How Do I Upgrade a DSC PowerSeries System to Use LTE?
You can upgrade a DSC PowerSeries System to use LTE by installing and activating a compatible LTE cellular communicator for the system. The panel will use the communicator to connect with the Alarm.com servers for monitoring service. A compatible alarm monitoring plan is required.
An alarm panel uses a communicator to connect with a monitoring platform for monitoring service. This is most commonly done through an IP connection or a cellular connection. Some panels will even use a dual-path communicator in order to utilize both IP and cellular connectivity. DSC PowerSeries Panels typically connect with the Alarm.com servers for monitoring service. Per Alarm.com requirements, a cellular communicator must be registered. You cannot register a dual-path Alarm.com Communicator for IP-only service. The cellular portion of the module must be registered. This is very important to consider if you are setting up a DSC PowerSeries Panel for monitoring.
A panel that is set up for cellular connectivity will use a cellular communicator to communicate across a cellular network. You want to make sure that your DSC PowerSeries System is using an LTE cellular communicator so that it is communicating across an LTE cellular network. Older non-LTE networks like 3G and CDMA are in the process of being shut down. Once the networks are shut down, any cellular module that communicates across those networks will no longer function. Additionally, it is no longer possible to activate an older 3G or CDMA communicator for use with the Alarm.com service. Alarm.com stopped allowing 3G and CDMA activations due to the impending sunset.
But LTE offers many advantages over 3G and CDMA. For one, cellular service providers like AT&T and Verizon have repeatedly stated that they plan on supporting the LTE networks well into the very distant future. By adding an LTE communicator, you can keep your DSC PowerSeries Security System monitored for many years to come. Also, LTE is more reliable and faster than 3G and CDMA. An LTE communicator will ensure better overall performance for your system when communicating with Alarm.com. This includes when you use the Alarm.com platform to control your system remotely using a web browser or the Alarm.com Mobile App.
Alarm Grid currently offers two (2) dual-path LTE & IP communicators of DSC PowerSeries Panels. These are the Alarm.com ADC-SEM210-PS-AT (AT&T LTE & IP) and the Alarm.com ADC-SEM210-PS-VZ (Verizon LTE & IP). These communicators are installed in the same manner, and they serve the same function. The only difference is that one uses the AT&T LTE Network, and the other uses the Verizon LTE Network. Choosing one network over the other will not have any affect on your monthly monitoring costs. You should simply choose whichever service provider tends to work better in your area. Check coverage maps, and see which network offers more reliable service in the area where the system will be used. If you find that neither network provides adequate service in your area, then consider adding a cellular antenna or a cellular amplifier. Remember, the choice between AT&T and Verizon for your alarm system has absolutely nothing to do with the cellular service you use for your personal phone.
A monitoring plan is needed to activate the communicator used with your DSC PowerSeries Panel. This monitoring plan must include cellular connectivity. Compatible monitoring plans include an Alarm Grid Gold or Platinum Plan (Self or Full) or an Alarm Grid Cellular-Only Plan. We recommend shopping around for different monitoring plans and choosing the best one for your unique needs. Keep in mind that your monitoring plan may or may not include access to Alarm.com. Make sure to check the details of what's included with your plan. Since the aforementioned dual-path communicators also double as Z-Wave Plus controllers, you will be able to use the Alarm.com platform for smart home automation control as well. This is in addition to the interactive monitoring services offered from Alarm.com. You can access Alarm.com from pretty much anywhere using the website or mobile app. This will let you arm and disarm your system, check its current status, control automation devices, view Alarm.com Cameras, and more.
Please note that there are firmware and system requirements in order to support the aforementioned communicators. The Alarm.com ADC-SEM210-PS-AT and Alarm.com ADC-SEM210-PS-VZ are both for DSC PowerSeries PC1616, PC1832, and PC1864 Systems. Make sure to check and confirm that the communicator you are trying to install and activate is indeed compatible with the exact DSC PowerSeries System you are using.
For this FAQ, we will assume that you have a compatible DSC PowerSeries System and that no firmware upgrade is needed. Complete the following steps to upgrade a DSC PowerSeries System to LTE:
1. Power down the panel. You must always power down your system when making hardware changes. Disconnect the backup battery, and unplug the transformer to power down the panel.
2. Install the communicator. If necessary, remove the existing communicator for the system. Then install the new communicator for the system. The communicator will be wired to the panel. For more information on installing one of the Alarm.com Dual-Path PowerSeries Communicators, please see this installation guide. You can reconnect the transformer and backup battery to power the system back on once the connections are made.
3. Activate the communicator. You must activate the communicator for monitoring service. This is done by an alarm monitoring company. If you are being monitored by Alarm Grid, then you will work with a highly trained Alarm Grid activations team member. If you are a new Alarm Grid customer, the activator will call you at the scheduled time you selected when signing up for monitoring service. Please have the communicator connected and installed before the activator calls you. If you are an existing Alarm Grid customer looking to upgrade your PowerSeries System to LTE, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will work with you to schedule a good time to complete the upgrade. Remember that our support hours are from 9am to 8pm ET M-F.
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