2G networks are on their way out the door, as AT&T and Verizon announced plans to discontinue services. This change brings with it the end of many older security system models whose radios will need to be updated or replaced to be compliant with 3G and 4G requirements.

As a homeowner, are you informed and ready for the switch? This post will clear up some of the techy lingo, outline why the change is occurring and detail what you need to do to prepare.

Demystify the Lingo

What are 2G, 3G and 4G exactly? Perhaps you’ve heard this tech jargon thrown around previously but weren’t sure what it meant or how it related to you. The “G” stands for “generation” and the preceding numbers (“2,” “3,” and “4”) represent phrase progression as communication technology has evolved over time starting as 1XRTT then migrating to G (2, 3, and so on).  

2G, the earliest wireless technology developed post analog, is now considered outdated due to the advanced features found in 3G and 4G. The latter are faster, more reliable and offer higher quality connections.

To allocate better frequencies to the superior technology and increase data capacity for 3G/4G users, many carriers have opted to phase out 2G.

NOTE: AT&T and T-Mobile are the 2G providers. Verizon uses CDMA.

What’s the Impact on Home Security Systems?

Will this affect your home security system? The answer is probably “yes” since the majority of home security system technologies use a 2G network within their radios. With the 2G discontinuation, most will have to replace or upgrade their systems. This modification will help extend the operation of all services your systems performs today.

The phase out of 2G is expected to take place over the next five years; however, it is suggested that you look into upgrades/replacements sooner. Major network carriers are already allocating slower frequencies for 2G. This means that you should expect less reliable connections and slower speeds for all 2G network-enabled devices—including security systems—even though the network has yet to go dark.

Be Proactive. Be Prepared

How can you prepare yourself for the necessary switch? The first step is to call your home security vendor and inquire about their plan for upgrading customers. Valid questions to ask your vendor include:

  • How many customers will be affected?
  • What timeline does your company have in place for a seamless transition?
  • Will there be any fees for the upgrade/replacement?

The phase out is not vendor specific, which means that all providers should be able to confidently answer your questions and help you through the process.

Have you begun preparing for the 2G sunset?

To learn more about the death of 2G and its implications, check out our ebook, Don’t Let the 2G Sunset Leave You in the Dark.”

Image Source: Christopher Wallace via FlickR