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Update: This issue was even more severe than initially realized. The Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus offers no functionality as a secondary Z-Wave controller. More information on the subject is outlined in this FAQ.

We have learned of a flaw affecting the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and its Z-Wave functionality. The system cannot be used as an effective secondary Z-Wave controller with another Z-Wave hub. This issue has been confirmed on FW Version 2.5.4,and earlier versions are also likely affected.


If you are unaware of how a secondary Z-Wave controller works, it is basically a method to give you multiple points, or hubs, for controlling a Z-Wave network. When setting up a device as a secondary Z-Wave controller, you start by clearing all Z-Wave devices from that hub. All Z-Wave devices should instead be paired with the main hub, which will be the primary Z-Wave controller. You then pair the secondary controller to the primary controller. By doing this, all the Z-Wave devices associated with the primary controller will be pushed over to the secondary controller so that they can be controlled from both devices. Making the IQ Panel 2 System a secondary controller is a popular choice when using the system alongside Samsung SmartThings, Vera, and a selection of other Z-Wave controllers and hubs.

However, we have discovered that when the IQ Panel 2 is made a secondary controller, users are unable to control any devices that have been pushed over from the primary hub. The process will appear to be working, as the IQ2 System will successfully join the other Z-Wave network, but no control will be available for the Z-Wave devices pushed over to the system from the primary controller. Basically, these Z-Wave devices cannot be controlled from the IQ Panel 2 System, nor can they be controlled from the Alarm.com platform. This makes the IQ Panel 2 effectively useless as a secondary Z-Wave controller. We have confirmed that this problem exists on IQ Panel 2 Firmware Version 2.5.4. It is also believed that earlier firmware versions also carried this same issue. But we are unsure which was the first version to experience this problem.

Alarm Grid would like to apologize to anyone affected by this issue. We have already reached out to Qolsys to make them aware of the problem and to learn about a possible fix. Unfortunately, we have not received any word from Qolsys on when a fix would be released. We are hopeful that something in upcoming Firmware Version 2.6.0 may correct this issue, but we have not received any indication from Qolsys that such a fix will be implemented. This means that it may be impossible to use the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 or IQ Panel 2 Plus as a secondary Z-Wave controller for the foreseeable future. Please note that this issue is not believed to have any impact on the primary Z-Wave functions of the system.

We understand that not being able to reliably use the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus as a secondary Z-Wave controller will be a major concern for some users. If you are looking for a panel that has proven to work reliably and consistently as a secondary Z-Wave controller, then we want to give special recommendation to the Honeywell Lyric Alarm System. We have seen the Lyric work wonderfully as a secondary Z-Wave controller when paired with a variety of popular home automation hubs. You might consider the Lyric as an alternative to the IQ Panel 2 Plus if secondary Z-Wave functionality is particularly important to you.

If you have any questions about this issue, or if you are an Alarm Grid monitored customer experiencing any unrelated problems or issues, please email our support team at support@alarmgrid.com. We will work to provide you with a quick and effective solution so that you can continue to get the very most out of your monitoring service. This is also a good email to use if you are interested in starting any new monitoring service with Alarm Grid. Remember, we are here from 9am to 8pm ET M-F to answer any questions or inquiries you might have. We look forward to hearing from you!

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If you haven't been keeping an eye on the Alarm Grid YouTube Channel, then you may have missed the two (2) new videos we uploaded last week. It has been awhile since our last video recap, so we wanted to give these a special highlight. We hope to be back in the studio regularly very soon!


Before we focus on the new videos, we have some good news and bad news. The bad news is that it may still be a few more weeks before we are able to really start concentrating on them again and begin putting them out like we used to. Our Florida office is in a state of flux right now behind the scenes, and while this should have no impact on our ability to provide you with top-quality service, it does impact our ability to shoot, edit, and upload new videos. And once we are back doing videos, keep in mind that it may take us another week or two to really "shake off the rust" and get back in the swing of things. We ask for your patience during this time, and we apologize that we haven't been able to give you the new videos that you have come to expect from us.

But the good news is that we expect new videos to return very soon, with all of your favorite faces, and maybe even some new ones at some point in 2021. We know we're off to a bit of a slow start, but we truly believe that this can be the best year yet for the Alarm Grid Video Team. There are some great ideas sitting in the bin, and we're very eager and excited to put them out. We just ask for some patience as we work to get things set up. It won't be long until you're checking out new videos every week to get the most out of your security system!

With that out of the way, let's take a look at the two (2) new videos we have for you today. These are the very first Alarm Grid videos of 2021, and they cover some great topics. We only had time to get Jorge into the Alarm Grid studio, so he's the star of both of these videos. Special thanks to Jorge and our video team for rallying and putting these together. We know that two videos isn't very much, but we hope that these can at least hold you over until we make a full return to the studio and really begin reminding everyone just what our team is capable of accomplishing. But enough stalling. Here are the newest Alarm Grid videos!

Troubleshooting a Lyric Using Apple HomeKit

Jorge provides some troubleshooting tips for a Honeywell Lyric System that is using Apple HomeKit. The HomeKit integration for the Lyric allows you to receive a limited selection of Lyric System Alerts from the HomeKit platform on your iOS device, and perform various system functions using spoken Siri voice commands. To start using the HomeKit integration, your Lyric System must be activated for monitoring service, as HomeKit functionality can only be enabled remotely by your alarm monitoring company. HomeKit service is usually used to supplement Total Connect 2.0, as TC2 provides greater detail regarding system activity and faulted zones than HomeKit.


Entering Programming On a Partitioned IQ Panel 2 Plus

Jorge shows you the differences that occur when you go to enter programming on a Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus system that has partitions enabled, versus one that does not. Alarm system partitions are used to section off a single system into multiple "areas" that can be armed and disarmed independently from one another. When you have partitions enabled on the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus, you are asked to provide a code before you even access the main screen. The code you enter will determine your level of authority. You will only need to provide a code again if your originally entered code lacks the authority to access a particular menu or setting. But if partitions are not enabled, then you won't need to provide a code unless you attempt to access menu options with restricted access, such as the Installation Menu.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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If you're like the folks at Alarm Grid, then you're always looking for new and exciting ways that you can use your security system. One novel possibility is to have your system alert you if your pool or hot tub experiences an unusual temperature change. Today, we will explore how to do that.


As you likely know, using temperature sensors with an alarm system to monitor the ambient air temperature inside a building is nothing new. These devices are used to alert the user to a broken HVAC system that could result in them arriving to a very uncomfortable home, or even worse, major damage caused by the water pipes freezing. But if you want to monitor the water temperature of a pool or hot tub, then you have to get a little creative.

It goes without saying that there are several intrinsic challenges associated with setting up your alarm system to monitor the temperature of your pool or hot tub AND being alerted in the event that an unusual temperature change occurs. Basically, you need a waterproof temperature probe, a programmable temperature sensor that is compatible with that probe, AND a way to interface that temperature sensor with your alarm system. Only then will your security system keep you in the loop if your pool or spa heater goes kaput.

While there are certainly many combinations of waterproof temperature probes and programmable temperature sensors that you can use for this job, we will stick to the products that we have available on our site. This starts with the Winland TEMP-L-W Waterproof Temperature Sensor Probe, which can be safely submerged in your pool or hot tub and monitor temperatures ranging from -58°F to 158°F. It's the perfect probe for the job!

You can easily connect the Winland TEMP-L-W Probe with our selected programmable temperature sensor for the job, the Winland EA200 EnviroAlert. The reason why you need a programmable temperature sensor is because you will need to set a very specific range of temperatures to perform this task effectively. It isn't good enough to just have a very vague range of allowable temperatures here. A standard in-building temperature sensor that monitors for a broken HVAC system might be able to get away with that, but it won't do you much good if you hop in your pool and find that it's a chilly 50°F. Realistically, you will probably want to keep your pool within a very specific range, say 70°F to 80°F. And if you own a hot tub, then that range is probably even more restrictive, perhaps 98°F to 102°F. With that in mind, there isn't much room for error here. You need a digital programmable temperature sensor where you can set customizable high-low temperature limits. And as you can probably guess, the temperature sensor will alert your system if the detected water temperature goes outside these defined limits.

Please note that the EA200 only has one output function, so you can only monitor for low temp OR high temp. But only one probe is needed. If you really need to monitor for both low temp AND high temp, then you can get the Winland EA400 EnviroAlert instead, which has two (2) outputs. You can use one for low-temp monitoring alerts, and the other for high-temp monitoring alerts. But keep in mind that if you have both alert types set up, then you will need TWO (2) probes as part of the setup.

One thing to keep in mind though is that these temperature sensors are often not waterproof, so you may want to find some waterproof housing that you can keep the module inside. Remember, just because the probe is waterproof does not mean that its accompanying sensor can withstand the same conditions! The protection doesn't necessarily have to be anything super high-tech either. You may be able to get away with a plastic container with the probe running through a leak-proof fitting. Unfortunately, we don't offer any sort of waterproof contraption on our website, but your local department store can probably help!

Your last challenge is finding a way to interface the temperature sensor, in our case the Winland EA200 EnviroAlert, with your alarm panel. If you're working with a wired sensor like we are, then the standard practice is to connect it to a wired panel or a converter module. But using a complete wired to wireless converter for just one sensor is probably a bit excessive. Instead, you may look into a wireless transmitter. Many wireless door and window contact sensors have on-board terminals that you can use to connect a wired sensor. This will allow the wired sensor to communicate with the panel wirelessly. You will likely need to provide a power supply and backup battery to the equation when doing this with a powered device like a digital programmable temperature sensor, but that's to be expected when powering the device in the first place. You must also make sure the wireless sensor acting as the transmitter is compatible with your system. Some popular options for doing this include the Honeywell 5816 and the DSC PG9945. Remember to check compatibility if you are unsure as to what will work with your alarm system!

From there, it's as simple as enrolling the programmable temperature sensor with your system. You will actually be programming the wireless transmitter using its auxiliary input settings. Check the device manual to see if there's a specific Loop Number or other setting that you need to use. You will also need to configure the high-low temperature limits and the notification settings on the temperature sensor. You are making it so that whenever the detected temperature in your pool or spa goes outside the defined limits, the wired temperature sensor will tell the connected wireless transmitter to alert your system. Once this happens, a fault will occur on the associated zone, and the programmed Response Type will occur. A popular Response Type for this application is 24-Hour Auxiliary, though you will want to make sure the central station knows that this is for a pool or hot tub temperature zone, and not for a medical emergency zone.

If you have any questions about setting up a pool or hot tub temperature zone for your own security system, please reach out to us. We will be happy to help any Alarm Grid monitored customers with finding the right sensors and programming. The best way to reach us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. We're here to provide you with top-notch support and help from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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


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

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

If you have any questions about the Alarm.com SVR Timeline, or if you are interested in starting new alarm monitoring service for use with Alarm.com, please email our team at support@alarmgrid.com. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Alarm.com now offers an integration for Lennox iComfort WIFI Touchscreen Thermostats. This will allow you to control your compatible Lennox Thermostat from the Alarm.com platform using the website or mobile app. The integration offers the same control as other supported thermostats.


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

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

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

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

The process can be completed using the website or mobile app, though the steps are slightly different. If you are using the website, then you should choose Settings > Manage Devices > Add Device (upper right) > Thermostat > Lennox iComfort E30, M30, S30 Thermostat > Next > provide your Lennox login information > Login, and then follow the on-screen prompts.


If you are using the mobile app, then login to your account, and click the three (3) horizontal bars button > Manage Devices > + icon > Thermostat > Lennox iComfort E30, M30, S30 Thermostat > Next > provide your Lennox login information > Login, and then follow the onscreen prompts as instructed to complete the device integration.

Keep in mind that you will be required to accept the terms and conditions, which you can review on the screen. The device should successfully pair after the discovery process has been completed. Make sure that your thermostat is online and connected to the network before attempting the above steps.

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

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Alarm Grid is proud to announce that the Honeywell LTEM-XA and Honeywell LTEM-XV are now available! These are both brand-new cellular communicators for VISTA Systems. They follow the same installation process as the LTE-XA and LTE-XV, which are being phased out in favor of these new models.


What separates the LTEM-XA and the LTEM-XV from their predecessors is that they connect with the advanced LTE Cat M1 networks. These networks allow for stronger security and more effective signal penetration than other LTE cellular networks. The LTEM-XA receives service from the AT&T, while the LTEM-XV is covered by Verizon. As usual, the decision to go with one over the other has nothing to do with your personal phone, and it will have no impact on the cost of your monitoring service.

It should be noted that the older LTE-XA and LTE-XV will still continue to work as intended. Anyone using one of these modules does not need to upgrade to a newer model or replace their existing equipment. In fact, there is very little reason to do so if your system is working as intended. You can confirm that your communicator is receiving a strong cellular signal by checking the Signal LED on the front of the module. A solid green light indicates a strong signal. It's also worth mentioning that the LTE-XA and LTE-XV will continue to remain available for purchase while stock remains of these products. However, there is little reason to buy them, as the LTEM-XA and LTEM-XV are now the recommended models.

One other important note about the LTEM-XA and LTEM-XV is that they offer cellular connectivity only. These are not dual-path communicators, and they do not provide internet connectivity. This is not a huge concern, as LTE Cat M1 service is plenty fast and extremely reliable on its own. But if you do want a dual-path option for your Honeywell VISTA System, then the Honeywell LTE-IA (AT&T LTE & IP) and the Honeywell LTE-IV (Verizon LTE & IP) are still readily available. Just remember that the LTE-IA and the LTE-IV only use "standard" LTE connectivity, as opposed to the LTE Cat M1 service offered by the LTE-XA and LTE-XV. It is currently unknown if Resideo will eventually release dual-path communicators that utilize LTE Cat M1 connectivity. Like always, we promise to keep you informed about any updates.

The function of the LTEM-XA and LTE-XV remains largely the same from other AlarmNet Communicators. By installing and activating one of these modules, your Honeywell VISTA Security System will be able to communicate with the Resideo AlarmNet Servers across a fast and reliable LTE Cat M1 cellular network. If your alarm panel supports Total Connect 2.0, then you will be able to take advantage of that great service as well, provided that access to the TC2 platform is included in your monitoring plan. Remember that a VISTA-15P or VISTA-20P System must have PROM Chip Version of 9.12 or higher to support Total Connect 2.0. We sell PROM Chip Upgrades for the 15P and for the 20P if you need them. Please also refer to this FAQ on identifying and replacing PROM Chips.

While the 15P and 20P are most likely going to be the most commonly used systems with the LTEM-XA and LTEM-XV, you can technically use these communicators with any Honeywell VISTA System that supports ECP mode. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you have regarding system compatibility. You are also welcome to contact us if you are interested in starting new monitoring service. Our team is happy to help you get started. The best way to reach us is to email support@alarmgrid.com. We're here to check 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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