The next generation of wireless communications is here - 3G is going away and will be fully replaced by 4G and 5G. All the major carriers will be shutting off their 3G networks throughout 2022. T-Mobile will shut down Sprint’s 3G by the end of March and will shut its own down July 1. AT&T will shut its 3G network down by February, and Verizon will finish decommissioning its 3G network by December 31, 2022. The good news is that 5G will be more reliable and will have a stronger signal.
However, if your company uses cellular technology to monitor your fire and security systems you need to be ready for this switch.
If You’re Still on 3G You Must Upgrade
Brothers Fire & Security (like most monitoring services) relies on cellular dialers in most of our customers’ panels to call out to firehouses and emergency dispatchers when an alarm is triggered. If the dialer in your panel is 3G you must switch to a 4G LTE dialer soon (dialers are not 5G yet). This isn’t an expensive upgrade, but you do need a technician from your monitoring service to do it.
If you are a Brothers Fire & Security existing customer don’t worry - we will be contacting you to get the work done. Or you can contact us now and we will set up a service appointment. You do not have to change out every device in your building, only the dialers that are 3G in your panel. Another nice thing is that when 4G is ultimately phased out, your 4G LTE dialer will likely be upgraded to 5G through a software patch rather than changing out the device entirely.
Is There an Alternative to 5G?
There are two alternatives, and they’re both less effective than relying on cellular dialers to contact emergency responders.
One alternative is to purchase old fashioned phone lines and pay the monthly fees. Fire alarm and monitoring requires two phone lines for redundancy. A rough estimate for one phone line is $40 to $75 per month. So the cost of two lines for twelve months is between $960 and $1,800 per year. If you currently are using a landline for your dialer this is a good time to consider upgrading to cellular. Remember your new 4G LTE dialer will work through this network upgrade and the next one.
The other option is even older technology - radio. A mesh radio network uses physical drops to relay a message over unlicensed radio frequencies (868 or 915 MHZ). Ironically, the prices for mesh radio networks have gone up as the prices for cellular have gone down. If you are not on a mesh radio network now is not the time to start.
What Do I Need to Do to Be 5G Ready?
We at Brothers Fire & Security are proactively reaching out to our current customers who have 3G technology in their buildings to help them get their dialers updated before the deadlines. You can expedite this process if you’d like by calling us now at 800-607-2767 to schedule a service appointment.
If you are not a Brothers Fire & Security customer your monitoring service should have contacted you. If they have not, this may be a good time to consider switching to a monitoring service that is monitoring both your facility and technology in the industry to make sure you’re getting the best service you can. Contact us to schedule your free vendor review.
At Brothers Fire & Security we pride ourselves on delivering exceptional customer service and the best technology year after year.