The Honeywell VISTA-GSM4G is an AlarmNet cellular alarm monitoring communicator that is used with the Honeywell VISTA-21iP internet alarm control panel. While the VISTA-21iP has an integrated internet alarm communicator which you can use for internet alarm monitoring services, many people like to have the added security that only a cellular alarm communicator can provide. By adding the VISTA-GSM4G to the VISTA-21iP circuit board, you are able to upgrade the VISTA-21iP to a true dual path security system.
While internet alarm monitoring and cellular alarm monitoring both have their advantages and disadvantages, dual path alarm monitoring is the best monitoring option. The advantages of internet alarm monitoring are that it is slightly faster than cellular and it is less expensive. While the speed difference between internet and cellular is negligible when talking about alarm signals being sent to a central station, it does make a difference when using Honeywell’s Total Connect service. The Total Connect remote arm and disarm commands go through faster and the Total Connect notifications are received faster when using internet over cellular. The major disadvantage of using your internet connection for your alarm monitoring path is that it is not as reliable as a cellular alarm monitoring path. Most internet services use a wired connection that is exposed on the outside a home. Therefore, just like a phone line, the internet line can be cut by a criminal before they enter the house thus preventing any alarm signal from being sent out to the central station. Also, since internet alarm monitoring relies on your network’s modem and router, unless you have your network plugged into a battery backup, a power outage would keep your VISTA-21iP security system from being able to report alarms. On the other hand, cellular alarm monitoring uses a wireless connection that cannot be cut and cellular alarm communicators, including the VISTA-GSM4G, use the security system’s power and backup battery so that a power outage will not prevent a cellular alarm signal from being delivered. Therefore, cellular alarm monitoring is a more reliable and secure form of alarm communications. A dual path alarm system such as the VISTA-21iP with an installed VISTA-GSM4G cellular alarm communicator makes use of the advantages of both communication paths. The VISTA-21iP’s built in internet communicator is used as the primary path so that Total Connect is as fast as possible but the VISTA-GSM4G cellular communicator is ready to take over if and when the internet goes down for any reason.
The Honeywell VISTA-GSM4G cellular alarm communicator replaces the older VISTA-GSM communicator. The original VISTA-GSM was a 2G communicator that worked on AT&T’s cellular network. AT&T has announced that by the end of 2016 the 2G cellular network will no longer be supported. Therefore, all existing VISTA-GSM cellular communicators will have to be upgraded by the end of 2016. Some areas of the country may even see a decrease in the quality of the 2G cellular network before the 2016 deadline. If you would like to upgrade an existing VISTA-GSM to the newer VISTA-GSM4G, please note that due to the design of the VISTA-GSM4G cellular alarm communicator, it is only compatible with newer VISTA-21iP alarm control panels. Honeywell started manufacturing the compatible control panels in November of 2012 so, unless you have only recently purchased a VISTA-21iP, you would have to upgrade your VISTA-21iP control panel to be able to install a VISTA-GSM4G communicator. The new VISTA-21iP control panels have the exact same model number and revision so the only way to tell if your VISTA-21iP is compatible with the VISTA-GSM4G is to look for a sticker that reads “SUPPORTS VISTA-GSM/4G” towards the middle of the VISTA-21iP circuit board. The newer VISTA-21iP control panels also have a sticker that reads “Now Supports 4G Vista-GSM4G” on the outside of the Honeywell box so that you can tell if you have purchased a security system that supports dual path monitoring with the Honeywell VISTA-GSM4G cellular alarm communicator.