DSC SCW9057-433

Impassa Wireless Security System

Average rating:

(based upon one review)

The DSC Impassa is a relatively basic wireless alarm system that is great for users who just want an easy to use, no-frills monitoring setup. With just a few minor upgrades, it can perform nearly any action one would expect out of a modern alarm system. Buy the DSC Impassa System here.
  • Alarm.com
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Google Home
  • Home Assistant

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The DSC Impassa is a self-contained wireless alarm system that will provide basic monitoring service for a home or business. Although the Impassa isn't quite as advanced as other systems, it can still be a great option for those who want a wireless panel, without necessarily all the bells and whistles. But it should be noted that the Impassa can be upgraded to perform virtually any function of a modern and reliable alarm system. Overall, this is a fine panel to build a security system around, especially if the user wants to use legacy DSC Sensors, and they don't mind not having a touchscreen.

A total of 64 wireless zones and 16 separate wireless key zones are available on the system. While this isn't as many as most newer wireless systems, it is still plenty for most homes and small businesses. Having capabilities for many zones is always a plus, but it isn't really needed for users who just want a basic setup. In fact, a user who only needs to monitor a small building could very realistically only use a fraction of these zones.

It is important to remember that the DSC Impassa features an integrated touch-button keypad for controlling the system. This includes any daily functions, such as arming and disarming. Some users may feel comfortable getting a system with a touchscreen, as they usually provide a faster learning curve. However, other users will not mind using key commands to operate their system. Again, for basic monitoring and control, the Impassa will typically work very well. It should also be mentioned that there is an external touchscreen keypad available for the Impassa, but it must be purchased separately.

Other standard features of the DSC Impassa include support for 4 external keypads and 17 different user codes. The system also provides an event log that will display up to 500 different system events. While installer programming is not always user-friendly on the Impassa, wireless sensors can still be learned-in locally with relative ease. And once the system is setup, a user will rarely need to access these menus moving forward. So if a DIY user doesn't mind a slightly more challenging programming process, the DSC Impassa might be for them.

The main reason to choose the Impassa is that it will readily provide support for legacy DSC 433 MHz Sensors. Some users, for whatever reason, may already have existing 433 MHz sensors, but no alarm system. In this type of situation, the Impassa is a quick and easy purchase that the user can make to get their home or business monitored. That way, the user won't need to replace any existing sensors. We have found that the DSC 433 MHz Sensors work very well, and they can be fully trusted to keep a building safe and secure.

Additional features can be obtained with various system add-ons. Theoretically, a DSC Impassa System can do almost anything possible with a modern alarm system. It will just need some help to get there. For instance, the Impassa can receive cellular monitoring if a cellular communicator is added and the panel is running firmware version 1.3 or higher. Alarm Grid also sells the Impassa with this type of communicator already added. We recommend purchasing an Impassa with a pre-installed communicator if you are new to monitoring. Without a cellular communicator, the panel will be forced to rely on a phone line for monitoring. This is strongly discouraged. But if a user intends to only use the system as a local sounder, and they don't plan to get monitoring service, then this Impassa without the pre-installed communicator is actually quite ideal.

But for users who do plan on receiving monitoring, cellular service is a very important add-on. Most security experts agree that cellular monitoring is the optimal communication path for an alarm system. It is extremely reliable, and it is not affected by power outages. This type of communication is also very fast, and it will provide speeds that are on par with most WIFI connections. Cellular communication will also allow the DSC Impassa System to work with Alarm.com. This is a remote interactive service that allows users to arm and disarm their system, check the current status of sensors, control Z-Wave home automation devices and more. And with the Alarm.com Mobile App, these actions can be performed from virtually anywhere using an Android or iOS device. We strongly recommend using an LTE communicator with your DSC Impassa System. Alarm Grid offers a Verizon LTE and IP dual-path communicator for a DSC Impassa System. This communicator is sold separately and can be purchased here.

Brand: DSC

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Much Better Systems Exist
Submitted on 09/28/2020 Alarm Grid

The DSC SCW457J, better known as the DSC Impassa, is a wireless all-in-one alarm panel. This panel represented an early wireless offering from Digital Security Controls (DSC), a Canadian security equipment manufacturer. The panel is actually still widely used as of 2020. It doesn't really offer any advanced or particularly powerful features, but it works quite well for basic alarm monitoring service. At Alarm Grid, we are not big fans of the Impassa, as we think other panels are easier to set up, and there are better options around. But if you move into a new home and find an existing Impassa System on the wall, then you can usually install an LTE cellular communicator and get it up and running for monitoring service. Otherwise, we don't recommend hunting down an Impassa or making it a go-to option for alarm monitoring. Based on our experiences with the DSC SCW457J, we give it a 3-Star rating.

The DSC Impassa does have some positive attributes. The system has dual-path (LTE & IP) communicators available that you can add for alarm monitoring. Our favorite option is the DSC TL8055LTVZ. By adding this communicator to the Impassa, you can activate it and expect it to remain monitored for a very long time. The LTE networks are not going anywhere any time soon, so with a new communicator, you can have the fortune of keeping the Impassa as a mainstay in your home or business for potentially decades into the future. If you are fine with a very basic, no-frills security system, then this may be an option for you. The communicator will also allow you to set up a Z-Wave automation network with the system. You will also be able to control your Impassa remotely through Alarm.com, provided that the service is included in your monitoring plan. One other positive thing we must admit about the DSC SCW457J Impassa is that it does have a good build-quality. These things never seem to die, and we regularly hear from new customers who want to start service with an existing Impassa that they have around. Keep in mind that adding a cell communicator to an Impassa will require that the system is running Firmware Version 1.3 or higher. If your Impassa is on a lower firmware version, then you will almost certainly need to replace it.

While the Impassa is admittedly a viable security system, we don't necessarily recommend using one. This is for several reasons. The design is outdated. It's basically a large brick, and its numeric push-button keypad is cumbersome and difficult to understand. Unlike a system with touchscreen controls and clearly defined menus, new users will have a difficult time navigating the Impassa and setting it up. New users might also feel intimidated by the Impassa, and they will typically prefer an easier to understand system such as the Honeywell Lyric or the Qolsys IQ Panel 2 Plus. There are no encrypted sensor options for the Impassa, which can be disappointing for users who want to set up the most secure alarm system possible. Local automation control is impossible for the Impassa, and all your Z-Wave operation will need to come from Alarm.com. Finally, the panel is discontinued, and you will be unlikely to find it new. And we don't necessarily advise seeking out a used model either, simply because there are so many better systems out there. For these reasons, we only give the DSC SCW457J a 3-Star score.

Good: LTE Communicator Available, Remote Z-Wave Capability w/ Communicator, Alarm.com, Good Build Quality

Bad: Dated Design, Numeric Keypad w/o Touchscreen, No Encrypted Sensors. No Local Automation Control, Difficult to Program & Use, Discontinued

Bottom Line: 3 Stars

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