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Hey DIYers! So you have central station monitoring from Alarm Grid. Great! Now you can receive automatic dispatch to your home or business during a break-in, fire or medical crisis. You and the people around you are now truly more protected! But can emergency services find the building?

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First, it can be helpful to consider how exactly central station alarm monitoring works. Every alarm system consists of multiple sensors and a centralized control panel. Each sensor is assigned to its own individual zone on the alarm system. When a security breach (e.g. an opened door or a broken window) or a life-safety event (e.g. a fire or an outbreak of carbon monoxide gas) occurs, a sensor will be activated. The sensor will send an alert to the control panel. Based on the programming settings for that zone, the system can be instructed to send out a remote signal that will ultimately reach a central monitoring station. The central station operates 24/7/365, and a highly trained operator will be immediately notified of any distress signal that comes through. The operator will have access to the user's account information, and they will contact the local emergency authorities in the user's area. The local authorities will then send out the appropriate emergency responders based on the type of alarm that occurs.

A sometimes-overlooked aspect of central station monitoring is that human responders must be able to successfully locate the home or business where the crisis is taking place. In order to receive a fast emergency response, you will want to make it as easy as possible for the police, fire department or medical technicians to find your property. Sometimes it can be very clear where the trouble is occurring (e.g. a large fire, an obvious break-in), but more often than not, this is actually not the case. While emergency responders are highly trained in locating the correct property, you can still help them out by making your home or business easy to find.

Alarm Grid understand this concern, and we ask customers to provide us with as much information as possible. This allows us to offer the best possible home and business alarm monitoring services every single time. Any information that we receive will be forwarded to our central station monitoring partner, Criticom Monitoring Station (CMS). By doing this, any operator at CMS will be able to relay the most accurate information to the local emergency personnel.


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Many of our customers wonder how they can make their home or business easy for others to find. Obviously, we take down basic information like an address. But this isn't always enough for an emergency responder to quickly locate the property. One way we help is by asking our customers to provide us with the nearest major cross-streets. This can be very helpful for pointing responders in the proper direction. At the very least, this is the basic information we require.

But many of our customers go beyond these basic guidelines. This comes in the form of "special instructions" that we can provide to CMS. These special instructions can be anything that would help someone locate the property. For example, the special instructions might say "the yellow house on the corner" or "take a left upon entering the neighborhood". It is also crucial that any customer provides us with the gate code for their residence if they live in a gated community. Although special instructions are optional, they can be extremely valuable when emergency personnel are trying to find your home or business Remember, during a real emergency, every second counts!

One of our customers, Brett, recently shared a great idea with us. Brett installed large, easy-to-read numbers that illuminate at night on his mailbox. This way, any emergency response team that arrives at his residence will be able to quickly verify his house number. We think this is an excellent idea, and we encourage all of our customers to follow Brett's lead by making their homes easier to locate.


If you are new to alarm monitoring, or if you would like to update the special instructions on your CMS account, please do not hesitate to reach out to us! You can always email us at support@alarmgrid.com, or you can call us at 888-818-7728 from 9am to 8pm EST M-F.

We would also like to offer special thanks to Brett for allowing us to use his picture in this post. Thank you Brett, we are very proud to help keep you and Shadow the Cat safe!

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UPDATE: The information presented below is outdated. The L5200 can now be updated using the LYNXTOUCH-MSD Firmware Updater Tool. Please read this blog for more information.

Alarm Grid has recently learned that the Honeywell 3GL, the longtime cellular communicator for the LYNX Touch Panels, has officially been discontinued. This leaves the Honeywell L5200 with no available cellular communicator. However, the newer LYNX Touch Systems still have cellular options.

Honeywell 3gl alarmnet cellular communicator for the l5200 and l

The Honeywell 3GL was a cellular communicator that connected with the AT&T 3G Network. It was previously sold as the Honeywell 4GL. But Honeywell smartly changed the name, as it misled many people into believing it was a 4G communicator. The 3GL was compatible with the L5200, L5210 and L7000 Alarm Systems.

As for the L5210 and L7000, there are still cellular communicators available, specifically the LTE-L57A and LTE-L57V. Please note that the L5210 and L7000 must be running Firmware Version 9.00.209 or higher to support LTE-L57A, and Firmware Version 9.00.201 to support the LTE-L57V. More information on this is available here.

With the discontinuation of this module, the Honeywell L5200 now has no available cellular communicator option. Users of the L5200 who want to receive cellular monitoring should strongly consider upgrading to a newer system, such as a Honeywell Lyric Controller. This is Honeywell's newest wireless security system, and it has multiple cellular options available.

Please note that this news does not affect L5200 Systems that are already using an active 3GL Communicator. Any communicator that has already been activated will continue to function as normal. Additionally, if a user is able to find an existing 3GL or GSMVLP5-4G from somewhere else, then we can still activate it for cellular monitoring service with their L5200 System.

One alternative option for L5200 users without a cellular communicator is to go the WIFI-route instead. The system will support the L5100-WIFI module, which will allow the system to connect with a local WIFI network. Although WIFI is not as reliable as cellular service, it can be a good option if a user simply does not want to upgrade their panel. This is also a great option for Honeywell L5100 users, as that system also has no cellular radio in current production.

Finally, the ILP5 is still available for purchase, and it provides hardwired ethernet capabilities for any LYNX Touch Panel. But please note that a LYNX Touch cannot support both the ILP5 and a cellular communicator since they use the same port. Once a Honeywell LYNX Touch System is using IP or cellular communication, it will be capable of being used with the Total Connect 2.0 service.

The following table outlines all of the communicators available for the Honeywell LYNX Touch Systems and their compatibilities with each of these panels:


GSMVLP5

3GL

GSMVLP5-4G

LTE-L57A

LTE-L57V

ILP5

L5100-WIFI

Network AT&T 2G AT&T 3G AT&T 4G AT&T LTE Verizon LTE Wired Ethernet WIFI
Available Discontinued Discontinued Discontinued Yes Yes Yes Yes

L5000

Yes

No

No

No

No

Yes

No

L5100

No

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

L5200

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

L5210

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

L7000

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

If you have any question about this news, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for further assistance. You may email us at support@alarmgrid.com, or you may call us at 888-818-7728 from 9am to 8pm EST M-F. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Hi DIYers! Did you know that many of our monitored customers come to us with their own existing equipment? There are many cases where a user will inherit an old alarm system or bring sensors from a different monitoring company to use with Alarm Grid. This is often called a "system takeover".

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At Alarm Grid, we are firm believers in the principle of "if you have it, then use it". When a customer is interested in our monitoring services, and they already have a system from a different monitoring company, we will do everything possible to use that existing equipment. This can include the panel, their sensors and various system add-ons. We can often take over the system entirely once its communicator been released from their previous monitoring company. Other times, simply replacing the old communicator with a new one, while still keeping the rest of the system, can do the trick. This can save the user hundreds or even thousands of dollars in equipment costs!

When you are monitored with Alarm Grid, you own all of your equipment. Whether you obtained it from us or somewhere else does not matter to us. We are happy to provide you and those around you with top-quality protection regardless of where you bought your equipment. And if you ever do decide to terminate your service with us, we will release your communicator so that you can easily take it somewhere else.

Of course, taking over an old alarm system isn't always possible. Many other alarm monitoring companies use proprietary equipment and communicators that will only work with their monitoring services. Monitoring companies may also lock out users of programming by using a secret Installer Code that prevents us from taking over the system. Yet another possibility is that the security panel is very old, and we may recommend making an upgrade to get additional functions and features. These are some of the problems that our technicians encounter almost everyday. Sometimes we can overcome these issues, but other times we cannot. Our experts can make that determination.

So while we will certainly do everything possible to make your existing panel and sensors work to save you money, please understand that it may still be necessary to replace some or all of your old equipment. However, it never hurts to at least ask us about using your old equipment before going out and buying new stuff, whether that is from us or from somewhere else. It never costs anything to speak to our planning team to start designing a security system. And if you do decide you need new equipment, remember that our website is an outstanding resource for competitively priced and non-proprietary equipment. In the event that you do ever find the same equipment at a less expensive price, by all means, buy it there, and bring it here.

Remember, our security technicians are experts. We are familiar with older alarm systems, and we can generally provide you with a fairly concise answer of whether or not your old equipment is usable. If you have an old system that you want to get monitored, please reach out to us! Often, a simple picture or a description is all we need to determine whether or not we can take it over. You can get started by giving us a call between 9am and 8pm EST M-F or by sending an email to support@alarmgrid.com. Our team is always happy to help, and, quite frankly, we love the challenge of making old equipment viable. So if you have an old security system or sensors that you think could still serve you and your family well, check with us to see if we can get it monitored!

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Hi DIYers! We have received news from Honeywell that Total Connect 2.0 has been updated to Version 2.5.2. This version brings a few new features that should make things more convenient for end users. The update includes improvements to user syncing and the ability to add new users in bulk.

Total Connect 2.0 users can now sync users in all locations at once with the press of a single Button. There is now a button on any Users List page that can sync all of the users in a single location or for all locations. Simply press the button next to the choice of location to complete the sync.


Total Connect 2.0 also now offers a pre-configured template for download that allows users to add multiple users to a single account all at once. This ability to bulk-create new users should make things easier when a user is setting up a new Total Connect account for multiple users. Please note that bulk-adding multiple users can only be accomplished from the Total Connect 2.0 website, and it cannot be done from the Mobile App.

To start, click Users on the left hand, followed by Add New User. Then choose the option "Add Multiple Users".


Then download the template file, and open it in Microsoft Excel or another compatible spreadsheet program.


Next, you will enter in the appropriate info for the new users. Each Column (A thru H) will list a different setting that will correspond to each new user. Columns A, B and C will use free-form text, while Columns D, E, F and G will use drop-down options. Column H requires a valid Email Address.

The settings include First Name, Last Name, User Name, User Type, Notification Language, Time Format, Prompt For User Code and Email. Please note that the "Prompt For User Code" option should be set to "True" if you want Total Connect 2.0 to require the entry of the user's four-digit user code before a command will go through. Setting it to "False" will allow the user to control the system through Total Connect 2.0 (both App and Website) without having to provide their four-digit code.



Once finished, save the file. Then either drag the file to the "Drag Template File Here" area or press the "Select File" button.


From there, the user-creation process will proceed for each user listed in the spreadsheet. You will need to set each user's Access and provide a unique four-digit code. Once you have finished, press the "Create User" button in the lower-right corner. The user will receive a welcome email at the email address provided.


Please note that the Version 2.5.2 Update has presented some confusion for TC2 users. Upon logging into Total Connect 2.0, users have been presented with an update screen that outlines the new features explained above. We have heard reports of some users being unable to get past this screen. To avoid this issue, there is a blue "Continue" button at the very bottom that will allow the user to continue to the main TC2 page. The user needs to scroll to the bottom of the window, NOT the bottom of the update section. They can then click the button to move forward.

If you have any questions about these new features or the Version 2.5.2 update, please do not hesitate to email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

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It does not come as much of a surprise that the smart home industry is thriving right now. Recent reports suggest that the worldwide smart home devices market is set to grow 31% over the course of 2018. Just under 650 million smart home device shipments will be made by the end of the year.

As part of this projection, smart speakers, video entertainment devices, smart lights, smart thermostats and home surveillance products are included. By 2022, it is expected that 1.3 billion smart home devices will be shipped annually. This is a compound annual growth rate of 20.8%. Smart speakers, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, are set to experience the largest compound annual growth rate during this period at an astounding 39.1%.

These figures help to confirm the belief that alarm monitoring and home security is no longer just about security, life-safety and intrusion support. Smart home functionality is quickly becoming an integral feature of owning and operating a complete security system. The same system that keeps you and your family safe also works to control your lights, heat and cool your home and help you save money on your energy bills. And we fully expect for a user's smart home devices to become even more integrated with their alarm systems in the next few years.

Indeed, the future is now for security systems and smart home devices. Countless people operate their home automation devices and their alarm systems with the press of a button or a simple voice command. And while your security system will always be there to protect you and your loved ones, it will soon be doing so much more. Alarm monitoring and home automation are no-longer mutually exclusive. We've recognized this for a few years now, and it is just becoming more and more apparent over time. This trend is only going to increase as smart home technology continues to develop.

If you haven't already gotten started with smart home automation, the time is now. Alarm Grid isn't just your home for industry-leading security and protection. Our services are also here to make your life easier. We're constantly working to expand our smart home lineup and help our customers get the most our of their home automation functionality, whether it's through Apple's Siri, Google Home or Amazon Alexa. Just last month, we added Lutron Smart Lighting to our offerings. Even before that, we already offered a great lineup of Z-Wave devices that are compatible with the vast majority of our alarm panels. And we're only looking to grow from here. In the next few years, smart home automation will truly become just as important to us as providing the best alarm monitoring services possible.

Alarm Grid will always strive to provide users with reliable and dependable home and business monitoring for when they need it most. But smart home automation is something we feel extremely passionate about, and we recognize that the future of connectivity between security systems and smart functionality truly is now. Alarm Grid is proud to be your home for both alarm monitoring and smart home services. And we look forward to continuing to serve you and your family in the future.

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With the looming threat of Hurricane Michael and the recent events of Hurricane Florence, we sometimes hear concerned reports from customers wondering if their home or business will remain monitored during an emergency. We want all our customers to rest assured that they absolutely will.

The reason that we can guarantee active monitoring service for our customers is thanks to our partner Criticom Monitoring Services and the three central stations that they operate across the country. Criticom runs monitoring stations in Florida, New Jersey and California. If one station ever goes down due to an emergency or a natural disaster, the calls will be automatically rerouted to one of the other stations. Regardless of which CMS Station receives an alert, the local authorities in the customer's area will always be notified in the event of an alarm. The only requirement is that the panel can successfully send out communication signals. As long as the panel is communicating reliably, CMS will receive the alert every time.

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CMS Logo

There's a good reason we chose CMS as our monitoring partner. They provide the most dependable and most reliable monitoring services in the country. We don't cut corners by working with a company that only operates from one location. With their three locations, Criticom will continue to operate. Should one location go down, the other two will be there to pick up the slack. There was even a precedent for this in 2012, when Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the Northeastern part of the country. Although the CMS location in New Jersey was put out of commission for a few days, the offices in Florida and California were there to make sure that all of the people they protect day-in and day-out continued to receive the highest-level of monitoring services that they have come to expect.

We know that the Hurricane Season can be a nerve-wracking time for many people. Even if a storm doesn't strike your home or business, you never know if it could strike your monitoring company. But with Alarm Grid and Criticom Monitoring Services, there's no need to worry. However, you can do your part as well. Make sure you sign-up for a cellular monitoring plan so that your system utilizes the most reliable communication possible. Remember, unlike WIFI, cellular service doesn't go down as soon as the power goes out. It's also a good idea to keep multiple backup batteries on hand. If your home is hit by a storm and you experience an extended power outage, you will need the backup batteries to keep your system running. Many people in hurricane-prone areas keep a generator on hand to run important equipment, such as alarm systems, refrigerators, phone chargers and more.

Don't let hurricane season take away your peace of mind. Alarm Grid and Criticom are here to keep you safe at all times, even through a dangerous storm or disaster.

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Hi DIYers! We would like to announce that the Honeywell LTE-XA AT&T LTE Communicator for Honeywell VISTA Alarm Systems is now available for purchase on our website. This is the perfect solution for Honeywell VISTA users who are unable to get reliable Verizon LTE service in their area.

Alarm Grid already offers the LTE-XV for connecting a VISTA Panel to the Verizon LTE Network. But now, the LTE-XA Communicator presents users with an alternative option for getting their system monitored. This is very important for VISTA users who live in areas where Verizon service isn't the best. Now they will have the option of connecting with the AT&T LTE Network instead.

As an LTE communicator, the LTE-XA will provide fast transmission speeds and highly consistent communication with the AlarmNet360 servers. This communicator also allows the system to function with the Total Connect 2.0 service. A user can access this platform to arm and disarm their system, check the current status of sensors, control Z-Wave smart home devices and more. Please note that an appropriate alarm monitoring plan is needed.

Alarm Grid also offers the LTEXA-TC2 Upgrade Kit. This kit includes both the LTE-XA Communicator and the latest VISTA 15P and 20P PROM Chips for supporting the module. Any VISTA System that is not running firmware revision 9.12 or higher needs a PROM chip upgrade in order to be used with the Total Connect 2.0 service. With this kit, the system will receive the necessary upgrade, and it will obtain fast and reliable LTE communication from AT&T.

It is important to mention that there is currently no way to get dual-path (IP and cellular) communication on a VISTA System using LTE communication. Although dual-path is always the preferred option, a standalone LTE cellular radio will still provide consistent and reliable monitoring service for the user. And the user will receive the benefit of having the system remain monitored even as older cellular networks are slowly phased out. With LTE, a user is taking steps to future-proof their system.

Both the standalone LTE-XA Radio and the upgrade kit with PROM Chips are available now. Get your VISTA System connected for top-quality alarm monitoring services!

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Many people are very excited about 5G communication and what it will mean for the security industry. But users should keep in mind it may take awhile before this vision becomes a reality. We suspect that no 5G communicators for alarm systems will become available until at least 2020.

Even once 5G service is rolled out across the country and offered from cellular service providers, it does not mean that alarm systems will gain 5G functionality overnight. As you may know, a security system needs a cellular communicator to connect to a cellular network. This communicator determines which cellular network the system will access. In order for an alarm panel to connect with any given 5G network it will need a communicator that allows it to access the network. Until one of these communicators is released, security panels will have no way of connecting with 5G networks.

Historically, the release of new cellular communicators by alarm manufactures has not been an immediate process. It's fair to expect that it will take some time after the rollout of 5G for any 5G communicators to become available. In fact, there are still LTE communicators that have yet to be released for alarm systems. And LTE has been out for quite some time now. At this time, we have not received word from any alarm manufacturer on plans to release a 5G communicator for any system. And we don't expect to receive this type of news for quite some time.

Right now, we're in late 2018. Cellular service providers are only now just starting to test 5G networks in select areas. There certainly won't be any sort of nationwide 5G service until late next year at the earliest. And many cellular service providers may even wait until 2020 to rollout their networks. Of course, various 5G-compatible smartphones will be made available for these releases. But 5G communicators for alarm systems will be a lower priority. Most likely, one manufacturer will get on the ball and announce a 5G communicator. However, it probably wouldn't hit the market until at least 2020. That being said, this is only our prediction, and many things can change between now and then.

And even once a 5G module is released, it won't mean that every alarm system can suddenly use 5G communication. There will most likely only be 5G communicators made available for a very select number of alarm systems at first. We assume that the newer and most advanced systems will get priority, and it will probably be awhile before 5G communicators become available for older models. And it's fair to assume that some systems may never receive a 5G communicator, and they will only have LTE service available as their fastest cellular communication. This is fine though, as cellular service providers have repeatedly stated that their LTE networks will be supported well into the distant future.

So while 5G technology might be eagerly anticipated by the security industry, end users should not get their hopes up for any regularly used 5G communicators until 2020 or 2021. Of course, Alarm Grid will keep you up to date as we learn more about 5G networks and what customers can expect. For now, we'll keep looking forward to this exciting new technology.

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Hi DIYers! We would like to inform you that Alarm.com has recently updated their iOS Mobile App to version 4.8. The big change that comes with this release is the ability to perform various Alarm.com functions through Siri voice commands. This is done through voice shortcuts on iOS 12.


Before this update, the only system we offered that could be used with Siri was the Honeywell Lyric Controller, which can be controlled using Apple HomeKit. But this update gives nearly every Alarm.com System a convenient new option for quick access and control. Although the feature is somewhat limited at this time, we expect additional capabilities to be announced in the coming months, including automation functionality for smart home devices.

The voice feature is only compatible with Apple iOS Version 12. This is the latest iOS version as of October 2018. A user can set up the voice feature under the App Settings Menu of the Alarm.com Mobile App.

Each voice command will need to be set up with its own unique Siri shortcut. Users can also opt to share their in-app activity so that Siri can recommend commands that are commonly used to appear on the lock screen or through spotlight search. Once the command has been set up, the user can conveniently ask Siri whenever they want to perform a basic system function.


Alarm.com iOS Version 4.8 also includes minor enhancements and fixes that should allow the app to operate more smoothly. Alarm Grid will be sure to pass on any further updates regarding Alarm.com as we learn more. Keep an eye on our blog to stay updated for the latest information.

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Cellular communication is expected to make its next major leap forward later this year with the rise of 5G networks. This is exciting news for the security industry, as it will make alarm systems more versatile than ever. Let's take a quick look at how 5G will revolutionize alarm monitoring.

When a person says "5G", they are referring to the fifth generation of cellular communication. Most alarm systems today use 3G or 4G/LTE cellular modules for communicating. Inevitably, 5G communicators for alarm systems will eventually be released. Once the 5G networks grow and these new alarm communicators become available, end users and their home security systems will then be able to truly take advantage of what 5G offers.

The main benefit to 5G communication is how it will improve the end user experiencing with working with "Internet of Things" (IoT). This goes beyond simply streaming a video or downloading a file. IoT refers to a network of devices that goes beyond just phones and computers. In the world of alarm systems, this can include things like smart lights, thermostats, door locks and more. In other words, 5G technology will help alarm system continue their transition into becoming full-fledged smart home controllers.

There is a very large amount of activity that occurs when an alarm system controls a smart home device, such as a light. The command has to go from the system, to the interactive service, to the alarm system, and finally to the device itself. Although each action is relatively minor, the fact that there are multiple steps to this process can slow things down. By using 5G communication, almost every step of the process will be made quicker, and it will provide a better experience for the end user. Simply put, any action or command will become almost instant. The same principle applies when the command is initiated from another source, like a smartphone or smart assistant device.

When a user with a 5G connection pulls up the Alarm.com or Total Connect 2.0 Mobile App and runs a smart scene, they can expect that the command will reach the servers for the interactive platform in a matter of milliseconds. And then the service will send the command to the alarm system (or other smart home controller) also in a matter of milliseconds. From there, the only transmission left is the local communication between the smart home controller and the device itself. With the support of a 5G network a user can expect these processes to occur basically in the blink of an eye, as any noticeable transmission latency will largely become a relic of the past.

Alarm systems are quickly becoming more than just security tools. Many people have already embraced security panels as central hubs for useful devices in their homes. We expect this trend to continue with the rise of 5G. The future of the security system is for it to do more than just keep you and your family safe. We expect the equipment we feature to become even more useful tools that will greatly benefit your everyday life and make your household more connected. Alarm monitoring is about to become so much more than security and protection. We're ready for every step of the journey.

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