Can I Use WIFI As Primary And Cell As Backup On A Qolsys IQ Panel 4?

In a word, no. All Alarm.com compatible panels require a cellular connection. An IP connection is optional. An IQ Panel 4 that has WIFI will always transmit alarm signals using both paths. Alarm.com will process the signal it receives first, and will discard the signal it receives last.

This is not to say that if your system needs to send three (3) alarm signals, Alarm.com will only process the first one sent. Instead, what this means is that if your alarm panel sends three (3) alarm signals, each of those signals will be sent using both the WIFI and cellular paths, when both are available. For each alarm, whichever path's signal reaches Alarm.com first, the signal from that path will be processed. Alarm.com can then tell when the same signal arrives using the opposite path. Not wanting to send the exact same alarm to the user and/or the monitoring station twice, Alarm.com will discard the "losing" signal. In this way, Alarm.com ensures that the fastest path available is always used for each signal that is sent.

Alarm.com requires that any alarm panel using their service have a cellular communicator. This is the reason why, when you look at Alarm Grid's Monitoring Plan signup page, only the Gold and Platinum level plans show support for Alarm.com. These are the plans that include cellular monitoring. There is also a Cellular Alarm Monitoring option available that can be used with Alarm.com service. This Alarm Grid plan includes both cellular and WIFI, if used, but it does not include any of the remote interactive features available from Alarm.com. Cellular Alarm Monitoring simply allows the panel to send any panel signals to a central monitoring station using a cellular and WIFI communication path.

Each Qolsys IQ Panel 4 has a variety of available options, including the communicator selected. Aside from each panel coming in either black or white and having a dual-band WIFI communicator built in, the IQ Panel 4 also has an option of either an AT&T or Verizon Cellular Communicator, also built in. Be sure to verify which carrier will have a better signal in the area being monitored. If you purchase a panel, then find that the cellular signal is inadequate you'll have to replace the entire panel. Every IQ Panel 4 can support the 915 MHz PowerG wireless sensors from DSC. In addition, most of these panels can support one (1) of three (3) legacy RF receivers. The legacy RF receiver allows a user who is replacing an older alarm panel with still-working wireless sensors to continue using those sensors. This can help to save a lot of money when upgrading to a new system.

The legacy RF Sensors supported are:

There is also a version of the Qolsys IQ Panel 4 that supports only PowerG sensors. These kits are available only in white, and they don't have a legacy RF receiver built in. Users who are starting out with a new system, and who don't have existing legacy wireless sensors already installed can save a bit of money going with one of these systems. Each kit comes with two (2) PowerG Door/Window Sensors, and one (1) PowerG Motion Sensor. The user can choose a version with either an AT&T or a Verizon cellular communicator. Check out this earlier post to see all the great benefits you get when using DSC PowerG Sensors.

Although you can't use WIFI as a primary means of communication, and cellular only as a backup on the Qolsys IQ Panel 4, it is recommended to connect the panel to WIFI whenever possible. Qolsys and Alarm.com do not allow panel firmware updates to be pushed to the panel using cellular data. This means that if the panel does not have a connection to WIFI, the only time it can be updated is when someone on site has a cellular phone, tablet, or computer they can use to transfer an update to the panel locally. You can download the firmware update file and find instructions on how to locally update the Qolsys IQ Panel 4 here.

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