At Safe Systems, we get hundreds of calls to our tech desk and Customer Care every week. Our live representatives assist customers with all kinds of alarm system issues. Recently our parent company in Illinois, ADS, fielded a call regarding connecting an alarm panel to a home wireless Wi-Fi mesh network.
Home security systems, smartwatches, voice assistants, and kitchen appliances are part of a growing list of connected devices. Thanks to standardization among manufacturers, most products get added on without issue. This post covers how wireless devices are connected, plus a known problem and solution.
First Understanding Different Home Network Configurations
Traditional home Wi-Fi Networks consist of wireless devices that connect directly to one central router and a modem. Sometimes the router and modem are also sold as a single combo unit. The further a wireless signal travels thru barriers, the weaker it gets.
That is why the router has two-channel frequencies to pick from (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz). When it comes to coverage, 2.4 GHz outperforms the other. The lower frequency can more easily penetrate solid objects. In contrast, the 5 GHz frequency makes up for its shorter range with speed.
Also, wireless repeaters can be used with routers to boost the signal to “dead spots.” This approach has some drawbacks. The principle one being speed. Since wireless devices can’t send and receive information simultaneously, all the connected units have to take turns talking.
A newer solution is to add a mesh network, a series of satellite components that perform as a mini Wi-Fi network. A home can have multiple of these. They can work in tandem with a wireless router or without. One reason to keep a router and a mesh network is if your Internet Service Provider (ISP) requires one. AT&T U-Verse does. There is a second reason which we talk about later in this post.
Adding a mesh network enables multiple Wi-Fi sources around your house, instead of just a single router network. The additional Wi-Fi sources are known as points. In this setup, wireless-enabled devices connect to the mesh network(s) instead of a router network. The advantage of mesh is bringing wireless service where needed in larger homes. Google Nest Wi-Fi, Google Wi-Fi, Netgear Orbi, and Linksys Velop are a few examples of mesh network Wi-Fi systems.
A Common Problem with Mesh Networks
Unlike traditional Wi-Fi networks, mesh networks combine both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz channels frequencies into a single system. Unfortunately, not all wireless devices have chipsets that support both frequencies.
In the case of an alarm panel looking for strictly 2.4 GHz, it has nothing to latch onto because of the combined channels.
To keep both the speed and coverage throughout your home while still connecting lower frequency devices, you can attach a low-cost 2.4GHz router to your mesh network. It will separate the two channels for specific wireless devices that don’t support both.
Keep in mind that when it comes to security system connectivity, you are not alone. Safe Systems is one of the largest alarm firms in Colorado. It has been family-owned since 1982. Safe Systems provides business alarms, fire alarms, card access, security cameras, and home security systems. Our main office is in the Denver metro area. We service all of Denver, Boulder County, Northern Colorado, the Eastern Plains, and Colorado Springs.
The bottom line is that Safe Systems would like a chance to earn your business. We feel that we can do an outstanding job of protecting your home or business. To that end, we frequently offer new customers incentives to activate monitoring of an existing system with us. Check out the Switch Provider page of our website or call 303.448.4357 for more information.