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Alarm Grid would like to remind all of its monitored customers who receive cellular alarm monitoring service to upgrade to an LTE communicator as soon as possible. Older 3G cellular communicators will no longer function once their associated cellular networks are shut down in 2022.

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Without going too in-depth, an alarm panel uses a cellular communicator to send the necessary signals for alarm monitoring service to take place. When doing this, the communicator will send and receive signals across the same cellular networks that are used by mobile phones and other devices that utilize cellular communication technology.

Cellular communication is widely recognized as being the optimal communication path for security systems due to its exceptional reliability and generally fast speeds. Additionally, the Alarm.com platform requires that all systems using their service have a cellular communicator that is registered and activated. This differs from Total Connect 2.0, where a user can forgo a cellular communicator and strictly use an IP communicator with their system.

If you read this blog regularly, then you will likely have heard us discussing the 3G Sunset. This refers to the ongoing process of shutting down 3G cellular networks in favor of newer and more powerful LTE networks and 5G networks. Both Alarm.com and Total Connect 2.0 have stopped allowing 3G activations. A user who has a security system with a 3G communicator that is already activate can continue to use their communicator until the associated network is shut down. Once that happens, the communicator will no longer work for monitoring service.

Alarm.com and Total Connect 2.0 do not control the cellular networks, and it is not their decision when these networks are shut down. That decision falls on the cellular service providers. AT&T has stated that their 3G network is due to shut down by the end of February 2022. The Verizon CDMA Network (their 3G equivalent) is expected to be shut down in 2022 as well.

Alarm Grid urges everyone using a 3G communicator for monitoring service to upgrade to an LTE communicator as soon as they can. While 2022 might seem like a long time away, time is ticking by. Do not leave your home or business unmonitored and vulnerable. Upgrade to LTE now, and save yourself the hassle later on.

One concern that we have heard from some users is that LTE networks will also become outdated someday, and they will eventually be shut down as well. But AT&T and Verizon have both gone on record to say that their LTE networks will be supported and maintained well into the very distant future. This might seem surprising, especially considering that 5G is regularly mentioned in their advertisements. The reality though is that cellular service providers still intend on maintaining their LTE infrastructure for use as a backup to their 5G networks. Remember, even new and upcoming smartphones that utilize 5G technology are still designed to connect with LTE networks whenever 5G service is unavailable for whatever reason.

For more proof that LTE is here to stay, you do not need to look any further than the name itself. The term "LTE" is actually short for "Long-Term Evolution". Cellular service providers built their LTE networks with the intention that they would remain active and in service for many decades. They are not going anywhere any time soon, even as the excitement and anticipation of 5G continues to grow. And if that weren't enough, using 5G communication with a security system will not really be all that different than LTE. Alarm systems do not need to send large amounts of data, and LTE is more than capable of providing fast and reliable data transmissions as needed.

Alarm Grid has released many panel-specific guides to upgrading to LTE that we have linked below. You may notice that one noticeable absence from the list is the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 and IQ Panel 2 Plus. These systems already come with built-in LTE communicators, so no upgrade is necessary. Please check out our LTE upgrade guides linked below:

Remember that if you have any questions about the 3G sunset or upgrading to LTE, you can email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We will be happy to discuss your options for keeping your existing system monitored. Our team checks email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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The Total Connect 2.0 Mobile App for Android now allows users to arm, disarm, and check current system status using Google spoken voice commands. This handy new feature can be very useful for quickly and conveniently controlling your Honeywell Security System from almost anywhere.


In order to use Google voice commands with TC2, you must have the feature set up for your phone. To enable, go to Settings > Apps > Total Connect 2.0 > Enable Microphone. Once configured, you should see a blue microphone button in the bottom-right corner of the TC2 App. You can click on this button to have your phone begin listening for voice commands. At this time, only arming/disarming and status commands are available. We are hopeful that more commands will be arriving in the future.

Also keep in mind that you will need to give Total Connect 2.0 permission to use the microphone for your phone. Make sure to adjust the appropriate app permissions if you have not already done this. Remember that you can only make TC2 voice commands while you have the app opened. Google will not be able to understand any commands intended for TC2 unless they are performed through the app.

Please note that some commands may require a valid code entry. The following voice commands are available within the TC2 Android App:

  • Arm Stay: Puts the system in Arm Stay mode.
  • Arm Away: Puts the system in Arm Away mode.
  • Disarm: Disarms the system.
  • Home: Returns you to TC2 App home screen.
  • Sensors: Displays list of programmed sensors.
  • Keypad: Displays on-screen virtual keypad.
  • Events: Displays Events list.
  • Settings: Opens the TC2 Settings Menu.
  • Profile: Opens your TC2 Profile.
  • Location Settings: Opens the TC2 Locations Menu.
  • Manage Locations: Opens the Manage Locations tab within the Locations Menu.
  • Change Password: Opens the Change Password tab within your TC2 Profile.
  • Help: Opens the Help Menu.
  • Sign Out: Logs you out of TC2 and closes the app.

If you have any questions about this feature, or if you are interested in starting monitoring service for use with Total Connect 2.0, 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 and helping you get the most out of Total Connect 2.0.

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According to reports, Ubiquiti has corrected an issue affecting their UniFi Access Points (APs). Alarm Grid previously reported the issue back in February. The issue prevented various security systems from connecting. Users had to disable the Auto Optimize Network feature to connect.


It is our understanding that Ubiquiti pushed a firmware update to their UniFi Access Point devices. This firmware update made it so that a security system will not be booted from the network when the Auto Optimize Network feature is enabled for the AP. Users can now expect their systems to work while the AP is in this mode.

Before the issue was fixed, we were only aware of Honeywell Lyric Alarm Systems being affected. We later learned that other systems connecting with Ubiquity UniFi Access Points were believed to be affected as well. Regardless, there should no longer be any issues when using a UniFi AP with your system, as long as the AP received the firmware update.

If you are still experiencing issues, we recommend emailing us at support@alarmgrid.com. While we cannot push the update to an Ubiquiti AP, we can walk you through steps for making sure that your alarm system is doing its part. We check our email from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. Also make sure to check out our monitoring page if you are interested in learning more about our services. We look forward to hearing from you!

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A security system is either monitored or unmonitored. While you can use an unmonitored system, we're here to tell you why having your system monitored is so important. Alarm monitoring service is the best way to ensure that responders arrive as soon as possible during an emergency.

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When a monitored system goes into alarm, it will activate a siren to alert those on-site, and it will send alerts to a central monitoring station and/or the end user directly via text and/or email, depending on the user's monitoring plan. If a system is not monitored, then the siren will still activate, but no remote alerts or notifications will be sent out.

The only way an unmonitored system is useful is if you are always on-site with the system. Then you will hear the siren and know to take action regarding the alarm. But what if you are away from your home or business and a fire or break-in occurs? That is when you count on your security system alarm monitoring service to ensure that the appropriate party is notified.

Alarm grid inside security stickers

There are two (2) types of alarm monitoring service. Central station monitoring involves having your system send an emergency alert to a central monitoring station where a highly trained operator will take immediate action. They can see the type of alarm that occurred (e.g. security, fire, carbon monoxide gas, medical, etc.) and contact the authorities in your area for help.

Some users prefer self-monitoring service. This involves having an alert sent to you via text, email, and/or push notification. The alert will tell you what type of alarm has occurred and which sensor or zone on your system caused the alarm. This way, you can take your own action regarding the alarm event. Just know that in order for help to arrive, you must be able to reliably respond to the alert.

It is also possible to get a central station monitoring plan that includes self-monitoring service. This way, you can still have emergency help sent out automatically by a central station operator, while also receiving a personal alert so that you immediately know what's going on. This is a "best of both worlds" option, and it is what most new users ultimately select when setting up their monitoring service.

Whether you go with central station monitoring, self monitoring, or a hybrid of both, having your system monitored is the best way to ensure that your home or business is protected while you are away. Alarm Grid offers monitoring plans for all types of homes and businesses, and we have a wide selection of security systems available. Our team is happy to help you every step of the way.

If you want to learn more about choosing and installing your own DIY security system and saving hundreds by not hiring a professional installer, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. Our system planners are available from 9am to 8pm ET to help you choose the best security system for your needs. You might also want to check out our monitoring page to learn more about what we offer. We look forward to helping you get started with your new security system!

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Do you want to achieve a hybrid security system that uses both wireless and hardwired wired sensors? We have the perfect solution for you in the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus and the Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F. This will let you use both wired sensors and wireless sensors with one convenient system!

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Although we are well into the age of wireless security systems, there is still a place for hardwired sensors. Many people install wired sensors for new construction as a way of fully integrating their security system with their home or office. This is a great way to increase property value, and it's a fairly simple task for a builder to accomplish.

In addition, hardwired sensors require less maintenance than wireless sensors. They do not need any battery replacements, and many do not draw any electricity from a panel or wired to wireless converter module. Also, more and more alarm system manufacturers are offering ways to integrate hardwired sensors in with wireless panels. Using wired and wireless sensors together on the same system is sometimes referred to as a "hybrid security system".

The advantage to using a hybrid alarm system with both wired and wireless sensors is that you can still integrate your wired sensors in with the building, while also being able to easily add wireless sensors when convenient. It can be challenging to run wire for hardwired sensors after a building has been constructed. If you need to add some quick new sensors, then wireless ones make for a great selection. They are super easy to install, and they are just as reliable as wired sensors. Also, there are many sensors out there that are only available in wireless varieties.

The 319.5 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus is a great option for those looking to set up a hybrid security system, as it readily supports DSC PowerG Security Sensors and has a great wired to wireless converter option in the Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F. If you aren't familiar with PowerG Sensors, they offer some of the best range in the industry, as they can be used from up to 2,000 feet away from the IQ Panel 2 Plus. The PowerG Sensors are also extremely secure, since they utilize 128-bit AES encryption and Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) Technology. These are some of the best wireless sensors that you can possibly use with a security system.

But how do you integrate wired sensors in with your new Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus System? That's where the Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F comes in. This is a wired to wireless converter module that is specifically designed for use with 319.5 MHz security systems. Hardwired sensors connect directly with the Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F, and the module sends out a wireless 319.5 MHz signal to the panel on their behalf. This will allow the connected wired sensors to interface with a wireless alarm system that otherwise wouldn't accept them.

There are two (2) versions of the Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F. There is a Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F w/ Small Enclosure and a Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F w/ Large Enclosure. The difference between these two is that the large enclosure module will come with a large plastic cabinet designed for housing multiple IQ Hardwire 16-F units in one convenient location. If you are only bringing over a few hardwired sensors and only need one converter unit, the the small enclosure will often suffice. But if you are using multiple converter modules, then you may want to house them in an enclosure.

Note that every IQ Hardwire 16-F supports up to 16 hardwired zones, including one zone for 2-wire smoke detectors. Also note that each large enclosure from Qolsys is designed to support up to two (2) sets of IQ Hardwire 16-F Converters. Backup batteries are not included, but they are highly recommended. These two sets of batteries will also fit in the large enclosure with the converters.

Both the 319.5 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus and both versions of the IQ Hardwire 16-F are available for purchase on our website. Please make sure you are using the 319.5 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus, as the IQ Hardwire 16-F will not work with the other versions. However, the IQ Hardwire 16-F can work with the original non-Plus Qolsys IQ Panel 2. And if you have a 345 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus, then you can achieve similar results with the Honeywell 5800C2W. Before you know it, you will have an effective and reliable hybrid alarm system!

If you have any questions about using the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus with a Qolsys IQ Hardwire 16-F, or if you want to learn more about hybrid security systems in general, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. Our support team is available from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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One of the best perks of owning a home security system is that it can also serve as an automation hub for controlling compatible smart devices. Apple HomeKit is an excellent platform to build around if you are a frequent iOS or Apple user. And a new Lyric System can make a great addition!

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If you aren't familiar with Apple HomeKit, it is an app for iOS devices that allows you to control and automate compatible devices around your home. What's really cool is that you can perform various actions from virtually anywhere in the world using spoken Siri voice commands. Possible actions include arming or disarming your security system, controlling Lutron Smart Lights, or performing a complete HomeKit scene in which multiple devices are controlled at once.

In order to get started using a Lyric with Apple HomeKit, you must have a Lyric System that is set up for alarm monitoring service automation control. For Alarm Grid monitored customers, this means that you will need a Silver Plan or higher. More information is available on our monitoring page. Your alarm monitoring company can then activate the HomeKit feature for your Lyric System. Then just follow this simple FAQ to get it set up.

Remember that having a dedicated HomeKit Hub as part of your automation network is strongly recommended. This can be an iPad, an Apple HomePod, or an AppleTV Gen 4 or higher. You might also want to check out this FAQ on creating HomeKit Automations. That is how you will have your HomeKit compatible devices activate automatically with certain system events or based upon a set schedule.

When expanding upon your HomeKit network, make sure to look for devices that feature the Apple Home logo or other marking identifying them as HomeKit-compatible.

The only way to get your Honeywell Lyric set up for use with Apple HomeKit is to get it monitored. Please email us at support@alarmgrid.com for more information. We check our email Monday thru Friday from 9am to 8pm ET. Our team will be happy to help you find new HomeKit devices and build a robust and powerful HomeKit network that you can control from anywhere using your voice. Getting started is super easy, and we will be there every step of the way!

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For users looking to add smoke and heat detectors to their wireless systems, there are always some great options to consider. Of course, the specific models you can choose from will depend which alarm panel you are using. We're here to present the best options for some popular systems.

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For this list, we are presenting our favorite combination smoke and heat detector and standalone heat detector for each system. Combination smoke and heat detectors are what you should use in most locations of your home or business. During a fire, smoke is usually detected before heat, so a combination sensor will rely on smoke detection as its primary method for detecting fires. Heat detection serves as a good backup to smoke detection.

But there are some rooms of a home where it is better to use standalone heat detectors. This is because using a regular smoke detector in these rooms could result in false alarms due to excessive dust, moisture, or smoke that is normally present. Examples of rooms where a standalone heat detector is often a better option include kitchens, attics, garages, and bathrooms. Remember that standalone heat sensors are one-and-done devices, and they must be replaced after activation. Do not test them using a hair dryer!

Below are our favorite smoke and heat detector options for various systems:


Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus (319.5 MHz)

Smoke & Heat: DSC PG9936

Standalone Heat: Interlogix HDX-135


Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus (345 MHz)

Smoke & Heat: DSC PG9936

Standalone Heat: Honeywell 5809SS


Honeywell Lyric Alarm System

Smoke & Heat: Honeywell SiXSMOKE

Standalone Heat: Honeywell 5809SS


2GIG GC3e & 2GIG GC2e

Smoke & Heat: 2GIG SMKT8e-345

Standalone Heat: Honeywell 5809SS


If you need any help setting up your new Alarm Grid Security System, or if you are interested in learning 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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Looking for an easy way to improve upon your security system? Adding security cameras and integrating them with your existing setup will really let you unlock your system's full potential. You can have your cameras activate and begin recording as soon as activity occurs on your system.

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The main thing you should consider when choosing cameras for an existing system is to think about which alarm panel you have. Your alarm panel, by extension, determines which interactive service platform you use. Most Alarm Grid monitored customers use either Total Connect 2.0 or Alarm.com. If you have a Honeywell Security System, then you most likely use Total Connect 2.0. If you have Alarm Grid monitoring service using a panel from a different manufacturer, such as Qolsys, 2GIG, or DSC, then you most likely use Alarm.com.

Both Total Connect 2.0 and Alarm.com have their own selection of cameras to choose from. Total Connect 2.0 keeps things simple with just three (3) cameras to choose from as of April 2020. These cameras are the Honeywell IPCAM-WIC1, the Honeywell IPCAM-WIC2, and the Honeywell IPCAM-WOC1. Alarm.com seems to release updated models more frequently, as they continue to update their camera lineup. At this time some of our favorite Alarm.com Camera Models include the Alarm.com ADC-V522IR, the Alarm.com ADC-V622-WELL, and the Alarm.com ADC-V723.

Once you know which camera lineup to choose from, there are many factors for you to consider when deciding which camera to buy. Some of these factors include whether the camera is for indoor or outdoor use, the recording quality of the camera, the camera's viewing angle, and how much money you would like to spend. Since Honeywell only has three cameras currently on the market, it's usually pretty cut and dry which one is best for your needs. With Alarm.com, there are more options to consider.

Whether you are using TC2 or ADC, you can view the live feed for your camera remotely from anywhere in the world using an app on your phone. You can also set a camera to begin recording, whenever activity occurs on your system. For example, if someone faults an Entry/Exit Zone and triggers an Entry Delay countdown, then you can have your camera record all the action. Usually, it will just the routine activity of an authorized individual arming the system, but you will be ready if anyone tries to make an unauthorized entry into your home or business. And you can set your cameras for all sorts of triggers, included faulted sensors, system alarms, at certain times of day, and more.

Remember that you will need a monitoring plan that includes video surveillance to use security cameras. If you already have a monitored system with Alarm Grid, then the easiest option is to upgrade to a Platinum Level Plan (Self or Full). To learn more, or if you have any questions about security cameras or our monitoring services, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We check our support emails from Monday thru Friday, 9am to 8pm ET. We look forward to hearing from you!

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When working with security systems, there are only certain types of smoke detectors that can directly integrate with an alarm panel. But many people overlook the fact that almost all high-voltage smoke detectors can still be integrated indirectly using smoke detector listening modules.

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Smoke detector listening modules are wireless devices designed to actively listen for the Temporal 3 sound of an activated smoke detector. By law, life-safety smoke detectors must produce the Temporal 3 sound, which consists of three (3) consecutive tones, followed by a short pause, and then three (3) more tones with this pattern repeating continuously. Both high-voltage 110V smoke detectors and wireless battery powered smoke detectors will produce the same sound. This means that you can use wireless listening modules with both types.

All new construction is required to be outfitted with high-voltage smoke detectors. As a result, it's very likely that you already have these devices in your home or business. You should test these devices to make sure that they are working, and replace any devices that are non-functional. Then you can use a listening module to integrate the devices with your security system and your alarm monitoring service. If you have a network of interconnected hardwired smoke detectors, then you can use a single listening module to takeover the entire network!

Like all security and life-safety products, your smoke detector listening module will need to be tested regularly. Before doing any testing, you should put your system on test mode by either contacting your central station directly or by using the MyAlarms.com feature if you are an Alarm Grid monitored customer. Then activate the smoke detector's sounder by using its test button (if applicable) or by directing canned smoke into its vents. Make sure that your listening module detects the sound and triggers an alarm on your system. Remember that the listening module should be mounted within six (6) inches of the detector for best results.

We offer two (2) smoke detector listening modules on our website. The Interlogix SLX-AD-T3 is for 319.5 MHz systems, while the Encore FireFighter FF345 is for 345 MHz systems. Check and make sure you purchase the correct model that will successfully enroll with your wireless alarm panel. If you aren't sure which one to get, then you should contact us at support@alarmgrid.com, and we will be happy to help. Our support hours run from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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There's much more to the potential of your security system than just protecting your home or business. Most modern alarm panels offer the necessary built-in hardware to establish a complete smart automation network that you can control from virtually anywhere in the world using your phone.

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In the world of smart devices and Internet of Things (IoT), an automation refers to an action that occurs automatically. The trigger for an automation to occur could be something like a sensor faulting on your security system, your system going into alarm, or even the time of day. Automations can also be triggered manually either at the panel or through a mobile app on your smartphone. Most Alarm Grid customers use the Total Connect 2.0 App or the Alarm.com App depending on which system they have. Remember, remote automation control is only included with the Silver Level Plans and higher for Alarm Grid.

There are all sorts of automation devices you can pair with your system and control remotely. Smart lights are a great place to start. It's very easy to replace an existing in-wall switch or dimmer module. There are also plug-in lamp modules that can be set up with needing to use any special tools or equipment. Just plug in the unit, enroll it with your automation hub, plug in a lamp to the designated socket, and enjoy. Setting up automations for your smart lights is perfect for those absentminded moments where you forget to turn off the lights before leaving. You can even have light turn on designated times while you are on vacation to make it look like you are home!

Smart door locks also represent a population automation option. These allow you to lock or unlock your door even while you are away from home. This can be very useful if you forgot to lock up before heading out for the day, and you can also use it to let trusted people inside, such a scheduled maintenance worker, a house maid, or your friend who arrived just a little too early. Many users also set up locks to respond automatically. For example, you might have your back door set to automatically lock whenever you set your security system to Arm Away.

Last and certainly not least, smart thermostats offer some really cool functionality, and they can provide you with tremendous savings in your energy expenses. You are most likely already familiar with programmable thermostats that you can use to have the temperature adjusted automatically at set time intervals. But smart thermostats take things to the next level. You can have your thermostat automatically switch to a more energy efficient level as soon as you arm for the system and leave. And if your automation platform allows for geofencing, then you can have the thermostat activate automatically once you back within a certain distance from your home. It's also really nice to be able to adjust the temperature remotely if needed, in case you have some invited guests arrive while you are away. You can easily monitor your energy usage.

Getting started with home automation for security systems is super easy. You should start by finding out if your panel already has a Z-Wave controller built-in. Most new wireless panels have this functionality. If your panel doesn't support Z-Wave, then there may be an add-on to provide the capability. Then you can start building the perfect smart home! If you have any questions about home automation, or if you would like to learn more about or monitoring plans, please email us at support@alarmgrid.com. We check emails from 9am to 8pm ET M-F. We look forward to hearing from you!

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