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Sat, Nov 13, 2021 6:14 AM

gen 2 base station, spotty unreliable cellular connection

Hi everybody,
Need some help troubleshooting cellular connection.
My old gen 2 base station has issues time to time connecting to cellular provider that could be observed by blinking red light insight the base station (it could be observed especially during the low light in the room). Another way is no connection to the base station from the mobile app (could not update the alarm status or turn off/on the alarm).
The issue is difficult to catch as it's not consistent, I could not figure out any pattern when and why it happens. Just I could see that sometime the base station is blinking red  and after it connects again by itself (no blinking red light visible) without any intervention from me.
The base station is about 3-4 ft from window and it's sitting on book shelf at about 5 ft high.
I suppose it uses Verizon cellular module as T-mobile is even worse in my area.

What I have did:
- called a few times the customer support and was trying different spots in my house. During such testing each time the test signal was received and confirmed so no other troubleshooting was possible by CS.

Without reliable cellular connection the alarm system is useless (especially gen 2) and even gen 3 is vulnerable if internet or WiFi is down for any reason.

Any suggestion how to troubleshoot such problem and if cellular amplifier may help? Maybe anybody knows what band the verizon cellular module inside base station is using, so I may try with cellular amplifier to see if that could help with consistent reliable cellular connection.


Thanks

1.3K Messages

9 m ago

If your SS2 base hasn't been updated to the 4G/LTE cell modem that would be the first thing to do.
Thanks for suggestion.
I will ask Customer support how could I get the new G4/LTE cellular module for my SS2, but I'm not quite sure it will help in my case (see below why).

I was considering for some time the new SS3 and Ring alarm and finally got a good discount and ordered SS3 a few days ago and just received it. Decided to test first the cellular connection of the SS3 base station with wifi off (not activated), but  the SS3 could not connect through cellular to send the test signal. I have spend almost 2 hrs with customer support and tried 2 different spots (one in the center of the house and another one - the same spot my SS2 is staying and no luck. That time my SS2 was blinking red that means it was out of cellular connection too in my understanding (the red light insight the SS2 is coming from old 2G cellular module). The SS3 has no light or any option to see the strength of the cellular signal or no signal per customer representative.
At this point my SS2 has the old cellular module and I suppose the new SS3 should have the 4G/LTE module and per CS representative is Verizon module. I have an at&t mobile provider but even at&t has 1 bar insight and I have to relay on wifi insight and don't know how bad is Verizon, but here people have at&t or verizon.

My SS2 has an broadband adapter (bought from simplisafe ~ 5 years ago)  that connects SS2 to my router, and serves as backup for SS2 cellular connection, so it should send alarm signal even the cellular connection is down.
For SS3 the main flow is through WiFi and that is not quite secure to be used for alarm, but if cellular is not working as a backup connection is no way to me to go with SS3 even I like it have a good experience with SS2 till the cellular connection started to deteriorate. It could be the Verizon coverage is getting worse but that is just guessing on my side.
       
At this point I consider to return the SS3 with all the new sensors that I have ordered as I'm not going to rely solely on WiFi without cellular backup and no other options for backup on SS3 per my understanding. Will look further to Ring alarm as it has Ethernet option to connect to router and looks like it's using at&t for cellular backup and maybe I would be able to find a good spot with good connection.

Advocate

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2.8K Messages

9 m ago

You should make sure your SS3 does in fact, have the new 4G module because over the years, many who thought their new base stations were up-to-date with the 4G module, still had 2 or 3G modules in them.  You should also make sure the SS3 module has a verizon module and not another one, although I THINK that at some point not long ago, SS decided to just use verizon for all the new modules, but don't take my word for it, double-check with SS on that.

Next, you could try setting up your SS3, and near the end of your setup you'll be asked to connect to wifi, it can take about 30 minutes for that to complete and your system will be ready to use.  If it works after you've connected to wifi, (by testing your sensors etc) then chances are, your module is already 4G (but I'd double-check it anyway), and it will run on wifi BEFORE it will run on cellular backup (because during the last part of setup, you connected to wifi).

Two more things to try/check:

After setting up your SS3 system, and after you've connected to wifi - here's how to (1) check both your wifi strength and your cellular strength, and (2), how to turn OFF the wifi and check your cellular connection only:

(1) Checking wifi strength and cellular strength):
From keypad, press Menu button, enter PIN, arrow-Down to System Settings, then arrow-Right, then arrow-Down to Diagnostics.
Then keep arrowing-Right to see 4 more sections, which are: Keypad, Base Station, Wifi and Cellular.  Arrow-Right to see the info for each section.
When you get to the Wifi section, the RSSI is the strength of your wifi.  When you get to the Cellular section, again, the RSSI is the strength of your cellular connection.  SS can see this as well whenever you're on the phone with them (the point here is you can check the strength of your wifi and cellular without calling SS).  NOTE:  When your system is connected to wifi, your CELLULAR section 'Status' will say "Disconnected", this is intended behavior when you're connected to wifi.
When done viewing the info, keep arrowing-Left to Exit (your base station will then announce "alarm off" or something to that effect).

(2) How to get your system OFF wifi and onto cellular-only, so that you can check your cellular connection and it's strength):
Using the same steps above, from your keypad, go to System Settings, then Wifi.  Press the Edit link to the right, then choose "Forget Network", then your system will revert to cellular-only connection.  Exit the menu.  Then you can then use your keypad again to go back into the Cellular info section to check the cellular strength.

Not sure this will resolve your issues, but I do wonder if actually setting up your new SS3 would be worth it (at least for testing purposes) because 1) assuming it has the new 4G module/verizon module, and 2) you can check the cellular connection and strength when it's actually set up.  Then, if issues continue, troubleshoot with SS with the SS3 and not the SS2.

I realize you already tested the SS3 base station with wifi turned off, but was the system actually activated, completed with setup, connected to wifi FIRST, then testing cellular-only?  Lastly, ask tech support if the base station might need to be replaced.  Do you live in a spotty cellular-coverage area?  Or, was there any point in time where your SS2 actually worked fine and well on cellular for lengthy periods of time?