Posted By

You have likely heard us talking about the benefits of PowerG Sensors at one point or another. Today, we figured we would break down the benefits of these sensors and explain why we like them so much. Let's take an in-depth look at PowerG Sensors and all of their wonderful benefits.

PowerG Sensors were originally designed for the hardwired DSC PowerSeries NEO Systems. By adding a compatible transceiver unit to your PowerSeries NEO, the system will be able to support PowerG Sensors. Johnson Controls, which you may know as the parent company of DSC, took the technology associated with PowerG Sensors, and brought it over to the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 System. This move was not a major surprise, as Johnson Controls also had partial ownership over Qolsys at the time, and Johnson Controls has since bought out Qolsys entirely.

The addition of PowerG support for the IQ2 marked the beginning of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, which is how the system is still marketed and sold today. PowerG support is also available for the DSC Iotega, though that panel has largely flopped due to its lack of local end user programming. Today, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus represents the most popular panel for supporting PowerG. All versions and variants of the IQ Panel 2 Plus support PowerG Sensors, and their exceptional performance makes them the go-to choice for IQ2+ users who want equipment with the best versatility and protection.

Starting with the range, PowerG Sensors can be used from up to 2,000 feet away from the IQ Panel 2 Plus when they are used in an open air environment. By open air environment, we are talking about a perfect setting with a direct line of sight, and no obstacles between the sensor and the alarm panel. Most homes and businesses do not provide the ideal, "open air" environment, as there are usually walls and metal appliances present. When you see us mention that 2,000 feet open air range, take that with a grain of salt, because in practice, the range is likely a bit less. But still, we can undoubtedly say that PowerG offers arguably the best wireless range in the security industry. Even if its nominal range isn't quite as far as its "open air range", it is still a very powerful signal that can help you overcome the range issues that other sensor lineups may experience. It is great for use in detached garages, barns, multi-building complexes, and even just large industrial buildings.

To make matters even better, there is also a PowerG Repeater, the PG9920. This device will effectively double the range of any PowerG Sensor and help you overcome range limitations caused by thick walls and other obstacles or signal disruptions. The repeater works by taking the signal sent out from any PowerG Sensor and sending it out a second time with just as much power and force as when it was first sent from the original sensor. By strategically placing the repeater, it's theoretically possible to double the useful wireless range of these sensors. That would mean that they can be used from up to 4,000 feet away from the IQ2+ in an open air environment. And if your building is particularly large, you may even have repeaters going away from the IQ Panel 2 Plus System in different directions, including up and down in building stories above or below.

But PowerG Sensors offer more than just an impressive wireless range. They are also known for their exceptional security. This is thanks to their military grade 128-bit AES encryption. To put this as simply as possible, the PowerG Sensor and the panel share a unique encryption key at the time of pairing. The sensor must provide this encryption key to the panel whenever it transmits a signal. Additionally, the panel must then provide a return response with the encryption key as verification in order for the command to go through. In the past, we have referred to this two-way communication process as a "digital handshake". Because of this encrypted pairing process, a PowerG Sensor actively knows whether or not it is currently paired with a panel. You may need to factory default a PowerG Sensor before you can pair it with a new system.

PowerG Sensors also take proactive measures against RF jamming. When a wireless sensor communicates with an alarm panel, it does so at a certain wireless radio frequency (RF). When we talk about RF jamming, we are referring to any malicious technique that prevents wireless signals from reaching their intended destination. This is accomplished by blocking the receiver with a stronger signal at the same wireless frequency as the device that is legitimately trying to communicate with it. When this is done on an alarm system, the system doesn't receive the incoming signals from faulted sensors, and no action is taken during a security breach or an unfavorable environmental condition. Early wireless sensors did not take this into account, and this made RF jamming an effective way to defeat an older wireless system.

The way that PowerG Sensors overcome RF jamming techniques is through a process called Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS). This process involves splitting the RF bandwidth into multiple channels. Each independent channel represents a unique radio frequency for wireless communication to occur. The transmitter (the PowerG Sensor) and the receiver (the alarm panel) both agree on a set of channel hopping sequences that will take place. These sequences are encrypted and time-based for them to occur seamlessly. Since the transmitter and the receiver are both synchronized, they can switch between channels very rapidly. A potential intruder would never be able to re-tun an RF jamming device to keep up. In the case of the PowerG Sensors, the frequency hops occur between 912 MHz and 918 MHz. There are 50 different unique frequency channels that are used, and frequency switches occur 64 times per second. More information on FHSS is available here.

One other benefit of PowerG Sensors that we have never discussed previously is their Adaptive Transmission feature that helps them conserve battery life. This is why you will often see a PowerG Sensor with a very long expected battery life, sometimes more than ten (10) years). Adaptive Transmission involves two-way communication between the PowerG Sensor and the alarm panel. The alarm panel will tell the PowerG Sensor how well its signal is being received. The PowerG Sensor can then adapt its outgoing signal so that it reliably reaches the panel, without expending too much energy. The sensor and the panel regularly exchange this information so that the ideal amount of energy is always used in signal transmissions. This saves battery life in the long run.

We have also found that PowerG Sensors are extremely easy to enroll and they offer the reliable and effective performance that you should expect out of your security system. We wholeheartedly recommend them for use on the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, as well as any other compatible alarm system. It is expected that the upcoming Qolsys IQ Hub will also be able to utilize PowerG Sensors, so look forward to using PowerG Sensors on that panel once it is available.

For now, if you have any questions about PowerG Sensors or the systems that support them, or if you are interested in signing up for new alarm monitoring service, then please reach out to us by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. We'll be available to check your emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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


Posted By

After much anticipation Firmware Version 2.5.3 for the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus is now available! This update brings support for the PowerG Wired to Wireless Converter, as well as some other new features. Everyone with an IQ Panel 2 is encouraged to download the update as soon as possible.

Qolsys iq panel 2 plus verizon lte with powerg s line and legacy

Support for the DSC PG9WLSHW8 PowerG Wired to Wireless Converter is the biggest new addition for Firmware Version 2.5.3. We covered the PowerG Wired to Wireless Converter extensively in a post last month. But just as a quick recap, the device allows to you to connect hardwired sensors so that they can communicate with the IQ Panel 2 Plus wirelessly across the PowerG protocol. This is an excellent way to upgrade from an older hardwired system, as it can prevent you from having to purchase entirely new wireless sensors.

The PG9WLSHW8 also includes all the benefits of PowerG. This includes a wireless range of up to 2,000 feet away from the IQ2+ in an open air environment, military grade 128-bit AES encryption, and Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) technology for added protection. Up to eight (8) hardwired zones are built into a single converter, and you can use up to two (2) of the PG9WLSHW8 units per IQ2+ System. The unit even offers support for 2-wire or 4-wire smoke detectors, plus a 700mA supervised output for adding a wired siren.

Of course, IQ Panel 2 Firmware Version 2.5.3 includes a huge bundle of other new features and functions. Even if you don't plan on adding a DSC PG9WLSHW8 unit, there are still many other reasons to receive the upgrade. We'll touch on all the other new additions below.

The IQ2 system now has Panel Ambient Noise Detector settings to adjust noise threshold and duration. Qolsys added this feature with MDU settings where noise complaints are a concern. The feature can be used in-place of the panel's built-in glass break sensor. Alarm.com is planning to add back-end support for this feature sometime in the future.

Alarm.com commercial customers will be able to take advantage of their Smarter Business Temperature Monitoring (SBTM) service plan, which is used in conjunction with the DSC PG9905 PowerG Temperature Sensor. The SBTM service plan allows for 24/7 monitoring, real-time alerts, and historical temperature reporting. It is designed with businesses like restaurants, grocery stores, and pharmacies in mind. Alarm Grid customers with Alarm.com commercial accounts can contact us for more information. In addition, the IQ2+ can now display a trouble condition when an external probe is disconnected from the DSC PG9905.

If you use Alarm.com for solar energy monitoring, then you will be pleased to know that IQ Panel 2 Firmware Version 2.5.3 offers the ability to provide information from your solar inverter right on your security panel! Solar inverter units from SolarEdge and Enphase are supported. Please see this prior blog post for more info about Alarm.com Solar Monitoring.

Thinking ahead, Qolsys has made Firmware Version 2.5.3 compatible with future Z-Wave 700-Series daughter cards. The 700-Series of Z-Wave will represent the successor to Z-Wave Plus, also known as the Z-Wave 500-Series. Like all new iterations of Z-Wave technology, the 700-Series will allow for extended range and battery life when used with a compatible Z-Wave controller or hub. We hope to see 700-Series Z-Wave devices enter the market sometime in the not-so-distant future. Qolsys also made improvements to the IQ2 Z-Wave Diagnostics Map when using the Z-Wave 6.81 SDK to include RSSI values, as well as the ability to move automation device on the Diagnostics Map.

Some new 500-Series Z-Wave Plus devices are now supported by the IQ Panel 2. Most notably, these include Z-Wave switches from Eaton. Newly supported models include the RF9601, RF9617, RF9640-N, and RF9642-Z. It's good to see Qolsys increasing their support of compatible Z-Wave devices, and we have heard particularly nice things about the Z-Wave switches from Eaton and Cooper.

You can now disarm from the main IQ Panel 2 during the Exit Delay if the arming session was initiated from an IQ Remote, PowerG Keypad, or key fob device. Qolsys also added three (3) new Sensor Groups for keypads, key fobs, and panic switches. These new Sensor Groups include (3) Mobile Silent, (5) Fixed Silent Auxiliary, and (7) Mobile Silent Auxiliary. These new Sensor Group options should add some more versatility for these devices. And as for the Qolsys IQ Remote Keypad, it now has the ability to pair with IP routers using the Protected Management Frame (PMF) protocol.

Qolsys iq remote ag iq panel 2 remote touchscreen keypad

There are some new changes to the Easy Install Wizard that loads upon booting up the system for the first time. A new drop-down option will allow you to select one of (13) languages for the setup wizard. There is also a new page in the wizard with QR links for you to scan using the camera on your Android or iOS phone to quickly download the Alarm.com Mobile App. Also added to the Easy Install Wizard are new help screens that provide more information on how to pair and test door and window contacts and motion detection sensors.

Some general improvements to the system's PowerG firmware have also been bundled with Firmware Update 2.5.3. The PowerG Modem Firmware is now Version 2.38. There is now support for Fire Trouble and Dirty Detector Trouble on the IQ2 and ADC when DSC PG9936 PowerG Smoke Detectors are used. Proximity tag support is now supported with the Visonic PowerG Wireless Keypads (models KP141 and KP241). And the Alarm.com back end can now show the "Not Networked" status for PowerG Sensors in the Event History. This occurs when a PowerG device is enrolled with the panel, but then fails to complete the network association and goes into RF sensor failure.

There are also some changes affecting certain PowerG Door and Window Contact Sensors. For the DSC PG9309 and DSC PG9312, both the reed switch and the auxiliary input can be disabled during disarm. The same also applies to the auxiliary input on the DSC PG9945. The purpose of this is to extend the battery life on high traffic doors. Additionally, the PG9945 and PG9309 can be learned-in with the IQ2+ twice. One zone will be for the sensor's internal reed switch, which the other will be used with the auxiliary input.

Dsc pg9945 powerg 915mhz wireless door slash window contact

Other miscellaneous features have been added as well. LiveAnswer is now supported on the IQ2 for security cameras with non-standard aspect ratio streaming. New languages of German, Danish, Portuguese, Hungarian, and Romanian have all been added to the IQ Panel 2. The IQ2 will also now provide audible and visual indication of dual-path failures when the EN Grade 2 Setting is enabled. A change to the Swinger Shutdown feature has been made so that once a sensor reaches its Swinger Shutdown limit, a subsequent sensor event will tell the IQ2 to send an event notice to Alarm.com. Lastly, various improvements to the system have been made so that the IQ2 meets the EN50131-1 Standard.

Now that we have covered all of the new features included with Firmware Version 2.5.3, we can cover the process for upgrading your IQ Panel 2. Qolsys did things a little bit different this time. In order to download 2.5.3, your IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus must be running a firmware version between 2.0.1 and 2.4.2. Do not attempt to download 2.5.3 if your IQ Panel 2 is running Firmware Version 2.5.0 or 2.5.1. If your IQ2 is on one of those firmware versions, then you must upgrade in stages by upgrading to Firmware Version 2.5.2 first, and then upgrading to Version 2.5.3. More information on upgrading to 2.5.2 can be found here.

If you need to check the firmware version for your panel, click the small grey bar at the top of the screen, and choose Settings > Advanced Settings > enter Installer Code (default 1111) > About > Software. You should see the firmware version displayed. The panel in the picture below is already on 2.5.3.

Once your IQ2 is on a firmware version of 2.0.1 to 2.4.2, or is on Firmware Version 2.5.2, then you can begin upgrading the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Firmware Version 2.5.3. To begin, make sure your panel is monitored and connected with the Alarm.com servers via WIFI. The panel should be plugged into its AC outlet, and it should not have a low-battery condition.

When ready, you can perform the update by clicking the small grey bar at the top of the screen and selecting Settings > Advanced Settings > Installer Code (default 1111) > Upgrade Software > Patch Tag > enter iqpanel2.5.3 > OK > Upgrade Using Network. Then press OK when prompted. It will take about five (5) minutes for the update process to complete. The panel will reboot as part of the update process.

If you have any questions about the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, please reach out to us. Also remember to check out this post to learn more about our monitoring plans for gaining access to Alarm.com. The best way to contact us with questions about the IQ Panel 2 System or alarm monitoring in general is to email support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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


Posted By

After much anticipation, the DSC PG9WLSHW8 PowerG Wired to Wireless Converter is finally available! End users now how a reliable option for taking existing hardwired security and life-safety sensors and interfacing them with a security system that supports PowerG Wireless Sensors.

Wired to wireless converter modules for wireless security systems are nothing new. Hardwired sensors connect with wired to wireless converter modules. The converter then sends wireless signal to the panel on behalf of the connected wired sensors. The wired sensors can then be programmed to wireless zones on the system. As far as the system is concerned, the wired sensors at the converter module are no different than wireless sensors.

How the DSC PG9WLSHW8 differs from prior wired to wireless converters is that it transmits wireless signals across the PowerG wireless protocol. PowerG uses Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) technology to prevent RF jamming, with the communication signals constantly switching between frequencies from 912 MHz to 918 MHz. In addition to using FHSS technology, PowerG Sensors also take advantage of military grade 128-bit AES encryption for enhanced wireless security. This makes these sensors some of the most secure wireless devices in the industry. Any hardwired sensor connected with the DSC PG9WLSHW8 will utilize this same level of security and protection.

But PowerG Sensors offer more than just top-grade security. They also offer incredible wireless range. Depending on the system being used, a PowerG Sensor is able to communicate from up to two (2) kilometers (km) away in an open air environment. This capability also applies to the DSC PG9WLSHW8. With perfect, direct line-of-sight, you can have the converter module up to 2km away from certain compatible panels and expect the signals to go through reliably. That is perfect for large buildings, including hospitals, warehouses, schools, and more. You would be very hard-pressed to find another wireless sensor lineup with the same communication range capabilities as PowerG.

There are all sorts of possible applications for the DSC PG9WLSHW8 Wired to Wireless Converter. Arguably the most popular use will be for bringing over hardwired sensors for use with a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Security System. All versions of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus can support PowerG Sensors. And correspondingly, these panels can all support the DSC PG9WLSHW8. Just be aware that the IQ2+ has a smaller antenna than the other PowerG Security Systems, so its wireless range is limited to roughly 2,000 feet in open air. Other compatible systems for the DSC PG9WLSHW8 include the DSC Iotega and the DSC PowerSeires NEO with an added PowerG Wireless Transceiver.

But there is so much else about the DSC PG9WLSHW8 that makes it such an exciting piece of equipment! Namely, the unit has four (4) programmable outputs (PGMs) for connecting relay-triggered devices. The second programmable output (PGM2) is particularly notable, as you can connect up to (18) 2-wire smoke detector units at this location. Alternatively, you can also use 4-wire smoke detectors and wired CO detectors are regular zone inputs for the unit. The PGMs are also useful for connecting wired sirens, as the unit provides a supervised bell output of 12V @ 700mA. And installers will really appreciate the fact that the module allows for end-of-line resistor (EOLR) value learning from 1k to 10k ohm resistors. Both single-end-of-line (SEOL) and double-end-of-line (DEOL) resistor wiring is supported.

One final and very important note about the DSC PG9WLSHW8 is that stock for the item is currently severely limited due to the ongoing pandemic. It's possible that if you order the PG9WLSHW8, you might be put on a waiting list for the item, as our manufacturers try and keep up with constant demand for products. If you do end up buying the DSC PG9WLSHW8 while it is back-ordered (BO), then our team will contact you at our earliest convenience to let you know about the situation. If you do decide to cancel the order due to it being back-ordered, then your debit or credit card will be refunded for the entire cost of the order.

If you have any questions about the DSC PG9WLSHW8 or about alarm monitoring in general, then please reach out to us! The best way to contact us is by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. This is also a great email to use if you want to find out if the DSC PG9WLSHW8 or any other product sold by Alarm Grid is currently in-stock or back-ordered. Our team checks email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

Tags: , , , , ,