Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Posts

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If you're planning to give the gift of security this holiday season, then we're here to help! Today, we're looking at the best alarm panels available for the 2020 holiday season. Finding the right panel is the first step to building the perfect security system for your home or office.


The panel serves as the central hub for an alarm system. All sensors programmed with the system will communicate with the panel. The panel is also the piece of equipment that communicates with the outside world, namely a central station and/or a monitoring platform. To do this, the panel must have a communicator that is installed and activated. Some alarm panels come with a communicator already built-in, while others will require you to purchase one separately.

Today, most alarm panels are wireless, all-in-one devices, where the panel itself serves as the keypad for controlling the system. There are still hardwired panels available, but these are less common due to the sheer convenience and ease of wireless all-in-one panels. For the purpose of this buying guide, we will only be focusing on wireless panels, as most new users today opt to go the wireless route. We especially recommend wireless panels for anyone looking to save money by installing their own system without hiring a professional installer. It's easier than you might think, as many installations are done using a screwdriver as the only tool!

The panel you choose will affect virtually every other aspect of your security system. Your panel selection determines sensor compatibility, available communication paths, the user interface (UI) for the system, what accessories you can use with the system, and even the interactive platform you use when controlling your system through your phone. In a way, the panel itself IS the system. It's such an important decision, so you really want to get it right.

Today, we're going to be presenting you with our three (3) most favorite alarm systems available for the 2020 holiday season. What's great about all these systems is that they are all extremely DIY-friendly, and they can be taken to virtually any monitoring company, whether that is Alarm Grid, or someone else entirely. With all of that out of the way, let's get started!

Honeywell Lyric Controller

The Honeywell Lyric Alarm System still represents our favorite alarm panel from Resideo, and it is the most popular system for use with Alarm Grid monitoring services. It is the oldest panel on this list, and it doesn't support some of the more high-tech features offered by the other panels presented here. But when it comes down to choosing an all-around great system for alarm monitoring, the Lyric is hard to beat.

There are three (3) things that the Lyric can do that are impossible for the other panels on this list. If you choose the Lyric, it's usually because of one or more of these aspects. The Lyric is the only panel here that can be set up with an IP-only communication path, without cellular. While cellular is always recommended, some users opt to go internet only for alarm monitoring. The advantage of doing this is that the user can obtain monitoring service at a lower monthly rate. A Lyric System user can sign-up for an Alarm Grid Bronze Plan with central station service for just $15 per month. But a user with a system that requires cellular monitoring will need to pay a minimum of $25 per month for the Alarm Grid Cellular Alarm Monitoring Plan. That $10 monthly saving equates to $120 annually. The user should understand that an internet outage will take their system offline and leave their home or business vulnerable in that situation. But if a user is confident enough in their internet service, then they can certainly take that chance. Of course, the Lyric can be upgraded to use cellular at any time, but if you are trying to save money by setting up IP-only monitoring, then the Lyric offers you that option.

Second, the Lyric is one of the very few alarm systems that is able to interface with Apple HomeKit. This is the premier automation platform used with iOS devices, and many users have existing HomeKit networks that they build around. If you already have HomeKit devices in your home, then it is natural that you would want a security system that can also integrate with that network. It's important to note that the HomeKit integration isn't perfect, as Apple HomeKit can only provide specific alerts for a limited selection of system activity. But the integration makes it possible to perform some basic commands through HomeKit. The integration also allows you to set up automations so that your HomeKit devices activate automatically with activity on your security system. Overall, it's a great feature, and we often recommend the Lyric over other systems just for this feature.

Third, the Lyric is the only system on this list that uses Total Connect 2.0 as its interactive monitoring platform. This is the service that you will use to control your Lyric System remotely through a web browser or an app on your smartphone. The platform allows you to arm and disarm, check the current status of your system, and control automation devices. Remember that you will need to upgrade to a Silver level plan to take advantage of these great features. We think Total Connect 2.0 works just as well as any other monitoring and automation platform, but we have heard of users specifically choosing the Lyric to use this platform over the other ones out there.

You have no shortage of sensor options for the Lyric, as the system has its own lineup of encrypted wireless sensors in the Honeywell SiX Series Sensors. It is also backwards compatible with the widely popular Honeywell 5800 Sensors. As we mentioned earlier, the system is a bit on the older side, and it lacks some of the more advanced features like partitioning and automatic Bluetooth disarming. The panel does technically support camera streaming, but that's only for older legacy cameras that are no longer being manufactured. Also, the system only offers classic Z-Wave functionality, so you won't be able to take advantage of the the extended wireless range and longer battery life of Z-Wave Plus. If you want Z-Wave Plus, and you have the Lyric, then you will need to replace the panel entirely. There is no way to upgrade the existing classic Z-Wave firmware for the Lyric and make it Z-Wave Plus. But if you need HomeKit compatibility, or if you are trying to keep your monthly monitoring costs as low as possible, then the Lyric is almost certainly your best option. With its support of local end user programming, the Lyric is the best system from Honeywell and Resideo as of late 2020. There is a good reason why it remains the most popular Alarm Grid security system.

One last note is that while a plug-in transformer comes included with the Lyric, no power cable for connecting the system to the transformer is included. We recommend purchasing a Honeywell LT-Cable for this purpose.

The Lyric is for you if:

  • You want to save money by going IP only.
  • You want compatibility with Apple HomeKit.
  • You want to use Total Connect 2.0 as your interactive platform.
  • You don't need automatic Bluetooth disarming, partitioning, or Z-Wave Plus functionality.

Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

The Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus is without a doubt the most feature-packed system we offer at this time. It has totally changed the game with its advanced features like automatic Bluetooth disarming, camera streaming from the panel, partitioning, facial recognition, and a super innovative wellness platform. The IQ2+ offers a seamless integration with Alarm.com, which serves as the interactive monitoring and automation platform used with the system. It is also currently the only system where you can perform Alarm.com Smart Scenes directly from the main panel. We also love the system's UI, as automation devices like lights, door locks, and smart thermostats can all be accessed from the main panel screen. It is easy to navigate, and we find that it is arguably the most intuitive panel for users who have never used a security system before. Really, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus is the system we almost always recommend for any user not needing HomeKit functionality or low-cost IP-only monitoring.

Since this system, communicates through Alarm.com, you must have a cellular connection set up with the system. The good news is that you won't have to buy a communicator, as the IQ2+ already has one built-in (AT&T LTE or Verizon LTE). The bad news is that monitoring for this system starts at $25 per month, assuming you get service with Alarm Grid. And if you want central station service and the ability to do cool things through Alarm.com, such as arming and disarming remotely and setting up automated smart scenes, then the minimum cost jumps up to $35 per month for our Gold Plan. You may want to review this post that explains our monitoring plans in more depth.

One other awesome aspect of the IQ2+ is that it supports DSC PowerG Sensors. These wireless sensors are some of the best in the industry. They can be used from up to 2,000 feet away from the IQ Panel 2 Plus in an open air environment, and they utilize 128-bit AES encryption for advanced protection and security. You also get the choice of one of three (3) legacy sensor frequencies (319.5 MHz, 345 MHz, or 433 MHz). If you are upgrading from an older system, this is fantastic, as there is almost certainly a version of the IQ2+ that will let you bring over your old wireless sensors.

But even with all its bells and whistles, the IQ Panel 2 Plus is still not a perfect alarm system. We aren't blown away with its build quality, as some users have reported struggles in properly closing the panel after opening it up. And having an integrated communicator might seem like a good thing, but it also means that the entire panel must be replaced if the one inside fails for any reason. The same will hold true when the inevitable LTE Sunset occurs, though that should be years into the future. All that being said, if you are looking for the most feature-rich alarm system on the market today, you would be hard pressed to find a better option.

And unlike the other systems listed here, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus comes complete with BOTH a plug-in transformer AND a power cable for connecting. It is ready to be set up and powered on using nothing more than a screwdriver! Also included is a small table stand for keeping the system upright if wall-mounting is not desired.

The IQ Panel 2 Plus is for you if:

  • You want a system with the most advanced features.
  • You want easy access to smart home automation.
  • You want to use PowerG Wireless Sensors.
  • You can accept a system without replaceable components.

2GIG GC3e

The 2GIG GC3e is the current flagship system from 2GIG, though that might soon change with the 2GIG Edge on the horizon. This panel was introduced in 2019, as 2GIG was a fairly late arriver to the encryption game. But it's here now, and it's ready to support 2GIG eSeries Encrypted Sensors, while still being backwards compatible with older 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors and Honeywell 5800 Sensors.

If we're being completely honest, we rarely recommend the 2GIG GC3e over the Lyric or the IQ2+. The Lyric offers some unique features (HomeKit support and IP-only monitoring) that make it the best option in many cases, while the IQ2+ is the most feature-rich system we offer. The GC3e just doesn't have any one particular feature that helps it stand-out from the other two. We usually only steer people toward the GC3e if they want an Alarm.com System, but don't want the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus for whatever reason. We must also admit that the GC3e local end user programming is a bit more cumbersome than the Lyric or the IQ2+. People who choose the GC3e are usually those who are accustomed to the 2GIG panel, and are upgrading from an older 2GIG GC2 or 2GIG GC3.

That doesn't mean the GC3e is a bad system. The truth is that it actually has the best build-quality out of any system listed here. The panel just feels well-made and durable, especially when compared with the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. And while you don't get fancy features like panel camera streaming, Bluetooth disarming, or Apple HomeKit support, you do get a nice partitioning suite, and Z-Wave Plus functionality with the ability to create localized smart scenes. Also, unlike the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, you can actually swap out the cellular communicator in the GC3e. It is rather inconvenient that you have to buy a communication module add-on to get the system monitored, but this is a good thing if you ever need to replace your system's communicator for whatever reason.

This is matter of subjective personal opinion, but I can say one very nice thing about the GC3e. Out of every panel we offer, the 2GIG GC3e looks the nicest on the wall, and has the most fluid and satisfying touchscreen controls out of any panel I have personally ever used. And sometimes, that alone is the selling factor. There are users out there who don't care about fancy technical features or easily accessible automation menus, and they just want a high-quality system that looks good and does what they need it to do. If that is you, then maybe you should consider the GC3e.

Remember that while the 2GIG GC3e includes a plug-in transformer for providing power, it does not include a power cable for connecting the transformer to the panel. Just like with the Lyric, the Honeywell LT-Cable makes a fantastic power cable for this purpose.

The GC3e is for you if:

  • You want the panel with the best build-quality.
  • You don't care about fancy extra features.
  • You want an Alarm.com System with a replaceable communicator.
  • You can deal with programming that is a bit more cumbersome.

We hope that this post has given you some insight into choosing a new system for alarm monitoring. Stay tuned to our blog, as we will soon present a buying guide for the various security sensors you can choose from. Remember to email us at support@alarmgrid.com if you have any questions. We are available to respond to emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Our video team had a decent time last week, as five (5) new videos were released. This time, the videos feature myself and Jarrett. As always, we hope that you find them to be helpful, informative, and interesting. Remember, we make these videos to help you! Let's check out the videos.

Finding the Date Code On the FF345

I show you how to find the date code on the Encore FF345. The FF345 is a listening module for smoke detectors and CO detectors that alerts the system upon hearing the unique sound of an activated smoke detector or carbon monoxide sensor. The device is designed to be used with 2GIG Panels and Honeywell Panels. However, FF345 units from a certain batch had an error that prevented them from working with Honeywell Systems. Checking the date code is useful for determining if your unit is affected.


Cameras that Work w/ the Lyric and Total Connect

Jarrett explains which security cameras are compatible with the Honeywell Lyric and the Total Connect 2.0 platform. The only cameras that can work with TC2 are Honeywell IP Cameras. Of these cameras, only the legacy models that are no longer sold are able to interface with the Lyric for live-streaming on the panel. None of the current Honeywell HD Cameras can be streamed on the Lyric. One important note about the legacy IP cameras from Honeywell is that they had to be online to receive a critical firmware update to continue being used to this day.


The Lyric Built-In Camera Disarm Pictures Cannot be Used With HomeKit

Jarrett explains how the disarm photos that are taken using the front camera on the Honeywell Lyric will not appear on the Apple HomeKit platform. While there is a nice integration between the Lyric and HomeKit, it is only used for automation purposes and a very limited selection of security functions. Disarm photos are considered to be a security function, and they will not appear in HomeKit. The only platform that allows you to view disarm photos taken by the Lyric is Total Connect 2.0.


Night Stay On Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

I explain how there is no Night Stay option for a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. Night Stay is a special type of Arm Stay. Normally, when you Arm Stay, interior zones are automatically bypassed. But when you Night Stay, motion sensors that are designated for Arm Night will remain active, instead of being bypassed. The feature is available on most Honeywell Panels, but it is not supported on the IQ2+. But there is an okay workaround for the IQ2+ that involves using specific Sensor Groups for programmed motion sensors that you want to remain active when Arming Stay.


Number of Zones On a Hardwired System Cannot be Increased

I explain why the number of zones on a hardwired alarm panel cannot be increased. The maximum number of zones that a system can support is built into its logic, and it cannot be increased. For a wired panel, only the on-board zones are initially accessible. You will need to add one or more wired expansion modules and/or a wireless receiver to open up the other zones. This will allow sensors to connect with the zones and interface with the system.

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If you have been keeping up with Z-Wave home automation lately, then you have likely at least heard about the S2 Security Protocol. The security suite offers an advanced level of protection to keep smart home devices safe. Today, we're checking out the S2 Protocol to learn more about it.


Before we get into the specifics of Security 2 (S2), it is important to understand which Z-Wave setups will support it. In order to achieve a proper S2 setup, the Z-Wave controller and the paired device itself must both support the S2 Protocol. If either end is not S2-compatible, then the protocol will not be used. If you pair a non-S2 device with a controller that supports S2, then the device will simply pair using the S0 Protocol instead. Likewise if you have a hub that does not support S2, then none of the devices on the network will use S2, including those that technically are capable of supporting the protocol. Not to worry, if you do have an S2-compatible controller, then it is certainly possible to have a mixture of S2 and S0 devices on the same Z-Wave network.

The S2 Security Protocol is optional for 500-Series Z-Wave Plus devices and hubs. In other words, some 500-Series Z-Wave Plus smart home devices and controllers will support S2, while others will not. You need to check the specifications for the exact device and hub that you are working with to see if it is supported. In some cases, it may be possible to perform an over-the-air (OTA) update for a 500-Series accessory or controller so that it can support the S2 protocol, even if it did not previously. An example of this is when you upgrade the Z-Wave firmware on the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus to Version 6.81.03. That is the first Z-Wave firmware version for the system that supports S2. Older versions do not. The panel firmware should be on version 2.5.3 or higher when using S2.

But for 700-Series Z-Wave Plus V2 equipment, support for S2 is required. In order for a device or hub to be certified as 700-Series by the Z-Wave Alliance, it must support the S2 Protocol. Therefore, if you see equipment listed as 700-Series, then you will know for certain that the technology is supported. As of October 2020, we have not seen many Z-Wave Plus V2 controllers or devices available. One 700-Series device that is available now is the 2GIG STZ-1 Thermostat. We hope that more 700-Series equipment will be hitting the market soon.

Looking at what S2 actually entails, you should understand that it isn't just one aspect or factor that makes the protocol what it is. There are many different components coming together to create a single protocol that is extremely secure. But perhaps the single most crucial aspect of S2 is that it is readily built into the Z-Wave framework for use by software developers. This makes it very easy for a developer to implement the technology into any given Z-Wave Plus device. Prior to the introduction of S2, there was no security built into the Z-Wave framework. The only option for a developer was to implement their own security protocol, and this was completely optional. Many develops would elect not to provide any security and just leave automation devices vulnerable. But when a device is listed as S2, you can be absolutely certain that it is meeting an advanced standard of security and protection.

Just like many other secure protocols, S2 makes use of an asymmetric key exchange, which at the simplest level involves a public key and a private key. Any command can be encrypted using the public key, but only the specific private key can unlock it. This ever-crucial private key is protected using Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH) technology. Thanks to this advanced method, the task of deciphering the key is all but impossible. Additionally, different devices on the same network can be separated into different groups. Each device group can be assigned its own set of encryption keys. Often, devices that require greater security, such as door locks, are included with more secure groups that also require authentication during the network inclusion process. Meanwhile, the support of a highly secure TLS 1.1 Tunnel for all Z-Wave Over IP (Z/IP) traffic removes almost any possibility of cloud vulnerability. For the record, the S2 Protocol is rated at 128-bit AES in terms of overall security level.

One other big factor for the S2 Protocol is that it makes use of a single-frame transmission, which is a massive improvement over the three-frame transmission used by the S0 Protocol. Simply put, single-frame transmission is significantly more efficient than three-frame transmission. The improvement in efficiency allows for extended battery life, enhanced reliability, and a huge cut-down on latency. This means that a device using S2 technology will require less maintenance, including fewer battery changes. It will provide more consistent performance, and experience shorter operation delays. This alone makes S2 vital for anyone looking to achieve the most efficient automation network possible.

Understanding this technology in advanced detail may seem a bit daunting. But you just need to know that S2 makes Z-Wave home automation more secure, faster, and more efficient than ever before. If you have any further questions about S2, or if you want some tips for getting started with home automation, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm Eastern Time M-F. Also remember to check our monitoring page if you are interested in learning more about the monitoring services we offer. We look forward to hearing from you!

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While many alarm panels have been outfitted with LTE cellular communicators to accommodate the 3G and CDMA Sunset, one system that is being left behind is the Honeywell L5100. Luckily, we have two (2) great panel upgrade options if you want to continue receiving cellular alarm monitoring.


Without getting too in-depth, the 3G and CDMA Sunset will leave the Honeywell L5100 with no functional cellular communicator option. This is because any Honeywell GSMVLP5-4G units that are currently activated for monitoring service will stop working once the associated AT&T 4G Network is shut down. If you are still using a Honeywell L5100 with a GSMVLP5-4G for cellular monitoring, then it is crucial that you upgrade to a new system as soon as possible. This is the only way that you can continue receiving cellular monitoring service. Remember, cellular connectivity represents the most reliable communication path available for an alarm system. We strongly urge you to not wait until the end of the 3G/CDMA Sunset.

Unless you have some specific knowledge of security systems, then you may have trouble determining which alarm panel you should get to replace your Honeywell L5100. That is where we are able to help. We have two (2) recommended systems if you are needing to upgrade. Both of these system options will allow you to continue using the majority of your existing sensors, and they will provide some great new features that you can take advantage of. We will briefly discuss both of these options so that you can make an informed decision.


Honeywell Lyric


If you want to stick within the Honeywell banner, then the Lyric is a great option. It has two (2) excellent LTE cellular communicator options in the Honeywell LYRICLTE-A AT&T LTE Communicator and the Honeywell LYRICLTE-V Verizon LTE Communicator, and it can readily support all of the one-way Honeywell 5800 Sensors used with the L5100. This system is preferred by users who want to continue using Total Connect 2.0, as well as any Honeywell IP Cameras. The makes the Lyric the go-to option if you are currently using security cameras with your L5100. The Lyric is also preferred if you are a regular iOS user, and you want to integrate your security system with your Apple HomeKit Network.


Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus 345 MHz

For L5100 users who don't necessarily feel married to Total Connect 2.0, and who also don't really care about HomeKit compatibility, jumping ship to a different manufacturer is an option. The Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus 345 MHz is hard to ignore. It can also support your existing one-way Honeywell 5800 Wireless Sensors right out of the box. You will need to make the switch from Total Connect 2.0 to Alarm.com, but this transition is fairly seamless if you don't have cameras set up. And while the IQ2+ might not have HomeKit, it does offer its own unique benefits like Z-Wave Plus functionality, automatic Bluetooth disarming, and partitioning support. You won't find any of those features on the Lyric. Just remember to choose the 345 MHz IQ2+ in the silver and white box to continue using your old Honeywell 5800 Sensors.


We're Here to Help!

There isn't a truly one-size-fits-all solution for existing Honeywell L5100 users. For some, the Lyric is the best option. But other users can get more mileage out of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus 345 MHz. Although we gave you some general guidelines and considerations above, you may still want some more advice on which move to make. Our security system planners are happy to help you determine which system is right for you.

Upgrading early is the best way to ensure that you do not experience any interruptions in your monitoring service. If you are a Honeywell L5100 user looking to plan for the future, feel free to email our team at support@alarmgrid.com. We will check your email during our usual business hours of 9am to 8pm ET and respond back at our earliest opportunity. We look forward to helping you plan out the long-term security solution for your home or business!

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As security professionals, we often encounter myths regarding security systems. There is a lot of untrue information out there, so we figured it would be a good idea to debunk a few security system myths to help end users understand the facts. Here are three false security system myths.


Myth #1 - Only Professionals Can Install a Security System

There was once a time when security systems were hardwired, and it was virtually impossible for a DIY user to install one. But with the rise of wireless alarm panels, many security systems can be installed using nothing more than a screwdriver. An end user can install their own system, program their own sensors, and get their system activated for monitoring service. Most wireless alarm panels even support desk mounts that allow a user to install a system without drilling holes in the walls. This can help a user save a lot of money by not having to hire a professional installer.

Myth #2 - Wireless Security Systems Are Not Secure

When wireless security systems first hit the market, many were easily defeated by third party devices. An intruder could block the signals from wireless sensors and prevent them from reaching the panel. They could also send false signals to the panel to make it appear as though a break-in was occurring, when really nothing was happening. But most modern wireless panels support encryption to prevent this from happening. This makes foul play all but impossible. There are many encrypted sensor options to choose from, including the Honeywell SiX Series Sensors for the Honeywell Lyric, the PowerG Sensors for the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, and the eSeries Sensors for the 2GIG GC3e.

Honeywell sixminict wireless door slash window contact for lyric

Myth #3 - Security Systems Only Perform Security Functions

When shopping for a security system, many buyers only consider the security aspects. The reality is that a modern security system does so much more than just keep you and those around you safe. Nearly every security system on the market today also offers smart home automation capabilities. You can pair a variety of smart home devices with your system, including smart lights, door locks, programmable thermostats, and more. You can then control these devices from the panel and have them activate automatically with programmed smart scenes. And if your system is monitored, then you can control the devices from anywhere using a web browser or a mobile app on your phone.


Security systems today are more powerful and easier to use than ever before. Now is a great time to get started with a new security system for your home or business. Check out this post to learn more about the monitoring plans offered by Alarm Grid. If you're interested in getting started, then please email us at support@alarmgrid.com for more information. Our team checks email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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If you're using a newer wireless security system, then you will definitely want to explore the encrypted sensor options that we offer! Encrypted sensors are virtually impossible to hack, and they can make your security system even more secure. There are many great options available.

Honeywell sixminictpk5 a 5 pack of sixminict encrypted wireless

As you know, a home security system or a business security system is an investment you make for the protection of yourself, your property, and those around you. A proper system should also give you peace of mind and make you feel safe. It doesn't do you any good if an intruder manages to defeat your system. But with encrypted sensors, that is extremely unlikely to ever happen.

If you aren't familiar with encryption, it refers to techniques for encoding data and signals so that only authorized individuals and/or equipment are able to access the information. When it comes to wireless alarm systems, encrypted sensors send protected signals that can only be accessed, received, and interpreted by the authorized panel.

When wireless systems first rose to prominence, they rarely, if ever, used encryption. This made many people wary of wireless security panels, and they felt more secure using wired ones. The lack of encryption wasn't seen as a fatal flaw, as an intruder would have to be extremely savvy and really know what they're doing to defeat even a non-encrypted sensor. To this day, many people feel totally comfortable and safe using non-encrypted equipment. Remember, most intruders don't have the knowledge to beat wireless sensors, even if they aren't using encryption.

But there are the rare, professional criminals who do take the time to extensively study security equipment, and they develop techniques for beating non-encrypted devices. This is very uncommon, but it's not unheard of. And if you aren't using encrypted sensors, then you are leaving yourself open to this small risk. Whether or not that means outfitting your system with all-new encrypted sensors, or even upgrading to a different system that is capable of supporting encrypted sensors is up to you. We just want to make you aware of your options.

Today, we're going to briefly look at some popular wireless systems and explore their encrypted sensor options, as well as their non-encrypted sensor lineups. This will help you learn more about your system, or one you are considering for purchase.


Honeywell Lyric Controller

Honeywell lyric controller encrypted wireless security system


The Lyric represents the first the first encrypted panel from Resideo, formerly known as Honeywell. The system has its very own lineup of encrypted sensors called the Honeywell SiX Series Sensors. The lineup is a bit limited, as its lacking options like an outdoor door and window sensor and a curtain motion sensor. But the good news is that these sensors are extremely secure with their military grade 128-bit AES encryption.

You can supplement your SiX Series Sensors on your Lyric System with devices from the Honeywell 5800 Series. These sensors are not encrypted, but the lineup offers more diverse selection than the SiX Series lineup. You could consider using encrypted sensors for the most vulnerable parts of your home or office, while using non-encrypted 5800 Series devices for areas where it isn't as important. The non-encrypted 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors are also compatible with the Lyric once the system is on Firmware Version MR3 or higher.


Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

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


There are some outstanding encryption options available for the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, regardless of which version you have. Any IQ Panel 2 Plus System can readily support DSC PowerG Sensors. Not only do these sensors have an outstanding wireless range of up to 2,000 feet away from the IQ Panel 2 Plus, they also utilize military grade 128-bit AES encryption and Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) technology.

And if you have the 319.5 MHz Version of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, then you can also pair Qolsys S-Line Sensors, which use rolling code encryption. This rolling code encryption isn't quite as secure as the encryption used by PowerG Sensors, but it still does a good job of keeping your system protected. The S-Line Sensors will also utilize encryption when paired with the original Qolsys IQ Panel 2. The original IQ Panel 2 cannot use PowerG Sensors.

In terms of non-encrypted options, each IQ Panel 2 Plus can support one of three (3) non-encrypted radio frequency signals. The available options are 319.5 MHz, 345 MHz, and 433 MHz, and it is dependent upon which version of the IQ Panel 2 Plus you buy. Again, it is certainly possible to mix encrypted sensors with non-encrypted sensors on the same system. But with the diversity and selection of the PowerG lineup, you probably won't need to look outside too much.


2GIG GC3e

2gig gc3e wireless encrypted alarm panel


The big highlight when the 2GIG GC3e was introduced was its ability to support encrypted sensors. While it took a little while before its encrypted sensor lineup became available, we were very pleased with the result. The 2GIG eSeries Sensors use highly secure encryption to keep your system protected. It also seems that 2GIG is regularly expanding upon this lineup, as we have been seeing new eSeries Sensors hit the market it recent times. All of the 2GIG eSeries Sensors are compatible with the GC3e, as well as its little brother, the GC2e.

With the GC3e, you also get access to the Honeywell 5800 Sensors and the 2GIG 345 MHz lineup. Just like with the Lyric, there is a bit more of a diverse selection of non-encrypted sensors available for the 2GIG GC3e. You can definitely set up a mixture of encrypted and non-encrypted sensors to meet the needs of your business. But with new 2GIG eSeries offerings continuing to become available, you shouldn't have much trouble building a fully encrypted 2GIG Security System.


Alarm grid inside security stickers

If you are looking to set up an encrypted security system, then Alarm Grid is here to help! We can let you know if your existing system has any encrypted sensor options available. We can also help you determine if you are currently using encrypted devices or if your existing sensors are non-encrypted. Many users have trouble determining. Either way, we'll help you make an informed decision so that you can get the most out of your monitoring service. If you want to reach us, please email 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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While checking out Firmware Version 2.5.3 for the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, we came across the Smart Energy Optimizer feature, and we figured we'd take a closer look. From what we can tell, this feature looks to be a nice way to set up automation rules for lighting devices right from the IQ2.



As you can see from the above picture, the option is found conveniently within the Settings Menu for the system. Simply click on the small grey bar at the top of the screen, and then choose Settings. You should see the Smart Energy Optimizer option with the Tree icon in the bottom-left corner. In order to enter this menu, you must have at least one compatible Z-Wave device enrolled with the system. If you try to enter the menu without a Z-Wave device being enrolled, then you will not gain access.

Once you are in the menu, you can set compatible lights to turn ON/OFF or to DIM to a set level during peak hours that you can set on the panel. You can set both the month and the hour of the day when "peak" consumption goes into effect for energy savings. You can also choose whether the automatic adjustments will only be applied to weekends (Saturday and Sunday). It's all customizable. We're sure Qolsys is going to continue developing this feature.


Based on the settings we have shown above, our light is set to automatically DIM to a 52% level between the months of June to September, during the hours of 2pm to 5pm, with the weekends set as the peak. Of course, you can set your compatible light or dimmer switch however you want. The time setting is expressed in 24-hour "military time", so keep that in mind when setting your values. For our testing, we used the Qolsys IQ Dimmer. The dimmer level bar is a bit flimsy and difficult to adjust, so we're hoping Qolsys makes it a bit easier to control in a future update. But for now, 52% is close enough to half-level that we're happy.

We're still exploring the feature, so we'll let you know if we find out anything else. For now though, it looks like a nifty little way that you can automate your smart lights directly from your Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus System! If you have any questions about the feature, or if you want to learn more about alarm monitoring, send an email to support@alarmgrid.com. We're here to check email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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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!

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It's time for another video recap! There are eight (8) new videos this week, all featuring yours truly. We spent a lot of time working on the 2GIG GC2e again. We also covered the process for backdooring the Honeywell LYNX Touch Panels, and we touched on the IQ2+. Let's check out the videos!

Alarm grid inside security stickers

Pairing a Z-Wave Device with the 2GIG GC2e

I show you how to pair a Z-Wave device with a 2GIG GC2e Security System. The 2GIG GC2e serves as a Z-Wave Plus controller, which allows you to pair smart home automation devices with the system. Devices can be controlled locally at the panel, as well as remotely from Alarm.com if the system is monitored. There are many types of Z-Wave devices you can use with the GC2e, including lights, door locks, smart thermostats, and more!


Programming a Wireless Zone On a 2GIG GC2e

I show you how to program a wireless zone for a 2GIG GC2e Alarm System. Every sensor used with the 2GIG GC2e will take up at least one zone. The GC2e System has sixty (60) wireless zones available. You can pair sensors from the Honeywell 5800 Series, the 2GIG 345 MHz Series, and the 2GIG eSeries Lineup. We recommend auto-enrolling any new sensor to prevent entering an incorrect Serial Number. Auto-enrolling will also confirm successful communication.


Programming a Key Fob for a 2GIG GC2e

I show you how to program a key fob for a 2GIG GC2e Alarm Panel. A key fob is a small, handheld device that you can use to arm and disarm your system. You can very easily carry around a key fob in your pocket or purse, and they are great for putting on key rings. Popular key fob options for the 2GIG GC2e System include the 2GIG KEY2-345, the 2GIG KEY2e-345, and the Honeywell 5834-4.


Adding & Changing User Codes On a 2GIG GC2e

I show you how to add and change user codes on a 2GIG GC3 Security Panel. The GC2e has (64) user code slots available. You need a valid user code to successfully disarm the system. It is recommended that everyone who uses the system regularly has their own user code so that you can keep track of who uses the system. You can also apply a schedule to a code so that it only works at certain times.


Using the Backdoor to Enter Programming On a Honeywell L5200 or L5210

I show you how to use the backdoor method on a Honeywell L5200 or L5210. The backdoor method involves rebooting the panel and then performing a special sequence of commands as the system reloads. By completing this process, you can get into programming if you were previously locked out. Please note that the backdooring process will not work if the system is currently in an armed state. You will need to disarm the system before you can backdoor.


Getting Back Into Programming On an L7000 If You're Locked Out

I show you how to get into programming on a Honeywell L7000 if you're locked out by using the backdoor method. There are two (2) main reasons why you would become locked out of programming. The first is that the option "NO" was selected at the prompt asking if the installer should be allowed to re-enter programming. Always choose "YES" when exiting programming. The other possibility is that you do not know the Installer Code for the system. Do not change the Installer Code from its default of 4112 to avoid being locked out.


Secure Arming On the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus

I demonstrate the Secure Arming feature on the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. When Secure Arming is enabled, you must enter a valid user code or the Master Code when arming the system. Normally, the system can be armed without providing a code. Additionally, you must also provide a code if you go to cancel an arming session during the Exit Delay countdown if this feature is enabled. Many parents with small children enable the feature to prevent the system from being armed accidentally.


IQ Panel 2 Exit Delay Increased After Opening Door

I explain why the Exit Delay timer on the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus will automatically increase after opening a door. This is due to a false alarm prevention feature called Auto Exit Time Extension. This feature is activated if two (2) Entry/Exit faults are detected during the Exit Delay countdown. When you fault the first E/E Zone after arming, the system assumes that you have left the building. Then when another E/E fault is detected, the system assumes that you have returned. It then gives you an added 60 seconds to exit the building. If you quickly re-entered the premises because you forgot something, this prevents you from having to disarm and then re-arm the system.

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One of the biggest benefits of alarm monitoring service is that most plans include access to an interactive monitoring and automation platform for controlling your system and smart home automation devices remotely. This is extremely convenient, and it can offer you great peace of mind!

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Most Alarm Grid monitoring plans will include access to either Total Connect 2.0 (TC2) or Alarm.com (ADC). TC2 is for Honeywell and Resideo Alarm Systems, while ADC is for systems from other manufacturers, such as Qolsys, 2GIG, and DSC. For TC2, your system can use an internet communicator, a cellular communicator, or dual-path communication with both internet and cellular. But a panel using ADC must have a cellular communicator that is activated and registered. IP (internet protocol) connectivity is optional for Alarm.com.

Before buying a system and/or communicator, you should consider which monitoring plan is right for you. In order to control your automation devices through an interactive platform, you must have monitoring plan of Silver or higher. Keep in mind that anyone using Alarm.com will have a Gold Plan or higher, as Gold is needed for cellular connectivity. You can choose between central station plans for automatic emergency dispatch, and self plans where it is up to the end user to request help. This guide will tell you all about our monitoring plans.

The real fun begins once you have the right system, communicator, and monitoring plan. By accessing Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com, you can control your system remotely by using a convenient app on your phone, or by opening a web browser. It is also possible to check the status of your system or an automation device, which is great if you forgetful and forgot whether or not you took proper action before leaving home. Some of the situations where this may be convenient can include:

  • Making sure you armed your system before leaving.
  • Turning ON your front porch lights if you're arriving home late.
  • Checking to see that you locked your front door before heading out.
  • Turning OFF your thermostat to save money while you're away.
  • Making sure your garage door is closed if you forgot.

Alarm Grid offers many smart home automation devices that allow for easy integration with a security system. Most notable are Z-Wave devices. The great thing about Z-Wave is that the smart home protocol integrates very nicely with most of the security systems we support. It is super easy to build a robust and reliable Z-Wave network of interconnected devices. Most of the new wireless systems we sell will readily support Z-Wave devices right out of the box.

We understand that this can be a lot to wrap your head around all at once. That is why we're here to help! We invite you to contact us so that we can help you plan the ideal alarm system and automation network for your home. The best way to reach us is to either email our team at support@alarmgrid.com, or call us at (888) 818-7728 during our regular business hours of 9am to 8pm ET M-F. Our planning team will be happy to help you every step of the way in building your new state-of-the-art system. We look forward to hearing from you!

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