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The Z-Wave Alliance has unveiled the specifications for the Z-Wave Long Range protocol to developers. This means that certified developers will soon be able to build products that meet the stringent standards of Z-Wave LR. This is surely a great moment for the world of home automation!


If this is the first time you're hearing about Z-Wave Long Range, then don't feel too bad. We have only very recently heard about the smart home protocol ourselves. Our understanding is that Z-Wave LR is a subset of the Z-Wave 700-Series that we fully expect to take the automation market by storm over the next year or two. From what we can tell, the Z-Wave LR requirements are even more restrictive than Z-Wave 700-Series standards. In other words, while every Z-Wave LR device will also meet the technical guidelines of Z-Wave 700-Series, only a small selection of 700-Series devices will also meet the criteria for Z-Wave LR.

As its name implies, the wireless signal range of Z-Wave LR is no joke. We have heard that certified Z-Wave LR devices will be able to communicate with Z-Wave LR Hubs from up to "several miles" away with direct line-of-sight. This is to be made possible when using the maximum output power of a Z-Wave LR device, which is said to be +30dBm. Silicon Labs, a member of the Z-Wave Alliance, has already achieved a direct line-of-sight signal range of up to one (1) mile when using just over +14dBm of output power. And this should only be further improved upon as more work and experimentation is completed.

In addition, Z-Wave LR technology will make it possible to pair more than 4,000 nodes with a single network, which is way up from the 232 node restriction of current Z-Wave technology. The average battery life is also expected to be drastically improved, as users will be able to go up to ten (10) years without swapping the batteries in their Z-Wave LR devices. And like all Z-Wave technology, Z-Wave LR will be backwards compatible with earlier iterations of Z-Wave. You will be able to bring over your existing Z-Wave and Z-Wave Plus devices and use them successfully with a new Z-Wave hub. Conversely, Z-Wave LR devices will be able to pair with older Z-Wave and Z-Wave Plus hubs if needed. Just keep in mind that you will need to use a Z-Wave LR Hub and certified Z-Wave LR devices to really take advantage of what the protocol has to offer.

One of the other biggest ways that Z-Wave LR differs from traditional Z-Wave is in the very topography, or general arrangement and structure, of the networks. You have likely heard us referring to Z-Wave as a "mesh network" at some point. In simple terms, this means that almost every device included in the network is able to repeat signals, and adding more devices helps the interconnected network become stronger. But for Z-Wave LR, a different arrangement commonly referred to as a Star Network, or Star Topography, is used instead. In this Star Network, the Z-Wave LR Hub or Controller is recognized as a centralized point that is able to make a direct connection with each individual Z-Wave LR device included with the network. This differs from the mesh network traditionally associated with Z-Wave, as signals are no longer hopping from node to node to reach the Hub or Controller, but rather they are traveling directly between the device and the centralized controller. What really makes a Z-Wave LR Hub so unique is that it is able to utilize a Star Network for any paired Z-Wave LR devices, while simultaneously facilitating a traditional mesh network for any older Z-Wave or Z-Wave Plus devices that you have paired.

Reports indicate that the Z-Wave Alliance will make Z-Wave LR certification available starting in March 2021. The expectation is that we will hopefully start seeing some Z-Wave LR devices enter the market by mid-to-late this year. We also expect to start seeing Z-Wave 700-Series devices become much more commonplace, as the only 700-Series device that we began offering last year was the 2GIG STZ-1 Smart Thermostat. Of course, it won't mean much if alarm system manufacturers don't embrace the technology and begin putting Z-Wave LR and 700-Series controllers into their alarm panels. Consider this to be on our wish list for new panels like the Resideo PROA7PLUS, as well as upcoming panels like the Qolsys IQ Hub and the 2GIG Edge.

Stay tuned to our blog for more information about Z-Wave 700-Series and Z-Wave LR We will keep you informed about the latest and most advanced smart home technology that should begin hitting the market soon. If you have any questions, please email our support team at support@alarmgrid.com. This is also a great email to use if you are interested in starting new alarm monitoring service to unlock the full potential of your security and automation equipment. Remember that our team is available to help you from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Welcome to the first post of 2021 from Alarm Grid! It's almost cliché to say by this point, but we're just as happy to transition into 2021 as you are. And we're looking to start the year off on the right foot by having our Florida team members return to the Alarm Grid headquarters.


Since Thanksgiving, our Florida office has remained closed, and virtually all team members who normally work here have instead been performing their regular duties from their homes. Only our satellite offices in Kentucky and Connecticut have remained active during this time. Well now it's back to business as usual, as we have transitioned back into our usual location. We are happy to be back, as while we love our homes, the office is really the best place for staying focused and providing our customers with the support and assistance they need.

One other small note as we leave 2020 behind, we know that normally we do a "Year In Review" blog post around this time, to look back on all the events that occurred. But unfortunately, that will not be happening this year. We actually had one planned out, but due to technical difficulties, the content was deleted, and we were unable to recover it. Also, there has been so much security news as of late that we really haven't had the time. Not to mention the fact that most people consider 2020 to have been a "below average" year, so we're sure that most of our readers are ready to move forward rather than look into the rearview. But if you were looking forward to that, then we do apologize.

With that out of the way, let's start thinking about what we can expect for 2021. Our three biggest manufacturers - Resideo, Qolsys, and 2GIG - all have big plans for the year. We expect this to be the year that the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS Alarm Panel really comes into itself, as Resideo is expected to make local end user programming available for the system, and there is a good chance that Apple HomeKit support will also be added later this year. We've also heard that there will be a "stripped-down" version of the PROA7PLUS called simply the PROA7 that will not offer Z-Wave or WIFI connectivity unless added separately. And there have also been some small rumblings of a wired and wireless hybrid panel from Resideo that is tentatively being called the Honeywell Home PROH8PLUS.

Qolsys is likely going to debut their much-anticipated Qolsys IQ Hub in 2021. We were actually expecting it to hit the market in 2020, but that obviously never happened, possibly due to the ongoing pandemic. We have periodically asked Qolsys about the IQ Hub, and they continue to say that it should be available early this year. All signs point to it being released very soon. As we have mentioned before, we don't necessarily expect the IQ Hub to replace the IQ Panel 2 Plus, and instead it will be an option for users who don't really need all of the advanced features of the company's flagship alarm panel. We strongly recommend checking out this post to learn more about what may be coming for the IQ Hub.

Lastly, 2GIG is set to release their own brand-new security system, the 2GIG Edge, in February. The website promoting the upcoming panel is vague on details and specifications, but we're guessing that 2GIG is going to hold nothing back on their new panel. They have some very stiff competition with Resideo and Qolsys afterall. For more information on what the 2GIG Edge Security System might have to offer, please check out our initial post on the subject, where we made some interesting predictions and speculations based on information that is currently available.

Remember to stay tuned to our blog so that you can remain up-to-date on the latest security news and happening throughout 2021 and beyond. And if you ever need any help with your Alarm Grid System, or if you are looking to join Alarm Grid as a monitored customer, then please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We're available to check your emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. Happy New Year, and we look forward to hearing from you!

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Happy New Year! As you can tell from the title, we're discussing our holiday schedule. All Alarm Grid offices will be closing early at 6pm ET on Thursday, December 31st. We will remain closed all day Friday, January 1st. We will then reopen for business as usual on Monday, January 4th, 2021.


First, let us give the obligatory, "we're sorry for any inconvenience this may cause", but please understand that security experts also like to enjoy the new year! One place that will not be closing is our central station partner, Criticom Monitoring Services, and neither is Rapid Response for our monitored customers in Canada. These monitoring centers don't close for silly events like ringing-in the new year, and they will remain vigilant, protecting your homes and businesses like always.

Remember that we will not be answering our phones or checking emails while we are closed. If you need to contact us, then send an email to support@alarmgrid.com. We will do our best to reply back when we reopen on Monday, January 4th. But please keep in mind that we expect to be confronted with a large number of emails when we groggily cheerfully return to our offices on Monday. We may not reply early in the day, so we ask that you be patient. We promise that we will get to you as soon as we can!

If you need to reach Criticom to put your system on test mode or to cancel a false alarm then please call our number (888) 818-7728, and choose option number [9]. Similar inquiries for Rapid Response can be made by calling (800) 932-3822. Remember to only call the central station for relevant matters. They are extremely busy handling emergencies, so we want to prevent any unnecessary calls that may clog their phone lines preventing them from handling priority issues. Send all other matters to our support email, and we will take it from there.

To everyone, please have a fun and safe New Year Holiday, as we move on from what has surely been a historic year. We are just as ready for 2021 as you are. And please, stay tuned to our blog for the latest security news and happenings. Thank you so much for being a loyal reader in 2020, and we'll see you next year!

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Earlier in 2020, cryptocurrency storage company Ledger experienced a major data breach. It has since been revealed that more than 1 million email addresses, plus around 272,000 names, mailing addresses, and phone numbers were exposed. Major lessons can be taken away from this incident.


For those unfamiliar with Ledger and the resulting incident, Ledger is a French company offering cryptocurrency "wallets" that are used to store electronic cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and more. These are actual physical devices that resemble something like a USB flash drive. In July 2020, it was revealed that Ledger customers had their personal data exposed by hackers. Initially, it was thought that only 9,500 individuals were impacted. But it has since been revealed that the number of those affected is significantly more staggering.

The fallout for Ledger has been severe. Since the incident, more than 170 phishing websites have been taken down to try and prevent more people from being victimized. The company has also hired a new Chief Information Security Officer in an effort to provide stronger security moving forward. And of course, Ledger has repeatedly apologized for the incident, and they are promising to take the security of their customers more seriously from here on out. Many individuals have since criticized Ledger, not just for allowing the data breach to take place, but also for holding onto this sensitive data in the first place.

At Alarm Grid, we take security very seriously. And while our main focus is on alarm monitoring services, stories involving digital security are also fascinating to us. The purpose of our post today isn't to attack or shame Ledger, but we do want to remind our readers to protect themselves whenever possible. While we often expect that the companies in-charge will do the heavy lifting for us, mistakes and incidents clearly happen, so take it upon yourself to keep your personal data safe.

For starters, use a VPN while browsing the internet to prevent outsiders from accessing your browsing history and personal information. And yes, that means using a legitimate VPN, not just "Incognito Mode" in Chrome. Second, when you do have to provide information to outside companies, do what you can to keep your information safe. Try using a disposable email address when shopping online instead of your personal or work email. For your address, consider getting a PO box, or use a mail forwarding service. You might also want to get a second phone number to manage two-factor authentication, or use an app to generate fake phone numbers. Finally, always make sure to use safe and secure passwords, and never share them across multiple websites.

If you have any questions about keeping your personal information safe, or if you are interested in starting new monitoring service to protect your home or business, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. Security is something we take very seriously, and we will be happy to help you. We are available from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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We have learned that Alarm.com has updated the video timeline used with their Streaming Video Recorder (SVR) devices. The changes were made to accommodate for the end of life of Adobe Flash, and to introduce the new Smart View feature. You can see the changes on the Alarm.com website.


With support for Adobe Flash ending after 2020, Alarm.com has updated the SVR Timeline on their website to now use native in-browser streaming. The most recent versions of recommended web browsers will provide the proper resources needed to support the feature. Alarm.com recommends using the latest version of Chrome, FireFox, Safari, or Edge with their services. Please note that the Microsoft Edge Legacy Browser cannot support the SVR Timeline if the browser version is less than Version 79. Alarm.com no longer recommends the use of the Microsoft Edge Legacy. Please see this post for more.

Additionally, Alarm.com has recently redesigned the SVR Timeline to accommodate its new "Smart View" feature. Smart View is an interactive video player that allows users to playback Alarm.com Camera recordings for up to four (4) cameras at a time. Users can also filter content to find important footage faster. Smart View also introduces a new activity timeline that shows system-wide events, such as doors and windows being opened, alarm panel arming and disarming, Video Analytics events, plus more. Keep in mind that the updated SVR Timeline is only accessible through the Alarm.com website. It cannot be accessed through the Alarm.com Mobile App. Current Alarm.com Streaming Video Recorders include the ADC-SVR122 and the ADC-CSVR126.

If you have any questions about the Alarm.com SVR Timeline, or if you are interested in starting new alarm monitoring service for use with Alarm.com, please email our team 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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Alarm.com now offers an integration for Lennox iComfort WIFI Touchscreen Thermostats. This will allow you to control your compatible Lennox Thermostat from the Alarm.com platform using the website or mobile app. The integration offers the same control as other supported thermostats.


Please note that the supported models include those from the Lennox iComfort Lineup. These include the Lennox iComfort E30, the Lennox iComfort M30, and the Lennox iComfort S30. You can always reach out to us if you have any questions about smart thermostat compatibility for use with Alarm.com.

By completing the integration, you can perform a variety of functions for your Lennox WIFI Thermostat from the convenient Alarm.com Mobile App or website. The following features are listed as supported by Alarm.com:

  • View Current Temperature
  • View Current Mode
  • View Current Setpoint(s)
  • View Current Humidity
  • View Current Fan Mode
  • Change Setpoints
  • Change Mode
  • Change Fan Mode
  • Request Status Update
  • Complete Scene Integration

In order to get started, have your monitoring company apply the Lennox iComfort Integration to your Alarm.com account. Next, you need to pair your Lennox iComfort account with your Alarm.com account. This is what gives Alarm.com permission to control the thermostat. You must provide your Lennox username and password to complete the integration.

The process can be completed using the website or mobile app. If you are using the website, then the option is found under the Settings Menu. Follow the on-screen prompts as instructed. If you are using the mobile app, them login to your account, and click the three (3) horizontal bars button, followed by +Add Device. Choose Lennox iComfort Thermostat. Remember, this option will only appear if your alarm monitoring company applied the feature to your account. From there, follow the on-screen prompts, and provide your Lennox username and password when they are requested. You will then need to accept the terms and conditions, which you can review on the screen. At this point, the discovery process should begin, and the device should pair! Make sure that your thermostat is online and connected to the network before attempting the above steps.

If you have any questions about the Alarm.com Lennox iComfort Thermostat Integration, or if you are monitored through Alarm Grid and you need us to apply the feature to your account, or if you are interested in starting new monitoring service, please email our support team at support@alarmgrid.com. We are here to check your email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Resideo has made another big hire, this time bringing Travis Merrill aboard to serve as Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy, and Commercial Officer. Merrill offers more than two decades of experience in corporate strategy, marketing, and general management. Congratulations Merrill!


Merrill will report to Resideo President and CEO Jay Geldmacher, and he will likely be working very closely with other executives and leaders throughout the company. He will oversee the company's corporate strategy, brand strategy, external corporate communications, and strategic partnerships. The hire becomes official on Monday, December 21, 2020.

CEO Geldmacher said of the hire, "Travis has a proven track record and unique expertise in developing strategy and fostering commercial partnerships to drive focus and growth... His leadership and experience will be invaluable as we continue to define the strategic direction for Resideo.”

Prior to being hired by Resideo, Merrill served as CMO of FLIR Systems. He also previously served as the Vice President of Samsung's tablet business in the United States. Merrill currently serves on the board of All Hands Raised, a non-profit group committed to the wellbeing of young people, and also has current affiliations with Wabash College.

"With its presence in more than 150 million homes and businesses and its numerous market-leading products, Resideo has a tremendous opportunity to deliver value for its customers and partners... I am excited to work with this team and our partners to position Resideo for long-term growth," said Merrill on joining the company.

With Merrill set to become the person in-charge of Resideo external corporate communications, our hope is that he will make quick work of securing Apple HomeKit compatibility for the new Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS Alarm Panel, much like what is already available for our current top Resideo Security System pick, the Honeywell Lyric Alarm System. The two biggest items on our wishlist for the PROA7PLUS are end user programming and HomeKit compatibility. It sounds like Merrill needs to sit down with the folks at Apple and make some magic happen. Don't let us down Merrill!

If you are interested in getting started with monitoring service for a Resideo Alarm Panel, then please don't hesitate to reach out to us! The best way to contact our planning team for preparing a new security system is to email support@alarmgrid.com. We will walk you through the process of planning a complete security system from start to finish. Our hours for checking email run from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm.com is phasing out support for the Microsoft Edge Legacy Web Browser. Anyone using the browser to access Alarm.com may soon notice a pop-up message suggesting that they switch to a more optimized web browser instead. Alarm.com access will be denied entirely starting in February 2021.


According to Alarm.com, the appearance of the warning pop-up message suggesting the use of a different browser will appear to anyone who logs into Alarm.com using the Microsoft Edge Legacy Browser on or after Monday, December 21, 2020. The user will then be able to access their account like normal. This is being done to prepare users for the eventual plan to drop support for this browser entirely.

Then, starting in February 2021, any user who attempts to log-in using the Microsoft Edge Legacy Browser will be denied access to the Alarm.com servers entirely. The user will still be able to successfully access their Alarm.com account by using an approved web browser or the Alarm.com Mobile App on an Android or iOS device.

Alarm.com recommends using the latest version of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple Safari to access their web servers. The latest version of Microsoft Edge is also supported and recommended for use with the Alarm.com website. Please note that Alarm.com dropping support for the Microsoft Edge Legacy Web Browser should not be confused with them dropping support for the Internet Explorer 11 Web Browser. Alarm.com dropped support for IE11 back in late June of 2020. You can read about that in this prior blog post.

Using a recommended web browser with the Alarm.com website will help ensure that you have the best possible end user experience. This includes optimized video viewing for Alarm.com Cameras and a better, smoother experience when using the Alarm.com website to control your security system. Alarm.com also promises fewer service disruptions when using the latest version of a recommended web browser, or the latest version of the Alarm.com Mobile App.

Alarm.com says that they will keep us informed regarding the upcoming Microsoft Edge Legacy Sunset, as well as the Adobe Flash Sunset. The Microsoft Edge Legacy Desktop App will reach its end of life on March 9, 2021. Adobe Flash is set to reach its end of life after December 31, 2020. We will update this blog if we learn any new important information regarding these respective sunsets.

If you have any questions regarding the use of Alarm.com, or if you are interested in starting new alarm monitoring service for accessing the Alarm.com platform, please email our team at support@alarmgrid.com. We're here to check and respond to your emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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A few months ago, I got my first 5G phone. I didn't go out of my way to upgrade. I had simply broken my old smartphone and needed a new one. While I would love to tell you that it has made a huge difference, that is simply not the case. I have only noticed a slight uptick in speed at most.


But this post isn't designed to serve as a review for my newest smartphone. It's just to put the latest cellular technology into perspective. And the truth isn't all that shocking. 5G will not revolutionize how you use your security system. That's true from both a security perspective and from a smart home automation perspective. The reality is that the faster speeds that come with 5G cellular communication will not have a major impact on the usual tasks associated with alarm monitoring and remote automation connectivity.

It's hard to quantify just how much faster 5G is than 4G LTE. A brief bit of research will typically reveal that the new technology is supposed to be roughly 5 to 10 times faster. And you have likely heard the incredible promise that a 5G phone will be able to download a two-hour long movie in under 10 seconds, compared with roughly 7 minutes for a phone using 4G LTE. Of course, testing 5G speeds in practice has produced mixed results, but we'll give the cellular companies the benefit of the doubt in that they're still fine-tuning their 5G networks. The point is that 5G promises to be considerably faster than 4G LTE once the network issues are fully sorted out. And really, most speed tests will already show quantifiable improvement when comparing 5G with its predecessor.

But how does that translate into your security system communicating with the central station? Or what about using Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com to perform a smart home automation command remotely? Really, not in any manner that you are likely to notice. As we have mentioned before, alarm systems send and receive very small amounts of data when communicating with a central monitoring station and/or an interactive platform like TC2 or ADC. While the faster speeds of 5G communication technically improve data transfer rates, it honestly doesn't matter too much when you're considering data transfers this small.

The bigger benefit of 5G when it comes to security systems is associated with its reduced latency. If you are not familiar with latency, it refers to the amount of time it takes a connected device to make a request from the server and successfully receive a response. This initial request and response must occur before any actual data transfer can take place. Obviously, a low latency rate helps make a faster response possible. And while 4G LTE latency was already quite low - we're talking milliseconds here - the latency of 5G is almost nonexistent. That in itself is probably the best argument you can make for 5G connectivity improving your day-to-day security system experience once 5G radios are available.

Returning to my phone example from earlier, I haven't noticed much difference between when I was using 4G LTE connectivity and when I upgraded to a 5G model. The tasks I perform on my phone are much more demanding in terms of data transfer requirements than what you would ever conceivably request out of your alarm system. I have been known to use my phone for live-streaming events, such as sporting matches and concerts. With a 5G connection, it's maybe a second or two faster, but it's nothing life-changing like when my family upgraded from dial-up to high-speed internet during the days of my youth. And if a second or two is all I'm getting out of demanding tasks like live-streaming long events, then any difference for the routine security and automation tasks performed by your alarm system's cellular communicator (which is usually just a backup to its internet communicator anyway) will be negligible.

What does all of this mean? There are a few takeaways that we can apply to the alarm industry. First, if you are holding off getting an LTE communicator for your alarm system because you are "waiting for a 5G model to arrive", then don't bother. The difference will be virtually unnoticeable. An LTE communicator will almost certainly offer you the high-quality performance you expect, provided that you live in an area with decent cellular connectivity, which is roughly 98% of the United States. We have stressed the importance of upgrading to LTE sooner rather than later many times before, especially with the 3G sunset closing in on us. And remember that LTE is not going anywhere any time soon. Therefore, upgrading to LTE is still our recommended method for "future-proofing" your alarm system.

Now, once 5G communicators are readily available, should you get one? It's still a bit early for us to answer that question, but we will try our best. Our take is yes, you should get one, but don't go out of your way. By that we mean, if you are (at that point in the future) readily in the market for a cellular security system, then yes, by all means, get a 5G cellular communicator. Getting the latest available cellular technology is always a good idea. There may be a slight mark-up in price between the older LTE models and the newer 5G models, much like the same mark-up exists if you go shopping for a smartphone right now. But in the case of cellular alarm monitoring communicators versus your cherished smartphone that you literally carry everywhere, the price mark-up for a 5G communicator versus an LTE communicator should be significantly less. And if it's within your budget, then yes, absolutely get a 5G communicator once they are available, assuming that you are actively looking for a new alarm system communicator. The 5G networks are going to be continuously improved and rigorously maintained, so it makes sense to get on-board if you are in the market.

But if you already have a perfectly capable alarm system using an LTE communicator, then honestly, there's not much of a need. A 5G communicator won't change how you use your security system, and it won't significantly improve your day-to-day operation. Unless you really want to brag to your friends, neighbors, and colleagues that "your security system uses 5G", then there's pretty much no need to upgrade just for the sake of it. There may come a day in the mid-to-late 2030s where we're urging you to "upgrade to 5G" in light of an "LTE sunset", but you have more pressing things to worry about right now. Real talk, if you have anxiety over the thought of your system's LTE communicator no longer being supported in 2035, then we promise you, it's going to be okay. We will have you covered when that time comes.

5G communicators for alarm systems are going to come. It's inevitable. But if you're wondering why they aren't already here yet, it's mostly because they honestly aren't going to provide that big of a difference over the current LTE models that we all know and love. If you're holding your breath waiting for one, then just don't bother. Get an LTE communicator if you haven't already, and rest easy in knowing that you have an effective, reliable, and trustworthy security system protecting your home or office.

And if you need someone to monitor your security system, that's where we come in! Our team at Alarm Grid would love to help protect you and those around you. Check out this page outlining all our monitoring plans for more information. Make sure to choose a plan that includes cellular connectivity if you plan to use a system with an LTE communicator, or eventually a 5G communicator. If you have any questions or concerns, then we invite you to reach out to us by emailing support@alarmgrid.com, and our team will be happy to help. This is also a great contact email to use if you are interested in signing-up for new alarm monitoring service. Our team is here to check your incoming emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F, so please expect all replies to come within that timeframe. We look forward to hearing from you!

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