What is the 2G sunset announced by AT&T?
AT&T is shutting down the older 2G network, which doesn't support high data speeds, city by city in a process called 2G harvesting. This harvesting process begins to take 2G frequencies and convert them to 3G frequencies over time, eventually shutting down the 2G network once all frequencies are harvested out. The goal is to get 2G subscribers to move to newer 3G networks. By shutting down 2G and using the same space on the airwaves for 3G, AT&T can increase data capacity by more than a hundred-fold.
What is Vector Security doing to mitigate the risk to my home or business during this harvesting period?
Vector Security has identified all current customers across our entire footprint who could be impacted by the AT&T harvesting of 2G networks. The decision, targeted geography, timing and pace at which the 2G networks are harvested and shutdown are at the sole discretion of AT&T. We continue to work with our manufacturing partners to minimize any impact to our customers. If there is a known communication failure with your current panel and radio once the harvesting takes place, we will contact you to review options that are available to you.
Why is AT&T moving from 2G to 3G?
Cellular carriers, like AT&T, deploy their networks in two frequencies: a preferred frequency with deep building penetration (850MHz) and another frequency with shallow building penetration but faster speeds (1900MHz). Prior to 2011, cellular carriers equally spread 2G and 3G across their networks. As the adoption of 3G and the need for greater bandwidth increases by consumers, the cellular carriers are looking to shut down 2G and spread 3G further across the network.
Will my current security system work in this new environment?
Your security system is installed with dual-frequency units, an 850MHz radio and a 1900MHz radio. Meaning as the 2G harvesting continues, your device should automatically default (or switch) to the preferred, deep building penetration option of 850MHz as it searches for the best reception tower in your area. You should experience no change in communications with our Central Station under this scenario. However, once the 2G network has been shut down, all 2G devices including your control panel radio will no longer work in the 3G network environment. An upgrade to a 3G-compatible panel will be required.
How can I be assured my system is working properly during the harvesting period?
Vector Security will routinely monitor security systems across affected areas for communication troubles. We work closely with our manufacturing partners to ensure these systems are communicating effectively. However, if your installed system is no longer able to communicate properly due to the 2G sunset, we will contact you to discuss available upgrade options to a 3G device to restore communication with the Central Station. You can discuss available options with your local branch at any time.
Is this harvesting trend going to continue past this initial phase of 2G sunset?
12/23/16 UPDATE: AT&T has confirmed they will begin shutting down their 2G network beginning January 2, 2017. Because the process will be done in short phases, the entire 2G network will most likely not shut down all at once, but consumers should expect it to happen very soon. If you haven’t already upgraded your equipment, please contact us immediately to ensure uninterrupted service.
AT&T has announced that it will shut down all 2G networks by December 31, 2016. This current 2G harvesting is the first phase and other carriers will follow. Cellular carriers, like AT&T, will continue to manage their core asset which is cellular spectrum. Consumer demand is the core driver of technology advancements such as these, and cellular carriers will continue to launch new technologies and retire older technologies to better allocate their resources. The end result will be better service and improved communications. Manufacturers, including those that make security equipment like yours, work directly with the cellular carriers to improve products and communication paths and stay ahead, as much as they can, with these changing technologies.
Will I be required to upgrade to a 3G option once the 2G sunset is in place?
Yes. Once AT&T and other carriers shut down their 2G networks, all 2G devices, including your control panel radio, will no longer function. An upgrade to a 3G option will be required to continue to communicate to our Central Station. You can begin discussing options with your local branch at any time.
You mention AT&T specifically, but are all carriers harvesting 2G networks? Can’t I just change carriers?
Your current security panel is carrier-specific based on proprietary alarm messaging services in your area. It is not possible to switch carriers without an equipment change, and only then if the appropriate alarm messaging service is available in your area.
I am a Verizon customer, should I assume this change with AT&T won’t impact me at all?
Verizon networks use a different radio technology and are not currently impacted by AT&T 2G harvesting.
Who should I contact if I have further questions?
Contact your local branch office if you have any questions.
Or, you can email us at 2Gsunset@vectorsecurity.com