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We have some good news from the folks planning ISC West 2020, as it appears they are right on-track for the all-virtual event scheduled for October 5th through 7th. Alarm Grid is eagerly awaiting the virtual event to get the latest happenings in the always exciting security industry.


According to ISC West organizers, the all-virtual event will include keynote speakers, education from SIA experts (Security Industry Association), vendor product training sessions and demonstrations, exhibitor tech center offerings, networking events for socialization, and more. It appears that the ISC West organizers are planning to do everything within their power to make this year's event memorable and worthwhile.

While we are disappointed that the in-person event in Las Vegas, NV ultimately had to be cancelled due to ongoing pandemic concerns, we understand that the health and safety of organizers, vendors, and attendees comes first. The Alarm Grid team will be embracing the all-virtual event, and we hope to get as much out of it as possible. This isn't just for us as security professionals. We also plan to keep security enthusiasts and DIYers informed about ongoing happenings in this constantly changing industry.

Mark the dates of Monday October 5th through Wednesday October 7th for virtual ISC West 2020 coverage! We are sure to have some exciting news to share. If you have any questions about ISC West 2020, or if you are interested in learning more about Alarm Grid monitoring service, send an email to our team at support@alarmgrid.com. We're here to check your incoming emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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After much anticipation Firmware Version 2.5.3 for the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus is now available! This update brings support for the PowerG Wired to Wireless Converter, as well as some other new features. Everyone with an IQ Panel 2 is encouraged to download the update as soon as possible.

Qolsys iq panel 2 plus verizon lte with powerg s line and legacy

Support for the DSC PG9WLSHW8 PowerG Wired to Wireless Converter is the biggest new addition for Firmware Version 2.5.3. We covered the PowerG Wired to Wireless Converter extensively in a post last month. But just as a quick recap, the device allows to you to connect hardwired sensors so that they can communicate with the IQ Panel 2 Plus wirelessly across the PowerG protocol. This is an excellent way to upgrade from an older hardwired system, as it can prevent you from having to purchase entirely new wireless sensors.

The PG9WLSHW8 also includes all the benefits of PowerG. This includes a wireless range of up to 2,000 feet away from the IQ2+ in an open air environment, military grade 128-bit AES encryption, and Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) technology for added protection. Up to eight (8) hardwired zones are built into a single converter, and you can use up to two (2) of the PG9WLSHW8 units per IQ2+ System. The unit even offers support for 2-wire or 4-wire smoke detectors, plus a 700mA supervised output for adding a wired siren.


Of course, IQ Panel 2 Firmware Version 2.5.3 includes a huge bundle of other new features and functions. Even if you don't plan on adding a DSC PG9WLSHW8 unit, there are still many other reasons to receive the upgrade. We'll touch on all the other new additions below.

The IQ2 system now has Panel Ambient Noise Detector settings to adjust noise threshold and duration. Qolsys added this feature with MDU settings where noise complaints are a concern. The feature can be used in-place of the panel's built-in glass break sensor. Alarm.com is planning to add back-end support for this feature sometime in the future.

Alarm.com commercial customers will be able to take advantage of their Smarter Business Temperature Monitoring (SBTM) service plan, which is used in conjunction with the DSC PG9905 PowerG Temperature Sensor. The SBTM service plan allows for 24/7 monitoring, real-time alerts, and historical temperature reporting. It is designed with businesses like restaurants, grocery stores, and pharmacies in mind. Alarm Grid customers with Alarm.com commercial accounts can contact us for more information. In addition, the IQ2+ can now display a trouble condition when an external probe is disconnected from the DSC PG9905.


If you use Alarm.com for solar energy monitoring, then you will be pleased to know that IQ Panel 2 Firmware Version 2.5.3 offers the ability to provide information from your solar inverter right on your security panel! Solar inverter units from SolarEdge and Enphase are supported. Please see this prior blog post for more info about Alarm.com Solar Monitoring.

Thinking ahead, Qolsys has made Firmware Version 2.5.3 compatible with future Z-Wave 700-Series daughter cards. The 700-Series of Z-Wave will represent the successor to Z-Wave Plus, also known as the Z-Wave 500-Series. Like all new iterations of Z-Wave technology, the 700-Series will allow for extended range and battery life when used with a compatible Z-Wave controller or hub. We hope to see 700-Series Z-Wave devices enter the market sometime in the not-so-distant future. Qolsys also made improvements to the IQ2 Z-Wave Diagnostics Map when using the Z-Wave 6.81 SDK to include RSSI values, as well as the ability to move automation device on the Diagnostics Map.

Some new 500-Series Z-Wave Plus devices are now supported by the IQ Panel 2. Most notably, these include Z-Wave switches from Eaton. Newly supported models include the RF9601, RF9617, RF9640-N, and RF9642-Z. It's good to see Qolsys increasing their support of compatible Z-Wave devices, and we have heard particularly nice things about the Z-Wave switches from Eaton and Cooper.

You can now disarm from the main IQ Panel 2 during the Exit Delay if the arming session was initiated from an IQ Remote, PowerG Keypad, or key fob device. Qolsys also added three (3) new Sensor Groups for keypads, key fobs, and panic switches. These new Sensor Groups include (3) Mobile Silent, (5) Fixed Silent Auxiliary, and (7) Mobile Silent Auxiliary. These new Sensor Group options should add some more versatility for these devices. And as for the Qolsys IQ Remote Keypad, it now has the ability to pair with IP routers using the Protected Management Frame (PMF) protocol.

Qolsys iq remote ag iq panel 2 remote touchscreen keypad

There are some new changes to the Easy Install Wizard that loads upon booting up the system for the first time. A new drop-down option will allow you to select one of (13) languages for the setup wizard. There is also a new page in the wizard with QR links for you to scan using the camera on your Android or iOS phone to quickly download the Alarm.com Mobile App. Also added to the Easy Install Wizard are new help screens that provide more information on how to pair and test door and window contacts and motion detection sensors.

Some general improvements to the system's PowerG firmware have also been bundled with Firmware Update 2.5.3. The PowerG Modem Firmware is now Version 2.38. There is now support for Fire Trouble and Dirty Detector Trouble on the IQ2 and ADC when DSC PG9936 PowerG Smoke Detectors are used. Proximity tag support is now supported with the Visonic PowerG Wireless Keypads (models KP141 and KP241). And the Alarm.com back end can now show the "Not Networked" status for PowerG Sensors in the Event History. This occurs when a PowerG device is enrolled with the panel, but then fails to complete the network association and goes into RF sensor failure.

There are also some changes affecting certain PowerG Door and Window Contact Sensors. For the DSC PG9309 and DSC PG9312, both the reed switch and the auxiliary input can be disabled during disarm. The same also applies to the auxiliary input on the DSC PG9945. The purpose of this is to extend the battery life on high traffic doors. Additionally, the PG9945 and PG9309 can be learned-in with the IQ2+ twice. One zone will be for the sensor's internal reed switch, which the other will be used with the auxiliary input.

Dsc pg9945 powerg 915mhz wireless door slash window contact


Other miscellaneous features have been added as well. LiveAnswer is now supported on the IQ2 for security cameras with non-standard aspect ratio streaming. New languages of German, Danish, Portuguese, Hungarian, and Romanian have all been added to the IQ Panel 2. The IQ2 will also now provide audible and visual indication of dual-path failures when the EN Grade 2 Setting is enabled. A change to the Swinger Shutdown feature has been made so that once a sensor reaches its Swinger Shutdown limit, a subsequent sensor event will tell the IQ2 to send an event notice to Alarm.com. Lastly, various improvements to the system have been made so that the IQ2 meets the EN50131-1 Standard.

Now that we have covered all of the new features included with Firmware Version 2.5.3, we can cover the process for upgrading your IQ Panel 2. Qolsys did things a little bit different this time. In order to download 2.5.3, your IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus must be running a firmware version between 2.0.1 and 2.4.2. Do not attempt to download 2.5.3 if your IQ Panel 2 is running Firmware Version 2.5.0 or 2.5.1. If your IQ2 is on one of those firmware versions, then you must upgrade in stages by upgrading to Firmware Version 2.5.2 first, and then upgrading to Version 2.5.3. More information on upgrading to 2.5.2 can be found here.

If you need to check the firmware version for your panel, click the small grey bar at the top of the screen, and choose Settings > Advanced Settings > enter Installer Code (default 1111) > About > Software. You should see the firmware version displayed. The panel in the picture below is already on 2.5.3.


Once your IQ2 is on a firmware version of 2.0.1 to 2.4.2, or is on Firmware Version 2.5.2, then you can begin upgrading the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Firmware Version 2.5.3. To begin, make sure your panel is monitored and connected with the Alarm.com servers via WIFI. The panel should be plugged into its AC outlet, and it should not have a low-battery condition.

When ready, you can perform the update by clicking the small grey bar at the top of the screen and selecting Settings > Advanced Settings > Installer Code (default 1111) > Upgrade Software > Patch Tag > enter iqpanel2.5.3 > OK > Upgrade Using Network. Then press OK when prompted. It will take about five (5) minutes for the update process to complete. The panel will reboot as part of the update process.

If you have any questions about the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, please reach out to us. Also remember to check out this post to learn more about our monitoring plans for gaining access to Alarm.com. The best way to contact us with questions about the IQ Panel 2 System or alarm monitoring in general is to email 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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Big changes are coming to the Z-Wave Alliance. The organization has established a new Standards Development Organization (SDO) structure to further improve upon the home automation technology. Qolsys and Alarm.com have both been named as founding members of the new Z-Wave SDO structure.


For anyone unfamiliar with the Z-Wave Alliance, it is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing and promoting Z-Wave technology. The newly formed SDO structure provides members with special opportunities to participate in the development of the popular home automation protocol. This includes new technical workgroups and committees with an emphasis on operational, technical, and marketing needs.

What excites Alarm Grid about the announcement is the inclusion of Qolsys and Alarm.com as founding members of the SDO structure. This is great news, as we expect both of these companies to contribute greatly in making Z-Wave technology even more accessible to users of security systems. This is great news for anyone who builds around their home or business alarm system for home automation functionality.

Alarm.com Chief Product Officer Dan Kerzner said of the news, "Alarm.com has used Z-Wave for more than a decade to help expand our platform so that millions of people can control and manage an ever-growing range of devices that work together to protect and automate their home or business... Along with the other founding members, we remain committed to shaping this evolving and impactful technology.”

In addition to Alarm.com and Qolsys, five (5) other companies have been named as founding members for the Z-Wave Alliance SDO structure. Alarm Grid has been eagerly awaiting the release of the next generation of Z-Wave devices, also known as the 700-Series. The current generation of Z-Wave, known as the 500-Series, or Z-Wave Plus, has proven to be a huge success in the field of home automation. We expect the Z-Wave Alliance to continue their triumphs moving forward, and this new organizational structure should only help.

Alarm Grid has always been major supporters of the Z-Wave Alliance and their work in promoting Z-Wave technology and educating automation professionals and end users alike. The group maintains an extensive list of Z-Wave-certified products, which includes technical information and specifications. If you ever want to learn more about the various Z-Wave products out there, we strongly recommend checking out their certified product database. You will likely need to find everything you know about your current Z-Wave home automation products, as well as any Z-Wave products that you may be considering in the future.

If you have any questions about how you can get started with Z-Wave technology and home automation, then please reach out to us! The ability to use Z-Wave devices like lights, locks, and thermostats is a fantastic perk of owning a security system. We offer many monitoring plans that will allow you to control your Z-Wave devices from anywhere, simply by using a mobile app or web browser. To learn more, send an email to 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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Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory UL is currently working to revise the UL-827 Standard for Central Station Alarm Services. This is being done to better accommodate remote workers amid the pandemic. The changes will ensure that remote operators can perform their duties effectively.


Because of the ongoing COVID-19 health pandemic, many central monitoring stations are continuing to have their operators work from home. UL is making changes to their UL-827 Standard to ensure that consistent provisions and protection measures are always enforced, regardless of whether an operator is working from home or at a monitoring center.

If you are unfamiliar with UL-827, it refers to the strict standards that a central monitoring station must meet in order to receive UL certification. The official central station partner of Alarm Grid, Criticom Monitoring Services (CMS), is UL certified. CMS will be required to comply with these new provisions once they are put into effect. CMS is extremely diligent about these matters, and we would imagine that they have already begun taking steps towards complete compliance with new UL mandates.

The revisions to UL-827 are still a work in progress, and no mandate has been finalized as of yet. However, we do have eight (8) mandates that are virtually guaranteed to be put into effect. We have the essence of these 8 mandates outlined below:

  1. Off-site monitoring will be permitted when there is a disruption event.
  2. Off-site monitoring will be discontinued within (14) days of the disruption event being declared over.
  3. While off-site monitoring is in effect, some staff will remain at the central station to maintain and support necessary equipment, such as receivers, automation systems, emergency generators, etc.
  4. Remote operators will remain connected with the central station using a secure pathway that uses at least 256-bit AES encryption.
  5. A central station must enforce multi-factor authentication for remote operators to access its network and automation system.
  6. Any remote operator workstation must not be used for personal use. It will remain the property of the monitoring company.
  7. Remote operator workstations must be set aside in a separate area of the home to not allow any unauthorized viewing and/or distraction of remote operators.
  8. Remote operators and on-duty managers will maintain continuous communication while off-site monitoring is in effect.

Not every issue regarding the matter has been fully addressed. UL is still working to address matters concerning standby power, wired vs. wireless connectivity between the remote operators and the central station, and issues regarding approval from the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). We believe that these new mandates will go into effect as soon as UL works out the details.

Although these protection measures were drafted in light of the COVID-19 health pandemic, they were also written in such a way that they can be enforced in the event of any other disruption that prevents operators from all gathering at a central station. We appreciate the insight taken by UL in that regard, as we are certainly in the midst of uncertainty.

Alarm Grid supports these measures that UL is set to introduce. We take great pride in ensuring our monitored customers that they will always receive the same level of protection and security. We understand that monitoring centers like CMS cannot safely operate with their full staff on-site during these times. The changes will help to guarantee that consistent measures are in-place, regardless of whether a trained central station operator is working from home or at the monitoring center. We applaud UL for quickly taking the initiative during these times.

As a monitoring provider, we want our customers to feel completely comfortable and confident with the central station services we offer. Providing peace of mind to end users is always one of our top priorities. If you have any questions or concerns regarding central station monitoring, please reach out to us by emailing support@alarmgrid.com. We would love to answer any questions that you might have. Remember that our business hours run from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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2GIG GC2e and 2GIG GC3e users have some new options available, as two (2) new products have been added to the growing 2GIG eSeries Lineup. These are the 2GIG TAKE1e-345 Wired to Wireless Converter and the 2GIG TILT1e-345 Tilt Sensor. Both products are available now from Alarm Grid.

2gig tilt1 345 wireless garage tilt sensor

If you are not yet familiar with the 2GIG eSeries Sensors, they offer a more secure wireless connection than the non-encrypted 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors. By utilizing wireless encryption, the 2GIG eSeries devices are nearly impossible for potential intruders to disrupt or takeover wirelessly. This can provide added peace of mind for end users. Just keep in mind that the 2GIG eSeries Sensors will only work with the 2GIG GC2e and 2GIG GC3e. They are not backwards compatible with the older 2GIG Panels, like the 2GIG GC2 and 2GIG GC3.

The 2GIG TAKE1e-345 Encrypted Wireless Takeover Module is a wired to wireless converter that is primarily used when upgrading to a GC2e or GC3e from an older wired alarm panel. When setting up the 2GIG TAKE1e-345, it is recommended that you keep the existing panel in place. This is because the TAKE1e-345 will draw power from the exiting panel, as the unit does not come with its own power supply. Once the device is set up properly, your existing wired sensors will be able to communicate with your GC2e or GC3e across an encrypted wireless protocol.

The 2GIG TILT1e-345 Encrypted Tilt Sensor is a tilt sensor designed primarily to monitor garage doors. The device works by sending an alert signal to the panel whenever the unit is tilted more than 45 degrees. Normally, the TILT1e-345 is mounted vertically on top of a garage door. When the garage door is opened, the sensor will shift to a horizontal position. This will trigger the sensor and tell it to alert the panel. Other potential uses for the 2GIG TILT1e-345 include use on mailboxes, pet doors, and hinged crawl space doors. Really, any structure that opens vertically can make use of the sensor.

Both of these great sensors are now available from Alarm Grid. If you have any questions about the 2GIG TAKE1e-345 or the 2GIG TILT1e-345, or if you want to learn more about how you can monitor your 2GIG GC2e or 2GIG GC3e, then please contact our team by emailing 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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False security system alarms have been a hot topic in Georgia lately. A recent court ruling upheld the decision to allow the city of Sandy Springs, GA to charge monitoring companies for false alarms. Now, it appears that the city of Lawrenceville is looking to take similar action.

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Reports indicate that officials in Lawrenceville, GA are currently working with a third-party company to build a registry of all alarm systems in the city. This will include all alarm systems used in Lawrenceville homes and businesses. From there, an ordinance will be developed, with the goal of "cutting down on false alarms".

Specific details regarding such a proposed ordinance are not available at this time. However, it has been said that the ordinance would be designed to "bring revenue to the city". It is fair to expect that the proposed ordinance would include fines for causing false alarms, as well as fines for failing to register a system. It's also possible that Lawrenceville may take a page from nearby Sandy Springs, GA and invoke fines against monitoring companies.

As a general rule, Alarm Grid is against charging fees for permits to operate security systems. These fees only make it more difficult for users to lawfully install alarm systems to protect their homes and businesses. We understand the need to register alarm systems for false alarm prevention purposes. But charging fees makes the process harder for end users. Instead, we propose free system permits for those operating alarm systems responsibly.

Even worse is when a local jurisdiction charges a monitoring company for a false alarm caused by an end user. Any responsible monitoring company should give its customers the resources and tools they need to prevent false alarms. When a false alarm occurs, it is almost always due to a mistake made by the end user. Charging a monitoring provider for the actions of an end user is unfair. In recent times, both Tennessee and Iowa have passed laws to prevent local jurisdictions from charging monitoring providers.

Alarm Grid does not take false alarm prevention lightly. It does not make us look good as a monitoring provider if our customers are repeatedly causing false alarms. The last thing we want to do is waste the time and resources of local jurisdictions. That is why we strive to educate our customers so that they understand how their systems work and how to properly prevent false alarms. We know that most false alarms are innocent mistakes, and most users are not seeking to actively cause false alarms. We urge jurisdictions like Lawrenceville to consider these aspects.

From what we can tell, Lawrenceville, GA is looking into this matter very seriously. It is our hope that if and when they do pass an ordinance that it is fair for both end users and alarm monitoring providers. In our view, this should include no-cost permitting. If fines for false alarms are also included in the ordinance, then they should be reasonable and offer a no-fee warning for an initial false alarm. Additionally, no false alarm fines should be charged against the monitoring providers who are ultimately not the ones controlling the systems.

For more information on preventing false alarms, we strongly recommend checking out this helpful guide we wrote. It offers various tips and guidelines for preventing false alarms on security systems. If you have any further questions or concerns about preventing false alarms, or if you are wanting to learn more about Alarm Grid monitoring service, then please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. Our team looks forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm Grid has learned that Johnson Controls has acquired the remaining stake of Qolsys. Johnson Controls now fully owns Qolsys. The press release from Qolsys states that all key Qolsys leaders and founders will remain at the company's Silicon Valley headquarters in San Jose, CA.

Qolsys iq panel 2 plus verizon lte with powerg s line and legacy

Jeff Williams, President of Global Products for Johnson Controls said of the acquisition:

"Qolsys has grown from a startup to a leading security platform provider with over 4,000 dealers and service providers worldwide. Johnson Controls sees long-term opportunities to bring Silicon Valley innovation and culture to our broader cloud-enabled IoT solutions in building management, fire and HVAC businesses... The opportunity to acquire Qolsys allows Johnson Controls to achieve operational efficiencies and scale across our global markets."

Johnson Controls had already owned the majority of Qolsys. This latest acquisition now puts the entire company under the ownership of Johnson Controls. In addition to Qolsys, the Johnson Controls banner also includes the likes of DSC, Bentel, Visonic, PowerG, and Tyco. The company has certainly assembled an extensive collection of security products and namesakes. Now with Qolsys fully under their control, their expansion should only continue.

As part of the move, Qolsys CEO Dave Pulling will transition to the role of Vice President and General Manager of Global Intrusion Products for Johnson Controls. According to Pulling, Johnson Controls will remain committed to serving existing Qolsys users, while also setting their sights on potential global growth. As for the Qolsys namesake, it shouldn't be going anywhere, and it will continue to represent various panels, sensors, and accessories.

Interestingly, the bottom of the press release from Qolsys hints at a "fourth generation IQ Panel", with a very vague release date of 2021. The press release states that the Fourth Gen IQ Panel will feature a "Qualcomm Chipset with support for AI, M2M, and Next Generation Connectivity". This is the first we've heard about a 4th-gen IQ Panel, but it really sounds like exciting news. We don't have any other details about a 4th-gen Qolsys IQ Panel at this time, but we will definitely keep our eyes open for more news.

Qolsys is currently known for their state-of-the-art IQ Panel 2 Plus. The company is set to release the lower-cost Qolsys IQ Hub later this year, which will represent the "third gen" in the IQ Panel lineup. Also on the roadmap for Qolsys is the upcoming Qolsys IQ Router. And last month's release of the DSC PowerG Wired to Wireless Converter was big news for many Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus users. It goes without saying that the company has been frequently making some big waves in the security industry.

Alarm Grid has frequently praised Qolsys Panels for their intuitive designs and simple user interfaces (UIs). We have found that the IQ Panel 2 serves as a great option for new users who aren't necessarily accustomed to, or experienced in, operating alarm systems. We hope that this will continue for Qolsys, even as they are now operating fully under the Johnson Controls banner. Many end users appreciate having easy-to-operate security systems greet them in their homes and businesses. Our hope is that Johnson Controls and Qolsys do not lose sight of that vision.

If you have any questions about the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, or any other security product from Johnson Controls, or if you want to learn more about monitoring service, please send an email to 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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We have learned that Qolsys has released a fix for the 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware for the IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus. With this fix, the 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware is once again available for download for any Qolsys IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus running System Firmware Version 2.4.2 or higher.

Qolsys iq panel 2 plus verizon lte with powerg s line and legacy

The saga regarding Z-Wave Firmware 6.81.03 for the IQ Panel 2 has been ongoing for quite awhile now. For anyone who isn't fully in the loop, we will provide a brief recap of the events.

In September of last year, Qolsys released IQ Panel 2 Firmware Version 2.4.0. Any newly manufactured IQ Panel 2 Plus System with 2.4.0 or higher pre-installed would have the 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware already pre-installed out of the box. Those with an older IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus System that had been upgraded from a lower system firmware version would need to separately update the Z-Wave firmware for the system if they wanted to use the associated features.

To be clear, updating the Z-Wave firmware on an IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus is optional. The 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware only provides the Smart Start feature for enrolling compatible devices via a scanned QR code, and it upgrades the panel's automation security protocol from S0 to S2. If a user doesn't need and/or doesn't care about these features, then skipping the update is fine. Unlike panel firmware for the IQ2, the system's Z-Wave firmware isn't as important to have on the latest version. Many users chose to skip the update entirely. And that remains the case now. If you do not want the update, then you do not need to apply it.

Later, in July 2020, Qolsys discovered problems with Z-Wave Firmware Version 6.81.03. Once this happened, Qolsys took the associated patch tag off the network so that it could no longer be downloaded. But now that Qolsys has corrected the associated issues, the update is once again available for download. Anyone who performs the upgrade now will download an updated version of the 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware to the panel. This updated version does not have the problems and issues that were associated with the earlier version, even though they are both referred to as Z-Wave Firmware 6.81.03.

Of course, there are some users who still have the faulty version of the 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware on their panels. For these users, the problem can be corrected by performing a system firmware update for the IQ Panel 2. In other words, upgrading to the latest system firmware (2.5.2) with the 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware already installed will update the panel's Z-Wave firmware from the faulty version of 6.81.03 to the newly updated version that has the fixes applied. Users who were already running 2.5.2 at the time they applied the faulty Z-Wave firmware patch, will need to wait for the next firmware release to fix the problem. According to Qolsys, their IQ Panel 2 System Firmware Version 2.5.3 will be made available later this month. More information on IQ Panel 2 System Firmware can be found on this helpful page.

We understand that this may be a bit confusing, so we have broken IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus users into three (3) categories. Find the bold statement below that applies to you, and follow the corresponding instructions. It may also be helpful to check and see whether or not your IQ Panel 2 is on Z-Wave Firmware 6.81.03. To do this, press the small grey bar at the top of the main screen, and choose Settings > Advanced Settings > enter Installer Code (default 1111) > About > Z-Wave. You should see the current Z-Wave Firmware listed.

1. My IQ Panel 2 is NOT on Z-Wave Firmware 6.81.03.

If your IQ Panel 2 is not on Z-Wave Firmware Version 6.81.03, then that tells us two things. For one, it means that the panel was originally manufactured with a system firmware version of less than 2.4.0. Second, it also means that no updates to the system's Z-Wave firmware have ever been applied.

Since you haven't updated the Z-Wave firmware for the system before, you can apply the update as normal. You will be downloading the newly updated 6.81.03 that has the proper fixes applied. Please see this helpful FAQ for more information about applying the patch tag.

Remember, your IQ Panel 2 must be on at least System Firmware Version 2.4.2 to apply the 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware. If your system is not on a high enough firmware, then now is a great time to update to the latest system firmware version, which is Version 2.5.2. Alternatively, you might choose to wait a few weeks for System Firmware Version 2.5.3, since it's coming so soon.

Another option is to just skip the Z-Wave update entirely. The older "pre-6.81.03" Z-Wave firmware versions are very stable, and they generally work great. All you are getting by updating the Z-Wave firmware is access to the Smart Start feature and an upgrade for your system's Z-Wave Security Protocol (from S0 to S2). If you do not care about these updates, then you can simply take no action.

2. My IQ Panel 2 is on Z-Wave Firmware 6.81.03, but I'm not on the latest System Firmware 2.5.2.

Your panel is on Z-Wave Firmware Version 6.81.03 either because it was manufactured that way, or because a Z-Wave firmware update was manually performed. In either case, the 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware Version your system is running is flawed, and we strongly advise applying a fix. There is no way to "downgrade" to an older Z-Wave firmware, so you must apply the newly fixed 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware to the panel.

Luckily, Qolsys made it very easy to fix the issue for users in this situation. All you need to do is update the system firmware to the latest version. By updating to System Firmware 2.5.2 with the 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware already installed, the appropriate fix will be applied so that your system's Z-Wave firmware will work in the proper manner. We recommend checking our IQ Panel 2 Plus System Firmware Updates Page for more information.

3. My IQ Panel 2 is on Z-Wave Firmware 6.81.03, AND I'm already on System Firmware 2.5.2.

Since your system is already on the latest firmware, you cannot perform a firmware update to fix the issue. Any user in this situation will not be able to take any action towards fixing their faulty Z-Wave firmware until Qolsys releases IQ Panel 2 System Firmware Version 2.5.3. Once 2.5.3 is available, you can download that Z-Wave firmware, and the updated 6.81.03 Z-Wave Firmware will also be automatically applied at that time. Qolsys says that System Firmware 2.5.3 will be made available later this month. Alarm Grid will post an update blog once 2.5.3 is available, so make sure to stay tuned.

UPDATE: Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus Firmware Version 2.5.3 is now available! Please see this blog post for more information.

We understand that this is a lot of information to take in for a relatively simple issue. If you need any clarification regarding the issue, or if you want to learn more about our monitoring services, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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We have some important security news out of Iowa. A new statewide law now prevents local jurisdictions from fining alarm monitoring companies for false alarms caused by end users. Only end users can now be fined. The legislation was signed by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds on June 30, 2020.

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According key language within the newly enacted law, a local jurisdiction can no longer fine or penalize a monitoring company for any of the following occurrences:

  • False Alarms
  • Emergency Dispatch Resulting from a False Alarm
  • Permits Relating to Monitoring Service and/or System Installation

Regular readers of the Alarm Grid Blog may recall a very similar law being put into place last year for the state of Tennessee. Alarm Grid approves of these protection laws, as we provide all our central station customers with the resources and tools they need to prevent false alarms. As long as end users operate their systems carefully, false alarms should not occur.

Unfortunately, not every jurisdiction agrees with the principle of protecting alarm companies against false alarm fines. Sandy Springs, GA was recently in the headlines for the decision of the US Appeals Court to uphold the city's policy of fining monitoring companies. At Alarm Grid, we find laws that punish monitoring providers to be an ineffective solution in stopping false alarms. Most false alarms are innocent mistakes, and they are not intentionally caused by end users. So when we see protection laws like those that have been put into place by the states of Iowa and Tennessee, it's certainly some well-appreciated good news.

As an alarm monitoring company, preventing false alarms is always one of our top concerns. We never want our customers and end users to inconvenience or waste the resources of their local authorities. That is why we put together some handy content in the prevention of false alarms. We strongly recommend reviewing and following this guide to help ensure that false alarms do not occur on your security system.

If you have any questions about alarm monitoring service or false alarm prevention, please reach out to us! We are happy to answer any questions or concerns that you might have. Remember, preventing false alarms is a team effort that involves both the alarm company and the end user. We take responsibility by doing our part to provide you with the all of resources and tips you need to stop false alarms. The best way to contact us is to email 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 Grid noticed a new addition to the AlarmNet360 platform for alarm dealers. There is now a banner counting down to the end of the respective AT&T 3G and Verizon CDMA network shut downs. It's another indication that the 3G Sunset is indeed a very pressing matter in the alarm industry.


If you are not familiar with the 3G/CDMA Sunset, it refers to quickly approaching dates at which the AT&T 3G Cellular Network and the Verizon CDMA Network will be permanently shut down and deactivated. Other cellular service providers also have their own dates for when they will decommission their older networks in favor of faster and more reliable LTE and 5G cellular networks. But for the alarm industry in the United States, the AT&T and Verizon shutdowns are particularly important, as many alarm systems rely on communication through these networks.

According to the banner shown on AlarmNet360, the AT&T 3G Sunset is set to occur after January 31, 2022. Likewise, the Verizon CDMA Sunset, according to the banner, will occur after December 31, 2022. We want to make it very clear that Alarm Grid is NOT stating that these are "official" dates for the respective network shutdowns. This is just what AlarmNet is displaying on their dealer portal. But it is our understanding that these dates are accurate and very important for end users to consider.

When a cellular network is shut down, any device communicating across that network will stop working. This includes many cellular alarm monitoring communicators that security systems depend upon for providing trustworthy and effective monitoring service. Inevitably, there will be many homes and businesses that fail to make the proper transition and get left behind during this period of adjustment. Our goal is to ensure that this happens to as few Alarm Grid customers as possible.

In preparation for the 3G/CDMA Sunset, AlarmNet has stopped allowing activations for these older cellular modules. Similar measures have also been taken by Alarm.com. But just because new activations are no longer permitted does not change the fact that there are many existing communicators out there.

Alarm Grid has promised to continue providing support for these modules as long as possible. We know that there are many people who aren't necessarily in a position to purchase a new communicator and/or an entirely new alarm panel right away. We're doing our best to accommodate everyone. But once an associated cellular network is shut down, there is nothing we can do. This is completely in the hands of the cellular service providers, and it is entirely out of our control. We fully understand the need to decommission older networks in favor of better technology, and we know that cellular service providers are making these decisions in the best interest of everyone involved. But we need to urge our customers. Do not get left behind.

The 3G/CDMA Sunset is not something to take lightly. There will be some homes and business that do not get the memo and/or decide to not take any action. They will be left vulnerable and unprotected. That is an unfortunate reality of the situation. But you do not need to let that happen to you or those around you. Most systems will allow you to replace an existing 3G or CDMA Communicator with a newer LTE communicator.

The term LTE stands for "Long-Term Evolution". Cellular service providers like AT&T and Verizon are planning to keep their LTE networks active and in-service for many, many years into the future, possibly even decades. The LTE networks will serve as a reliable backup for the new 5G networks, for which the infrastructure is still being rolled-out. Even as cellular technology continues to evolve and change, the LTE networks will remain as a stronghold, keeping millions of security systems monitored and protected. Cellular service providers will not let their LTE infrastructure go to waste. These networks will be there for your home or business when you need them the most.

If you haven't upgraded to LTE yet, please contact us. We will help you explore your options so that you can make an informed decision. Depending on your current equipment, you might only need to buy a new communicator. Others will need to replace entire alarm panels. Our technicians can provide more detail once we know exactly what you are working with. We understand that it might be difficult or impossible for you to purchase new alarm system equipment right now. That's fine. You still have time. But time is running out. You need to start preparing and thinking about these things now. That's why AlarmNet has slapped a giant banner marking the countdown dates. Take action now, if possible, so that you aren't racing to make an upgrade at the last minute.

For Alarm Grid customers it is important to note that, in most cases a communicator replacement will require that you work with one of our trained technicians. In some cases, this can be done without an appointment, but in many cases an appointment will be required. So please, also keep this in mind when you're planning to upgrade your equipment. If everyone who needs an upgrade waits until the last minute, the wait for an available appointment time may get longer than usual.

The best way to contact us regarding any questions or concerns you might have about the 3G/CDMA Sunset is to email support@alarmgrid.com. Please let us know about the security system equipment you currently have so that we can provide the most comprehensive and complete support possible. We may even ask for pictures of your panel and/or communicator so that we can help you to the best of our ability. Remember that our support hours for checking email run from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you and ensuring that your security system is kept monitored for many years to come!

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