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AT&T and Verizon plan to end service on its 3G wireless networks in February 2022. Sprint will end service in December of that same year. As noted in the preceding section, these dates are termination dates- we can expect service for existing 3G customers to continue to deteriorate from now until the sunset dates.
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5G is next-generation wireless technology that will be faster and able to handle more connected devices than the existing networks. It is a set of service standards and technology documents that are realized by a form of radio encoding. This technology will enable a wave of new kinds of tech products and is expected to fuel a wave of transformative new technologies for consumers, businesses, governmental infrastructure, and defense. The FCC has directed local telecommunications carriers to adopt the 5G networks.
5G will have greater bandwidth enabling it to handle more connected devices. It should eliminate spotty service when devices are used in crowded areas. It will enable more smart devices- electronic devices from toothbrushes to self-driving cars. 5G will also reduce latency - the time it takes for a device to make a request to a server and get a response- to virtually zero. 5G networks will be 10 times faster than the current 3G and 4G networks and make communication with cloud platforms faster and easier.
Carriers building superfast 5G networks must install tons of small cell sites — about the size of pizza boxes — to light poles, walls or towers, often in relatively small proximity to one another. For that reason, superfast networks are mostly being deployed city by city. Eventually, most US carriers will have a mix of the different 5G network types (low band, mid-band, and high band) that will enable both broad coverage and fast speeds.
It is important to note that when new cell sites are installed or if cell sites need repair, carriers are already replacing them with 5G devices that do not service the older 2G and 3G networks. All Highland Park alarm customers have already migrated from the old 2G networks, but some of our customers with 3G/CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) alarm radios are already experiencing degraded service (longer communication times, communications failures) due to cell site unavailability.
While there are still a few alarm subscribers who transmit their alarm signals through commercial phone lines, the vast majority of Highland Park alarm subscribers use dedicated cellular transmitters (radios) that transmit over commercial alarm networks maintained by any one of these five providers; Alarm.com, AlarmNet (Resideo), Starlink (Napco), Telguard, and Uplink (Resideo). These providers have already stopped selling 3G/CDMA radios, and if a 3G/CDMA radio is deactivated, it must be replaced with a 5G/LTE (Long Term Evolution) radio.
Any cellular customers who have not migrated to the new devices before the sunset dates will lose service. As those dates approach, customers with 3G/CDMA devices can expect to experience slow transmission rates that will inevitably increase emergency response times as well as communications failures. Many Highland Park subscribers and commercial subscribers who don’t use Direct Monitoring have already experienced diminished service because there are fewer 3G cell sites. Many Highland Park Direct Monitoring subscribers have already upgraded their radios to 5G/LTE devices that are compatible with the emerging technology.
Any subscribers who have not upgraded their systems by replacing their radios by the sunset dates will lose their alarm service. Their alarm systems will not be able to contact Highland Park or any other alarm monitoring station.
The Highland Park Alarms Unit plans to mitigate this situation by alerting all 3G/CDMA customers of the need to replace their cellular radios, similar to the way we alerted our 2G customers of the switch to 3G technology. We will contact the effected subscribers by letters and emails initially and make phone calls and visits as necessary. We wish to be as unobtrusive as possible. Please note that these communications are specifically targeted. If you receive a letter or email from the Highland Park Alarms Unit, it means you need to replace your alarm system’s cellular radio. If you do not receive a letter but hear about this transition through word of mouth or through some other means and want to make sure your system is up to date, please contact the Alarms Unit or your alarm service company.
It is only reasonable to ask, “How long will my 5G/LTE alarm radio last before the next generation of technology, like 6G, makes it obsolete?” Yes, 6G technology is already under discussion but experts say that the next evolution won’t happen for at least another decade. The reality of modern living is that many of the products we purchase- from automobiles to cell phones- require an occasional upgrade. That includes alarm systems.
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