Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus AT&T LTE, DSC Compatible Posts

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Qolsys has released the long-awaited Firmware Version 2.6.0. This will be the base version for the Qolsys IQ Hub and will allow users to configure the new IQ WIFI Mesh Router from the touchscreen of the IQ Panel 2. These are only a couple of the new features. This is truly an exciting update!

We've been talking about the Qolsys IQ Hub, well, forever, it seems. But honestly, it's been "coming soon" for over a year now. We are so glad that the wait is almost over. The Qolsys IQ Hub will truly be a DIY dream. Qolsys has taken a "see no green" approach to this panel, meaning there is no reason to open the panel fully, so you should never see the green printed circuit board (PCB). It won't even have screw terminals! The battery will be easily end-user replaceable with a minimum of "deconstruction" to the alarm panel itself. Some of the best features of the IQ Panel 2/2+ will be available in this new panel, such as Bluetooth disarming, and Alarm.com Camera Streaming at the panel.

A couple of things have been removed though. It will not have a built-in camera, nor will it offer 2-way voice capability. The IQ Hub is meant to be a slightly less expensive alternative to the IQ Panel 2 or 2 Plus, and to the Qolsys IQ Panel 4 that we should be seeing later this year. Initially, the IQ Hub will support PowerG Wireless Sensors, but later, there will be 319.5 MHz, 345 MHz, and 433 MHz options available. Each IQ Hub is intended to support only one (1) RF frequency.

You might be saying, "I thought this was a blog about Firmware Version 2.6.0?" Well, it is. But the fact that we have Firmware Version 2.6.0 available now means that the full release of the Qolsys IQ Hub won't be far behind. The Qolsys IQ Hub is scheduled for a Q2 2021 release. Aside from all the new features and improvements for the IQ Panel 2 Plus itself, another exciting capability that is added in this firmware release is the ability to control and configure the new Qolsys IQ Router through the IQ Panel 2 or 2 Plus Touchscreen.

The Qolsys IQ Router is also slated for release in Q2 of 2021. This is a mesh router system that will support up to eight (8) nodes, and both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks. What's great about this product is that it allows a user to create a WIFI subnet inside their regular network. Any devices that use WIFI can be attached to the network, not just security devices, and multiple nodes (up to 8) can be added to strengthen the mesh network. If you change internet providers or even just internet equipment, you simply unplug the IQ Router from the existing router, plug it into the new router, and all of the WIFI devices will remain connected to the WIFI sub-network without having to reconfigure any of them. These are two upcoming products associated with the release of Firmware Version 2.6.0 that we're really looking forward to.

Below you'll find some of the additional new features supported on Firmware Version 2.6.0:

New Features:

  • Support for DSC hardwire keypads (HS2LCD, HS2ICN) via the CORBUS on the PowerG Hardwire to Wireless Translator (PG9WLSHW8) with Firmware V 1.1. Also added new PGM system triggers for Police, Fire, Aux & CO emergency.
  • Support for DSC NEO Wire-Free Keypads HS2LCDWFx, HS2LCDWFxENG.
  • Support for new V4 PowerG Daughter Card.
  • Panel now supports remote Z-Wave Smart Start integration from Alarm.com.
  • This update includes the critical firmware2 fix that resolves an issue where certain panels would automatically reboot with previous firmware applied.

Fixes & Improvements

  • Added a setting to allow the panel to send 1 or 10 images taken by PowerG Image Sensor Cameras (PG9934P, PG9944, NEXT CAM, PG2, NEXT CAM K9-85 PG2, BW-IRC, BW-IPC, TOWER CAM PG2, BW-ODC) during an alarm event to Alarm.com. Previously, ten (10) images were stored locally at the panel, but only the first image was sent to Alarm.com.
  • Added a setting allowing alarm dealers to select a specific time for Communication Tests to be sent to the monitoring station. If no selection is made, the time will be randomized.
  • Added a setting for detection direction on PG9902 Outdoor Curtain PIR. Users can choose left to right, right to left, or both.
  • Added the ability to disable PowerG activation LED on devices that have one in order to conserve battery.
  • Added Partition support for EN Grade 2 Panels.
  • Improved 700-Series Z-Wave performance on UK & EU Panels.
  • Bluetooth Disarm now available for UK & EU Panels.
  • Added language support for Spanish (Spain), French (France), Finnish, and Polish.
  • Added support for European date format: DD.MM.YYYY.
  • Improved cellular strength matching between Panel and Alarm.com for Latin America.
  • Silent and Audible Panics now report separate CID codes to central station.
  • Duress Alarm and Silent Police Panic can now be dismissed from Alarm.com.
  • Improvements to PowerG Wireless keypad functionality (WS9LCDWFx).
  • Keyfob arming now follows the Auto-Bypass setting on the panel.
  • Duress codes from KP-140 & KP-141 now transmit to Alarm.com.
  • Corrected an issue where a PG9905 Temperature Sensor would send double alarms for the same event.
  • Fixed an issue related to virtual device integration on the panel, which includes Liftmaster Garage Door control from the panel UI, and Solar Integration from Alarm.com. See TSB 201026 for additional details.

Into each life, a little rain must fall. It's not all good news, although, this is more of an inconvenience than actual bad news. Because Firmware Version 2.6.0 also contains the important firmware2 fix, it must be downloaded and installed from the Qolsys Server. The server has some logic built-in that allows it to tell if the panel being updated requires the firmware2 fix, or not. For this reason, much like Firmware version 2.5.5, Qolsys is not making this firmware file available for download. This means that Alarm Grid can't host it on our site.

What this means for the end-user is that in order to get 2.6.0, your panel must have a WIFI connection. Once it does, you have two ways in which you can get the firmware. You can request it from your alarm dealer, and they can push the update to your panel from Alarm.com. This will be a free update. As long as your panel has WIFI 24/7, this is a simple and no-fuss way to get your panel updated. Just remember, if for some reason your panel loses WIFI, the update won't go through. Alarm.com will not allow the panel to be updated via a cellular-only connection. You can also follow the instructions below to request the update via Patch Tag.

If your panel happens to be in an area where there is no WIFI, maybe it's a hunting or fishing cabin, or a second home where WIFI is not readily available, then you may be able to use your cell phone as a mobile hotspot and fool the panel into thinking it's connected to WIFI. The amount of data in this file is about 250 MB according to Qolsys. Alternatively, you may be able to move the panel to a spot that has WIFI available just long enough to perform the upgrade. In a situation like this, you need to be in control of when the update begins, so in this case, you would want to use the "Patch Tag" method of updating. To do so, once your panel has a WIFI connection, do the following:

Follow these instructions after making sure your panel is on version 2.0.1 or higher. If the panel is on 2.5.0 or 2.5.1, the user must first update to 2.5.3 before running the update for 2.6.0:

  • Touch the small gray bar in the center at the top of the Home screen on the panel.
  • Touch “Settings”
  • Touch “Advanced Settings”
  • Enter a valid Installer or Dealer Code (defaults are 1111 and 2222 respectively)
  • Touch “Upgrade Software”.
  • Touch “Patch Tag” and enter: iqpanel2.6.0 then touch “OK”.
  • Important: If you need to install 2.5.3 prior to this update, the Patch Tag for that version is: iqpanel2.5.3. Run that update before running the Patch Tag for 2.6.0.
  • Touch “Upgrade Using Network”. If the panel is connected to WIFI, the system will begin downloading the update, it will be installed when the download completes. Once the update begins Do Not Touch The Screen! The update will take about five (5) minutes, and the panel will reboot as a part of the process. When the panel returns to the home screen and the Green LED at the right lights, the process has completed.

What do you think about the new Qolsys firmware, and the new products they have in the pipeline? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Is there a security topic you'd like to see us discuss? If so, leave a comment and we'll be happy to cover any security-related topics of interest. As always, we look forward to hearing from you!

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It's always a great start to the week when there's a new Alarm Grid video recap! We have six (6) new videos to check out this time. I had to step in front of the camera again, as others continue to work from home. It will be a bit longer before others return. But anyway, here are the videos.

Interlogix Simon XTi & XTi-5: Setting Installer Code to Default

I show you how to set the Installer Code on an Interlogix Simon XTi or Interlogix Simon XTi-5 to its default setting. The default Installer Code for these systems is 4321. This is actually the same default code as the default Dealer Code for these systems. The only way to have the same Installer Code and Dealer Code on an Interlogix Simon XTi or Interlogix Simon XTi-5 is to keep both of the codes at their default setting of 4321. If you change either code, then you must factory default the system to get both codes back to the default.


IQ Panel 2 Plus: Setting Installer Code to Default

I show you how to set the Installer Code on a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus back to default. This system has a default Installer Code of 1111. Alarm Grid recommends keeping the code at its default so that you do not become locked out of programming. If you forget the default code, you can always look it up later. Keeping the Installer Code at the default does not present a security risk because you cannot disarm the system with that code. To reset the Installer Code, you must know either the current Installer Code or the current Dealer Code.


Connecting August Smart Lock Pro to WIFI

I show you how to connect the August Smart Lock Pro to a WIFI network. To do this, you will need an August Connect WIFI Bridge. Alarm Grid sells a bundled kit that comes with both devices. Connecting your August Smart Lock Pro to WIFI will allow you to control the lock remotely through the August Home App when your phone is outside of Bluetooth range. The only other ways to control the lock remotely are outside of the August App through Apple HomeKit or Z-Wave. The August App switches to WIFI automatically once you are outside of Bluetooth range.


Using August Smart Lock Pro With Apple HomeKit

I show you how to configure the August Smart Lock Pro for use with Apple HomeKit on an Apple iOS device. All HomeKit communication for the August Smart Lock Pro occurs through wireless Bluetooth connectivity between the lock itself and a dedicated HomeKit Hub. The dedicated HomeKit Hub can be an Apple iPad, an Apple HomePod, or an AppleTV Gen 4 or higher. You must keep the dedicated HomeKit Hub within Bluetooth range at all times for proper connectivity. The lock cannot use WIFI to communicate with the HomeKit Hub, even if an August Connect WIFI Bridge has been configured.


Wired Alarm System: Power Cycling

I show you how to power cycle your hardwired security system. Power cycling, or a power cycle reset, involves powering the system down and then powering it back on. There are a few reasons you might do this. If you are adding new hardware, such as a new keypad or a new alarm monitoring communicator, then you must power down your system first, and then power it back on after the hardware is installed. You might also power cycle as a general troubleshooting step. Most wired alarm panels require you to manually remove and restore power to fully power cycle.


Wireless Alarm System: Power Cycling

I show you how to power cycle your wireless security system. The reasons for power cycling a wireless system are usually the same reasons you would power cycle reset a wired alarm system. These reasons include making hardware changes and general troubleshooting. But for a wireless system, there is often a menu option you can use to reboot the system, without needing to manually drop and restore AC power and battery power. You should refer to the installation manual for your wireless alarm system to learn how to reboot through a menu selection, as it differs between systems.

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Alarm Grid has learned that Qolsys IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus Firmware Version 2.5.5 is now available for download. The update mainly focuses on providing fixes for issues that affected earlier firmware versions. This is believed to be the final update before the eventual 2.6.0 release.


For a complete outline of Software Update 2.5.5 and what it includes, make sure to check out Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) # 210315 released by Qolsys. Although this update doesn't provide any new features or functions for the IQ2 or IQ2+, it does offer some important fixes to help ensure that your system functions as smoothly as possible and without issue. Additions for 2.5.5 include:

  • Fixes an issue involving PowerG device syncing in Versions 2.5.3 and 2.5.4. More information is available here.
  • Corrects a problem that caused certain IQ2 Help Videos in languages other than English to not play properly.
  • Applies the firmware2 patch fix to stop affected IQ2+ Systems from automatically rebooting. More information can be found here.
  • All of the new additions in 2.5.4 are also included in 2.5.5. This is important for users who may be skipping 2.5.4 and going right to 2.5.5.

Please note that at this time, the only way to update your IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus System to 2.5.5 is via the Patch Tag method. Alarm dealers like Alarm Grid do not have access to the 2.5.5 Firmware at this time, and it is not possible to have the update pushed down to your panel from Alarm.com currently. We expect that to change in the coming days once Alarm.com vets the software to their satisfaction. This is also why we updated our IQ Panel 2 Plus Firmware Update Page to reflect Version 2.5.5, but pointed the download link back to this blog page. It is possible that Version 2.5.5 will not be made available for download, in which case the only way to achieve this version is to update using WIFI at the panel. If the panel is installed in an area where WIFI is not available, users should be able to use a cell phone or other hotspot to apply the update using the Patch Tag method.

Applying Firmware Version 2.5.5 to your IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus via Patch Tag is quite simple. However, it must be mentioned that if your IQ2 or IQ2+ is currently on FW Version 2.5.0 or 2.5.1, then you need to stage upgrade to Version 2.5.3 first before then updating to the new 2.5.5 version. All IQ2 and IQ2+ Systems on versions other than 2.5.0 and 2.5.1 do not need to stage upgrade and can instead go directly to 2.5.5, as long as the panel is on at least Version 2.0.1.

Remember that you can check your IQ2 or IQ2+ firmware version by starting from the main system screen, pressing the small grey bar at the top, and then choosing Settings > Advanced Settings > enter Installer Code (default 1111) > About > Software. As long as your IQ2 or IQ2+ is on at least 2.0.1, and is on a version other than 2.5.0 or 2.5.1, you can go directly to 2.5.5.

As always, only IQ2 and IQ2+ Systems on Software Versions of 2.0.1 or higher can receive firmware updates. If you have a rare IQ2 System that is less than Version 2.0.1, you should strongly consider replacing the panel. This only applies to a very small number of IQ2 users, but it's still a warning we need to put out!

We have received word from Qolsys that the firmware2 patch fix portion of the update is extremely small in size - only about 500KB. But the entire 2.5.5 Software Package is much larger, at approximately 250MB in size. Most users upgrading shouldn't run into issues, but the large size may be undesirable for a user who is trying to apply the update using a hotspot on their cell phone because they do not have true WIFI service. We just wanted to point this out in case it affects anyone.

To prepare for the upgrade, make sure your IQ2 or IQ2+ is plugged in with its battery charged. It should be connected to a WIFI network. Then once you are are ready, do the following to upgrade to FW Version 2.5.5:

Start from the main screen of the IQ2 or IQ2+. Swipe the small grey bar at the top. Choose Settings > Advanced Settings > enter Installer Code (default 1111) > Upgrade Software > Patch Tag > enter iqpanel2.5.5 > OK > Upgrade Using Network.

Your system should then begin applying the update. According to Qolsys, the update should take about five (5) minutes to apply. We tested the update on an original IQ Panel 2 System in our office, and we were very impressed with how quickly the update was applied.


Got any questions about IQ Panel 2 Plus Firmware Update 2.5.5? Or maybe you have some hopes or a wishlist for the much anticipated IQ Panel 2 Firmware Update 2.6.0? Leave a comment down below and share your thoughts. We would love to hear from you! And remember to keep reading our blog for more security news on the way very soon!

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We have been made aware of a critical firmware issue affecting Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Systems manufactured between Week 35 of 2020 (or Week 37 for some factory codes) and Week 05 of 2021. The issue causes systems to automatically reboot at times. We apologize for any resulting inconvenience.


According to Qolsys, all IQ panel 2 Plus Systems manufactured with a Date Code of G035 to G105 AND J037 to J105 are affected. This can be seen in digits 6 thru 9 of the system's Serial Number (SN) on the product box, on the back of the system, and in the Hardware portion of the About Menu in Advanced Settings.


If your system is affected, then you can download a special firmware update to correct the problem. In order to download this corrective firmware, your system must be one of the affected models (see above), and you must have the panel on Software Version 2.4.2 or higher (check the About Menu). You may also want to check out our Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Firmware Update Page here if you need to update your system to 2.4.2 before running this patch.

If you meet the criteria, then you can perform the following steps to update the firmware:

1. Prepare IQ2+ System. Make sure your system meets the aforementioned criteria to receive the special update. In addition, have your system connected to WIFI. Your system should be plugged in for AC power, and it should not have a low battery.

Monitoring stations will eventually be able to push this upgrade over-the-air (OTA). If your system is in a location where WIFI is not available, the monitoring station should be able to push the update, but to do so via cellular data may incur a small fee. This will require that the panel is set up for monitoring service, including connectivity with Alarm.com.

2. Access Upgrade Software Menu. From the main system screen, swipe the small grey bar at the top, and choose Settings > Advanced Settings > enter the Installer Code (default 1111) > Upgrade Software. You are in the Upgrade Software Menu.

3. Enter Patch Tag. Find the Patch Tag field. Click on it, and enter firmware2. Make sure you enter firmware2 exactly. Press OK to confirm.

4. Apply the update. Choose "Upgrade Using Network". The update should then begin. It should take around five (5) minutes to complete, though it can take a bit longer in some cases. Do not touch the system during the update. The system should reboot once complete.

5. Verify the update. You can verify the update by repeating Step 2, except this time choose About > Software, instead of "Upgrade Software". The build number should display 0210219_sp1 to indicate a successful update.

This update should fix and/or prevent your IQ2+ System from randomly rebooting if it was part of the batch with the critical firmware issue. We hope that this helps any affected users overcome issues with the IQ2+ Systems. Make sure to stay tuned to the Alarm Grid blog for the latest news regarding Qolsys, the IQ Panel 2, and any other important security system news!

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You may recall that we made a post about a month ago discussing "issues" that have been affecting the IQ Panel 2 Plus and its ability to be used as a secondary Z-Wave controller. We have a rather extreme follow up today, as Qolsys has revealed that the system never supported the feature!


When we released the initial post on the subject, we were not aware of the true" extent" of the issue. We certainly didn't expect to find out that Qolsys never even made it possible for the feature to work. We won't dive super deep into the subject here, as there really isn't much to say, The raw truth is that you cannot use the IQ2 as a secondary Z-Wave controller.

It is possible to add a secondary Z-Wave controller to the IQ Panel 2 and have the IQ2 operate as the primary controller. But you can never make the IQ Panel 2 System a secondary Z-Wave controller. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion that this may have caused. For a more in-depth look at the subject, we strongly recommend reading this comprehensive FAQ that explains the inability of the IQ2 to be used as a secondary controller in much greater detail.

Now, maybe you have explored the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Advanced Z-Wave Settings Menus in glorious detail, just like we have. If you have, then you will know that secondary controller options do exist within the IQ2 menus. Based on that alone, you would think that there must be a way to get this type of setup to work, right? That's the problem. The menu options might be there, plain as day. But trust us, if you try to make the IQ2 a secondary Z-Wave controller, then it will not work,

What we need to do now is focus on the implications that arise from the system's inability to be used as a secondary controller. As a result of the IQ Panel 2 being unable to operate as a secondary Z-Wave controller, the system loses out on potential compatibility with a wide selection of automation hubs. This includes compatibility with Samsung SmartThings, Vera Smart Controllers, Nexia Smart Home Automation Systems, and much more. Seriously, while the IQ2 once had excellent prospects of pairing nicely with almost any centralized Z-Wave hub, those prospects are all but gone.

Fortunately, there are other alarm systems that do not share this same limitation of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus. Most notably, we will recommend the Honeywell Lyric Controller. The Lyric has proven on repeated occasions to "play nicely" as a secondary controller. One example can be seen in this FAQ, which explains the benefits of making the Lyric a secondary Z-Wave controller, while also helping users get started. If you are thinking about purchasing a new Honeywell Lyric Alarm System for its excellent versatility in smart home automation, then you may also want to check out this buying guide. Although that particular buying guide was written for the Lyric during a holiday buying season a couple of years prior, it is still relevant in helping new Lyric System users explore their options for getting the most out of the system.

If you have any questions about the Honeywell Lyric or any other popular alarm control panel, or if you want to learn more about our monitoring services, send an email to support@alarmgrid.com. We're here to check your emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Update: This issue was even more severe than initially realized. The Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus offers no functionality as a secondary Z-Wave controller. More information on the subject is outlined in this FAQ.

We have learned of a flaw affecting the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and its Z-Wave functionality. The system cannot be used as an effective secondary Z-Wave controller with another Z-Wave hub. This issue has been confirmed on FW Version 2.5.4,and earlier versions are also likely affected.


If you are unaware of how a secondary Z-Wave controller works, it is basically a method to give you multiple points, or hubs, for controlling a Z-Wave network. When setting up a device as a secondary Z-Wave controller, you start by clearing all Z-Wave devices from that hub. All Z-Wave devices should instead be paired with the main hub, which will be the primary Z-Wave controller. You then pair the secondary controller to the primary controller. By doing this, all the Z-Wave devices associated with the primary controller will be pushed over to the secondary controller so that they can be controlled from both devices. Making the IQ Panel 2 System a secondary controller is a popular choice when using the system alongside Samsung SmartThings, Vera, and a selection of other Z-Wave controllers and hubs.

However, we have discovered that when the IQ Panel 2 is made a secondary controller, users are unable to control any devices that have been pushed over from the primary hub. The process will appear to be working, as the IQ2 System will successfully join the other Z-Wave network, but no control will be available for the Z-Wave devices pushed over to the system from the primary controller. Basically, these Z-Wave devices cannot be controlled from the IQ Panel 2 System, nor can they be controlled from the Alarm.com platform. This makes the IQ Panel 2 effectively useless as a secondary Z-Wave controller. We have confirmed that this problem exists on IQ Panel 2 Firmware Version 2.5.4. It is also believed that earlier firmware versions also carried this same issue. But we are unsure which was the first version to experience this problem.

Alarm Grid would like to apologize to anyone affected by this issue. We have already reached out to Qolsys to make them aware of the problem and to learn about a possible fix. Unfortunately, we have not received any word from Qolsys on when a fix would be released. We are hopeful that something in upcoming Firmware Version 2.6.0 may correct this issue, but we have not received any indication from Qolsys that such a fix will be implemented. This means that it may be impossible to use the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus as a secondary Z-Wave controller for the foreseeable future. Please note that this issue is not believed to have any impact on the primary Z-Wave functions of the system.

We understand that not being able to reliably use the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus as a secondary Z-Wave controller will be a major concern for some users. If you are looking for a panel that has proven to work reliably and consistently as a secondary Z-Wave controller, then we want to give special recommendation to the Honeywell Lyric Alarm System. We have seen the Lyric work wonderfully as a secondary Z-Wave controller when paired with a variety of popular home automation hubs. You might consider the Lyric as an alternative to the IQ Panel 2 Plus if secondary Z-Wave functionality is particularly important to you.

If you have any questions about this issue, or if you are an Alarm Grid monitored customer experiencing any unrelated problems or issues, please email our support team at support@alarmgrid.com. We will work to provide you with a quick and effective solution so that you can continue to get the very most out of your monitoring service. This is also a good email to use if you are interested in starting any new monitoring service with Alarm Grid. Remember, we are here from 9am to 8pm ET M-F to answer any questions or inquiries you might have. We look forward to hearing from you!

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We have received word that Qolsys has released Firmware Version 2.5.4 for the IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus Systems. The main highlights for this latest firmware update include fixes with the Z-Wave S2 Encryption Protocol, plus fixes regarding the use of LiftMaster Garage Door Control.

We do have one thing to mention for users of the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Solar Integration. If you are using the IQ2 Solar Integration then, DO NOT UPGRADE TO 2.5.4. Instead stay on 2.5.3. However, if you want to use the LiftMaster Garage Door Integration instead of the Solar Integration, then you should upgrade to 2.5.4, but you will LOSE the Solar Integration. On Version 2.5.4, it is IMPOSSIBLE to use BOTH the Solar Integration AND the LiftMaster Integration. Qolsys has said that this will be fixed in Firmware Version 2.6.0, which should hopefully be available in the coming months. For now, if the Solar Integration is more important to you than a LiftMaster Integration, then just STAY ON 2.5.3. This ONLY applies to users of the Solar Integration. If you do not care about the Solar Integration, or if the LiftMaster Integration is more important to you, then UPGRADE TO 2.5.4. All things considered, MOST USERS WILL WANT TO UPGRADE TO 2.5.4. Keep in mind that there is NO WAY TO DOWNGRADE TO A LOWER FIRMWARE VERSION AFTER UPGRADING.

Before we get into all of the exciting new changes for IQ2 Firmware Update 2.5.4, we will first explain how to apply the firmware update to your Qolsys IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus System. To get started, there are a few prerequisites to keep in mind. Your Qolsys IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus must be on at least Firmware Version 2.0.1 or higher to apply the update. It must also be connected to WIFI, it should be receiving AC power from its plug-in transformer, and it should not have a low battery condition.

Now, this may get a bit confusing, but stick with us. Depending on which firmware version your IQ2 is currently running, it may be necessary to update in stages to get to 2.5.4. Start by considering which firmware version your system is currently running, and then take the appropriate action(s) based on what is outlined below. The important thing to remember is that your IQ2 must be already on 2.52 or 2.5.3 OR between 2.0.1 and 2.4.2 to upgrade directly to 2.5.4. If that applies to your system, then just go directly to 2.5.4.

For users on Version 2.5.0 or 2.5.1, things become a bit tricky. For these users, you need to upgrade to 2.5.2 or 2.5.3 first before you can get to 2.5.4. We recommend just updating to 2.5.2 and then going to 2.5.4, skipping 2.5.3. For information on updating to Version 2.5.2, please refer to this blog post. Once you are on 2.5.2 or 2.5.3, you can then follow the steps listed below.

Once you are on 2.5.2 or 2.5.3, or between 2.0.1 and 2.4.2, do the following:

  • Start from the main screen of the IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus.
  • Swipe down the small grey bar at the top.
  • Choose Settings > Advanced Settings.
  • Enter your Installer Code. Remember that this code is 1111 by default.
  • Choose Upgrade Software.
  • Find Patch Tag, and enter iqpanel2.5.4. You must enter the patch tag EXACTLY AS DISPLAYED. Choose OK.
  • Press Upgrade Using Network. If all the requirements have been met, the update will start.

Now, with that out of the way, we can start talking about what's new to 2.5.4. Here is a list of everything you can expect!

  • An issue involving the 6.81.03 Z-wave Firmware Version, also referred to as the 6.81 Z-Wave SDK, has been fixed. The issue caused Schlage Z-Wave Plus Door Locks and the Honeywell T6 PRO Z-Wave Plus Thermostat to not function properly when S2 encryption was used. These devices should now work properly when enrolled using the S2 protocol.
  • Corrections have been made to an issue that arose in Firmware Version 2.5.3 involving the use of LiftMaster Garage Door Control. The integration would not function properly from the panel UI. More information can be found in this document from Qolsys. Also, please see the message regarding the loss of the Solar Integration in 2.5.4 in the notes outlined above.
  • An issue involving the LED status light on PowerG Smoke and Heat Detectors, namely the DSC PG9936, has been fixed. Previously, the status light would not reset after an alarm had been cleared when using Installer Mode or Test Mode on the panel. More information on the issue is available in this document released by Qolsys.
  • The PowerG Radio Firmware has been upgraded to Version 80.34. This upgrade is designed to improve wireless communication, particularly when using multiple DSC PG9WLSHW8 PowerG Wired to Wireless Converter units.
  • Z-Wave Plus 500-Series Z-Wave Switches from Cooper and Eaton are now supported by the IQ Panel 2. The newly supported switches include RF9601, RF9617, RF9640-N, and RF9642-Z.
  • An issue involving PowerG Shock Sensors, namely the DSC PG9935, has been fixed. The issue occurred following a 15 minute placement test mode timeout. There have been further improvements made for false alarm prevention when shock sensors are paired as two (2) separate zones on the system.
  • The 2.5.4 Update now allows PowerG Keypads, namely the DSC WS9LCDWF9, to sound Fire Alarms triggered in other system partitions, provided that the Global Fire Setting is enabled. Please see this FAQ for more information.
  • PowerG Keypads, namely the DSC WS9LCDWF9, can now show special characters on their LCD screens if they are used as part of a Zone Description on the main Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus System.
  • The Energy Optimizer for the system is now available locally on the IQ Panel 2. This is used to set Z-Wave thermostats and Z-Wave Plug-In Switches to reduce their energy usage during peak consumption hours. This feature should NOT be used alongside Alarm.com Thermostat Schedules. It is also NOT compatible with the "Give Back, Get Back" program offered by Alarm.com.
  • Certain improvements have been made to the Help Videos as part of the Easy Install Wizard for the system.
  • There have been small changes to facilitate support of Canadian ULC-S304 for Level II Residential and Level II Commercial Listings.
  • A new setting for ULC Commercial Power Restoration is now available.
  • PowerG Image Sensors, namely the DSC PG9934P and DSC PG9944, now take a picture upon the activation of a Fire Alarm or a Carbon Monoxide Alarm, for EU IQ Panel 2 Systems Only. Most United States users will not have this change applied. Furthermore, image sensors learned into Sensor Group 25 will also produce pictures if triggered while the panel is armed.
  • If the EN Grade 2 Security Settings is Enabled, then User Codes will be hidden with dots, rather than showing the entered numeric code.

If you have any questions about Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Firmware Update 2.5.4, or if you are an Alarm Grid monitored customer needing help upgrading to Version 2.5.4, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com for assistance. This email is also good to use if you are interested in starting new monitoring service with Alarm Grid. Our support and planner teams are available from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you.

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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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