. In the event of a fire alarm, doors could be unlocked automatically to allow firefighters to enter, etc.

New Z-Wave Switch Support

Support for the Schneider Electric Z-Wave On/Off Switch (SQ14102WHZ) has been announced. This is an in-wall switch with the latest Z-Wave plus technology, including S2 Security, and support for SmartStart. Schneider is an established electrical supply manufacturer trusted by builders and is commonly used in new construction. If you're building a home, consider putting in Z-Wave compatible smart switches from the start!

Updated SVR and Onboard 24/7 Timelines

Alarm.com has added events to the SVR Timeline and the Onboard 24/7 Timeline. These added events include Door Accessed and Failed Access events as well as Smarter Business Temperature Monitoring and Business Activity Analytics events. These added events are meant to keep customers better informed of their system usage, as well as their energy usage, and security related events in general. From the Customer Website go to Video > SVR Timeline or Customer Website to Video > Onboard 24/7 Timeline.

ADC-VDB770 Doorbell Camera Update

An option for High Dynamic Range (HDR) has been added on the Partner Portal Camera Information page pertaining to the ADC-VDB770. There is now a checkbox to enable or disable HDR on a customer's doorbell. In addition, this feature will now be disabled by default for new ADC-VDB770 installations. This feature can only be enabled or disabled by the alarm dealer, this option is not accessible through the end-user webpage or app.

Camera Selector Update

Video subscribers are now able to choose individual cameras or camera groups that they want to view. This is done from the Customer Website in the Live Video and SVR Timeline pages. This will allow customers as well as installers to more easily add or modify camera groups, improving video device management.




Those are the updates for this week. What do you think? Drop a comment below and let us know. It's nice to see that Alarm.com continues to find innovative ways in which they can make their users lives a little bit easier. Have an interesting idea for a post? Let us know what security industry topics you'd like to see us cover and we'll do our best to accommodate your requests.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Comments


Posted By

The Z-Wave Alliance was created in 2005. Put together by a group of home automation product manufacturers, the alliance sought to standardize technology and manufacturing practices to create competitive products but with a certain amount of uniformity. Separate, but relatively equal.

Think of it like a Big Mac. If you buy a Big Mac at a McDonald's Restaurant in Montana, and I buy a Big Mac at a McDonald's Restaurant in Kentucky they will basically be the same. Reliably the same. The people who made my Big Mac and those that made your Big Mac have probably never met, the money paid for these sandwiches went to different places, the price paid may differ, but because a Big Mac follows a standard assembly and preparation if I pull up to a McDonald's anywhere in the USA I can reliably expect that when I order a Big Mac I know what I'm going to get.

In May 2005 Z-Wave (300-Series) was released and soon became widespread. In March, 2013 Z-Wave Plus (500-Series) was introduced, offering better range between hops, better power management, which translates to longer battery life, and more memory which translates into more features like the ability to add S2 128-bit encryption. In April, 2019 the Z-Wave Alliance began promoting enhanced certification for Z-Wave Plus V2, with the 700-Series Chipset. They continue to improve upon the original standard, so Z-Wave Plus V2 will offer even more of the things that made Z-Wave Plus popular. Greater wireless range, longer battery life, and where Z-Wave Plus supported S2 security 128-bit encryption, Z-Wave Plus V2 mandates it. And every time there is an advance in the technology, equipment with the new version is backward compatible with equipment on the older version, albeit with the older versions feature limitations.

Check out the chart below for a comparison between the three (3) current iterations of Z-Wave Technology. Z-Wave Long Range is on the horizon, but I chose to leave it out of this comparison chart. We'll have more information about the newest Z-Wave offering at a later time:

Z-Wave Technology Comparison

300 Series 500 Series 700 Series
Hardware Platform
CPU/MCU Optimized 8051 CPU Core Optimized 8051 CPU Core ARM® Cortex M4
CPU/MCU Speed 16 MHz 32 MHz 39 MHz
Memory 2 kB 16 kB 64 kB
Flash Memory 32 kB 128 kB 512 kB
Operating Ambient Temp -15 to 85℃ (5 - 185℉) -10 to 85℃ (14 - 185℉) -40 to 85℃ (-40 - 185℉)
Power Consumption
Active Power Use 36 mA 35 mA 12.5 mA
Sleep-Mode Power Use 2.5 μA 1 μA 1 μA
Coin Cell Compatible No No Yes
Max Battery Life 1 year 1.5 years 10 years
Wireless Security
Network Key Optional Mandatory Mandatory
AES 128-bit encryption No Optional Mandatory
ECDH No Optional Mandatory
S2 Security No Optional Mandatory
SmartStart No Optional Mandatory
MiM Attack Prevention No Optional Mandatory
Wireless Performance
Output Power DBM [TX] -2.5 dBm +2.5 dBm Up to +13 dBm
Range Sensitivity [RX] -102 dBm / -98 dBm Down to -103 dBm w/SAW filter -97.5 dBm
Wireless Speed 9.6/40 kbit/s 9.6/40/100 kbit/s 9.6/40/100 kbit/s
Max Wireless Range Outdoors (Direct) Up to 100m (328') Up to 150m (492') More than 200m (656')
Max Wireless Range Outdoors (With Hop/Repeat) Up to 400m (1,312') Up to 600m (1,968') More than 800m (2,624')
Max Wireless Range Indoors (Direct) More than 30m (98') Up to 75m (246') Up to 100m (328')
Max Wireless Range Indoors (With Hop/Repeat) More than 120' (393') Up to 300m (984') Info not available
Z-Wave Specific Features
Z-Wave Plus No Yes Yes
Z-Wave Plus V2 No No Yes
Backward Compatibility Yes, w/100 Series Yes, w/100 - 300 Series Yes, w/100 - 500 Series
Network Wide Inclusion No Manufacturer specified Yes
Explorer Frames No Yes Yes
Advanced Route Diversity Calculation No Yes Yes
FLiRS (Beaming wake-up) Optional Optional Mandatory
OTA Z-Wave Firmware Updates No Optional Mandatory
Original Release Date May 2005 March 2013 April 2019

I know that Z-Wave is a really cool, easy, and inexpensive way to automate things in a home or business, but I didn't get a sense of just how impressive it is until I was putting together this chart. It's really very cool! There were a few features mentioned in the chart that I wasn't particularly familiar with, so I'm going to define those a little further below:

FLiRS (Beaming wake-up) - This feature has to do with Z-Wave devices that use battery power only, like all door locks, and some thermostats. FLiRS stands for Frequently Listening Receiver Slave (Not Forward Looking Infra-Red, like I thought). Basically, a battery powered Z-Wave device alternates between sleep mode and partially-awake mode. When it is partially-awake it is listening for a beam signal. If a Z-Wave controller (or another Z-Wave device, if the signal has to hop) has network traffic for the battery-powered device, it sends a beam. When the device partially wakes and hears the beam, it wakes immediately and communicates with the device that sent it. If the device partially wakes up and there's no beam signal, then it goes fully back to sleep. This can happen from once per second, to four (4) times per second, depending on how the device was manufactured. If not for FLiRS, Z-Wave door locks would probably not exist due to issues with battery life.

Explorer Frames - Explorer frames have to do with the way information is routed. When a new Z-Wave Plus device is being included to the network, it sends out a whole bunch of explorer frames. When an existing device sees an explorer frame, it resends it with its own Node ID added to the original information. At some point, some of these explorer frames reach the Z-Wave controller. When the controller receives them, it can see exactly which nodes on the network the explorer frames touched. This information is then used to route future traffic for the new device. As network devices are used, this routing information will likely change, but this is a basic explanation of what Explorer Frames do.

Network Wide Inclusion - Network Wide Inclusion (NWI) allows a device to be added to the network even if it's not within range of the Z-Wave controller itself. It makes use of Explorer Frames to do this. Before NWI and Explorer Frames, you often had to include a new device right next to the controller, then carry it to the location where you actually wanted it to be installed, and then cross your fingers and hope that it would work. If it didn't then you likely added another Z-Wave device somewhere between it and the Controller. With NWI, if your network is robust enough, you should not have to do that. It's always a good idea when laying out your network to start with devices closest to the controller, add those to the network, and then work your way out from there. As you can see from the chart above, NWI and Explorer Frames were added in Z-Wave Plus with the 500 Chipset, so any original Z-Wave devices won't support this type of inclusion.

What do you think of the evolution of Z-Wave? Are you ready to buy some devices and start automating? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. We look forward to discussing this and any other security and automation topics you might like to add. Is there something you'd like to see us cover in our blog? If so, let us know in the comments and we'll do our best to bring you the information you're looking for.

Tags: , , ,

Comments


Posted By

It seems every week we're reporting a new feature being rolled out by Alarm.com. They recently added remote Duress Code programming through the Alarm.com app or website. Alarm.com must first enable this feature for the dealer, then users will have access if their panel supports the feature.

Before any Alarm.com user can start configuring codes remotely, the alarm dealer for the customer account must have this feature enabled. If the feature is not showing up when a user attempts to remotely program the Duress Code, contact the Alarm.com dealer and ask them to enable it. They may need to contact their Alarm.com Sales Representative to get the feature enabled.

Next, be sure that the alarm panel being used supports this feature. We have an FAQ on how to set up this feature via the Alarm.com Website and another FAQ on how to set up this feature using the Alarm.com App. Both of these FAQs have a list of compatible panels, and advise if a single or multiple codes are supported by the panel.

The way a Duress Code works is simple. If a system user is forced to interact with their alarm panel in any way, though this will usually involve disarming the system, if the Duress Code is used, then in addition to performing the security system function a silent signal is sent to the monitoring station alerting them to the fact that the system user is under duress. They are being forced to do something against their will. The monitoring station will receive this signal and then process it according to the customer's pre-stated wishes, and their own policies regarding duress situations.

The key element to the use of a Duress Code is the ability for someone who is not onsite to receive the signal and immediately take action. If the security system is not monitored by a trained 24/7 monitoring station employee then the Duress Code might just as well not exist. It may be possible to send a text, email, or push notification to someone outside the home or business, but there's a good chance that person may never see it, or may not understand what they're seeing. If there is any concern that a duress situation might occur, then central station monitoring is the best way to protect the people you love.

And finally, one thing I nearly forgot to mention above, an Alarm.com dealer cannot program a Duress User for a customer through their panel programming portal. Only the Admin Alarm.com Account user, the homeowner or business owner, is allowed to affect these codes remotely. So, what do you think about this new feature? Do you like the idea of being able to control system Duress Codes remotely? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts. We always enjoy hearing from our readers. That's all for now, stay safe out there.

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

Comments


Posted By

Qolsys released the Qolsys IQ WIFI last week. The IQ WIFI supports dual-band (2.4GHZ and 5GHz) WIFI and can be used as a stand-alone router. It can also be installed in parallel with an existing network. This provides a separate secure WIFI connection for security devices such as cameras.

WIFI is about as common these days as home phones with a traditional copper line (POTS or Plain Old Telephone Service) were from the 1960's through the early 2000's. However, the adoption of WIFI networking has seen some challenges that were not really an issue when using POTS. Namely, the end-user installation and configuration aspect of WIFI networks, as well as issues with getting, and then staying, connected to them. The security industry has embraced WIFI in a big way in recent years, therefore security system users have felt the pain created by these challenges.

For this reason, Qolsys has introduced the Qolsys IQ WIFI. The IQ WIFI is a mesh-capable controller and agent system. Up to eight (8) devices can be supported per network. One IQ WIFI will connect to the modem, router, or switch via a wired ethernet cable. This IQ WIFI will become the controller for the mesh network. Then, up to seven (7) additional IQ WIFI units acting as Agents can be added for a total of eight (8) devices. This allows a user to blanket virtually every nook and cranny of the home or business with a safe and easily configured WIFI connection. If you have a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus with firmware version 2.6.0 or later, the network can be configured right from the panel's touchscreen. The range between IQ WIFIs is approximately 130 ft. (39.62 m) with a coverage area of approximately 1,500 square feet (139 square meters). Wireless IEEE 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz and IEEE 802.11 a/n/ac 5GHz frequencies are supported.

The Qolsys IQ WIFI can be used as a stand-alone router. Each one contains a WAN port, a LAN port, and a barrel connector for power. Each one also has a WPS button. If your ISP provides you with a combination Modem/Router device, connect the WAN port of the IQ WIFI to one of the available ethernet ports on the Modem/Router. From there you can use the IQ WIFI as a wired or WIFI router. For wired devices, connect directly to the LAN port on the IQ WIFI. If you have more than one wired device to connect, connect a multi-port switch to the IQ WIFI LAN port, and then connect your other wired ethernet devices to the switch. As an alternative, connect the WAN port on the IQ WIFI to an existing router or switch, and then using this device as the Controller, build a parallel WIFI mesh network(s) out from there.

Up to seven (7) additional IQ WIFI devices can be added as Agents to create a mesh network that is as strong as you need it to be. This allows you to run a separate WIFI network inside your home or business that is virtually invisible to anyone attempting to hack in from the outside. Another attractive feature of this type of configuration is the ease of replacing the Internet facing hardware. Any time you need to swap out the main modem or router, all you do is swap out the existing hardware, then connect the Qolsys IQ WIFI acting as the Controller to the new piece of equipment. All of the WIFI devices that have been configured to connect through the IQ WIFI will keep their current configuration. There is no need to go around to each WIFI device and enter new credentials. This is particularly welcome when you have WIFI equipment, such as fixed-mount cameras, that may be installed in multiple and difficult to reach locations.

In many cases, security devices can only use the 2.4GHz WIFI band. When the SSID for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz are the same, this can cause issues for those devices that don't support both frequencies. We've seen this in many instances with the Honeywell Lyric. By allowing the user to separate the two bands, achieved by changing the SSID on one or both of them, you can make sure that any device that needs to use only one band or the other can find and then remain connected to the proper WIFI network. It may seem counter-intuitive to think that a Qolsys product could help to stabilize the WIFI connection for a Resideo or Honeywell alarm system, but it is absolutely possible.

When Qolsys first talked about this device, they called it the Qolsys IQ Router. Since then, they have updated the name to Qolsys IQ WIFI and they plan to release a separate device called the Qolsys IQ Router2, or possibly the IQ WIFI6 later in the year. This will be a more robust device supporting both WIFI and potentially another technology such as Z-Wave, Zigbee, or maybe even PowerG. We look forward to hearing about many more new products to come! What do you think of the Qolsys IQ WIFI? Leave a comment below. We'd love to hear from you.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Comments