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Understanding the 2G Sunset

If you follow our blog posts, you’ll know that changing technology is a big focus for us. Thanks to recent innovations, we are able to offer more, and better, services that increase the safety and security of people, places, and things.

But changing technology means that sometimes, older systems need to be upgraded, which is a situation some of our customers are now facing thanks to the cellular network providers decommissioning their older 2G networks. Thankfully, this doesn’t affect everyone… in fact only a small portion of our customers are still using this technology. If you are among those with an older cellular communicator that needs upgrading, we’ve put together several cost-effective options for you. If we’ve let you know that you are one of those in need of an upgrade, please call our Customer Care Department at (877) 877-0345 so we can explain your options.

But first a little background. For those with older systems, a 2G (second generation) cellular communicator is used to transmit alarm signals to our network of Strategic Operation Centers. Basically, if your alarm goes off, the 2G cellular communicator is how it gets relayed to our monitoring specialists who can then notify you and emergency personnel. The second generation of wireless technology (2G) first debuted in the 90s, followed by third-generation networks (3G) which became widespread in the U.S. about six years ago. 2G was the first digital technology to be applied to cellphones, boosting call quality and network capacity.

Think about the transition away from 2G in terms of your cellular device. Approximately every two years, you are eligible for an upgrade. Over the past couple of years, you’ve probably upgraded your phone from 2G to 3G and now 4G. In fact, the big cellular providers, such as AT&T and Verizon, initiated the transition to 3G and 4G devices and the sunset of all 2G technology. As more people transition to the latest technology, the cellular carriers stop offering service to the older methods. To ensure that we are able to continue to monitor your systems without interruption, the upgrade of your system needs to occur.

Who does this upgrade affect? If you purchased your system in 2013 or before, you may have an outdated communicator. If you have one of those, we will let you know through email and letter communication. It isn’t a long process to upgrade your system, but it does require a visit from one of our certified technicians. To learn more about our special 2G upgrade options and schedule your technician visit, please call our Customer Care Team at (877) 877-0345, and select option 3.

When is this going to occur? The cellular providers have announced December 2016 as the official end for 2G, but many cellular providers are already beginning the process of removing the outdated equipment to make space for new 4G services. Once all of the equipment is removed, all 2G devices, including your security and alarm system, will no longer be able to communicate.

What happens in the future if another upgrade occurs? Technology is always changing. Think back to the example of your ever changing cell phone. With that said, the current 3G and 4G cellular platform is expected to be the standard for the foreseeable future. In the event a new technology does become available, we have created a Cellular Protection Plan to shield you from the cost of any necessary cellular upgrades in the future. You can learn more about this protection plan when you call to schedule your upgrade.

For more information on the 2G Sunset, visit our website here or you can always contact our Customer Care Department at (877) 877-0345, option 3.

-Larry Mullins
Engineering Manager

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