For many of us, mobile devices and the constant connectivity they provide have become an indispensable part of everyday life. In fact, chances are you may be reading this on a device that uses a cellular signal to provide you with an Internet connection. You know that reliable communication is vitally important, and as your security and life safety systems provider we do too.
But the same technological advances that brought you the ability to connect to the Internet with your phone also mean that old technology falls by the wayside. To make room for the fastest 4G connections that customers crave, cellular providers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and others are dismantling their older communication systems. In fact, if you’ve replaced your cell phone in the last few years you’ve not only received a phone that does more and faster, but also transitioned into either 3G or 4G service.
So what does this have to do with security and alarm systems? Generally people replace their phones faster than they do their alarm system communicator, and we as the cellular providers begin to dismantle their older systems, the older 2G communicators need to be upgraded. And the sunset for 2G is quickly approaching. December 2016 is the official end for 2G, but many cellular providers aren’t waiting until then to remove their old equipment. Once this happens all 2G devices will no longer be able to communicate, including any security and alarm system.
How do you know if this affects you? If you purchased your system in 2013 or before you may have an outdated communicator. We are actively reaching out to those affected through an email and letter mailing campaign, and you can always contact our Customer Care Center at (877) 877-0345, option 3 to check on the status of your system. It doesn’t take long to upgrade your system, but we requires a visit from one of our certified technicians.
What is happening?
Certain alarm systems installed in early 2013 and before may use a cellular communicator to transmit alarm signals into our network of Secure Operation Centers. That communicator operates on the 2G network which was the best available option at the time of your installation. The FCC has notified the cellular carriers that they can now start to phase out use of the 2G network in favor of new technology. That means that the communication path you rely on to transmit your alarm signals and any interactive services from your control panel may not be available unless you update your cellular communicator.
What is the 2G Sunset?
Technology is always evolving and improving, and the cellular carriers are no different. At some point, you’ve likely upgraded your phone from 2G to 3G or even 4G, and this is no different. As more people transition to the latest technology, the cellular carriers stop offering service to the older methods. And while the official date for the end of the 2G sunset isn’t until the end of 2016, many carriers are already discontinuing service in some areas.
When will 2G service stop in my area?
Unfortunately there is no way to know until it happens. Cellular carriers aren’t forced to notify you when they cease 2G service in your area, which is why we are making a concerted effort to transition customers using 2G communicators to the latest technology now.
What do I need to do?
The switch from 2G to the latest technology is quick, but requires a visit from one of our technicians. To learn more about your cellular upgrade options and schedule your upgrade, contact us at (877) 877-0345, option 3.
Will I have to upgrade again when technology changes?
The current 3G and 4G cellular platform is expected to be the standard for the foreseeable future, but it is likely that new technology will become available. To shield you from the cost of any future necessary cellular upgrades, we’ve created our Cellular Protection Plan. To learn more, contact us at (877) 877-0345, option 3.