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ISC West, the security industry's largest trade show, was held this week in Las Vegas. This is the first year since the COVID-19 outbreak that the show is being held in person. We didn't attend the show this year, but based on what we've seen, JCI and Qolsys won the ISC West show in 2022.

Qolsys:

IQ Pro

Qolsys, Inc. which was acquired by Johnson Controls in 2020, premiered two brand new products, and reintroduced one more. The IQ Pro Panel is a hybrid wired and wireless system which targets large homes, and medium to large businesses. It combines the reliability of hardwired components with the range and versatility of the DSC PowerG Sensor lineup. The product is planned for release in Summer, 2022.

There is very little information available about the IQ Pro. The Press Release announcing the product, which was released by Johnson Controls, didn't even say for certain that it would be a Qolsys branded product, though with 'IQ' as a part of the name, we assume it will be. This panel will combine elements of the IQ Panel 4 with the DSC PowerSeries Neo, and a little bit of customer feedback thrown in. A couple of things we do know, the IQ Pro will offer the choice of either Ethernet or WIFI connectivity along with LTE. This panel has been designed with Alarm.com for Business in mind, to take advantage of all the extended features offered there.

IQ WIFI 6

The Qolsys IQ WIFI 6 was actually first introduced to us here at Alarm Grid last year. It is a product we thought was going to released then, but it was introduced at ISC West and should be available in Summer, along with the IQ Pro. The IQ WIFI 6 is is a router that uses 802.11 1/b/g/n/ac/ax WIFI-6 technology. It offers dual-end 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz MIMO mesh architecture on a Qualcomm Networking Pro 400 platform. It will integrate with Qolsys touchscreen panels, to allow a user to administer the network from there.

The IQ WIFI 6 will offer four (4) network partitions, including a Guest Network and a dedicated network for the end-user's WIFI devices. Both of these will switch automatically between 2.4 GHz and 5GHz for seamless optimization of WIFI performance. In addition to these partitions, there are two (2) private network partitions to be used by security and/or networking providers. By separating the security, surveillance, and smart home devices from the rest of the network, professional providers can cut down on disruptions caused by user error.

IQ Hub

The Qolsys IQ Hub has actually already been released, in a limited fashion within the last six (6) months or so. Presumably due to supply chain issues, Qolsys has tightly controlled how many of these panels are shipped, but now, based on a press release this week, it seems like they may be looking to perform a wider release. The IQ Hub differs from the IQ Panel 4 in several ways, one of which is that each panel will only support one RF product line. There is a PowerG version with either an AT&T or Verizon communicator. This is the only version that has been released at this time. Soon however, there will be a version that supports unencrypted, uni-directional Honeywell and 2GIG wireless sensors, one that supports unencrypted, uni-directional Interlogix and all Qolsys wireless sensors, and a version that supports uni-directional DSC 433 MHz wireless sensors.

Resideo:

Cellbounce

Resideo and Honeywell Home brought the Cellbounce to ISC West. This device will bridge communicators that work on the AT&T 3G network over to the AT&T LTE network, without having to replace the device. This is a plug-n-play device. It connects to an outlet within range, which is 25' (7.62m), of the existing AT&T 3G communicator, though be sure not to plug the Cellbounce in until it has been configured by your alarm dealer.

It syncs to the 3G communicator, then with the LTE network and any signals sent by the communicator will be picked up and transported via LTE. It even works with Total Connect 2.0, though it does not work with two-way voice. It also only works in the contiguous United States, so Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico residents, the Cellbounce is not for you. There are some other caveats and limitations, so be sure to read our product description carefully before purchasing.

2GIG, Nortek Control:

2GIG Edge

In October of 2021 Nortek Control, the parent company of 2GIG, was purchased by Nice. Nice originated in Italy, with Nice North America handling the US and Canadian segment of the business. This year at ISC West, Nice put their stamp on this relatively new acquisition. In addition to some commercial camera innovations by Linear, Nice/Nortek Control announced during ISC West that they will offer exclusive integration between the 2GIG Edge security panel and the ELAN Home Control platform. The Edge has been out for about a year now. You can read all about it here.

According to their press release, this integration will be supported by the ELAN SC-100 and ELAN SC-300 system controllers running ELAN 8.7 OS (which won't be available until April, 2022). The 2GIG Edge panel requires firmware version 3.1.1.0 or later. Firmware can be pushed through Alarm.com or downloaded. This panel firmware version is not available from 2GIG just yet, but once it is posted, our page will be updated. One of the more convenient features of this integration is the ELAN Control Auto Zone Detection feature. If the ELAN system is setup first, with zone names, once the 2GIG Edge is installed, it can download all zones and zone names directly from ELAN, without having to re-enter the information.


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ConEd

As we've reported before, Alarm.com partners with electrical power providers all over the country in a demand response program called Give Back Get Back. In exchange for allowing your participating provider to adjust your thermostat slightly during peak demand hours, you receive a bonus.

According to Alarm.com, there are typically between six (6) and ten (10) peak events per summer season. Customers who opt into this program in their area will receive advance notice of any adjustment that is planned for their location. They have the ability to opt-out of a particular event, or the entire program, at any time. The most recent additions to the Give Back Get Back program are:

AEP PSO of Oklahoma

AEP PSO calls this program PSO's Power Hours program. In order to be eligible, you must be a PSO residential customer and the electric service must be in your name. You must have an eligible internet-connected smart thermostat controlling your central air conditioning. And you must agree to allow PSO to make brief, small adjustments to your thermostat during Peak Events on high demand days.

As an incentive, you will receive a $50 e-gift card per eligible device, once you have successfully enrolled that device into the program. This e-gift card will arrive within 60 days of your acceptance in the program. It will be sent to the email address used to register for the program so be sure you enter your email address correctly when signing up! At the end of the summer season, starting in 2022, you will receive a $25 e-gift card per participating thermostat. If you are enrolled in AEP PSO Oklahoma's Time-of-Day (TOD) rate option, you can also participate in the Power Hours Program.

Qualifying Thermostats:
Manufacturer Approved Thermostats
Alarm.com Radio Thermostat CT30, CT80, CT100; Trane ComfortLink Control; RCS Z-Wave Communicating Thermostat; GoControl Z-Wave Thermostat; Alarm.com Smart Thermostat; 2GIG Z-Wave Plus™ Battery Powered Thermostat; Trane Z-Wave Thermostat; Linear Thermostat
ecobee ecobee3; ecobee3 Lite; ecobee4; ecobee Smart; ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control
Emerson Sensi™ WIFI Programmable Thermostat; Sensi™ Touch WIFI Thermostat
Honeywell Home WIFI Smart Color Thermostat; WIFI 7-Day Programmable Thermostat; WIFI 9000 7-Day Programmable Thermostat; 9000 Smart Thermostat; 7-Day Programmable Smart Thermostat; VisionPro 8000 Smart Thermostat; Round Smart Thermostat; T5+ Smart Thermostat; T6 Pro Smart Thermostat; T9 Smart Thermostat, T10 Smart Thermostat
Lux LUX/GEO; LUX KONO
Google Nest Google Next Thermostat; Google Nest Learning Thermostat; Google Nest Thermostat E
Radio Thermostat Company of America Filtrete 3M-50; CT30; CT50; CT80

ConEd

By enrolling in ConEd's program in 2022, customers earn a chance to win a $5,000 prize. ConEd calls their program Power Savers. To be eligible to participate, you must be a resident of New York with an electric utility account, you must use your thermostat to control central air conditioning, and you must have installed an eligible thermostat. Note that the list of eligible thermostats is quite a bit smaller for ConEd.

Qualifying Thermostats:
Manufacturer Approved Thermostats
Alarm.com Radio Thermostat CT30, CT80, CT100; Trane ComfortLink Control; RCS Z-Wave Communicating Thermostat; GoControl Z-Wave Thermostat; Alarm.com Smart Thermostat; 2GIG Z-Wave Plus™ Battery Powered Thermostat; Trane Z-Wave Thermostat; Linear Thermostat
ecobee ecobee3; ecobee3 Lite; ecobee4; ecobee Smart; ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control
Lux LUX/GEO; LUX KONO
Radio Thermostat Company of America Filtrete 3M-50; CT30; CT50; CT80

AEP ApCo Virginia

With AEP ApCo, Appalachian Power Virginia, enrolled customers receive a $50 e-gift card upon enrollment and acceptance into the program. In addition, customers can earn up to $25 in e-gift cards at the end of the season ($5 for each summer month of participation from May - September).

To be eligible to enroll, you must be an Appalachian Power, VA residential electric customer, and the electrical service must be in your name. Once you install an eligible inter-connected smart thermostat for your central air conditioning system and sign up to allow Appalachian Power to make brief, small adjustments to your thermostat on days of high energy demand, you will receive your e-gift card. It should arrive within 60 days of being accepted into the program. The e-gift card will be sent to the email address used to register your thermostat, so be sure you enter your email address correctly, then be on the lookout for your gift card!

Qualifying Thermostats:
Manufacturer Approved Thermostats
Alarm.com Radio Thermostat CT30, CT80, CT100; Trane ComfortLink Control; RCS Z-Wave Communicating Thermostat; GoControl Z-Wave Thermostat; Alarm.com Smart Thermostat; 2GIG Z-Wave Plus™ Battery Powered Thermostat; Trane Z-Wave Thermostat; Linear Thermostat
ecobee ecobee3; ecobee3 Lite; ecobee4; ecobee Smart; ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control
Emerson Sensi™ WIFI Programmable Thermostat; Sensi™ Touch WIFI Thermostat
Honeywell Home WIFI Smart Color Thermostat; WIFI 7-Day Programmable Thermostat; WIFI 9000 7-Day Programmable Thermostat; 9000 Smart Thermostat; 7-Day Programmable Smart Thermostat; VisionPro 8000 Smart Thermostat; Round Smart Thermostat; T5+ Smart Thermostat; T6 Pro Smart Thermostat; T9 Smart Thermostat, T10 Smart Thermostat
Lux LUX/GEO; LUX KONO
Google Nest Google Next Thermostat; Google Nest Learning Thermostat; Google Nest Thermostat E
Radio Thermostat Company of America Filtrete 3M-50; CT30; CT50; CT80
Vivint Radio Thermostat CT100 with Vivint Go!Control Panel

If you're an Alarm Grid customer and you use an Alarm.com compatible panel with a Z-Wave or WIFI Smart Thermostat, you may be eligible to enroll in the same type of program in your area. To find out, you can go to enrollmythermostat.com, enter your Zip Code in the space supplied, and find out if your electrical, and in some cases gas company participates in the Give Back Get Back Program. As the old saying goes, every little bit helps!

Have a security-related topic you'd like to hear more about? Drop a comment in the space below and we'll research and post relevant information. What do you think about the Give Back Get Back Program? Are you in an area where you can take advantage of this feature? If not, contact your utilities provider, maybe they're unaware of this incentive program.

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Today, February 22, 2022 is the official date for the AT&T 3G Sunset. As we've mentioned before, there isn't a big switch that gets turned off and then, "Poof!" no more 3G. If you still have an AT&T 3G communicator, it may continue to work for a while, but there is no way to know how long.

If you're just becoming aware of the AT&T 3G Sunset because you have a security panel that you haven't been paying much attention to for a while, then you probably are seeing some type of error, and possibly hearing some annoying beeping. Some of the more common error messages are shown further down in this post. The thing to keep in mind is that your alarm panel wants to be sure that you know there's a problem. So, if you just press the touchscreen, or press any button on the keypad, that should stop the beeping, at least temporarily.

If you know the arming/disarming code for the system, enter it if prompted on a touchscreen panel, or if you're on a VISTA panel, just enter your 4-digit code and then press the OFF or 1 Key. This will acknowledge the trouble condition and stop the beeping on a more permanent basis, though in some cases, it may come back after a period of time. If you don't know a valid code for the system, then you will likely need to shut down your system by unplugging the transformer and the battery. If you're interested in putting your system into service keep reading to see how Alarm Grid is helping out in this situation.

If you find yourself in the unenviable position of needing to replace an AT&T 3G communicator, but you haven't done so yet, don't panic. The AT&T 3G network is vast and complex. It's not something that you can simply turn off. The process of sunsetting 3G equipment will take a bit of time. So, if after today your 3G communicator still works, you're one of the lucky ones. You've been given a slight reprieve. However, there is no way for us to know how long that reprieve will last, so decide what you're going to do, and do it now.

One ongoing problem that we've seen recently is supply chain issues. Maybe you've been trying to upgrade for the past six (6) months, but the communicator or system you need hasn't been available. Communicator manufacturers have been rolling out LTE Cat-M1 communicators in the absence of available components for standard LTE.

LTE Cat-M1 is the cellular network that was created for Internet-of-Things (IoT) use. It has lower power consumption, better range, and the modems used for it have a smaller form factor. The trade-off is lower bandwidth. However, the amount of data being transmitted by alarm communicators is very low compared to voice and data used for a traditional phone, so the difference in bandwidth isn't noticeable. Happily, the components to make LTE Cat-M1 communicators appears to be readily available, so those communicators have been coming into stock in the past months and continue to become available.

Some of the available AlarmNet LTE Cat-M1 communicators are listed below. These communicators are all compatible with the VISTA panels. The LTEM-PA and LTEM-PV are also compatible with the DSC PC1616, DSC PC1832, and DSC PC1864 and the Interlogix NX Series panels. For the Interlogix NX Series, the PRODCM is also required:

  • LTEM-PA - Dual-path IP and AT&T LTE Cat-M1 communicator with the ability to add a traditional LTE communicator if needed. First communicator to allow non-Honeywell panels to use Total Connect 2.0.
  • LTEM-PV - Dual-path IP and Verizon LTE Cat-M1 communicator with the ability to add a traditional LTE communicator if needed. Along with the LTEM-PA can allow non-Honeywell panels to use Total Connect 2.0.
  • LTEM-XA - AT&T LTE Cat-M1 Communicator for VISTA Panels.
  • LTEMXA-TC2 - AT&T LTE Cat-M1 Communicator for VISTA Panels. Includes upgrade chips for VISTA-15P and VISTA-20P panels, allowing them to support Total Connect 2.0.
  • LTEM-XV - Verizon LTE Cat-M1 Communicator for VISTA Panels.
  • LTEMXV-TC2 - Verizon LTE Cat-M1 Communicator for VISTA Panels. Includes upgrade chips for VISTA-15P and VISTA-20P panels, allowing them to support Total Connect 2.0.
  • LTEM-IA -COMING SOON - AT&T LTE Cat-M1 Communicator with RJ45 Port for Ethernet. Currently in Beta.
  • LTEM-PIA - AT&T LTE Cat-M1 Communicator with RJ45 Ethernet port. Listed for UL-985 Household Fire.
  • LTEM-PIV - Verizon LTE Cat-M1 Communicator with RJ45 Ethernet port. Listed for UL-985 Household Fire.

Some of the available Alarm.com LTE Cat-M1 communicators are listed below. Compatibility is listed with each communicator:

  • Alarm.com ADC-SEM210-PS-AT-M - COMING SOON - Dual-path AT&T LTE Cat-M1 and ethernet capable communicator for use with legacy DSC Power Series panels (PC1616, PC1832, PC1864).
  • Alarm.com ADC-SEM210-PS-VZ-M - COMING SOON. - Dual-path Verizon LTE Cat-M1 and ethernet capable communicator for use with legacy DSC Power Series panels (PC1616, PC1832, PC1864).
  • Alarm.com ADC-SEM300-VT-AT-M - COMING SOON. - Dual-path AT&T LTE Cat-M1 and ethernet capable communicator for use with Honeywell VISTA (non-polling loop) panels (VISTA-10P, VISTA-15P, VISTA-20P, VISTA-21iP manufactured in 2005 or later).
  • Alarm.com ADC-SEM300-VT-VZ-M - Dual-path Verizon LTE Cat-M1 and ethernet capable communicator for use with Honeywell VISTA (non-polling loop) panels (VISTA-10P, VISTA-15P, VISTA-20P, VISTA-21iP manufactured in 2005 or later).

Panel Cellular Communicator Trouble Condition Messages

If you are affected immediately by the AT&T 3G shutdown, you may see one of these error messages on your system:

  • Check 103 ####: - You may see this on a non-polling VISTA panel, such as the VISTA-20P, but only if you have an Alpha Keypad like a 6160. The #### will be a 4-digit number. It may be 4005, which indicates that the communicator has lost connection with AlarmNet. The exact 4-digit code will depend on whether there are any other trouble conditions existing on the communicator at the time the message is displayed.
    *If you have a VISTA panel, choose from any of the communicators listed above for VISTA panels. The VISTA-21IPLTE can use the LTE-21V. The only way to update an original VISTA-21iP is to add an external communicator and disable the internal one. The prior link is an FAQ on how to do just that. The same rule about possibly downgrading to an IP only plan mentioned under the bF message applies here too.
  • bF, or it may look like 6F: - This is supposed to be a bF, which stands for Backup Failure, as in backup communicator. This message means the same thing as Check 103, but will be displayed on a non-alpha keypad like a 6150. If this is the only type of keypad you have, then this is all the information the panel and the communicator can give you. If you get this message after 02/22/22 and your AT&T 3G Communicator has been fine until then, you're not one of the lucky ones. You should look to upgrade your communicator ASAP. *Or, if you have a dual-path communicator and an IP connection is available near it, you could downgrade to an IP only plan for now, and upgrade to LTE at a later time. Just bear in mind, if you go IP only, when the internet is out, your panel's ability to communicate is out. This is usually the case during power outages. The above rule about upgrading the communicator under the Check 103 message also applies here.
  • Fault 103: - This may also show as a Check 103, then display as a Fault 103 after you silence the panel. This is what you see on the Honeywell L3000 panels when there is a problem with the communicator. Losing connection due to the 3G Sunset would cause this error code. There is not a good IP only option for the L3000 currently available. You can use a 7847-I, but it is a messy installation. You can also use the 7847I-L, if you can find one, they are discontinued.
  • 103 Comm. Trouble: - The Lynx Touch Panels will display something along these lines. The icon and message may differ slightly, but the gist is the same. This is what you'll see on these panels if you're affected by the AT&T 3G shut down.
    • Honeywell LTE-L57A: - AT&T LTE Communicator for Lynx Touch panels. Important! There may be panel firmware revision restrictions with your panel and either of these communicators. Read the product description very carefully to be sure your panel is on the correct version for the communicator you choose. If you need to update the panel, you can do so with the Honeywell LYNXTOUCH-MSD Firmware Update Tool. It is compatible with the L5200, L5210, and L7000.
    • Honeywell LTE-L57V: - Verizon LTE communicator for the Lynx Touch panels. See the Important note above about panel firmware version limitations.
  • ⚠ 950 Comm. Trouble: This is the message displayed on a Lyric Controller if it has a cellular communication path, and it loses contact with AlarmNet on that path. This is what you will see if the AT&T 3G shutdown has caused your communicator to go down. There may be other messages in the status bar at the top of the screen as well, having to do with Comm Failure and potentially other conditions, depending on what's happening with your panel at the time.
    • Honeywell LYRICLTE-A - AT&T LTE Communicator for Lyric. Firmware Revision v01.03.06548.482 or higher required!
    • Honeywell LYRICLTE-V - Verizon LTE Communicator for Lyric. Firmware Revision 1.09 (aka MR9) or higher required!

  • Check 8##, ####: - You may see this message on a VISTA-128 or VISTA-250 panel. Devices connected to the keypad bus can be supervised for a connection to the panel, and for a tamper condition where applicable. The AT&T 3G Communicator can also be supervised for communicator troubles, such as a loss of connection to AlarmNet. If supervision is enabled (and it is not enabled by default) then when the 3G Sunset affects the communicator, the panel will display a Check or Trouble (based on programming) 8 + the 2-digit number of the address. So, if the communicator is assigned to address 03, and supervision is enabled, it will display as a Check or Trouble on Zone 803 plus the 4-digit communicator status code associated with the condition when you have the proper keypad to display it. If the only problem is a loss of network connection, then the 4-digit code should be 4005. Supervision is enabled by enabling the associated 800-zone with a trouble zone type, such as 05, Trouble by Day/Alarm by Night.
  • 2GIG GC2 and GC2e Displays Trouble Icon and beeps 6 Times per minute until the trouble condition is acknowledged: This is the behavior of the 2GIG GC2e and presumable the 2GIG GC2 as well. The Security Screen will show a Yellow button with an exclamation mark and a number. When you press the button, it will take you to the Trouble Display screen where you can scroll through the trouble conditions, and you may click on the communicator trouble then press OK. This will stop any beeping, but the display will continue to show trouble until the condition is cleared. In the case of the AT&T 3G Sunset, this means upgrading the communicator.


    • 2GIG LTEA-A-GC2: - Alarm.com compatible AT&T LTE Communicator for 2GIG GC2 and 2GIG GC2e. Important! Be sure to check for any panel firmware version requirements associated with either of these LTE communicators for the 2GIG GC2 and GC2e panels.
    • 2GIG LTEV1-A-GC2: - Alarm.com compatible Verizon LTE Communicator for 2GIG GC2 and 2GIG GC2e.
  • 2GIG GC3 and GC3e Message LED is lit and the panel chimes at ten-second intervals until the condition is acknowledged: The behavior for the cellular communicator losing connection to the AT&T 3G network on a 2GIG GC3 or GC3e depends somewhat on panel programming. In Q30, you set the amount of time that is allowed to elapse with no communication to the server before a trouble condition is indicated. The default is 30 minutes. A 0 in this field disables the supervision feature. The maximum entry is 255 minutes. Q31 also determines whether the radio network failure causes a trouble condition on the panel. This is enabled by default, but if disabled, you will have no visible indication if you are affected by the AT&T 3G sunset. Q32 is radio network failure reports. This is enabled by default and determines whether the panel reports the radio failure to the monitoring station (assuming it is able to do so with the radio down, the panel would need to be utilizing the WIFI communication path for this to be possible.)
    • 2GIG LTEA-A-GC3: AT&T LTE Communicator for the 2GIG GC3 and GC3e panels. The panel must have Firmware Version 3.2.3 or higher to support this communicator.
    • 2GIG LTEV1-A-GC3: Verizon LTE Communicator for the 2GIG GC3 and GC3e panels. The GC3 or GC3e must have Firmware Version 3.1.3 or higher to support this communicator.

Alarm Grid Is Here To Help!

If you're a current Alarm Grid customer and you have purchased an LTE communicator, but haven't switched over to it yet, please send an email to support@alarmgrid.com. In the subject line, be sure to put "I Need an LTE Upgrade". We'll reach out with further instructions and either a link to schedule your upgrade, or information as to what we need to begin your upgrade. Lyric and Lynx Touch users may be able to get upgraded with no appointment, where a VISTA user may require an appointment as those communicator swaps are a little more intricate.

If you purchase an LTE communicator or an upgrade kit from Alarm Grid, we will credit your monitoring account in the amount of the communicator or upgrade kit. If you purchase more than $150 in product, we'll also offer you free ground shipping, so if you've been thinking of adding a doorbell camera, or other products to your system, now may be a good time. The cost of products not associated with the communicator or system and communicator upgrade will not count toward free monitoring though.

If you have the ability to switch to an ethernet or WIFI connection only, you can choose to do that and your monthly monitoring fee will go down. You can purchase an IP or WIFI communicator strictly for that purpose. You may have that option with your existing panel and you just aren't using it, or maybe you were using dual-path monitoring, but now the cellular portion of your 3G communicator has stopped working. Whatever the case, if your communicator or panel supports the option for an IP-only connection, we will be glad to downgrade your service plan permanently, or until you can get the LTE upgrade. But be aware, Alarm.com customers do not have an option for IP-only monitoring.

If you're not a current Alarm Grid customer, never fear, you can get exactly the same deal as existing customers. If you purchase an LTE communicator from us or a kit with a panel and LTE communicator and you then sign up for monitoring with us, we'll give you credit toward free monitoring in the amount of the purchase for the communicator or communicator and panel. Once again, purchases over $150 will have free ground shipping, but any sensors or other devices that you purchase will not count toward free monitoring.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at support@alarmgrid.com. Our support hours are Monday - Friday from 9:00 am - 8:00 pm Eastern. We will help in any way that we can to get you through this transition. Your safety and peace of mind is our top priority.

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Alarm Grid announced in December that some Qolsys Panels, namely older IQ 2 and 2 Plus panels with AT&T LTE communicators, require a firmware update before the AT&T 3G Sunset this month. Alarm.com has been pushing those updates, but some panels still need the update, and time is running out.

As noted in December, Alarm.com has been automatically pushing the firmware update to those panels that need it. However, in order to get an update Over-the-Air (OTA) a Qolsys panel MUST have a connection to WIFI. That means if you have an older Qolsys IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus with an AT&T LTE communicator built in, and your panel doesn't have a connection to WIFI, you may need to get a WIFI connection. At least long enough for the firmware update to come through. If you don't, and if your panel is one of the ones that requires this update, it will stop communicating via AT&T LTE Cellular soon after February 22, 2022.

AT&T doesn't have one big switch that they can turn off and then, "Voila, 3G is no more!" So, just because your system is still able to communicate on February 23, that doesn't necessarily mean that your panel doesn't require the firmware update. In addition, some panels will only need an update to the cellular firmware while other panels will need a panel firmware update first, followed by the cellular update. For this reason, it is best to connect your panel to WIFI and allow the Alarm.com server to connect and determine which updates, if any, need to be applied.

In order to make it as easy as possible to get a panel connected to WIFI, Alarm.com has made it possible to connect the panel to WIFI remotely using the Alarm.com customer app. To use the app to connect the panel to WIFI, follow these steps:

  1. Log into the app, completing any 2-factor authentication that may be necessary.
  2. Go to the 'Security System' card.


  3. Tap the Gear icon in the upper right.


  4. Select 'Panel WIFI'.

  5. From this point, there are two options:
    • If the network to be used is already connected to another device on the account, such as a video camera, it will display under a prompt for 'Access Ready Networks'. Since that device already has the network credentials, the panel can use those same credentials to connect to the same network.
    • If the WIFI network is not already connected to another device, then you should see a prompt that says 'Additional networks available to your panel'. Select the network, and then enter the proper password where indicated.



  6. Once the WIFI network is selected, and the password has been entered, if applicable, press 'Connect'.

  7. If you don't see your network, press 'Rescan' or tap, 'Don't see your network?', then follow the provided steps to add the device to the network manually.

If your panel simply doesn't have an option to connect to traditional WIFI, then you may need to briefly use your cell phone as a wireless hotspot, and contact your alarm dealer to ask them to manually push the update to your panel while you're onsite. Alternatively, you can visit our Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Firmware Update Page and download the update files to an SD Card, then follow the instructions listed on the page for updating via SD Card.

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Alarm Grid's distributor now has the Qolsys IQ Panel 4 in white available with the 345 MHz receiver in both the AT&T and Verizon versions. The same panel, in black, will soon be available. This panel supports both the legacy 345 MHz 2GIG and Honeywell RF sensors and the DSC PowerG sensors.

If you're looking to upgrade from a panel with either 2GIG or Honeywell 345 MHz sensors, or maybe a combination of both, then you should check out the Qolsys IQ Panel 4, now available, with support for these older wireless sensors. The IQ Panel 4 is an upgrade from the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 with a newer OS, more memory, and a faster processor.

At the center of the Qolsys IQ Panel 4 is a Qualcomm MSM8953 chipset with an 8-core Qualcomm SnapDragon Processor. It has 16 GB of NAND Flash memory. The base operating system is Android 9. By comparison, the IQ Panel 2 and 2 Plus used Android 5.1 as a base, with a quad-core processor. These updates in hardware and software for the IQ Panel 4 mean that it has tons of expansion capability, with the hardware and software to support it. Updated hardware supports updated software as well as new features. Expect lots of updates to this system, much of it based on customer feedback.

There are other updates too. The front-facing camera has been upgraded from 5MP to 8MP. In addition to a higher resolution, the camera also has a wider 120° viewing angle allowing it to capture more context with disarm images and peek-ins. The vertical tilt angle of the camera can be manually adjusted by the user to dial-in the best angle for disarm photos based on the height of panel users.

The Qolsys IQ Panel 4 has support for up to 128 zones, using PowerG and/or Honeywell or 2GIG 345 MHz RF sensors. This makes it the perfect replacement for an older Honeywell or 2GIG system with working sensors still installed. PowerG sensors, manufactured by DSC, are fully encrypted with 128-bit AES encryption and are also supported on every version of the Qolsys IQ Panel 4. They have an open-air range of up to 4,000' (1219m) when used with this panel. And in the unlikely event that you still have a range issue, there are PowerG Repeaters available to boost the range.

The Newest IQ Panel 4 Versions and Kits, now available from Alarm Grid:

Each of the unencrypted kits listed above includes the Versa-2GIG Door/Window Sensors. In the 3-1 kits, there are three (3) of these, in the 10-1 kits there are ten (10). These kits also include one (1) DSC PG9914 PowerG PIR motion sensor. The encrypted kits listed above contain either three (3) or ten (10) DSC PG9303 PowerG Door/Window Sensors, and one (1) DSC PG9914 PowerG PIR. The 3-1 kits are a great start for installations in apartments and small homes, while the 10-1 kits are great for larger homes and small businesses.

With its 700-Series Z-Wave Plus V2 controller, up to 137 Z-Wave, Z-Wave Plus, and Z-Wave Plus V2 devices can be integrated with the system. This includes Lights, Locks, Thermostats, Water Valves, and Relays. When purchasing new Z-Wave devices, always choose devices with the latest version of Z-Wave supported by the controller whenever possible. Doing so will provide the best possible user experience. Older and newer Z-Wave devices can be installed on the same network, as long as the user is aware of the limitations when such a configuration is used. Up to 242 users are supported on the IQ Panel 4 with one (1) Dealer Code, one (1) Installer Code, and 240 users with the role of Master, User, Guest, or Duress applied to each.

As a quick reminder, the IQ Panel 4 has either a Verizon or AT&T LTE cellular communicator built in. Be sure when purchasing your panel that you choose the carrier that has the best possible signal in the installation area, regardless of what carrier your personal cell phone may use. And when choosing a plan from Alarm Grid to use with your IQ Panel 4, remember that you will need a plan that supports Cellular Alarm Communication. That will be either a Gold or Platinum Plan (Self or Full). If you don't want to take advantage of the Alarm.com app or webpage features, then you can also choose our Cellular Alarm Monitoring plan, which includes Central Station Monitoring, with no remote control capabilities.

The Qolsys IQ Panel 4 is a panel that's truly ready for the future. Qolsys has taken all the feedback they received with their IQ Panel 2, addressed the few inefficiencies and form factor issues, and have really come out with a nearly perfect offering. When coupled with Alarm.com, the Qolsys IQ Panel 4 is a formidable tool in keeping your loved ones and your belongings safe.

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Recently Alarm.com announced the release of several new cameras for their Pro Series Video Camera collection. With a dome, bullet, and turret option available, there is sure to be an Alarm.com camera to meet your needs. All offer 1080P resolution, are Indoor/Outdoor, with many more features.

Alarm.com ADC-VC847PF:


The Alarm.com ADC-VC847PF is a 1080P, Indoor/Outdoor Varifocal Dome Camera. A unique feature of nearly all of these new cameras is that they offer a motorized varifocal lens. This feature allows the user to remotely adjust the cameras field of view (FoV) as well as focus, without sacrificing video quality. The VC847PF comes with the option of installing with a white or dark gray (shown above) mounting base. It has an IP66 rating, which means it is waterproof and dust-tight, perfect for use outdoors or in industrial environments.

The ADC-VC847PF supports Power over Ethernet (PoE). This is not a WIFI capable camera, it must have a wired connection to a network. But, with PoE, you can run both network and power through a single Cat5e cable. Some routers and/or switches support PoE, but others do not. If your current networking equipment doesn't support PoE, you can use a PoE injector instead. The power requirement is 12 VDC ± 10% or PoE (IEEE 802.3af), 10 W.

This camera supports 24/7 recording using a compatible MicroSD card (not included) a Commercial Stream Video Recorder (CSVR126), or both. This is in addition to any clips that are uploaded to Alarm.com cloud storage. It supports HDR (High Dynamic Range), an IR night vision range of ~95' (30m) and many more features. You can see the full specifications in the Data Sheet or by clicking the product link above.

Alarm.com ADC-VC838PF:


The Alarm.com ADC-VC838PF 1080P Indoor/Outdoor Varifocal Turret Camera has many of the same features of the VC847PF, but in a turret style. It too has a motorized varifocal lens which allows remote adjustment of FoV and focus by the end-user. The VC838PF is a PoE camera, using a single Cat5e cable to carry both ethernet and power to the camera. The power requirements are listed as 12VDC ± 10% or PoE (IEEE 802.3af). The IEEE 802.3af standard is an intelligent standard. This means that the devices that use it actually communicate with one another about power. The device receiving power tells the device supplying power how much is required.

The ADC-VC838PF also supports HDR, and has excellent IR night vision, with a range of ~95' (30m). It offers image adjustments of Flip, Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Sharpness, and Exposure. It also supports 24/7 recording using either a compatible MicroSD card, Commercial Stream Video Recorder (CSVR126),or both. This is in addition to uploaded clips to Alarm.com cloud storage. You can read the full specifications in the Data Sheet, or by clicking the product link above.

Alarm.com ADC-VC827P:


The Alarm.com ADC-VC827P is the only one in this group of cameras that doesn't have a motorized varifocal lens. That means there is no remote FoV or focal adjustment capability on this camera. It is a 1080P, Indoor/Outdoor Dome Camera, just like the ADC-VC847PF, and aside from the varifocal lens, their specs are nearly identical. The angle adjustments available on this model are Pan: 0° to 350°; Tilt: 0° to 55°; Rotation: 0° to 180°. The VC827P supports PoE (no WIFI) and the power requirements are listed as 12VDC ± 10% or PoE (IEEE 802.3af), 9.5 W. With its IP66 rating, it is waterproof and dust-tight and like the ADC-VC847PF it comes with a white (shown above) or dark gray mounting base. You can read the full specifications in the Data Sheet, or by clicking the product link above.

Alarm.com ADC-VC728PF:


The Alarm.com ADC-VC728PF is a 1080P Indoor/Outdoor Varifocal Bullet Camera. As you may have gathered by now, when the model number of the camera ends in PF, the camera includes the motorized varifocal lens feature. That is true in this case. Traditionally, bullet cameras have been somewhat unsightly. They often have a metal shroud covering them to protect them from damage. The damage in question could be anything from vandalism to sunlight. They get their name because of their long profile. They are also sometimes called lipstick cameras.

The ADC-VC728PF is an attractive version of a bullet camera. Its dimensions are 6.8" L x 3.0" W x 3.0" H (17.4cm L x 7.5cm W x 7.5cm H). It's almost small enough that it doesn't qualify as a bullet camera. But then, what would you call it? This camera has all the same great features of the rest of the cameras in this list. It has an Ingress Protection rating of IP66, so it's waterproof and dust-tight. The remote varifocal adjustments available are focal length, manual focus adjustment, and autofocus. It supports 24/7 recording via compatible MicroSD card, Alarm.com Commercial Stream Video Recorder (CSVR126) or both. And this is in addition to any clips that are uploaded to the Alarm.com cloud.

This is a PoE camera, so it does not support WIFI, only a wired ethernet connection. It also uses the PoE IEEE 802.3af standard, and the power requirements are 12 VDC ± 10% if using a PoE injector. The VC728PF weighs just 19.1 Oz. (540g). For full specifications, you can read the Data Sheet, or click the product link above.

In addition to the cameras above, we've also added two accessories used for mounting the cameras. These mounting bases act as adapters, adapting the camera's base to fit a standard, third-party mounting base. The ADC-VACC-MNT130 fits the ADC-VC847PF and the ADC-VC838PF. The ADC-VACC-MNT110 fits the ADC-VC827P, ADC-VC728PF, and the ADC-V724 1080P Outdoor WIFI Camera w/2-Way Audio.

What do you think about the new camera offerings from Alarm.com? Their camera hardware, as well as their video service offerings just continue to improve. We think it's very impressive. Drop a comment down below and let us know how you feel about them, or anything else security related you might have a burning desire to discuss. We always look forward to hearing from you!.

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We are in the midst of a strange confluence of events. The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on both manufacturing and supply chains, with both sub-assembly parts and product delivery being affected. Add to that the AT&T 3G/4G GSM sunset and you'll have a good picture of where we are today.

We've known about the AT&T sunset for some time. We've written about it in this blog on numerous occasions. Alarm Grid implemented an email campaign to proactively remind our customers who needed an upgrade not to wait until the last minute. But there will always be people who want to wring every last bit of usefulness out of their current product, before upgrading to a new one. I don't blame them, really. But the strange confluence of events I mentioned earlier may find those folks scrambling to upgrade at the last minute.

Security communicator manufacturers, including Resideo, and Alarm.com are doing everything they can to bridge the gap between supply and demand. They are introducing new product lines, with alternatives to standard LTE such as those that use the LTE Cat-M1 network. Resideo has introduced the LTEM-PA and LTEM-PV and they are beta testing the LTEM-IA for future release. The benefit of these products is that they provide nearly the same experience as the previously released LTE products, but either due to happenstance or good planning, components for these products are readily available, so while other LTE products are on backorder, these units are plentiful.

Alarm.com also has a series of LTE Cat-M1 System Enhancement Modules (SEM), including the Alarm.com ADC-SEM300-VT-AT-M (coming soon) and the ADC-SEM300-VT-VZ-M which is available for purchase now. Both of these SEMs are compatible with the Honeywell VISTA product line (with the exception of the VISTA-128 and VISTA-250 panels). They allow compatible VISTA panels to communicate using Alarm.com, and to work with the Alarm.com remote control features. These are dual-path communicators that also have a Z-Wave plus controller built in. Alarm.com will soon have the ADC-SEM210-PS-AT-M and the ADC-SEM210-PS-VZ-M. These dual-path communicators with Z-Wave Plus controllers will support the older DSC Power Series panels (PC1616, PC1832, PC1864 all version 4.20+).

Perhaps the most intriguing "Bridge the Gap" product available currently is the Resideo Cellbounce. This product has some limitations, it only works with AT&T 3G communicators, it only works in states within the contiguous US (sorry Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico), and it can only be installed with a communicator that is currently still registered and active on the AT&T 3G network. If the communicator is in comm failure, this condition has to be resolved before a Cellbounce can be added. There are some other limitations too, such as it can't support Total Connect 2.0, (CORRECTION: It CAN support TC2 as long as the original AT&T 3G communicator supports it.) But be sure to read the full product description linked above before deciding to purchase.

The Cellbounce is a plug-and-play device. Anyone can install it, so no installer visit is required. It can work with any Honeywell or Resideo AT&T 3G communicator. The Cellbounce is installed within range, which is 25' (7.6m), of an existing, registered AT&T 3G communicator. The Alarm Dealer will need the Serial Number and IMEI Number from the Callbounce unit. These can be found on the box the device comes in.

Important Note: Provisioning must take place on the AlarmNet360 server BEFORE the Cellbounce unit is powered on.

Once the Cellbounce has been provisioned, it should be powered up using an unswitched outlet, not a power strip. From there, the Cellbounce does all the heavy lifting. On one hand, it reaches out and finds an LTE signal, on the other, it reaches out to the existing 3G communicator and locks on to it. Once both of these connections have been made, any time the 3G communicator sends a signal, the Cellbounce captures it and transfers it to the LTE network. AT&T has promised that the Cellbounce units will continue to function until at least Q1 2025. This should give any Cellbounce users plenty of additional time to upgrade. There are a limited number of Cellbounce units available, so if this sounds like an attractive option for you, order yours today. Don't get left behind!

Sunset Graphic courtesy of AlarmNet360:


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Freezing and water damage accounted for 29.4% of Homeowner's Insurance losses by cause in 2019*. From 2015 - 2019, the weighted average cost per accident year was $11,000* for freezing and water damage. Only fire and lightning damage was more costly. But flood damage can often be avoided.

At this time of year, with the worst of winter still ahead of us, our thoughts always turn to incidents of flooding which are caused predominantly by freezing temperatures. In many instances, homeowner's insurance companies want proof that there is both freeze and flood protection in a dwelling as a condition of insurance, or in order to provide the best available rate. With just a few added sensors and tweaks, your existing alarm system can help you prevent freezing and flood damage. Below we'll outline some products and strategies that can help.

To properly protect against this type of damage, it is helpful to know when the temperature in a building drops low enough to cause concern. There are many sensors that can assist in this, and in many cases, a sensor may perform double duty. There are motion detectors that also have built-in freeze sensing, as well as smoke, heat, and combination sensors. Here's a list of just a few, and the systems they are compatible with:

Product Description Compatibility
Honeywell 5808W3 Smoke/Heat/Freeze Sensor.
When programmed (Loop 3), activates when temp drops below 41℉ (+5℃)
Compatible with any Honeywell 5800 Series Receiver, including VISTA panels with a separate receiver added, 2GIG panels, and Qolsys panels** with the 345 MHz SRF Receiver. Honeywell ProSeries Panels require a PROTAKEOVER module.
Honeywell 5821 Wireless temperature and water sensor.
To monitor for both Cold and Flood detection, use the integrated temp sensor plus an FP280 or 470PB.
Loop 1 = Cold (for temps below 45℉ (+7.2℃) for more than 10 minutes)
Loop 3 = Flood
Set Dips 1 = OFF and 2 = ON
Compatible with any Honeywell 5800 Series Receiver, including VISTA panels with a separate receiver added, 2GIG panels, and Qolsys panels with the 345 MHz SRF Receiver. Honeywell ProSeries Panels require a PROTAKEOVER module.
2GIG SMKT8e-345 Wireless Encrypted Smoke/Heat/Freeze sensor
Low Temp sensing = Loop 3
Senses low temperature when the temperature drops below 40℉ (+4.4℃). Restores when the temperature rises to 45℉ (+7.2℃)
Compatible with 2GIG GC2e, 2GIG GC3e, and 2GIG Edge only
2GIG SMKT8-345 Wireless Smoke/Heat/Freeze sensor
Low Temp sensing = Loop 3
Senses low temperature when the temperature drops below 40℉ (+4.4℃). Restores when the temperature rises to 45℉ (+7.2℃)
Compatible with any 2GIG panel, Qolsys 345 MHz version, and Honeywell Lyric (Version MR3+) and ProSeries with PROTAKEOVER
Winland TA-40 Wired Fixed Temperature Freeze Alert. Fixed temperature alert when the temperature drops below 39.2℉ (+4℃) Compatible with any Normally Closed wired zone input.
Qolsys IQ Temp-S Wireless S-Line Encrypted 319.5 MHz Temp Sensor.
Low Temp sensing when the temperature drops below 40℉ (+4.4℃)
High Temp sensing when the temperature rises above 100℉ (+37.7℃)
Compatible with Qolsys and Interlogix panels that support 319.5 MHz wireless sensors.
2GIG FT6e-345 Wireless encrypted Flood and Temp Sensor.
Loop 1 = Flood Sensing
Loop 2 = High Temp (95℉ (+35℃) for three (3) minutes or more.
Loop 3 = Freeze Detection (41℉ (+5℃) or lower for three (3) minutes or more.)

Compatible with 2GIG GC2e, 2GIG GC3e, and 2GIG Edge panels only.
2GIG FT6-345 Wireless Flood and Temp Sensor.
Loop 1 = Flood Sensing
Loop 2 = High Temp (95℉ (+35℃) for three (3) minutes or more.
Loop 3 = Freeze Detection (41℉ (+5℃) or lower for three (3) minutes or more.)
Compatible with all 2GIG panels, Qolsys panels that support 345 MHz sensors, Honeywell Lyric panels (Version MR3+), and ProSeries Panels with the PROTAKEOVER.
DSC PG9905 Wireless Encrypted PowerG Temp Sensor.
Temperature threshold is set in panel programming
Compatible with all Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, all Qolsys IQ Panel 4, and DSC PowerSeries Neo panels and PowerSeries Pro panels with a PowerG transceiver added.
2GIG FT1-345 Wireless Flood and Temp Sensor.
Flood = Loop 1
High Temp = Loop 2
Low Temp = Loop 3
For flood, probe must be shorted by water for 3 minutes, and restores once short is removed for 3 minutes.
High Temp setpoint is 95℉ (35℃).
Low Temp setpoint is 42℉ (5.5℃)
Compatible with all 2GIG panels, Qolsys panels that support 345 MHz sensors, Honeywell Lyric panels, and ProSeries Panels with the PROTAKEOVER added.
Qolsys IQ Temp Wireless 319.5 MHz Temp Sensor.
Low Temp sensing when the temperature drops below 40℉ (+4.4℃)
High Temp sensing when the temperature rises above 100℉ (+37.7℃)
Compatible with Qolsys and Interlogix panels that support 319.5 MHz wireless sensors.

With any of the low-temperature sensing devices above, you can be alerted to dangerously low temperatures within a building. Alerts can come in the form of an email, text, or push notification from either Alarm.com or Total Connect 2.0, a call from the monitoring station, or both. With a Z-Wave or WIFI thermostat you can adjust the temperature when the HVAC system is working, or contact an HVAC service technician when it isn't.

Some of the devices listed in the table above combine freeze and flood sensing into a single unit. Of course, avoiding the presence of water in a location where it shouldn't be is optimal, but in some cases, it may not be possible. Flooding isn't always the result of freezing water pipes. With a flood sensor, you can be alerted to these situations and then take action accordingly. Alarm Grid offers a variety of both wired and wireless flood sensors. Some are listed above. Those and others can be found here.

If you can't control what's happening with the temperature in a location, then the next step in avoiding flood damage is controlling the flow of water. If you have a water shut-off valve within the building, then a Z-Wave water valve is just the thing you need to save the day (and a good deal of money). Once you receive a notification that a freeze condition is possible, or that a flood situation is underway, with Alarm.com or Total Connect 2.0 service, you can either set up a scene to automatically shut off the water within the premises, or you can manually log in and do so remotely.

Product Description
Qolsys S-Line IQ Water Valve Kit

Qolsys IQ Water Valve - Install Guide
Qolsys IQ Flood-S - Quick Install Guide
This kit comes with a Z-Wave 700 Series Water Valve and 319.5 MHz Water Sensor (Qolsys IQ Flood-S, see in table above).
The water valve is a retrofit servo that fits 1/4 turn ball valves. It can be used on pipes from 1/2" to 1 1/4". It does not require installation by a plumber.
Qolsys PowerG IQ Water Valve Kit

DSC PG9985 - Install Guide
This kit comes with a Z-Wave 700 Series Water Valve and a PowerG Encrypted Water Sensor (DSC PG9985, see in table above).
The water valve is a retrofit servo that fits 1/4 turn ball valves. It can be used on pipes from 1/2" to 1 1/4". It does not require installation by a plumber.
Alarm.com ADC-SWM150 Smart Water Valve and Meter

User Guide
In the USA can fit up to 1" water main distribution pipes.
This smart water valve, when used with Alarm.com can help you track water usage in addition to allowing you to control the flow of water.
This device should be installed by a licensed and insured plumber.
The Smart Water Valve plus Meter has a backflow preventer. It is not recommended that it be installed directly on the water heater's main suply line.
Alarm.com ADC-SWV100 Z-Wave Plus Water Valve

Install Guide
Can fit up to 1" water main distribution pipes.
Be sure to install this unit downstream from the indoor main water shut-off valve. Observe all plumbing codes and ordinances and obtain a proper permit for installation. Installation by a licensed and insured plumber is advised.
This device is made by Alarm.com, but should work with any Z-Wave Controller.
Leak Intel Leak Gopher LGZW-1

Install Guide
3/4" Z-Wave Water Shut-off Valve.
This valve should be installed downstream from the main indoor water shut-off.
It is advised to have this unit installed by a licensed and insured plumber for best results.
Should be compatible with any Z-Wave Controller.
When installed, ON may indicate that water is OFF, while a status of OFF for the water valve, may indicate that the water is ON.

With a combination of freeze and flood sensors, and a Z-Wave Water Valve, you can anticipate potential low-temperature flooding issues, be alerted to non-freeze-related flooding issues, and either automatically or manually turn off the water before damage occurs. Check with your homeowner's insurance agent to see if there are any discounts available on your policy if you add freeze and/or flood protection with an automated water shut-off option. You may be surprised at how quickly this equipment can pay for itself, even if you never have to use it.

*Statistics are taken from the Insurance Information Institute at iii.org.

**Qolsys Panels come in a variety of versions. All IQ Panel 2 Plus and IQ Panel 4 versions support PowerG wireless sensors. Then in addition, there are versions that support 319.5 MHz wireless, including S-Line Sensors. There are also versions that support 345 MHz wireless and 433 MHz wireless. When purchasing a Qolsys panel, or a sensor that will be used with a Qolsys panel, be sure to match the receiver type with the sensor type. Panels that support 319.5 MHz come in a box with a Gold stripe. Panels that support 345 MHz sensors come in a box with a Silver or Gray stripe, and those that support 433 MHz sensors have a Red stripe on the box.

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If you read our blog regularly, you know that certain Qolsys IQ Panel 2 systems that use the AT&T LTE 4G network require an update to the communicator. Without this update, these cellular units will stop communicating after the 3G Sunset. On January 10, these updates will begin automatically.

Qolsys IQ Panel 2 panels that use an AT&T LTE Cellular Communicator will need a firmware update prior to the AT&T 3G sunset, which is scheduled to occur on 02/22/22. Without this update, these panels will lose their connection to the cellular network and could leave the alarm system with no communication path. The update can be performed over WIFI, or by using an SD Card.

For those panels that have a WIFI connection, Alarm.com will begin to automatically push the update on Monday, January 10, 2022. Once these updates begin, they will continue from 8 am - 8 pm seven (7) days per week until all are completed. Some panels will require both a panel firmware update and the cellular communicator update. The Alarm.com server will determine the panels that fall into this category and will perform the updates in the correct order automatically. Once the update has been applied, the panel will reboot as part of the update process. This is normal.

If a WIFI signal is available in the location where the panel is installed, but the panel is not currently connected to it, there are a few different ways to get the panel connected:

  1. Locally: The connection can be made at the panel using the touchscreen. Instructions for connecting to WIFI locally can be found here.
  2. By the dealer, remotely: Alarm.com dealers, like Alarm Grid, can use the Partner Portal to connect the panel to WIFI. This is found on the Partner Portal website under the Signaling/Broadband Settings.
  3. By the end-user, remotely: Starting on 12/13/21, Alarm.com has enabled a tool that allows an end-user to connect the panel to WIFI through the Customer Alarm.com App or Alarm.com Website.

If you would like to go ahead and perform the update on your own, and you need to connect the system to WIFI first, from the customer's Alarm.com app click on Menu > Manage Devices > Select the 3-dots icon next to the panel's name > Select Device Settings > Select Panel WIFI. From there you can either choose an existing camera to copy that device's WIFI settings or select the SSID and complete the authentication process by entering the proper password. Once the connection to WIFI is made, the communication path will be changed from Cell-only to Dual-Path.

Panels that are on version 2.3.0 or lower must be updated to a minimum of 2.3.1 or higher before applying the communicator firmware patch. Panel firmware updates on panels that have a WIFI connection can be performed locally from the panel with a Patch Tag or can be completed remotely by the alarm dealer via Alarm.com's Partner Portal. Once the panel's firmware is on a compatible version (see the link in the paragraph below) the cellular firmware can be installed using the patch tag: ATT3GSunset

For panels that have no WIFI connection available, the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 can be updated locally using a MicroSD Card. The upgrade files, as well as instructions on how to perform the local upgrade, are available on Alarm Grid's Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Firmware Update page. Both the panel firmware files and the ATT3GSunset patch can be downloaded from there.

This issue only affects AT&T LTE Cellular units. Verizon cellular units are in no way affected. This update is required because early Qolsys AT&T units used a provisional VoLTE Firmware Version. This later changed when VoLTE was fully released and because the difference between the two firmware versions didn't affect a panel's ability to send signals via cellular, no action was required at that time. AT&T realized that the upcoming sunset would have a detrimental affect on these early communicators and alerted Qolsys and Alarm.com of the required update.

If you are unsure whether your panel requires the update or not, contact your alarm dealer. They can verify whether or not your panel requires the panel update as well as the cellular update. This version information is only available when checked through the Partner Portal Website, and is not available from the Alarm.com Customer App or Website. You can read the full Qolsys Technical Service Bulletin regarding this upgrade here.

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Alarm.com continues to improve the user experience with its service. They made swapping a communicator or a whole system easy when it comes to backing up and restoring users and zones. But until now, all Z-Wave devices had to be excluded then re-included on the new panel. That is changing.

An important thing to remember is that currently, not all Alarm.com compatible Z-Wave Controllers support backing up and restoring the Z-Wave network. The following modules are the ones that support this feature as of this writing:

Panel Minimum Original Module Version Minimum Current Module Version
DSC PowerSeries Neo 187j 191a
DSC PowerSeries PRO 187e 189e
Interlogix Concord 4 187e 189e
Interlogix NX 187a 189b
Interlogix Simon XT/XTi/XTi-5/XTi-5i 191c 191f
SEM DSC PowerSeries 187i 189e
SEM Honeywell/Ademco VISTA 187d 189b

As you can see from this list, it's the communicators manufactured by ADC, that have the Z-Wave controller built into the communicator that currently support this new feature. Hopefully, this list will grow to include the Qolsys and 2GIG alarm panels.

At this time, the backup and restore of a customer's Z-Wave network can only be performed by the alarm dealer through either the Partner Portal, or the Mobile Tech App. The end-user can't perform these steps. A Z-Wave network backup occurs automatically about eight (8) hours after a device is either added to, or removed from, the Z-Wave network. The backup takes about five (5) minutes, plus two (2) to three (3) minutes for verification purposes. The amount of time the back process takes is not dependant on the number of devices that are paired with the Z-Wave Controller.

To backup a Z-Wave Network on a compatible device using the Alarm.com Partner Portal (Website) perform the following steps:

  1. Login to the Portal. Using your Alarm.com dealer portal login credentials, log into the Partner Portal, completing any 2-factor authentication required.
  2. Pull up the account. Find the account whose Z-Wave network you would like to back up.
  3. Navigate to equipment. Click on the Equipment menu option on the left side of the screen. Then click on Z-Wave Devices.
  4. Backup the network. Under Advanced Z-Wave Commands click Backup Network. Stay on the network backup page to monitor the status of the backup. Once backed up, the backup will be verified, then the process will complete.

A backup is usually performed in order to prepare to move as much of the panel/module programming from the existing system to a new module. This could be due to an upgrade, or due to the replacement of an existing module that is determined to be malfunctioning.

Once a backup has been made, the next step is to restore the backed-up information to the new module or system. To restore backed-up Z-Wave information to a new module during a module swap, via the Alarm.com Partner Portal, perform these steps:

  1. Power down the existing module. Power down the panel and remove the existing Alarm.com module from it.
  2. Swap the module. Log into the Alarm.com Partner Portal, then find the customer account. In the Customer Information section, choose Swap Module. Enter the new module's serial number into the appropriate location on the module swap screen. If there is a specific reason for the swap, enter this info in the Swap Reason field.
  3. Restore Z-Wave Network. Click on the option to Restore Z-Wave Network then click Submit.
  4. Install new module. Install the new Alarm.com module into the panel (while still powered down). Power up the panel and module.
  5. Perform a Communication Test Perform a communication test from the panel using the new communication module. The process for sending a test signal will differ from one panel to another. Check the Installation Instructions for the new module, it should provide instructions on how to perform this test.
  6. Monitor the process. You will automatically be taken to the Z-Wave Network Restore page. Monitor the progress of the restore until it is complete. The process of a full module swap, including restoring panel information as well as Z-Wave devices can take 25 minutes or longer. Be patient and allow the process to complete.

What do you think of this new feature from Alarm.com? If you have ever had to replace a Z-Wave Controller in a robust Z-Wave network and had to exclude, then include all the devices in the new module along with re-programming all schedules and scenes, you will appreciate this feature. Leave a comment below and tell us about your experiences with this type of situation. We enjoy hearing from our readers.

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