DSC SCW9057-433 - Impassa Wireless Security System Reviews

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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