DIY Security Systems Posts

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When choosing a security system for your home or business, you need to decide whether you want it to use IP communication, cellular communication or dual-path communication. While these aren't the only methods available, they are by far the most dependable and the most widely used.

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A communication pathway is what allows a security system to communicate out to a signal processing platform. This platform redirects any incoming alert from the system to a central monitoring station and/or the end user directly via push notification, text, and/or email, depending on the user's monitoring plan. You need a communication path that is reliable and consistent so that your system always remains monitored.

The "entry level" communication path so to speak is IP communication. This involves using the local internet protocol (IP) network in your home or business. If you have internet service already, then you will be good to go. The alarm control panel for your system will either connect to your local WIFI network or use a wired ethernet connection for internet access. The advantage to IP communication is that it is the least expensive.

But as you know, occasional internet outages are still something that most people have to deal with. Not to mention, a power outage will also take your router and modem offline if you do not have a backup power supply available. That is why many people upgrade to cellular communication. With a strong cellular connection, it is highly unlikely that your system would ever go offline for any reason.

If you already have internet in your home or business, and you still want the reliability of cellular, then you can easily achieve a dual-path setup that uses both IP and cellular. This is the most popular type of alarm monitoring, and it is what we ultimately recommend in most cases. You also won't need to pay any more than what you would pay for cellular monitoring service, as most monitoring companies include IP service with a cellular monitoring plan.

If you are interested in learning more about IP, cellular, or dual-path monitoring, or if you want to learn more about the alarm monitoring services offered by Alarm Grid, we invite you to email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8-m ET M-F. You are also welcome to check out our monitoring page to learn more about the monitoring plans we offer. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm Grid would like to remind all of its monitored customers who receive cellular alarm monitoring service to upgrade to an LTE communicator as soon as possible. Older 3G cellular communicators will no longer function once their associated cellular networks are shut down in 2022.

Honeywell lyric lte a at and t lte cellular communicator for the

Without going too in-depth, an alarm panel uses a cellular communicator to send the necessary signals for alarm monitoring service to take place. When doing this, the communicator will send and receive signals across the same cellular networks that are used by mobile phones and other devices that utilize cellular communication technology.

Cellular communication is widely recognized as being the optimal communication path for security systems due to its exceptional reliability and generally fast speeds. Additionally, the Alarm.com platform requires that all systems using their service have a cellular communicator that is registered and activated. This differs from Total Connect 2.0, where a user can forgo a cellular communicator and strictly use an IP communicator with their system.

If you read this blog regularly, then you will likely have heard us discussing the 3G Sunset. This refers to the ongoing process of shutting down 3G cellular networks in favor of newer and more powerful LTE networks and 5G networks. Both Alarm.com and Total Connect 2.0 have stopped allowing 3G activations. A user who has a security system with a 3G communicator that is already activate can continue to use their communicator until the associated network is shut down. Once that happens, the communicator will no longer work for monitoring service.

Alarm.com and Total Connect 2.0 do not control the cellular networks, and it is not their decision when these networks are shut down. That decision falls on the cellular service providers. AT&T has stated that their 3G network is due to shut down by the end of February 2022. The Verizon CDMA Network (their 3G equivalent) is expected to be shut down in 2022 as well.

Alarm Grid urges everyone using a 3G communicator for monitoring service to upgrade to an LTE communicator as soon as they can. While 2022 might seem like a long time away, time is ticking by. Do not leave your home or business unmonitored and vulnerable. Upgrade to LTE now, and save yourself the hassle later on.

One concern that we have heard from some users is that LTE networks will also become outdated someday, and they will eventually be shut down as well. But AT&T and Verizon have both gone on record to say that their LTE networks will be supported and maintained well into the very distant future. This might seem surprising, especially considering that 5G is regularly mentioned in their advertisements. The reality though is that cellular service providers still intend on maintaining their LTE infrastructure for use as a backup to their 5G networks. Remember, even new and upcoming smartphones that utilize 5G technology are still designed to connect with LTE networks whenever 5G service is unavailable for whatever reason.

For more proof that LTE is here to stay, you do not need to look any further than the name itself. The term "LTE" is actually short for "Long-Term Evolution". Cellular service providers built their LTE networks with the intention that they would remain active and in service for many decades. They are not going anywhere any time soon, even as the excitement and anticipation of 5G continues to grow. And if that weren't enough, using 5G communication with a security system will not really be all that different than LTE. Alarm systems do not need to send large amounts of data, and LTE is more than capable of providing fast and reliable data transmissions as needed.

Alarm Grid has released many panel-specific guides to upgrading to LTE that we have linked below. You may notice that one noticeable absence from the list is the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus. These systems already come with built-in LTE communicators, so no upgrade is necessary. Please check out our LTE upgrade guides linked below:

Remember that if you have any questions about the 3G sunset or upgrading to LTE, you can email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We will be happy to discuss your options for keeping your existing system monitored. Our team checks email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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According to reports, Ubiquiti has corrected an issue affecting their UniFi Access Points (APs). Alarm Grid previously reported the issue back in February. The issue prevented various security systems from connecting. Users had to disable the Auto Optimize Network feature to connect.


It is our understanding that Ubiquiti pushed a firmware update to their UniFi Access Point devices. This firmware update made it so that a security system will not be booted from the network when the Auto Optimize Network feature is enabled for the AP. Users can now expect their systems to work while the AP is in this mode.

Before the issue was fixed, we were only aware of Honeywell Lyric Alarm Systems being affected. We later learned that other systems connecting with Ubiquity UniFi Access Points were believed to be affected as well. Regardless, there should no longer be any issues when using a UniFi AP with your system, as long as the AP received the firmware update.

If you are still experiencing issues, we recommend emailing us at support@alarmgrid.com. While we cannot push the update to an Ubiquiti AP, we can walk you through steps for making sure that your alarm system is doing its part. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. Also make sure to check out our monitoring page if you are interested in learning more about our services. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Qolsys updated the recent Technical Service Bulletin TSB# 200413 regarding Software Update 2.5.2 for the IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus. The revised version provides new instructions on successfully performing the update using a Patch Tag. You can view the revised Qolsys TSB here.

Qolsys iq panel 2 verizon 7 security panel w slash z wave ready In the revised TSB, Qolsys suggests first changing the system Log Level to Verbose, then waiting two (2) minutes, then changing the Log Level to Debug, then waiting another two (2) minutes, then rebooting the panel, and then finally performing the update via a Patch Tag. These new instructions only apply if you are updating the system via Patch Tag. If you have the update pushed down automatically from Alarm.com, then no action is needed.

The previous version of the TSB did not mention waiting 2 minutes, and it did not mention changing the Log Level to Debug. It only said to change the Log Level to Verbose and then perform the update immediately afterward without waiting. We are hopeful that this updated TSB will help end users avoid any confusion or frustration.

In order to change the Log Level, start from the main screen, click the small grey bar at the top, and choose Settings > Advanced Settings > enter the Installer Code or Dealer Code (default 1111 and 2222 respectively) > Installation > System Logs.

Remember you must set the Log Level to Verbose, wait 2 minutes, set the Log Level to Debug, reboot the panel, and then perform the update via patch tag like usual. The reboot can be performed by clicking the grey bar at the top of the screen, and choosing Settings > Advanced Settings > enter IC or DC > Panel Reboot.

The process for updating via Patch Tag involves clicking the small grey bar at the top of the main screen and choosing Settings > Advanced Settings > enter IC or DC > Upgrade Software > Patch Tag > enter iqpanel2.5.2 > OK. The update will then begin. It should take less than 30 minutes for the update to finish. Remember, you must enter iqpanel2.5.2 exactly. The IQ2 must be monitored and connected with a local WIFI network for the update to be performed. It should have its backup battery charged, and the system should be receiving AC power from its plug-in transformer.

If you have any questions about this update, please contact your monitoring company. If you are monitored by Alarm Grid, you may email us at support@alarmgrid.com for assistance. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Do you want to achieve a hybrid security system that uses both wireless and hardwired wired sensors? We have the perfect solution for you in the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and the Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F. This will let you use both wired sensors and wireless sensors with one convenient system!

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Although we are well into the age of wireless security systems, there is still a place for hardwired sensors. Many people install wired sensors for new construction as a way of fully integrating their security system with their home or office. This is a great way to increase property value, and it's a fairly simple task for a builder to accomplish.

In addition, hardwired sensors require less maintenance than wireless sensors. They do not need any battery replacements, and many do not draw any electricity from a panel or wired to wireless converter module. Also, more and more alarm system manufacturers are offering ways to integrate hardwired sensors in with wireless panels. Using wired and wireless sensors together on the same system is sometimes referred to as a "hybrid security system".

The advantage to using a hybrid alarm system with both wired and wireless sensors is that you can still integrate your wired sensors in with the building, while also being able to easily add wireless sensors when convenient. It can be challenging to run wire for hardwired sensors after a building has been constructed. If you need to add some quick new sensors, then wireless ones make for a great selection. They are super easy to install, and they are just as reliable as wired sensors. Also, there are many sensors out there that are only available in wireless varieties.

The 319.5 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus is a great option for those looking to set up a hybrid security system, as it readily supports DSC PowerG Security Sensors and has a great wired to wireless converter option in the Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F. If you aren't familiar with PowerG Sensors, they offer some of the best range in the industry, as they can be used from up to 2,000 feet away from the IQ Panel 2 Plus. The PowerG Sensors are also extremely secure, since they utilize 128-bit AES encryption and Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) Technology. These are some of the best wireless sensors that you can possibly use with a security system.

But how do you integrate wired sensors in with your new Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus System? That's where the Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F comes in. This is a wired to wireless converter module that is specifically designed for use with 319.5 MHz security systems. Hardwired sensors connect directly with the Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F, and the module sends out a wireless 319.5 MHz signal to the panel on their behalf. This will allow the connected wired sensors to interface with a wireless alarm system that otherwise wouldn't accept them.

There are two (2) versions of the Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F. There is a Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F w/ Small Enclosure and a Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F w/ Large Enclosure. The difference between these two is that the large enclosure module will come with a large plastic cabinet designed for housing multiple IQ Hardwire 16-F units in one convenient location. If you are only bringing over a few hardwired sensors and only need one converter unit, the the small enclosure will often suffice. But if you are using multiple converter modules, then you may want to house them in an enclosure.

Note that every IQ Hardwire 16-F supports up to 16 hardwired zones, including one zone for 2-wire smoke detectors. Also note that each large enclosure from Qolsys is designed to support up to two (2) sets of IQ Hardwire 16-F Converters. Backup batteries are not included, but they are highly recommended. These two sets of batteries will also fit in the large enclosure with the converters.

Both the 319.5 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus and both versions of the IQ Hardwire 16-F are available for purchase on our website. Please make sure you are using the 319.5 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus, as the IQ Hardwire 16-F will not work with the other versions. However, the IQ Hardwire 16-F can work with the original non-Plus Qolsys IQ Panel 2. And if you have a 345 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus, then you can achieve similar results with the Honeywell 5800C2W. Before you know it, you will have an effective and reliable hybrid alarm system!

If you have any questions about using the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus with a Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F, or if you want to learn more about hybrid security systems in general, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. Our support team is available from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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One of the best perks of owning a home security system is that it can also serve as an automation hub for controlling compatible smart devices. Apple HomeKit is an excellent platform to build around if you are a frequent iOS or Apple user. And a new Lyric System can make a great addition!

Honeywell lyric controller encrypted wireless security system

If you aren't familiar with Apple HomeKit, it is an app for iOS devices that allows you to control and automate compatible devices around your home. What's really cool is that you can perform various actions from virtually anywhere in the world using spoken Siri voice commands. Possible actions include arming or disarming your security system, controlling Lutron Smart Lights, or performing a complete HomeKit scene in which multiple devices are controlled at once.

In order to get started using a Lyric with Apple HomeKit, you must have a Lyric System that is set up for alarm monitoring service automation control. For Alarm Grid monitored customers, this means that you will need a Silver Plan or higher. More information is available on our monitoring page. Your alarm monitoring company can then activate the HomeKit feature for your Lyric System. Then just follow this simple FAQ to get it set up.

Remember that having a dedicated HomeKit Hub as part of your automation network is strongly recommended. This can be an iPad, an Apple HomePod, or an AppleTV Gen 4 or higher. You might also want to check out this FAQ on creating HomeKit Automations. That is how you will have your HomeKit compatible devices activate automatically with certain system events or based upon a set schedule.

When expanding upon your HomeKit network, make sure to look for devices that feature the Apple Home logo or other marking identifying them as HomeKit-compatible.

The only way to get your Honeywell Lyric set up for use with Apple HomeKit is to get it monitored. Please email us at support@alarmgrid.com for more information. We check our email Monday thru Friday from 9am to 8pm ET. Our team will be happy to help you find new HomeKit devices and build a robust and powerful HomeKit network that you can control from anywhere using your voice. Getting started is super easy, and we will be there every step of the way!

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When dealing with so many other things in life, it's easy to put off buying a home security system. But it's something you really might want to do sooner rather than later. Installing your own home security system is very easy, and the insurance savings often make it a great investment.

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We understand that buying a security system isn't exactly the flashiest addition you can make to your home. But it's something that every homeowner should add sooner rather than later. With a security system, you are protecting yourself, your possessions, and your loved ones. We also strongly recommend checking with your insurance company to learn about potential discounts. These discounts alone make an alarm system a worthwhile investment. And the quicker you act, the better.

The great thing about the security systems offered from Alarm Grid is that you can always start small and expand later as needed. For example, you might just get an alarm panel, a single door and window sensor, and a single smoke detector for an insurance discount. This will likely you save you money on your homeowner's insurance. In that sense, the system will basically pay for itself over time. Many Alarm Grid customers find that their insurance savings are greater than their monitoring expenses.

Then once you have saved up more, you can easily build upon the system with more sensors. Many users like to have a sensor at each door so that they can hear chimes and voice annunciations whenever there is activity in their homes. By installing your own system, you can set up each zone to make its own sound effect. You can also turn off the chime and annunciation for any given zone if you prefer. And your insurance company may offer you additional discounts for things like low-temperature detection, flood detection, or carbon monoxide detection. You can add all of these devices to system later on, at your own pace.

And your home security system can be used for more than just keeping your family safe. Most home alarm systems can be set up as automation controllers for operating devices such as lights, door locks, smart thermostats, and more. These smart devices can be activated automatically based on a set schedule or with certain system events. We even offer monitoring plans that will allow you to control these devices from pretty much anywhere in the world using an app on your phone. And there are even options for interfacing with smart platforms like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Apple HomeKit. IFTTT, and more!

Designing and installing a complete security system can be a big project. But you can start small. And with a wireless system, you can even take it with you if you decide to move later on. These are many fantastic panels today that work just as well in a small apartment as they do in a spacious family ranch home. And you can do it all by yourself, without having to hire a professional installer. Take steps to protect your household before trouble strikes. Even if you start small now, you can always grow your system to meet your needs later.

Want to learn more about our security systems and alarm monitoring? Send an email to support@alarmgrid.com. We would love to tell you more about how a security system can keep you safe and make your life more convenient. Our support technicians and system planners are available from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you and answering your questions!

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At Alarm Grid, we truly believe that most security systems can be installed by end users, with no on-site support from professional installers or technicians. Installing your own DIY security system can save you money in the long run, and it will keep you and those around you safe.

Qolsys iq panel 2 verizon 3 1 kit wireless alarm system 3 door sThere are many considerations you will want to make if you are just getting into the market for the first time. You should start by thinking about which alarm panel you want to use. There are several options out there. We recommend reading the three (3) statements below and deciding which one applies to you the most. We realize that all of these statements may apply to your situation, but for the sake of picking the best panel, try and narrow it down to the single most accurate statement. We can begin to steer you towards the optimal panel just based on that one answer, as it shows what is most important to you in this decision.

A. I want the best all-around DIY security system.

B. I want a security system for low-cost monitoring.

C. I want a system system that adds property value.

For those choosing A and wanting the best all-around DIY security system, the answer is most often the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. It has an attractive, modern design that looks great when on placed on a desk or table with its included stand. The entire installation can be complete using only a screwdriver in just a matter of minutes. Programming is made super easy and intuitive, and the vast majority of new users describe the simple setup process as a pleasant experience. The system has a great user interface (UI), and you will love how well the menus are laid out.

Since the IQ Panel 2 Plus has a built-in cellular communicator and an integrated WIFI card, you will not need to add any equipment to use dual-path connectivity with the system. It is ready to go, right out of the box. The panel is also loaded with features that really help make it appealing to those interested in home automation. This comes in six (6) variants, as there are three (3) legacy sensor support options (319.5 MHz, 345 MHz, 433 MHz), and each one is available in AT&T LTE or Verizon LTE. The most popular model is the 319.5 MHZ Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, simply because it is the most affordable, but they are all fantastic.

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If B is most important for you, and you want to keep your monitoring costs as low as possible, then you will generally want to look at the Honeywell Alarm Panels. This is because Honeywell Panels can be set up for alarm monitoring service without needing use a cellular communicator. Although cellular communication allows for the optimal reliability, it also increases the cost of alarm monitoring due to the cellular service charges. If you have a strong WIFI internet connection in your home, then you can rely on an IP-only setup for alarm monitoring. An excellent panel for this type of setup is the Honeywell Lyric Controller.

The Honeywell Lyric Alarm System is professional-grade security system that is supported by alarm companies across the industry. The panel provides effective and reliable monitoring service to keep your home or business monitored and protected at all times. It is also no slouch when it comes to smart home functionality, as you will have no trouble setting up a complete automation network with the panel if desired. But the money saving aspect lies in the fact this panel is able to connect with monitoring servers without needing a registered cellular communicator. This can save you hundreds in annual monitoring expenses by strictly relying on IP connectivity. All you need to do is connect the Lyric to your WIFI network and have the panel activated by your alarm monitoring company. For more information on why the Lyric is a great option for low-cost alarm monitoring service, please check out this prior blog.

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Lastly, those choosing C, where adding property value is the main consideration, you might want to look into a hardwired security system. This is especially true if you are building new construction and have the capacity to run wires throughout the new or unfinished building. An integrated, hardwired security system will add value to any property, and it gives the home or business a nice additional feature. But it should be noted that hardwired systems are more difficult to install. While we have seen some DIY users install their own hardwired systems, the task is usually completed by a professional due to the sheer amount of wiring involved. However, we are happy to work with a third-party installer in helping you install a wired system.

Most new installations today utilize wireless security systems. But if you decide that a wired system is for you, then there are plenty of options to choose from. Hardwired Honeywell Panels are great if you looking to minimize monitoring costs by using IP-only connectivity. We are particularly fond of the Honeywell VISTA-21iPLTE, as it already has a built-in IP communicator for supporting a wired ethernet connection. A cellular communicator can also be added if desired. Overall, the Honeywell VISTA-21iPLTE will provide more than enough functionality for any home or small to medium sized business. There are also commercial-grade panels like the Honeywell VISTA-128BPT, the Honeywell VISTA-250BPT, and the DSC PowerSeries NEO HS128NK, but those are more suited for large businesses and industrial complexes. Just remember that you will need to add extra accessories for all wired systems, such as alarm wiring, a siren, and keypads.

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Start by considering what is most important to you if you are looking for a new alarm system. Once you have committed to a panel, you can start building around it to establish security and automation capabilities. This will include choosing compatible sensors and other accessories. You can also start checking out various monitoring plans to determine which one is right for you. If you ever want to talk to us, we are best reached by emailing support@alrmgrid.com. Our support team answers email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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For users looking to add smoke and heat detectors to their wireless systems, there are always some great options to consider. Of course, the specific models you can choose from will depend which alarm panel you are using. We're here to present the best options for some popular systems.

Honeywell 5800combo smoke heat and co detector

For this list, we are presenting our favorite combination smoke and heat detector and standalone heat detector for each system. Combination smoke and heat detectors are what you should use in most locations of your home or business. During a fire, smoke is usually detected before heat, so a combination sensor will rely on smoke detection as its primary method for detecting fires. Heat detection serves as a good backup to smoke detection.

But there are some rooms of a home where it is better to use standalone heat detectors. This is because using a regular smoke detector in these rooms could result in false alarms due to excessive dust, moisture, or smoke that is normally present. Examples of rooms where a standalone heat detector is often a better option include kitchens, attics, garages, and bathrooms. Remember that standalone heat sensors are one-and-done devices, and they must be replaced after activation. Do not test them using a hair dryer!

Below are our favorite smoke and heat detector options for various systems:


Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus (319.5 MHz)

Smoke & Heat: DSC PG9936

Standalone Heat: Interlogix HDX-135


Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus (345 MHz)

Smoke & Heat: DSC PG9936

Standalone Heat: Honeywell 5809SS


Honeywell Lyric Alarm System

Smoke & Heat: Honeywell SiXSMOKE

Standalone Heat: Honeywell 5809SS


2GIG GC3e & 2GIG GC2e

Smoke & Heat: 2GIG SMKT8e-345

Standalone Heat: Honeywell 5809SS


If you need any help setting up your new Alarm Grid Security System, or if you are interested in learning more about our monitoring services, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Looking for an easy way to improve upon your security system? Adding security cameras and integrating them with your existing setup will really let you unlock your system's full potential. You can have your cameras activate and begin recording as soon as activity occurs on your system.

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The main thing you should consider when choosing cameras for an existing system is to think about which alarm panel you have. Your alarm panel, by extension, determines which interactive service platform you use. Most Alarm Grid monitored customers use either Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. If you have a Honeywell Security System, then you most likely use Total Connect 2.0. If you have Alarm Grid monitoring service using a panel from a different manufacturer, such as Qolsys, 2GIG, or DSC, then you most likely use Alarm.com.

Both Total Connect 2.0 and Alarm.com have their own selection of cameras to choose from. Total Connect 2.0 keeps things simple with just three (3) cameras to choose from as of April 2020. These cameras are the Honeywell IPCAM-WIC1, the Honeywell IPCAM-WIC2, and the Honeywell IPCAM-WOC1. Alarm.com seems to release updated models more frequently, as they continue to update their camera lineup. At this time some of our favorite Alarm.com Camera Models include the Alarm.com ADC-V522IR, the Alarm.com ADC-V622-WELL, and the Alarm.com ADC-V723.

Once you know which camera lineup to choose from, there are many factors for you to consider when deciding which camera to buy. Some of these factors include whether the camera is for indoor or outdoor use, the recording quality of the camera, the camera's viewing angle, and how much money you would like to spend. Since Honeywell only has three cameras currently on the market, it's usually pretty cut and dry which one is best for your needs. With Alarm.com, there are more options to consider.

Whether you are using TC2 or ADC, you can view the live feed for your camera remotely from anywhere in the world using an app on your phone. You can also set a camera to begin recording, whenever activity occurs on your system. For example, if someone faults an Entry/Exit Zone and triggers an Entry Delay countdown, then you can have your camera record all the action. Usually, it will just the routine activity of an authorized individual arming the system, but you will be ready if anyone tries to make an unauthorized entry into your home or business. And you can set your cameras for all sorts of triggers, included faulted sensors, system alarms, at certain times of day, and more.

Remember that you will need a monitoring plan that includes video surveillance to use security cameras. If you already have a monitored system with Alarm Grid, then the easiest option is to upgrade to a Platinum Level Plan (Self or Full). To learn more, or if you have any questions about security cameras or our monitoring services, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We check our support emails from Monday thru Friday, 9am to 8pm ET. We look forward to hearing from you!

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