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  • Writer's pictureRobin Larkin

What is the 3G Sunset and What Does it Mean?

Carriers in the US like AT&T and Verizon have announced they’re sunsetting 3G wireless networks throughout 2022. Canadian carriers have issued a delayed approach, allowing more time to make the transition. Canadian sunsetting dates are rumoured to be the end of 2025, but could be announced earlier.

Just like 2G, the 3G network has become outdated as more wireless customers demand greater bandwidth and faster speeds. "Sunsetting" just means that older networks will be shut down! Shutting down the 3G network will drastically increase data capacity and speed on 4G, 5G and LTE networks.

For most of us Canadians, our phones no longer run on a 3G network. And many carriers are no longer activating 3G devices.

But what about your security system? Will it stop working? Will it need to be replaced?

Let's talk about that.


What is 3G and What is the Difference Between 3G, 4G and 5G?

The “G” stands for generation. The newer the network, the more capacity for more devices to connect to that network. 3G was introduced in 1998 and is slower than the current 4G and 5G. As more people get access to mobile devices and the Internet of Things (IoT) expands, as many as 24 billion devices are expected to need cellular network support by 2024. That’s where 5G comes in, offering peak capacity and latency.

Do Security Systems Run on 3G Networks?

Yes, quite a few security systems run on cellular networks! 3G networks were the standard communication technology used in security panels starting in 2016.

When landlines became less common, security systems shifted to function on cellular technology. These systems were more reliable, convenient and accessible than their landline counterparts. Cellular security systems also don’t have onsite wires, which could be tampered with.

What Does a 3G Sunset Mean for My Home Security System?

If your alarm system has a 3G-compatible communicator, it will no longer work properly once carriers begin to sunset 3G networks—regardless of who your security provider is. It does not mean your entire system will be defunct. If you have a cellular system or cellular backup, the communicator will need to be replaced and you'll be ready to go again!

Although wireless carriers in Canada will begin announcing specific dates for 3G termination, this does not guarantee 3G services will be fully available until the sunset. Carriers commonly reduce coverage during transition periods. It is important to take action sooner rather than later, to avoid any service disruptions.

What Can I Do to Limit Disruption to My Home Security System?

Like we said above, the cellular communicator on your security system will eventually need to be replaced to operate on the new networks.

Your security provider should proactively reach out to ensure there is no lapse in service for your system. If you don’t hear from them or you want to get the ball rolling on updating your system, contact your provider and ask the following questions:

  • Will the 3G sunset impact my security system?

  • When are cellular carrier changes expected to roll out in my area?

  • What is your company’s timeline and plans for customer updates?

  • Can I update my system in advance, or do I need to wait for a tiered rollout?

  • Will I be charged a service fee to upgrade my system? If so, how much?

  • Do I need to purchase new equipment, or will it be provided free of charge?

  • How can I schedule a service call to update my system, if needed?

Whoever your home security provider is, they should be willing and able to answer all of your questions about the impact on your system, and should have a plan in place to prevent service disruption.

If you want to know how Correct Fire & Security will be handling the upcoming 3G sunset, you can reach us at any time here.


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