How Do I Upgrade a 2GIG GC2e to Use LTE?
You can upgrade a 2GIG GC2e to use LTE by powering down the panel, installing an LTE communicator and activating it for monitoring service. An LTE cellular communicator will ensure that the panel remains in constant contact with Alarm.com, which is crucial for reliable monitoring service.
Getting a 2GIG GC2 or GC2e System connected to a cellular network is a top priority. While it is technically possible to use a 2GIG Go!Bridge IP Communicator with these systems and forgo a cellular communicator entirely, doing so is strongly discouraged. For one, cellular communication is significantly more reliable than IP only communication. Second, you will still need to pay the same cellular monitoring fees associated with Alarm.com, even if you use the Go!Bridge instead of a cellular communicator. Since you are paying for cellular anyway, you may as well use a cellular communicator. It will provide your system with more reliable performance than if you use IP only connectivity. You also have the option of using both the Go!Bridge and a cellular communicator for dual-path connectivity.
In June 2019, Alarm.com stopped allowing activations for 3G and CDMA communicators. As of February 2020, only LTE communicators can be activated for cellular service with Alarm.com. Nearly all 2GIG GC2 and 2GIG GC2e users will want to get their systems set up with LTE cellular communicators. When compared with older 3G and CDMA networks, LTE networks offer superior quickness and overall reliability. This will result in faster responses from Alarm.com and/or a central monitoring station when your system goes into alarm. You may also find that your system responds more quickly when you control your system remotely through the Alarm.com website or mobile app.
If you have a 2GIG GC2 System using an existing 3G or CDMA communicator that has already been activated, then that will continue to work until the associated cellular network is shut down. Cellular service providers like AT&T and Verizon are expected to shut down these networks sometime in 2022. These networks will be shut down in favor of newer and more advanced cellular networks, such as LTE. On the other hand, cellular service providers have vowed to maintain support for their LTE networks well into the very distant future, even as newer 5G networks are inevitably activated.
Cellular service providers have invested tremendous amounts of money into their LTE networks, and they have absolutely no intention of shutting them down any time soon. This is great news for security system users with LTE communicators, as they will be able continue using their same system and communicator combinations with no changes for many years to come. By upgrading to LTE, you are "future-proofing" your GC2 or GC2e System so that it will continue to work reliably for a long, long time. This is something you will absolutely need to do before the associated cellular network as shut down. Once that 3G or CDMA network is shut down, your system's communicator will no longer work. With that in mind, you may as well upgrade sooner rather than later.
It is important to note that you may need to update the firmware for your system before it can support an LTE communicator. If your panel is already connected with Alarm.com using a 3G or CDMA communicator, then you can have the latest firmware pushed down over-the-air. This will result in a small one-time fee, so keep that in mind. If you have a 2GIG UPCBL2 Updater Cable or a 2GIG UPDV Updater Tool, then you can update your system yourself for free. Please check our GC2 Firmware Update Page or our GC2e Firmware Update Page for more information.
For users looking for a new LTE communicator for a 2GIG GC2 or GC2e System, there are two (2) models that you can consider purchasing. Both systems support the same communicators, provided that they are on the latest firmware version. You won't need to worry about whether you are using an older 2GIG GC2 or a newer GC2e when determining communicator compatibility. As for the communicator models, there is the 2GIG LTEA-A-GC2 AT&T LTE Communicator and the 2GIG LTEV1-A-GC2 Verizon LTE Communicator. The decision between the AT&T LTE model and the Verizon LTE model should come down to which cellular network works best in your area. We recommend checking coverage maps to make this determination. Remember, using one communicator over the other will not result in any savings in monthly monitoring expenses, and this has nothing to do with which service provider you use for your phone. If you find that neither AT&T nor Verizon provides adequate coverage in your area, then you may want to add a cellular antenna or a cellular amplifier to boost the signals.
You should also be aware that activating a cellular communicator will require a monitoring plan that supports cellular connectivity. Some examples of compatible monitoring plans include the Gold and Platinum Plans from Alarm Grid (Self or Full) and the Alarm Grid Cellular-Only Plan. We recommend exploring different monitoring plans and choosing the one that best meets your unique needs. Remember, Alarm Grid monitoring plans are all no-contract, and they never include any added fees. If you have any questions about our monitoring services, then we are happy to discuss them with you via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We respond to email inquiries from 9am to 8pm ET M-F.
The process for upgrading to LTE is the same whether you are using a GC2 or GC2e. For these steps, we will assume that your system is already running the latest firmware and that no update is needed. Complete the following steps to upgrade your GC2 or GC2e to LTE:
1. Power down the panel. Whenever you are making hardware changes, you must first power down the panel. This is done by disconnecting the backup battery and unplugging the transformer. You will need to open up the panel to disconnect the battery. You can keep the panel open, as you will need to install the communicator to the board anyway.
2. Install the communicator. Now that your system is powered down, you can install the communicator. But before you do this, you should write down the IMEI number for the module. You will need this number when you go to activate the module later. The IMEI number can usually be found on a sticker on the communicator, or it may be somewhere on the product's packaging. Make sure to save this information, as you may need to access the IMEI number sometime in the future. As for the actual installation process, refer to the instruction manual for the communicator, and make sure to follow all the listed steps carefully.
3. Power panel back on. With the communicator successfully installed, you can now power the panel back on. Reconnect the backup battery since you already have the panel open. You can then reconnect the panel transformer and close the panel. The system should power back on.
4. Activate the LTE communicator. You will need to contact your monitoring company to have them activate the communicator. New Alarm Grid customers must schedule an activation slot when signing up for a monitoring plan. Existing Alarm Grid customers can contact us via email at email@example.com to determine a good time to activate the communicator. Remember, the IMEI number for your communicator will be needed to activate the module.
5. Test cellular signals. Now that the communicator is active, your monitoring company should test its cellular signals. This is important because a system receiving weak cellular signals will not work reliably, and it could fail to communicate with Alarm.com. Your monitoring company will be able to determine if the cell signals are good enough or if additional action is needed. Weak cellular signals can usually be addressed using a cellular antenna or a cellular amplifier.
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