Alarm.com continues to improve the user experience with its service. They made swapping a communicator or a whole system easy when it comes to backing up and restoring users and zones. But until now, all Z-Wave devices had to be excluded then re-included on the new panel. That is changing.
An important thing to remember is that currently, not all Alarm.com compatible Z-Wave Controllers support backing up and restoring the Z-Wave network. The following modules are the ones that support this feature as of this writing:
|Minimum Module Version
|Minimum Z-Wave SDK Version
|DSC PowerSeries Neo
|DSC PowerSeries PRO
|Interlogix Concord 4
|Interlogix Simon XT/XTi/XTi-5/XTi-5i
|SEM DSC PowerSeries
|SEM Honeywell/Ademco VISTA
NOTE: To find a Z-Wave Module's SDK Number, a dealer can log into the Alarm.com Partner Portal, pull up the customer account then go to Equipment > Z-Wave Devices. The module's SDK number can be located in "Z-Wave Controller Information" which is found under "Modem Z-Wave Chip Details".
As you can see from this list it's the communicators manufactured by ADC, that have the Z-Wave controller built into the communicator, that currently support this new feature. Hopefully, this list will grow to include the Qolsys and 2GIG alarm panels.
At this time, the backup and restore of a customer's Z-Wave network can only be performed by the alarm dealer through either the Partner Portal, or the Mobile Tech App. The end-user can't perform these steps. A Z-Wave network backup occurs automatically about eight (8) hours after a device is either added to, or removed from, the Z-Wave network. The backup takes about five (5) minutes, plus two (2) to three (3) minutes for verification purposes. The amount of time the back process takes is not dependant on the number of devices that are paired with the Z-Wave Controller.
To backup a Z-Wave Network on a compatible device using the Alarm.com Partner Portal (Website) perform the following steps:
- Login to the Portal. Using your Alarm.com dealer portal login credentials, log into the Partner Portal, completing any 2-factor authentication required.
- Pull up the account. Find the account whose Z-Wave network you would like to back up.
- Navigate to equipment. Click on the Equipment menu option on the left side of the screen. Then click on Z-Wave Devices.
- Backup the network. Under Advanced Z-Wave Commands click "Backup Network". Stay on the network backup page to monitor the status of the backup. Once backed up, the backup will be verified, then the process will complete.
A backup is usually performed in order to prepare to move as much of the panel/module programming from the existing system to a new module. This could be due to an upgrade, or due to the replacement of an existing module that is determined to be malfunctioning.
Once a backup has been made, the next step is to restore the backed-up information to the new module or system. To restore backed-up Z-Wave information to a new module during a module swap, via the Alarm.com Partner Portal, perform these steps:
- Power down the existing module. Power down the panel and remove the existing Alarm.com module from it.
- Swap the module. Log into the Alarm.com Partner Portal, then find the customer account. In the Customer Information section, choose Swap Module. Enter the new module's serial number into the appropriate location on the module swap screen. If there is a specific reason for the swap, enter this info in the Swap Reason field.
- Restore Z-Wave Network. Click on the option to Restore Z-Wave Network then click Submit.
- Install new module. Install the new Alarm.com module into the panel (while still powered down). Power up the panel and module.
- Perform a Communication Test Perform a communication test from the panel using the new communication module. The process for sending a test signal will differ from one panel to another. Check the Installation Instructions for the new module, it should provide instructions on how to perform this test.
- Monitor the process. You will automatically be taken to the Z-Wave Network Restore page. Monitor the progress of the restore until it is complete. The process of a full module swap, including restoring panel information as well as Z-Wave devices can take 25 minutes or longer. Be patient and allow the process to complete.
What do you think of this new feature from Alarm.com? If you have ever had to replace a Z-Wave Controller in a robust Z-Wave network and had to exclude, then include all the devices in the new module along with re-programming all schedules and scenes, you will appreciate this feature. Leave a comment below and tell us about your experiences with this type of situation. We enjoy hearing from our readers.