How Do I Add an External Antenna to a VISTA-21iPLTE?
You can add an external antenna to a VISTA-21iPLTE by powering down the panel, connecting the antenna to its cellular communicator, and mounting the antenna. Once you are finished, you should power the system back on and have your monitoring company check the cell signal strength.
A cellular antenna is used when a security system is not receiving adequate cellular signal strength. This is usually the result of the system being located in an area with poor coverage from cellular networks. A cellular antenna will boost the signal strength and allow the system to communicate more effectively.
If you are using a VISTA-21iPLTE System, then you are most likely using a compatible plug-in cellular communicator. These include the Honeywell Home LTE-21V (Verizon LTE) and the Honeywell Home LTE-21A (AT&T LTE). These modules are designed exclusively for use with the VISTA-21iPLTE, and they make adding cellular communication to the system very easy. As of October 2019, only the LTE-21V is available. The LTE-21A is expected to be available sometime in the future.
Both the LTE-21V and the LTE-21A include a pair of small stock antennas. These are actually known as the Honeywell CELL-ANTHB Antennas. These antennas allow the communicator to get a slightly better signal, since the module itself will be housed inside a metal enclosure with the rest of the panel. For most users, the two small stock antennas will be all that is needed to achieve a decent signal.
But these antennas are just used to help the communicator send and receive signals from outside the metal cabinet. In fact, they are designed to stick through holes that have been punched through the metal cabinet. The metal enclosure has indentations for this exact purpose. If the system is being used in an area where cell signal strength is generally poor, then you will need to get an external cellular antenna or a compatible cellular amplifier.
Fortunately, an external cellular antenna will connect with the same way as one of these stock antennas. If you have the stock antennas connected, you will need to remove one of them using the included antenna removal tool. Make sure you power down the system before attempting to remove or add a cellular antenna. For this FAQ, we will assume that there is an open antenna slot on the cell module and that the cell module is already connected with the VISTA-21iPLTE System. We will also assume that any necessary holes on the metal enclosure have already been punched out. For more information, you may want to refer to the LTE-21V Installation Guide,
If you are looking for a good antenna to use with the system, then you have a few options available. The Honeywell CELL-ANTSMA is an indoor/outdoor fixed length antenna that will provide a moderate boost in signal. This antenna includes everything needed to connect with a Honeywell Home LTE-21V or LTE-21A. Note that the antenna is permanently attached to a 10-foot long cable, and its length cannot be adjusted.
If you need something stronger, then you might want to consider the Honeywell CELL-ANT3DB. This is an outdoor weatherproof antenna that will provide up to 3dB of signal gain when mounted properly. We also a 25-foot kit and a 50-foot kit, which both include the CELL-ANT3DB. These kits also provide the extra cables needed to complete the installation. This includes a Honeywell WA7626-CA SMA to N Adapter Cable and a 25-foot or 50-foot RF antenna coaxial cable. The WA7626-CA is what allows the antenna cable (Honeywell K14207LF, included w/ LTE-21V or LTE-21A) to connect with the RF antenna coaxial cable, which will ultimately connect with the antenna itself. The aforementioned kits also include mounting hardware.
Complete the following steps to connect a cellular antenna to a VISTA-21iPLTE:
1. Power down the system. Power down the system completely by unplugging the transformer and disconnecting the backup battery. Check and confirm that the system is completely powered down. If you do not have a backup power supply for your keypads, they should be blank. There should be no LED lights visible on the panel.
2. Secure antenna adapter plate. Before you can get started making connections, you must secure an antenna adapter plate to the outside of the metal enclosure. An indentation on the outside of the cabinet should have been punched out for this purpose. Position the antenna adapter plate over the opening, and align the plate's pin. Push the adapter plate to secure.
3. Connect antenna adapter cable. The first connection that will be made is connecting an antenna adapter cable to the LTE-21V or LTE-21A. This adapter cable is known as the Honeywell K14207LF, and it comes included with the LTE-21V and LTE-21A Communicators. The smaller MMCX end of the adapter cable will connect with the communicator. The larger SMA end of the adapter cable will connect with the adapter plate. The included washer and nut must be removed from the SMA end before connecting to the adapter plate. Once the the adapter cable is connected with the adapter plate, the connection should be secured using the washer and nut. This can all be seen in the following diagrams:
4. Complete necessary connections. You will now make any additional connections needed to complete the process. This will depend on the type of antenna you are using. A CELL-ANTHB Antenna or CELL-ANTSMA Antenna can connect directly to the SMA connection on the outside of the panel. A CELL-ANT3DB will require you to connect the WA726-CA Cable to the SMA connection, connect an RF antenna coaxial cable to the other end of that cable, and finally connect the CELL-ANT3DB to the other end of that cable.
5. Mount the antenna. Now that the connections have been made, the antenna can be mounted. The mounting location will depend on the antenna you are using. A CELL-ANTHB is just mounted on the outside of the metal enclosure. A CELL-ANTSMA can technically be mounted outdoors, but it is more commonly mounted indoors. It should be mounted high up if possible. The attic is usually a great location. A CELL-ANT3DB is almost always mounted outdoors. The most common location for a CELL-ANT3DB is on the roof. In any case, refer to the installation manual for the antenna for mounting instructions.
6. Power on the system. Power the panel back on by first plugging in the transformer and then connecting the backup battery. You can confirm that the system has powered back on by checking any keypads.
7. Test cell signal strength. Contact your monitoring company and ask them to check the cellular signal strength for your system. If the signal is strong enough, then no further steps need to be completed. If the signal is still too weak, make any necessary positioning adjustments or get a strong antenna.
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