2GIG GC3e vs. DSC Iotega
The 2GIG GC3e and the DSC Iotega are two security systems that you might consider using in your home or business. Both panels communicate through Alarm.com when set up for monitoring service. But the Iotega does not offer local end user programming, making it a poor option for DIY users.
Technically speaking, the Iotega is slightly more advanced than the GC3e. The Iotega supports more wireless zones than the GC3e (128 vs. 100). And iOS users will appreciate the fact that the Iotega is compatible with Apple HomeKit. The only other panel as of March 2020 that works with Apple HomeKit is the Honeywell Lyric Alarm System, which is an excellent DIY security system thanks to its local end user programming. We have another FAQ that compares the Lyric and the Iotega, which you can view here.
One other advantage that the Iotega offers is the fact that it is a true "dual-path" security system, meaning that it comes with both a cellular communicator and an IP communicator (WIFI Card) built inside. You do not need to add anything to get the Iotega System monitored. On the other hand, the 2GIG GC3e only has a built-in WIFI card. This serves as its IP communicator. However, you must still add a cellular communicator to get a GC3e System monitored. This is because Alarm.com requires all alarm panels to be set up with a cellular communication path. The best cellular communicators for a 2GIG GC3e are the 2GIG LTEA-A-GC3 (AT&T LTE) and the 2GIG LTEV1-A-GC3 (Verizon LTE). Once you add a cellular communicator to a GC3e, it can then be called "dual-path". Both systems will require a compatible monitoring plan, such as a Gold or Platinum Plan from Alarm Grid (Self or Full) or an Alarm Grid Cell-Only Plan.
Those are the only real advantages that the Iotega maintains over the GC3e. If you look closer, it's easy to see why most people consider the GC3e to be the superior system. Starting with the most obvious, the GC3e has a built-in 7-inch touchscreen, while the Iotega just has a light-up numeric touchpad. Most users find the GC3e easier to understand and easier to navigate. It is possible to add a touchscreen controller to a DSC Iotega, but you will need to purchase a DSC WS9TCHWNA, which is an external touchscreen keypad. Most users would agree that it is easier to just get a panel with a built-in touchscreen controller.
Sensor support provides another interesting area of discussion for these two systems. The Iotega supports what is arguably the single best sensor lineup in the entire security industry. But the GC3e supports a much more diverse selection of sensors, and it offers significantly greater flexibility in choosing sensors for the system. Iotega users are forced to choose from a very limited selection of PowerG Sensors. These sensors offer a wireless range of up to 2 km in open air (4 km with PG9920 PowerG Repeater), and they are highly secure with their 128-bit AES encryption and Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum (FHSS) technology.
Meanwhile, the GC3e supports no less than three (3) sensor lineups, making it the clear winner in terms of diversity. The most secure of these sensor lineups is the 2GIG eSeries Sensor lineup, which represents the only encrypted sensors available for the GC3e System. The system is also backwards compatible with the 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors and the Honeywell 5800 Sensors. By being able to pick across these three lineups, you are sure to find the perfect sensor for your needs in every situation. But we should note that no sensor available for a 2GIG GC3e will offer a wireless range of more than 350 nominal feet. You can effectively double this range using a 2GIG RPTRe-345, which will repeat the signals for all three of the aforementioned sensor lineups. But be aware that obstacles such as thick walls and large metal objects can reduce range.
The GC3e and the Iotega are roughly equal in terms of home automation capabilities. They both have built-in Z-Wave Plus cards for adding a variety of smart home devices. While the end result is the same on both panels, the process of getting there is much easier on the GC3e. Of these two panels, only the GC3e offers local automation programming. You can conveniently add new compatible smart home devices like lights, door locks, and thermostats to a GC3e System while you are on-site. But an Iotega does not offer local automation programming, meaning that you will need to contact your monitoring company whenever you want to add a new smart home device.
This same issue spreads across nearly every other aspect of the Iotega, as it does not offer any local end user programming whatsoever. Nearly every programming setting on the Iotega will require you to contact your alarm monitoring company for assistance in order to change or adjust. This includes adding, editing, and deleting zones on the system. But the 2GIG GC3e is the complete opposite, as you can perform nearly any programming change yourself. This makes it an excellent panel for DIY users. While the menus might seem a little daunting and confusing at first, the GC3e is actually quite easy to set up once you know what you are doing.
If HomeKit compatibility isn't important to you, another panel to consider is the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. This is our favorite alarm panel as of March 2020. It features local end user programming, support for up to 128 wireless zones, built-in WIFI, built-in cellular LTE, built-in Z-Wave Plus, a 7-inch touchscreen display, optional automatic Bluetooth disarming, live-streaming for compatible Alarm.com Security Cameras, a built-in 5 MP camera, partition support, and so much more. There is also a 345 MHz IQ Panel 2 Plus System if you need to bring over existing Honeywell and/or 2GIG Sensors.
For more information on how the Iotega and the GC3e compare, check the table below:
||Up to 100||Up to 128|
Encrypted Sensor Support
||2GIG eSeries Sensors||DSC PowerG Sensors|
Legacy Sensor Support
||Honeywell 5800 Sensors, 2GIG 345 MHz Sensors||None|
||Z-Wave Plus||Z-Wave Plus|
||Yes (Add Separately)||Yes (Built-In)|
||Yes (Built-In WIFI)||Yes (Built-In WIFI)|
||85 dB||85 dB|
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