How Do I Upgrade an Interlogix Simon XT, XTi, XTi-5, or XTi-5i to LTE?
You can upgrade an Interlogix Simon XT, XTi, XTi-5, or XTi-5i to LTE by opening up the panel, powering it down, installing a compatible LTE communicator, and activating the module. All Simon Series Panels support the same LTE modules, but the system must be running Firmware 1.3 or higher.
In order to connect with the Alarm.com Servers for monitoring service, an Interlogix Simon System must have a cellular communication path established. As of March 2020, only LTE cellular communicators can be activated for use with Alarm.com. Although there may be some Interlogix Panels using older 3G or CDMA communicators, these communicators can no longer be activated for new monitoring service. Alarm.com stopped allowing 3G and CDMA activations in anticipation of these networks being shut down. Cellular service providers like AT&T and Verizon are expected to shut down their older 3G and CDMA networks before the end of 2022. Once these networks are shut down, any alarm system communicating through these networks will no longer be able to do so.
Adding an LTE communicator to your Interlogix System is a great long-term investment. Cellular service providers are expected to provide support for their LTE networks well into the very distant future, even as 5G networks are eventually released. Cellular communication is extremely reliable, provided that the communicator is receiving adequate signal strength. And LTE connectivity is known for its fast speeds and excellent consistency. By installing and activating an LTE communicator with your Interlogix Simon System, you will be able to keep it monitored for many years to come. It will be a piece of hardware that you can trust even decades into the future if cared for properly.
However, there is one very important note about the Interlogix LTE Communicators. These communicators are only able to be supported by Interlogix Simon Panels that are running Firmware Version 1.3 or higher. This isn't an issue for the Interlogix Simon XTi, Interlogix Simon XTi-5, and Interlogix Simon XTi-5i Systems. But you may encounter an original Simon XT System that is running a lower firmware version. If that is the case, it is impossible to update the firmware, and you would need to replace the panel entirely. It's also worth mentioning that the Simon Panels were originally sold under the GE banner, before transitioning to Interlogix. If you encounter a GE Simon XT, you will definitely want to make sure that it is running Firmware Version 1.3 or higher. Please refer to this FAQ for information on checking the firmware for the system.
Alarm.com released several LTE cellular and LTE dual-path communicators for the Interlogix Simon Panels. The difference here is that a cellular communicator will be cell only, while a dual-path communicator will use both IP and cellular. We recommend going with a dual-path communicator, as most monitoring companies will not charge extra for IP connectivity. Instead, IP service is generally included as part of most monitoring plans that include cellular connectivity. Remember, you cannot use a Simon System for IP only with Alarm.com. Per Alarm.com requirements, a registered cellular communicator is mandatory. But you can certainly have IP as a second path with the right module.
Alarm Grid sells the following cellular and dual-path communicators for Interlogix Simon Panels:
- Alarm.com XT-511-US-DP-AT (AT&T LTE & IP)
- Alarm.com XT-511-US-DP-VZ (Verizon LTE & IP)
- Alarm.com XT-511-CA-TL (Telus LTE - Canada Only)
- Alarm.com XT-511-US-AT (AT&T LTE)
- Alarm.com XT-511-US-VZ (Verizon)
As far as choosing a cellular service provider is concerned (most likely AT&T or Verizon), you should just go with whichever network provides the most consistent and most reliable service in your area. You can check network coverage maps to help you make that determination. Choosing one network over the other will not save you any money in terms of your monthly monitoring expenses. It's also worth mentioning that you will need a monitoring plan that includes cellular service and connectivity with the Alarm.com Servers to use any of the aforementioned communicators. Examples of compatible monitoring plans include the Gold and Platinum Level Plans from Alarm Grid (Self or Full) or the Alarm Grid Cellular-Only Plan. If you find that neither network provides decent service in your area, consider adding a cellular antenna or a cellular amplifier.
For this FAQ, we will assume that you are using an Interlogix Simon Panel on a high enough firmware version to add one of the aforementioned communicators. Complete the following steps to upgrade an Interlogix Simon XT, Simon XTi, Simon XTi-5, or Simon XTi-5i to LTE:
1. Open the panel. This process will require opening up the panel. Refer to the installation manual for the panel for steps on how to open it. If you like, you can unplug the panel's transformer prior to opening.
2. Power down the panel. You must power down a system before making any hardware changes. Since you already have the panel opened up, you can easily disconnect the backup battery. After that, if you haven't already done so, unplug the transformer for the panel. The system will power completely down.
3. Install the communicator. Remove the panel's existing communicator if necessary. Then install the new LTE or dual-path communicator. Refer to the installation manual for the communicator for steps on how to do this. Basically, it will connect directly with the system's main circuit board and secure into place.
4. Power the panel on. With the communicator installed, you can turn the panel back on. Keep the panel open at this time. Reconnect the battery leads making sure to observe proper polarity. You should then reconnect the transformer. The panel will power on once it begins receiving AC power.
5. Close the panel. With the transformer plugged in and the battery reconnected, you should now close the panel. Make sure that it locks securely into place.
6. Activate the communicator. You must have your alarm monitoring company activate the communicator. If you are working with a company other than Alarm Grid, speak with them. If you are a new Alarm Grid customer, you will select an activation slot for an activator to call you. Make sure to have the communicator installed and the panel ready before the activator calls you. This will allow the activator to complete the activation process within the time allotted. Please do your part and have everything ready before your activation slot. If you are an existing Alarm Grid customer and you are merely upgrading your existing Interlogix System to use LTE, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will work with you to determine an appropriate time to complete the upgrade.
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