The 3G to 4G LTE Transition — Are you prepared?

matthew.bail@niceforyou.com | March 11, 2020
Blog Posts

Have you heard the ongoing 3G to 4G LTE Transition? While the big network carriers such as Verizon and AT&T continue to change their timelines for its demise, it is a fact in the very near future that every 3G-based security panel installed by dealers to date will go dark. Although 3G is still being used for some data services in older devices, carriers aren’t warrantying them and encouraging users to upgrade. Before you are forced to do so, you are strongly advised to upgrade all 3G-based security systems, and soon.

Most home security systems today still communicate using CDMA and 3G (GSM) technologies. 4G LTE is the higher performance next generation offering faster, more efficient and stronger broadband technology that consumers will come to demand.

Your customers may not know the difference between 3G and 4G LTE, but these networks are important. They provide the network foundation that allows smart device technology to interact with a home security system. The network also plays an essential role in the ability to send push alert notifications, updates and other new and timely information.

Because most major carriers stopped certifying new 3G parts years ago, manufacturers of cellular modules, like 2GIG, have stopped making them. To help our dealers in their 3G to 4G LTE transition, we have a very attractive rebate program we urge you to take advantage of.

Should I roll a truck to replace the panel/cellular communication?

The short answer is yes!  During the last switch that occurred where 2G communication transitioned to 3G, many dealers waited until systems failed to communicate before they started changing equipment.  History tells us this was not a wise approach.

To be fair, network providers won’t just turn off 3G access points like switching off a light. It will happen more slowly, as the provider lets the technology degrade over time. What you will most likely experience is that parts in your service area will start to go down, or the service will become much slower than normal. Unfortunately, there is not a published schedule for where and when services will decline, so the best advice is to change out panels and cellular radios to your entire customer base as soon as possible to avoid disruption.

How many customers do you have with 3G? Quite a few I bet.  It is best to start laying out a plan to upgrade them over time. Waiting can be a costly move that can hurt your business. If you start now, you won’t be scrambling to ensure that the majority of your customer accounts don’t sunset at once.

4G LTE Advantages

One of the biggest advantages your customers will realize first with 4G LTE technology is faster network and more broadband. It will give them faster Over-the-Air (OTA) programming and updating, and extended life without the need for a service. They will also experience faster home control response and faster streaming of CCTV video.

To counteract the large expense of purchasing new hardware, you can tell your customers about all the benefits of 4G LTE. For one thing, 4G LTE hardware is much more powerful and functional than 3G supporting more and burgeoning capabilities at the edge. (5G will only expand these capabilities further.)

What will be most evident is 4G LTE delivers data transmissions that are up to 10 times faster than 3G. It is also more secure than older networks, utilizing stringent security protocols to safeguard privacy and that provide increased protection against hackers.

For example, Verizon’s 4G LTE network offers a super-fast cellular connection and the robust data capacity needed to rapidly deliver interactive services. AT&T is also rolling out 4G LTE, but due to coverage concerns, those radios will also be backward compatible with 3G – for a while. That backward compatibility tends to lead to more expensive radios, but ensures that the new radio you install today will work today and for years to come.

In the next installment, there are other advantages from LTE that will positively influence the performance of a home security system…

2GIG is here to help during this transition!