duffy_4's profile

Fri, Jun 11, 2021 12:17 PM

New User Questions on Wifi/Cellular and Motion Detectors

Two questions. I have a SimpliSafe system but no motion detectors right now. I just got a SimpliSafe system for my daughter's house. At her house we are replacing a Honeywell system. When we called the provider of the old system to cancel, or course he attacked SimpliSafe. He sent a 6 yr old article about the original SS system. I admit, the hardware on the original SS system was not the best and why we never went with the original system. However I like the Gen3 hardware. Any way, he said that Simplisafe uses Wifi as the primary and cellular as the back-up. I thought it was the other way around. Please clarify.

Second I installed three motion detectors in my daughter's house. We are still in the 3 day test period so we were doing a lot of testing. I installed two of the motion detectors at 5 feet and one at about 8 feet (only option for that location) just above the top of the door frame, but in the corner of that room.

With all three motion detectors, we put the system into away mode. Then we moved about the house. It would take any of the motion sensors about a minute to detect motion and set-off the alarm. We tried changing the sensitivity of Medium to High without any difference. Is this normal? Will it take intruders about a coming into the house more than a minute of set-off an alarm if they do not come in via a door or window? Bit concerning.

BTW my system is only about 4 weeks old and I was thinking about adding motion sensors to back-up the sensors on all our doors and windows, but not sure now based on experience at my daughter's.

Can you please address these concerns?

Thanks!

Captain

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4.7K Messages

1 y ago

@ duffy_4 I laughed heartily (not at you) but at the tactics used by your former Honeywell provider. Want a plain, simple reason to feel good about your decison to go with SS? Here it is: your former provider is nothing short of a con artist. Undoubtedly, I am sure they are currently, or formerly, an ADT dealer.

First, the hack on SS1 and SS2 was true, and even then, the chances of being a victim of it was pretty small.  (Use a Google site search if you want to spend some time researching it.)  As far as SS3, it is fully encrypted and does not hae that flaw. So far as I know, it has not been hacked yet. Will it be? Nothing, including your Honeywell, is fullproof.

As far as what comm method SS3 uses, I have to ask why would you care? If one doesn't work, it will seamlessly use the other. Yes, WiFi first, cellualr 2nd.  His point??

On the motions, when they are armed they scan the area covered to determine temps and then remember it. If a heat signature enters, it goest off. Instant trigger is a setting for it (and other sensors) that means if it trips, it will send a signal immediately to the monitoring company, and after it is sent, will then sound the alarm.  Recommend you set all intrusion sensors to instant trigger, except your one entry door. On our system home mode is 0/0 entry-exit and for Away mode 45 sec exit, 30 entry.  We hide the base in an upstairs bedroom. Bottom line: Yes, motions will take a few minutes to "warm up". No need for concern.

Adding "layers of security" is a great idea.  I have motions and break sensors in all 1st floor rooms, motions on the 2nd floor that arm only in away mode.

If you have more questions, just pick up the phone and call support. They are a friendly bunch and will help you out.

BTW, I am a customer of 9 years April, have recommended and placed over 30 systems and ALL are still customers. (Including 2 brother in laws, daughter, her inlaws, former coworkers, and throw in neices, nephews, cousins, neighbors and friends.

Hope this helps. Post any further questions.

Congrats on your new system.

27 Messages

1 y ago

Thanks Captain. No, the Honeywell guy is really a decent person. I use his services at a commercial location and very happy with him. I had him install the system at my daughters house two years ago. I did not have the time to install one and she was freaking out when leaving the house around the holidays so my alarm guy did it quickly for her. She has one year left on the contract commitment but said if I gave him the panel back he would not charge her for the last year. Really nice of him.

I just removed an eight year old GE Interlogix system I installed from SafeMart/Livewatch and replaced with SimpliSafe. It worked OK, but Livewatch was bought by Brinks and they are horrible to deal with. Never had Motion sensors on that system either so not familiar with how they work.

I like self-install systems much better because it gives you more flexibility. Daughter also wants sensors put in the liquor cabinets and beer fridge to protect against teen curiosity and she like the "silent notification". Just much easier with a self-install system.

So back to the real question on motion sensors, I have no idea that those relatively low-cost sensors actually store an infrared map of the room upon arming. So that may explain the issue we experienced when doing testing. I want to test again. Any input into how much time I have to wait between arming and having the motion sensors ready to actually detect motion?

Advocate

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108 Messages

1 y ago

The motion sensors are of a passive type.  They read the ambient heat signature in a room and if a heat source (emitting infrared) moves across the room, it detects the difference between that heat source and the area next to it.  That increase will trigger the sensor.  The optics for the sensor split the signal, helping create that differential.  
So the sensor has to adjust to the natural heat of the room, then it can detect the change created by a warm body moving through.
If it's been a day since you put it up, that should be long enough.  
As for the earlier systems (I have one and I'm happy), I did my research on the supposed hack and I'm comfortable believing that any would-be criminal in my area isn't going to take the time to get a computer science degree, spend time near my house waiting for me to arm and disarm the system so they can try and intercept signals so they can attempt to disarm my system while I'm away and take my TV.  Most break-ins are a "smash-and-grab" job of opportunity.  Your hope is that the loud siren will help run them off before they do any damage/take anything.  Cameras can be helpful to show police and identify thieves.  Police are not likely sitting outside your house waiting for the alarm to go off.  They will respond but even in a smaller town like where I live, it could be a few minutes.  
To my knowledge, no alarm company offers laser cannons (yet) and ADT was the only one to advertise Ving Rhames standing in your front yard to scare away would-be burglars (I hate to think what the premium would be for that service).

Community Admin

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2.9K Messages

1 y ago

Great questions from duffy_4, and fantastic answers (as usual) from Captain11!

On hacking and potential vulnerabilities, I'd just like to add that the current gen SimpliSafe system features regular firmware updates. On top of more features, our engineers are always working on strengthening and tightening security to keep the whole system locked down. Here's an article we wrote with more details about how we tackle cybersecurity.

As for WiFi and cell - technically, both are just active at the same time. It's just that WiFi is usually significantly faster. So when both are available, and when the Base Station needs to send a signal, then it would most likely go through WiFi. But as the Captain says, if WiFi ever becomes unavailable (or if the connection wasn't quick enough - say, if your Base Station was too far away from your WiFi router), then the cell connection will take over immediately. And it's seamless, so you wouldn't even notice the difference.

On the motion sensors - you should also know that they're really looking for a heat signature in contrast with the rest of the room. So you want to let each sensor have a minute or so to 'scan' the room while you're not in view. Then when you walk in, you should be caught immediately.

- Johnny M.
SimpliSafe Home Security

180 Messages

1 y ago

@ Johnny M  - I cannot the link to the article you referenced to work.

Thanks.

Community Admin

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2.9K Messages

1 y ago

Ah, the pitfalls of having to type in HTML manually. I fixed it above, and here it is again.

- Johnny M.
SimpliSafe Home Security