Temecula, CA, February 1, 2021-As we all have experienced from our computers and cellphones, televisions and cars, and the means we communicate for work (remember FAX machines), technology marches on.
Our nation’s cellular networks provided by carriers such as Verizon and AT&T are no exception. Often referred to as the “3G Sunset”, our nation’s cellular networks are undergoing the technological evolution of 3G to LTE cellular communications leading in the future to 5G communications. As cellular providers upgrade their networks from 3G (or 3rd generation) to LTE (or long term evolution) cellular communications, they turn off (or “sunset”) the 3G cellular network. This transition is happening right now!
“Cellular service carriers are in the process of actively upgrading from 3G to LTE,” says Kathy Sizemore, Co-Owner of A-Bell Alarms Company. “This means the millions of security systems that rely on 3G to communicate, including many here in the Temecula Valley, will no longer work properly if not upgraded ahead of time. Time is of the essence, which is why we need to get the word out.”
The detailed information from cellular carriers about actual 3G Sunset dates for particular areas such as the Temecula Valley has not been specific. What the major carriers have said is that the 3G Sunset will occur in February 2022 for AT&T and December 2022 for Verizon. “While this might seem like a long time, these phase-out dates are misleading,” says Sizemore. “When a 3G tower goes down for any reason, the provider replaces it with LTE. This means a security system could stop working at any time, creating a serious safety issue that will not be known until it’s too late. This is happening now all across the country. That’s why it’s critical that affected security systems are upgraded immediately to LTE to avoid a serious and potentially life-threatening security threat.”
How does this affect you as a business or homeowner? Beyond affecting your Smartphone, which could require an upgrade if you still happen to be using an ancient iPhone 5 (Don’t laugh, my teen is using a cast-off iPhone 5S.), it could also prevent your security alarm system from being able to report alarm signals to the authorities. Your business, home, and loved ones would be left vulnerable to unreported burglaries. This communication “sunset” could occur without you even being aware that your system has lost the ability to communicate and report a burglary or intrusion.
Historically, alarm systems used hardwire telephone lines to report their alarm signals. With the Voice over Internet (VoIP) communications revolution and the general abandonment of hardwired phone lines by businesses and homeowners to save money, this drove a conversion of alarm systems converted to cellular communications or, in some cases, network IP communications. In many cases, cellular communication was a more preferred communication path since it avoided issues with internet firewalls or router settings. An estimated 10 million business and home alarm systems are still using 3G cellular communications. If you are currently using a security alarm system installed more than three to four years ago, there is a real possibility that it depends on 3G cellular communications to report alarm signals to the authorities.
Once the 3G cellular network has been sunsetted in a particular area, any security alarm system using 3G cellular communications will cease to report any alarm signals. Worse again, depending upon the system, one may not be immediately aware of communications loss. To prevent this situation from occurring, we suggest that if your security alarm system is more than three to four years old, you immediately contact your security provider to determine if your alarm system will need a communication upgrade. If so, schedule the upgrade sooner than later since the exact time of the 3G Sunset cannot be fully known.
With an estimated 10 million security alarm systems needing communications upgrades, alarm owners should not wait until the last minute to upgrade from 3G to LTE communication. As the deadline approaches, there is the real potential to have replacement equipment shortages and a lack of availability of alarm company technicians to make the conversion.
Don’t put your business or home at risk. If you suspect that your security alarm system falls within the affected group, contact your security company to determine if your alarm system requires an upgrade and schedule the upgrade enabling your security system to continue protecting your home or business.
With close to 65 years of combined security industry experience, Chris and Kathy Sizemore are known as the “Dynamic Duo of Security” in the Temecula Valley. Operating in Southern California since 1971, their family-owned business A-Bell Alarms has been protecting homes and businesses’ in the Temecula Valley since 1985. For more information about the 3G Sunset or to schedule a complimentary security analysis with A-Bell Alarms, please call (951) 302-3100 or visit www. abellalarms.com/the-3g-sunset-and-your-security-system