Industry News and Discussions Posts

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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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Today, we're discussing the upcoming Qolsys IQ Hub Security System to share our thoughts and feelings on the much-anticipated alarm panel. Qolsys has regularly impressed us during their young tenure as a system manufacturer. Can they continue their hot streak with the new IQ hub?


To start our discussions on the IQ Hub, we first want to consider what it is. From what we understand, the IQ Hub is not necessarily meant to serve as a replacement or a successor to the wildly successful and versatile Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. Instead, the widespread belief is that the Qolsys IQ Hub will serve more as a budget or entry-level system, while the IQ Panel 2 Plus continues to serve as the main panel.

This line of thought is not shocking. Security systems have gotten sleeker and more slimlined in recent years, as aesthetics have become more important than ever for a panel designed to be placed prominently on your wall. When comparing the IQ Hub and the IQ Panel 2 Plus, the IQ Hub is the larger of the two systems. And its design looks more like something to come out of the mid 2010s than fresh out of the early 2020s. Indeed, the IQ Hub is bulkier, more obtrusive, and less adaptive to its surroundings than the IQ2+. From that perspective alone, it would be odd to see something like the IQ Hub take the reins from the current Qolsys entry.

We don't have all the details on the specifications and capabilities of the Qolsys IQ Hub at this time. Our understanding is that many of the great features from the IQ Panel 2 Plus will return to the IQ Hub. These returning features include built-in WIFI and cellular connectivity, integrated automation capabilities, disarm photos, optional automatic Bluetooth disarming, and the ability to interface with Alarm.com. While these features are great, they aren't anything new from what the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus already offers.

We are also unsure of some more advanced features returning, such as Alarm.com Camera streaming, facial recognition, the wellness platform, partitioning, and the ability to perform Alarm.com Smart Scenes right from the panel. Users might not need these extra features, so Qolsys offering a stripped-down version makes sense. In that way, the IQ Hub might indeed fulfill an important role. Sometimes we forget the fact that not every installation requires a superpower or beast of a panel. Being able to offer end users something simple and basic without all the bells and whistles is good once in awhile. With that in mind, we totally appreciate what the IQ Hub is supposedly going to offer.

We're also not entirely sure what automation will look like on the IQ Hub. Will it use 500-Series Z-Wave Plus, or the new state-of-the-art 700-Series? Will we be able to control devices and scenes locally at the panel, or will we be restricted to using Alarm.com? Will there be any important limits or restrictions on the number of automation devices that can be paired, beyond the standard 232 device limit? All of these are important questions that have yet to be answered.

Sensor compatibility is also still a question mark. From what we hear, the IQ Hub will only support the PowerG frequency sensors. This means that your only options will be to use wireless PowerG Sensors, and/or wired sensors through the PowerG wired to wireless converter, assuming that support for the module is added. In other words, non-encrypted, legacy sensor support will be dropped for the IQ Hub. This probably won't matter much for users starting from scratch, but it may discourage users with older wireless systems from upgrading to the IQ Hub. They will probably choose the proper IQ Panel 2 Plus model instead. Also, there won't be any taking advantage of sweet deals or discounts on older, non-encrypted sensors with the IQ Hub.

But besides all of this, the single most polarizing issue with the IQ Hub remains the big grey speaker on the front. It's very in-your-face and almost impossible to ignore. When we ask other people their thoughts on the speaker, they either call it ugly, or they simply don't care one way or another. But almost nobody we have asked has called it attractive. With that in mind, we beg Qolsys - please put the speaker to use. If you're going to have such a polarizing, glaring design feature, then at least make it functional. Have the system double as a Bluetooth speaker. That would be a cool feature. You have your IQ Hub on the wall, you pair your phone, and you begin playing music. To us, that idea sounds neat. The line between security and entertainment is becoming increasingly blurred anyway. Why not make this possible for the IQ Hub. And yet, we keep hearing that Qolsys has little interest in turning the IQ Hub into a mini boombox. We really hope they change their tune.

One other thing we have heard about the IQ Hub is that it cannot be opened. The replaceable battery slides in using a side compartment, and the panel is never designed to be opened up or for the panel's interior to see the light of day. That's fine, especially with all the struggles users have had closing the IQ Panel 2 Plus, but we do question the inability of the system to have its inner components replaced if something goes wrong. Is the IQ Hub really being seen as that disposable? The system's build-quality and final price point should determine that. But Qolsys is clearly taking a risk there.

Also in limbo is the release date for the IQ Hub. Originally, it was set for a Q1 2020 release. But with the pandemic, that date came and went. We (along with the rest of the world) had bigger things to worry about. Now our best guess is that it will hit the market early in 2021, roughly a year and a half after we first spoke of it in September 2019. Qolsys insists that it's still coming whenever we bring it up, and they seem genuinely enthusiastic about it. Here's hoping that we see it soon. And hey, with the 2GIG Edge also set for an early 2021 release, we expect that next year could be an ultra-competitive time for the security industry. Do you think we're excited? You bet we are!

Overall, there is a lot to look forward to in regard to the Qolsys IQ Hub. If all goes well, it could definitely become the Qolsys System we recommend for users on a budget or in an apartment or starter home. Even if it doesn't become the new flagship Qolsys Panel, there are still plenty of things to like. Email us at support@alarmgrid.com with any questions or thoughts you have about the IQ Hub. We would love to hear what you have to say. Our team is here to check email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Today, we're going to discuss three (3) security and automation predictions that are almost certain to occur next year. As the title implies, these predictions aren't anything too bold or revolutionary, but they should get you prepared for next year. Let's get into predicting and discussing!


1. Continued Rush to Upgrade to LTE

One topic that we discuss very regularly in this blog is the 3G Sunset and the importance of upgrading to LTE as soon as possible. If you have been living under a rock, then the "Sunset" refers to the impending shut down of older 3G and CDMA cellular networks. Once these networks are shut down, any equipment that uses them will no longer work properly. This includes any cellular security systems. As such, there is currently a big rush to upgrade existing security systems to use LTE communication so that they can remain online and connected for monitoring service.

This obviously won't change in 2021, as cellular service providers remain determined to achieve their goal of completing the transition by the end of 2022. But what is going to be unique about 2021 is that it will be the final full year for users to make the transition, before there is inevitably a final scramble at the very end. If you thought that LTE upgrade talk was inescapable throughout the industry in 2020, well just look forward to 2021. Next year represents the final year for users to make the switch before they are considered to be doing it "last minute". AT&T is slated to shut down its 3G equipment in the first quarter of 2022. Verizon is waiting a bit longer, shutting down the CDMA network in Q4 of that year. Keep in mind that by upgrading early, you are not only saving yourself the hassle, you are also preventing yourself from being left behind later when a big chunk of procrastinators are all trying to upgrade at the last minute, and there just aren't enough resources and/or manpower to get everyone in before the cutoff. Long story short, do not wait to upgrade!


2. New "Big 3" of Alarm Grid Security Systems

Let's shift focus to something a bit more positive than the eventual shutdown of older technology. One thing you can almost bank on for 2021 is the rise of three (3) new security systems. These are the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS, the Qolsys IQ Hub, and the 2GIG Edge. While they probably won't replace the Lyric, the IQ Panel 2 Plus, and the GC3e entirely, there is a good chance that they will become our top recommended system picks by the end of next year. Whether or not all of them succeed remains to be seen, but we will say that the future looks bright. Though, we must admit there is still some uncertainty.

Of these "next generation" systems, only the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS is currently available. And until it gets local end user programming (supposedly coming early next year), we can't exactly give it a ringing endorsement. But with its sleek design, support for up to 250 zones, and Z-Wave Plus capabilities, the system is no slouch. It's also heavily rumored that it will soon gain Apple HomeKit support, much like its Lyric predecessor. Once that happens, the sky is the limit.

The Qolsys IQ Hub has more questions than answers at this time. Qolsys seems to get excited about it whenever it is discussed. But there is also this notion that it will end up being the "budget" system for Qolsys, while the IQ Panel 2 Plus remains their flagship alarm panel. And while there's nothing wrong with an affordable alarm system, it's hard to say whether or not we'll be able to recommend it over the IQ2+. But with PowerG Sensor support and possibly other features waiting in the wings, we won't count this system out just yet. We really hope that Qolsys puts that large, prominent speaker on the front to good use. To us, it screams Bluetooth speaker. Remember, if your security system is only used for security purposes in 2021, then you're doing it wrong. We look at the IQ Hub and see three things - Security Controller, Automation Controller, Bluetooth Speaker.


Lastly, the 2GIG Edge is the one shrouded in the most mystery. Apart from its edgy website, we still don't know a lot about it. 2GIG and Nortek Control have been mum on releasing pertinent information. We've even reached out to them personally via phone, and we keep being told to just "be patient". The air of unknown around it and the artsy promotion sure has 2GIG talking a big game, but we're really hoping they can walk the walk when it comes time. If there's one thing that's often true about the security industry, it's that gimmicky promotions and slick advertisements don't usually work on their own. People want products with proven reliability, strong performance, and quantifiable specifications. The 2GIG Edge looks like it's going to have its outer presentation down pact. Now we're ready to see what make it unique.




3. More 700-Series Z-Wave Devices

You can pretty much always count on Z-Wave smart home technology to keep moving forward. And while we saw some innovations in 2020 for Z-Wave - namely the rise of the s2 Security Protocol, and QR scanning becoming more commonplace - we didn't necessarily see the big leap into the 700-Series. In fact, the only 700-Series Z-Wave Device that we recall from this past year is the 2GIG STZ-1 Smart Thermostat.

Will 2021 be the year of the 700-Series? We're not entirely sure, but there's a good chance it will. There's no stopping the momentum that home automation carries, and as we move past an unprecedented 2020, smart home companies will be looking to get back on track this year. And what better way for Z-Wave to make a big splash than touting its next upgrade?

The 700-Series of Z-Wave promises to be the most efficient and most powerful yet. With the right hardware, users will enjoy extended wireless range, better battery life, and security that can be trusted. Whether or not we see alarm panels adopt 700-Series technology next year could be a different story. But for individual devices and dedicated automation controllers, this upcoming year seems to be the prime time to get heads turning. Don't be surprised to see some 700-Series lights and locks, as well as some more thermostats. And from there, it won't be long before alarm panels also get in the game.


We hope you found some amusement out of these three (admittedly, not so bold) predictions. If you are surprised by anything we said here, then 2021 is really going to knock your socks off. Technology is only getting better, and more innovations are on the way! Remember to email us at support@alarmgrid.com if you have any questions about what's coming soon to the exciting world of security and automation, or if you just want to learn more about our monitoring services. Our team is here to check email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm Grid is aware of Technical Notification #55 that identifies possible premature low battery warnings for Honeywell Combination Smoke and CO Detectors. Affected products include the Honeywell 5800COMBO, the Honeywell SiXCOMBO, and the new Honeywell Home PROSIXCOMBO for the PROA7PLUS.


According to Technical Notification #55 from Resideo, most instances of a premature low battery condition occur after replacing the batteries in a Honeywell 5800COMBO, Honeywell SiXCOMBO, or Honeywell Home PROSIXCOMBO. This notice pertains only to a low battery condition that occurs immediately, or almost immediately, after replacing the batteries in a sensor that has been in use for several years.

Each of the aforementioned combination smoke/CO detectors uses four (4) lithium 3V CR123A batteries for power. A premature low battery condition is when the sensor falsely indicates that the batteries inside the sensor are low on power, and a corresponding trouble condition is displayed for the associated zone(s) on the panel. But while the sensor is falsely indicating low batteries, the actual reality is that the batteries are still at, or near, full power.

Resideo states that the false low battery condition is the result of intermittent connectivity between the batteries themselves and the nickel battery contact points inside the sensor's battery compartment. The best way to verify that the low-battery condition is indeed false is to take a voltmeter reading of the batteries. If you find that the reading for each battery is at or above 3V, then you can confirm that the low battery condition is false. Any one of the four (4) batteries that reads below 3V could cause a low battery indication.

Additionally, Resideo suggests taking the following steps to see if a low battery trouble condition can be cleared:

  • Make sure each battery is properly seated and secured in its holder.
  • Make sure the battery contacts are snug with no movement.
  • Make sure the battery as well as the battery contacts are clean, and wipe them with alcohol or a mildly abrasive cloth if necessary.
  • Remove and reinstall the batteries to try and clear the trouble condition.
  • Replace old batteries with fresh ones to see if the trouble clears.

As a reference, the aforementioned sensors will typically report a low battery condition once the detected voltage drops below 2.3V. If you have a premature low battery condition on one of these sensors that you cannot otherwise clear, then make sure to check the batteries regularly and replace them as soon as necessary. If possible, try performing the steps above to see if you can correct a premature low battery condition. It may be necessary in a worse case scenario to replace any sensor affected by this condition. Attempting to use a sensor displaying a consistent low battery trouble is certainly not ideal, even if that condition is known to be false. Remember that these are life-safety sensors, so keeping them consistently powered on and functioning properly is crucial.

If you have any questions about this issue, then please not hesitate to email our support 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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You may recall how we recently discussed the prospect of Panama City, FL introducing false alarm fines. As expected, the city did go through with the plan, as the city announced a new fining structure for false alarms. Only repeat offenders can be fined under the new city ordinance.


According to the new policy, security system users in single-family homes will be provided with three (3) warnings for causing false alarms. Another offense after that will result in a $250 fine. Any subsequent false alarm will result in a $500 fine. As for multi-family homes and businesses, users in these locations will only be given two (2) warnings before fines start occurring. The next false alarm will result in a $500 fine, and all subsequent false alarms will result in $1,000 fines.

City manager Tony O'Rourke explained how false alarms waste resources, stating, "That’s not only an inherent risk for our first responders, but also it is taking away valuable resources in true emergency situations.” O'Rourke also stated that the fines provide a strong incentive for users to verify that their systems are working as intended. Records indicate that roughly 2,200 false alarms occur each year.

Panama City, FL Mayor, Mark Sheldon added, "When the chiefs are going out and their teams are going out, they don’t know if it’s a false alarm or not... They respond with the utmost urgency to every call, and 2,200 times this year, they got there for nothing. They put themselves in danger and everyone else that they passed along the way.”

From our perspective at Alarm Grid, this newly enacted policy is tough, but fair. Giving three (3) warnings for residential end users is quite generous. This allows for some occasional mistakes to be made, without punishing an end user too severely. The fines are admittedly quite steep, but it is very unlikely for a responsible end user to reach that threshold where they begin being fined. A good monitoring company will do its part to properly train end users so that false alarms are kept to an absolute minimum. With the right training, a user should never expect to be fined under this policy. However, the policy is still there to help ensure that users act responsibly.

We have said many times before that we at Alarm Grid always do our part to educate and train our customers so that they do not cause false alarms. We strongly advise checking out this informative guide to preventing false alarms. Additionally, all Alarm Grid monitored customers are invited to email us at support@alarmgrid.com if they are any questions or concerns about preventing false alarms on their systems. Our team is available to answer your email inquiries from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm.com is back again for the holiday season, as users will once again be able to have Santa appear in screenshots for their Alarm.com Security Cameras. This feature is great for sharing with young family members, as well as for as anyone who loves Christmas and wants to get in the spirit.


The "Santa Security" feature is available on both the Alarm.com website and mobile app. If you are using, the Alarm.com Mobile App, then you may want to verify that you are using a high enough version. For iOS users, Version 4.17 or higher is needed. Android users need at least Version 4.15.1. Remember you can download the app for free from either the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. And of course, you will need a monitoring plan that includes access to Alarm.com for video surveillance, such as an Alarm Grid Platinum Plan.

To get started, just open the Alarm.com website or mobile app, and then enter the Cameras Menu. Select the video feed for one of your compatible cameras, and then click on the icon of Santa. You can select from a few different Santa images to insert into your camera's screenshot. The Santa image you select can be positioned wherever you like, and you can also resize the Santa image to better fit the setting. Then all you have to do is download the altered picture and share it with your friends and family to show them that Santa visited!

Of course, this isn't capturing the real Santa on your Alarm.com Security Cameras. Santa is much too fast for that, so it won't work if you try to get video of the real Kris Kringle himself. But this is certainly a nice alternative. The feature will be available from December 7th through December 31st. That should give you plenty of time to produce a Santa image to show your kids, loved ones, and anyone else who loves Christmas. No special sign-up is required. All you need is a compatible Alarm.com Camera and a video monitoring plan.

If you have any questions about the Santa Security feature for Alarm.com, then please reach out to us be emailing support@alarmgrid.com. Our team is happy to answer any questions you might have about the Santa feature, or about Alarm.com service in general. This email is also good to use if you want to start new monitoring service. It's not too late to set up an Alarm.com Security System with a camera so that you can enjoy the Santa Security feature this year. As always, we look forward to hearing from you. Happy holidays 2020!

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Alarm Grid is proud to announce that the next generation Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS Security System is available for purchase on our site. Today, we're going to explore this new system and find out whether or not its worth buying. Let's take a deep dive into the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS!


We will cut right to the chase. The Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS from Resideo has been available on our site for a couple of months now. However, we have been hesitant to promote it due to one glaring factor. The system lacks support for local end user programming. This means that the system can only be programmed and configured by your monitoring provider. You will need to contact Alarm Grid, or whomever you are using for monitoring service, whenever you want to make changes to the system programming settings. You won't be able to enter programming locally and conveniently make adjustments to the majority of system settings and configurations. This goes against our primary principle as a DIY monitoring provider, and it is such a big concern that we have been reluctant to announce it.

Now, the news isn't all bad. Other than its lack of local programming, the PROA7PLUS is a very nice alarm panel. it's sleek, crisp, and it looks great mounted on a wall. The system turns heads with its gorgeous 7-inch full-color display screen that offers easy and convenient touchscreen control. And it wouldn't be complete without the panel's powerful features, which we will certainly be discussing later in this post. Plus, we have received a promise from Resideo that local programming support for the PROA7PLUS will be made available in a future update, which is expected to be made available sometime in the first half of 2021. For now, you are certainly welcome to purchase the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS from us, and we are happy to monitor the system and help you with setting it up and configuring it to your liking. But for the time being, it is not one of our top security system picks. If you want to learn more about some systems that we currently recommend purchasing instead of the PROA7PLUS, then please check out our 2020 Holiday Buying Guide for Alarm Panels, which includes the Honeywell Lyric, also from Resideo.

With that out of the way, we can begin focusing on the positive aspects of the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS. And there really is a lot to discuss in that regard. The system supports up to 127 zones out of the box, and it can support up to 250 with the proper add-on, which we'll cover later. There are also 32 key fob slots. The main sensors you'll be using with the PROA7PLUS are the Honeywell Home PROSIX Series Sensors. These state-of-the art sensors are built exclusively for use with the PROA7PLUS. They utilize top-of-the-line 128-bit AES encryption, and they boast a wireless range of more then 300 nominal feet. You can also use the Honeywell SiX Series Sensors, which were originally built for use with the Lyric, with the PROA7PLUS. But be warned, once you pair an original SiX Series Sensor with a PROA7PLUS, it will receive an update and then you will never be able to use it with a Lyric System again.

For this buying guide, we'll primarily be focusing on the PROSIX Sensors built exclusively for the PROA7PLUS. Let's check out the PROSIX Series Sensors.

Model Notes
Honeywell Home PROSIXCO
Carbon monoxide sensor. Emits 85 dB Temporal 4 sounder upon activation. Includes One-Go-All-Go functionality.
Honeywell Home PROSIXCOMBO
Combination smoke, heat, and carbon monoxide sensor. Includes built-in 85 dB sounder that emits Temporal 3 sound for smoke and heat, and Temporal 4 sound for CO. Includes One-Go-All-Go functionality.
Honeywell Home PROSIXCT
Door and window contact sensor. Magnet spacing gap of 0.75". Includes terminal block for single NC wired contact sensor. Has battery life of approximately five (5) years. Offers wireless range of 300+ feet. Measures 3.13"L x 1.61"W x 1.0"D.

Honeywell Home PROSIXFLOOD
Flood sensor. Sends alert to system within 15 seconds of detecting liquid. Comes with detachable Honeywell FP280 Probe that measures 15 feet in length.
Honeywell Home PROSIXFOB
Four-button key fob. Allows for dual-button inputs, for a maximum total of eight (8) inputs. Includes key ring for easy carry.
Honeywell Home PROSIXGB
Glass break detection sensor. Includes 25-foot detection range, and four (4) sensitivity settings. Honeywell FG701 is recommended glass break simulator.
Honeywell Home PROSIXMED
Single-button medical alert. Activation requires pressing and holding single button for three (3) full seconds. Only uses one (1) zone on system. Water-resistant. Includes accessory clip for device to be worn as wristband, lanyard, or belt clip.
Honeywell Home PROSIXMINI
Mini door and window sensor. Magnet spacing gap of 1.15" on wood, and 0.5" on metal. Has battery life of approximately five (5) years. Offers wireless range of 200+ feet. Measures. 2.44"L x 1.25"W x 0.45"D.
Honeywell Home PROSIXMINI2
Mini door and window sensor. Magnet spacing gap of 1.15". Has battery life of approximately seven (7) years. Offers wireless range of 500+ feet. Measures 2.9"L x 1.15"W x 0.75"D.
Honeywell Home PROSIXPANIC
Dual-button panic. Activation requires pressing and holding BOTH buttons for three (3) full seconds. Only uses one (1) zone on system. Water resistant. Includes accessory clip for device to be worn as wristband, lanyard, or belt clip.
Honeywell Home PROSIXPIR
PIR motion detection sensor. Has maximum detection area of 40 by 56 feet with 90° viewing angle. Supports pet immunity for small animals weighing up to 80 lbs.
Honeywell Home PROSIXSHOCK
Three-zone, all-in-one shock, contact, and transmitter sensor. Each function (service) can be turned ON or OFF as needed. Shock coverage area of about 10 to 12 square feet (5 to 6 foot radius). Four (4) sensitivity options for shock detection. Contact magnet spacing gap is 0.75" on wood surface. Wireless transmitter is for NC contact sensors only. Measures 3.13"L x 1.61"W x 1"D.
Honeywell Home PROSIXSMOKEV
Smoke and heat detector. Photoelectric smoke detection. Heat sensor activates at Fixed Temperature of 135°F, or Rate-of-Rise of 15°F in single minute when temperature is 104°F or higher. Emits 85 dB Temporal 3 sounder upon activation. Includes One-Go-All-Go functionality.
Honeywell Home PROSIXTEMP
Temperature sensor. Uses two (2) zones - one for low-temperature detection (COLD), one for high-temperature detection (HOT). Low-temperature detection activates when temperature falls below 45°F for ten (10) minutes. High-temperature detection activates when temperature rises above 95°F. Faulted zone restores when temperature is inside normal threshold for at least ten (10) minutes. Accurate within +/- 3°F.
Honeywell Home PROINDMV
Full-motion video sensor. Combines a PIR motion detection sensor with a full-motion video camera, and begins recording video when activated while the system is Armed Away and an alarm is triggered. Video is sent from Total Connect 2.0 to the end user via text and/or email. User cannot request a video clip or a live look-in from TC2. Provides a coverage area of 39 by 54 feet with a 90° viewing angle. Offers pet immunity for small animals under 80 lbs.

But the PROSIX Sensors and classic SiX Series Sensors are not your only sensor options for the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS. If you add a Honeywell Home PROTAKEOVER Module to the system, then your PROA7PLUS will be able to interface with wireless sensors from one (1) of five (5) selectable legacy sensor frequencies. The PROTAKEOVER Module has a dial that allows you to choose which one (1) legacy frequency you want to use. Your options include Honeywell 5800 Sensors, 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors, legacy DSC 433 MHz Sensors, legacy Qolsys & Interlogix/GE 319.5 MHz Sensors, and Bosch 433 MHz Sensors. In addition, this module is what allows the PROA7PLUS to support 250 zones. Of these maximum 250 zones, 127 are for use with PROSIX and classic SiX Series Sensors, and the other 123 are for the legacy sensors you can add after installing the PROTAKEOVER Module. One limitation of the PROTAKEOVER Module is that it should NOT be used to interface life-safety sensors like smoke detectors and CO detectors with the PROA7PLUS System.


There is one other important note about using the Honeywell Home PROTAKEOVER Module with the PROA7PLUS. Once you install the PROTAKEOVER inside the system, you will NOT be able to use the current Honeywell Home PROA7DM Desk Mount with the system. The PROA7DM is an accessory that allows you to conveniently rest the system upright on a table or desk, instead of hard-mounting it to a wall. In other words, you must choose between the PROTAKEOVER Module and the PROA7DM Desk Mount. Fortunately, you will still be able to mount the PROA7PLUS System on the wall like normal when using the PROTAKEOVER Module. The reason for this is that the PROTAKEOVER module comes with a replacement wall mounting plate which contains the antenna used for the legacy wireless devices. The PROA7DM also comes with a replacement mounting plate, but it does. not have the required antenna built-in. Resideo says that a new version of the PROA7DM Desk Mount will eventually be released that will allow you to use it with the PROTAKEOVER Module. Unfortunately, we do not have an estimated release date for the updated PROA7DM at this time.

One other option for adding sensors to the Honeywell PROA7PLUS Alarm System is to use a wired to wireless converter. This type of device will allow you to pair hardwired sensors with the system that otherwise wouldn't be able to interface. The way that this works is by having the wired sensors wire-in directly with the converter unit. The converter then sends a wireless signal to the alarm panel on behalf of the wired sensors. As far as the PROA7PLUS is concerned, it will just see the wired sensors as wireless devices and allow them to pair with wireless system zones. Resideo offers a special wired to wireless converter exclusively for the PROA7PLUS called the Honeywell Home PROSIXC2W. The PROSIXC2W transmits at the same encrypted wireless frequency as the PROSIX Series Sensors, making it extremely safe and secure. And it can communicate with the PROA7PLUS System from more than 300 nominal feet away. Overall, the PROSIXC2W is a fantastic option if you have existing wired sensors on an older system and you are looking to upgrade to a new PROA7PLUS Panel.


Now that we have discussed all the sensor options for the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS, we now want to discuss automation options for the system. The Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS has a built-in Z-Wave Plus controller, just like what is inside the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and the 2GIG GC3e. This is an upgrade of the standard classic Z-Wave controller that is found inside the Honeywell Lyric. By using certified Z-Wave Plus devices with the PROA7PLUS, you will be able to achieve an extended wireless range and battery life. We strongly recommend checking out our 2020 Holiday Buying Guide for Automation to learn more about the Z-Wave Plus devices we recommend pairing with the PROA7PLUS. Additionally, it is expected that the PROA7PLUS will eventually be able to support Apple HomeKit, just like the Honeywell Lyric. Unfortunately, we do not have an ETA for when this will be made available. For now, we recommend using Z-Wave Plus devices for automation with the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS Security Panel.

Please note that up to 78 total Z-Wave devices can be paired with the PROA7PLUS, which includes 60 lighting modules, 6 garage door controllers, 6 door locks, and 6 thermostats. Any Z-Wave device used with the system will also be pushed over to Total Connect 2.0 for remote control, assuming that the PROA7PLUS System is monitored.


Our next topic involves communicator options for the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS. The system comes with a built-in WIFI card for IP connectivity. This means that you can get it monitored and set up with AlarmNet and Total Connect 2.0 right out of the box, with no additional add-ons. This is great for users who want low-cost IP-only alarm monitoring service from an Alarm Grid Bronze Plan or an Alarm Grid Silver Plan. But you should keep in mind that by doing this, your monitoring service and your safety will be dependent upon your internet connection. If you experience an internet outage, then your PROA7PLUS Alarm System will have no way of communicating signals to you or to a monitoring station.

That is why we strongly recommend upgrading to cellular communication. By installing a compatible cellular communicator inside the system. This will require upgrading to a more expensive cellular alarm monitoring plan, such as an Alarm Grid Gold Plan or an Alarm Grid Platinum Plan. But the advantage to doing this is that your system will stay connected with AlarmNet and Total Connect 2.0 even during an internet outage. You may want to review this post that thoroughly outlines our monitoring plans for more information. Remember, our Gold and Platinum Plans include BOTH cellular AND internet, meaning that you can set up your PROA7PLUS with what is commonly referred to as dual-path connectivity.

We currently have two (2) cellular communicator add-on options for the PROA7PLUS, and they are outlined below.

Model
Notes
Honeywell Home PROLTE-A
AT&T LTE AlarmNet Communicator for Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS.
Honeywell Home PROLTE-V
Verizon LTE AlarmNet Communicator for Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS.

The last thing we want to discuss are some miscellaneous accessories that you can use with the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS. These are just various replacement parts and add-ons that can improve your user experience. Some of the most notable products listed here are secondary keypads that you can use to control your security system from a second on-site location. This section also includes wireless external sirens that you can use to spread out your system's alarm sound across a larger area to ensure that everyone is alerted in the event of an emergency. These products don't really fit in with any other category, so refer to the notes to learn more about these devices. Without further ado, let's take a look.

Model
Notes
Honeywell Home PROSIXLCDKP Alphanumeric keypad controller for PROA7PLUS. Offers two lines of 16 characters each, for a total of 32 characters displayed on the LCD screen. Supports chime, but not voice. Cannot be used for automation commands. Includes transformer and backup battery. Uses PROSIX technology to communicate with the panel.
Honeywell Home PROWLTOUCH Portable touchscreen keypad controller for PROA7PLUS. Mimics the screen of the PROA7PLUS Alarm Panel. Suitable for both security and automation functions. Pairs with system across WIFI connection. Includes transformer and backup battery.
Honeywell Home PROSIXSIREN Wireless 85 dB siren. Emits Temporal 3 Sound for Fire, and Temporal 4 Sound for CO. LED light indicates current system status. Indoor use only.
Honeywell Home PROSIXSIRENO Wireless 85 dB siren. Emits Temporal 3 Sound for Fire, and Temporal 4 Sound for CO. LED light indicates current system status. For indoor or outdoor use.
Honeywell Home PROA7DM Desk mount for PROA7PLUS. Eliminates need for wall-mounting and drilling holes. Keeps panel upright at 30° or 60° angle. Comes with 8-foot power cord for panel. Currently cannot be used w/ PROTAKEOVER Module.
Honeywell Home PROWLTOUCHDM Desk mount and charging dock for Honeywell Home PROWLTOUCH Touchscreen Keypad. Keeps keypad upright so that it can be conveniently displayed. The keypad power supply can connect to a port on the unit so that the keypad charges while docked.
Honeywell HOME PROWLTOUCHWM Wall mount and charging dock for Honeywell Home PROWLTOUCH Touchscreen Keypad. Allows keypad to be prominently displayed on the wall. Mounting hardware comes included. The keypad power supply can connect to a port on the unit so that the keypad charges while docked.
Honeywell Home PROA7BARXUS
Prepared power cable for PROA7PLUS. Connects panel to transformer so that power can be provided. System does not come with cabling for the transformer, so purchasing this is strongly advised!
Honeywell Home PROA7XFMRUS Replacement transformer for PROA7PLUS. Rated at 9VDC, 2.5A. This is just a replacement transformer in case the original one is lost or broken.
Honeywell Home PROLTE-ANT Indoor/Outdoor cellular antenna used with PROLTE-A or PROLTE-V. Boosts cellular signals for users in areas where an adequate cellular signal cannot be otherwise obtained.
Honeywell Home PROWIFIZW
Replacement WIFI card and Z-Wave Plus module for PROA7PLUS. This is just a replacement module in case something goes wrong with the original one that comes pre-installed inside the panel.

Like always, if you have any questions about the Honeywell Home PROA7PLUS or any of its accessories or add-ons, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. This is also a great email to use if you are interested in starting new monitoring service or if you simply want more information. Our technicians and security system planners are here to respond to incoming emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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