coltmaster1's profile
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2.8K Messages

Wed, Jan 31, 2018 1:36 AM

SS3 - What you should know before purchasing

Per my discussion with a simplisafe supervisor today...

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good:  

1.  Regarding encryption, I was told neither the pin nor signal could be captured/replayed when dis-arming your system, a vast improvement/fix over SS2.

2.  Wifi-vs-Cellular connection:  They are always working in tandem, so if one isn't working, the other one will (providing you in fact have wi-fi in your home) - More on this following...

3.  If on the interactive monitoring plan, when setting up your system, you can choose the pre-set names on the keypad, and/or if you run out of pre-sets per the number of sensors you have, you can enter them using your online control panel, you can also change the names on the control panel to personalize them more (just as you could with SS2).  

I'm not sure for users who are not on the interactive monitoring plan - I would guess you choose the keypad's pre-set names, but please ask simplisafe for the correct procedure.

4.  At least one person has reported about cancellations of an online order due to one or more components being out of stock (and not just the CO detector).  I was told that this is unusual, but that the customer should receive some form of communication within 24 hours - and that those out-of-stock components should be fulfilled and shipped within a reasonable time frame (I asked, a week?  Was told, probably).  So, if you get a cancellation notation on your order history page, CALL simplisafe to see if only certain components are out-of-stock and when you should expect them to ship.

5.  For those of us choosing to use cellular-only connection with SS3 for normal every-day use, should you ever come up against the "no link to dispatch", or a power failure, you should not have to reconnect with the keypad and having to bypass the wi-fi connection again, you can use the tired-but-true procedure of re-booting the base station and it SHOULD re-connect to your cellular again (rebooting= unplug from wall, remove one battery, plug back in, wait for test-mode confirmation, put battery back in, press OFF-button on keypad to exit test-mode)

The Bad:

1.  Modules ship with Vodaphone SIM installed.  Vodaphone is designed for, and works better with, T-Mobile, so if you need a Verizon module, you need to call and request it. Don't depend on the online ordering page's comment section to request a module, CALL to ensure it will be shipped out to you.  This process may change sometime in the future, if they can get pre-installed Verizon modules in, but currently, they do not have them, so the customer needs to request them and needs to swap/install it at home at this point in time (which should be fairly simple to do using only a screwdriver, removing the SIM and connecting the Verizon module by the corresponding connectors).

I found a couple youtube videos to show you how to swap the modules, these are for an SS2 system, it should be similar to the new SS3:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UR6RBVN0AdM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCj1nGZ-xqs

The Ugly:
(not truly pertinent to those using wi-fi as primary connection - this is for those of us wanting to use cellular-only connection, and especially for those with NO wi-fi in their home)

1.  This is probably the most important thing I've learned and might need confirmed by more than one simplisafe supervisor (?):   OTA/updates REQUIRE wi-fi connection, which include BOTH the keypads and the base station.  You cannot use cellular-only and you cannot use a land-line connection - the keypad will prompt you to change to wi-fi.  This is due to the file size and connection speeds necessary for downloading large amounts of data.

IF you have wi-fi available in your home and choose to use cellular-only for your connection for normal every-day use, it would be simple enough to connect to wi-fi to enable OTA updates just for that purpose, then disable the wi-fi when updates are finished so you can then use cellular again.

So, kind of a PITA when you have more than one keypad in your home, and if you don't have wi-fi, sounds like you're screwed?  Again, this may need to be confirmed with more than one supervisor?

2.  There is communication among simplisafe staff where an announcement is being considered (possibly on the forum), regarding refund/policy and some of the SS2-to-SS3 refunds already given.  It won't make anyone happy and probably will not explain why some people received a refund and others didn't (those with older than 60-120-day systems), but let's just say that those full refunds done were done on an "incredibly rare basis".  And, a certain spokesperson's public statement said elsewhere, may have been done without permission.

They are aware of the backlash for no upgrade path or refunds.  But, don't expect much of an explanation beyond a policy announcement, if they decide to announce one in the very near future.  

So, for anyone holding off on purchasing SS3, I guess it might be worth it to sign up to their newsletter and watch for any upcoming promotional discounts.  Usually, they have them during the Christmas holiday, but as a reference point, I used a discount in the month of July in 2016.

(And I guess one could still call and try to plead your case, but don't expect it to be honored - as apparently, not everyone at simplisafe has been on the same page - hence those "staff meetings" that need to take place and the potential policy announcement)

3.  For the chosen few who were honored a full refund to replace SS2 with SS3 (those who had older SS2 systems beyond 120-days), the return policy still applies:
 1.  Buy new SS3
 2.  Upon purchase confirmation, they should send a return label for your old SS2 equipment - (no refund for extra purchases such as yard signs, batteries, window stickers, and your original shipping charges will be subtracted)
 3.  Use your return label and box up old equipment, give to USPS carrier or drop off at PO.
 4.  Upon confirmation of return, your refund will be done in the form of a check, it may take UP TO 4-6 weeks, it may be mailed to you sooner, depending on how soon they can process it.

I have to give due credit to the supervisor I talked to.  First and foremost, he actually called me within the time frame that was planned.

He was also very thorough despite my badgering him with questions that were at least, pertinent to me and my questions about SS3, took a couple of my recommendations to heart, and I felt he was honest and sincere, professional, and even a down-to-earth guy whom simplisafe should consider a valuable asset to their company.

If any current SS3 users have come across issues, fixes, warnings, or anything else that on-the-fence buyers should be made aware of, can you please post them in this thread?

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167 Messages

Il y a 5 y

Great info coltmaster1 - Thanks for taking the time to compose such a comprehensive post!

Advocate

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2.8K Messages

Il y a 5 y

Thanks, Dave - it might not be relative to some, but might be relative to others, I hope.  This is only a small sampling of things, would love to see current SS3 users add what they feel might be helpful to on-the-fence purchasers.

Captain

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4.7K Messages

Il y a 5 y

@coltmaster1, as you know, I have the SS3, and do have one item that is different than what you were told: it is my understanding SS3 will update over the air on cell only, however, will be much slower than on WIFI. This is per a SS tech responding to my question when I first got my system..  

SS: if you could please review and clarify the discrepancy it will be greatly appreciated.

Again thanks coltmaster1 and the SS supervisor for going to such detail.

Advocate

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2.2K Messages

Il y a 5 y

Here is the thing.  If you have Wi-Fi, why would you deliberately cause SS3 to not work with it?  Allegedly, the two paths work together, and allegedly you get a message if either goes down.  So it sounds like you have to do a lot of work to avoid using wi-fi, and I don't see the benefit.

1.2K Messages

Il y a 5 y

I gotta agree with 7 on this.  These are going to be small packets that transmit back and forth between the base station and Simplisafes servers.  I would imagine about the same as a 1 line email.  Even a very slow connection should be fine here.  So I don't see anyone saving much if they are on a metered connection and if your internet is unreliable then it will bounce over to cell.  By eliminating wifi you are also eliminating your backup option.

Cell towers go offline once in a while too.

Advocate

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2.8K Messages

Il y a 5 y

Captain, and I remembered just that when I asked him about it, but I was told differently, so this is where I think the full details need to be confirmed by simplisafe.

Seven and drunkpenguin, I understand what you're saying, and the supervisor did say go ahead and install with wi-fi and see how it works for me - yes, admittedly I am concerned with my connection speeds, and what you say makes sense about them working together if one goes down.

Btw, does anyone know if the Intel and router SNAFU's are really going to cause poor speeds in the long term, as this is one thing I was taking into consideration for the near future.  If this is a stupid question, disregard!

Advocate

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2.8K Messages

Il y a 5 y

rsgilbert, I wish I had answers for you, simplisafe indeed needs to step up and provide some conclusive answers.

Maybe call them, ask for a supervisor and see if there are any workarounds for your situation?

65 Messages

Il y a 5 y

Thanks, actually OK sticking with SS2 if need be. But there must be hundreds if not thousands of customers who forego monitoring altogether who i'm sure would definitely want "defacto" information before upgrading. Not a huge fan of SS lately, but even I can't believe they would introduce a system that would require customers to forego the ability to update software without wifi.

65 Messages

Il y a 5 y

All good information and thanks for the efforts. My deal is this, one of my systems is in a second home in AZ. I won't install wifi at an additional cost of about $40 a month just so SS3 can update! That together with interactive monitoring means about $70 a month.....enough said. AND million dollar question for those who forego monitoring altogether.......does no monitoring mean no connection to SS servers equals no software updates? Humm.....in light of recent events I could certainly believe SS could stoop to forcing "monitoring" if you want to keep your system up to date. OK, i'm suspicious and paranoid by nature, but as has been stated several times, someone at SS needs to step up with accurate information about this situation. Too many inconsistencies.

Advocate

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2.2K Messages

Il y a 5 y

The effect on your system if you don't have wi-fi is an important question which has not been answered adequately.  I'm just saying that IF you have wi-fi,  I'm not seeing the advantage of jumping through hoops to NOT use it.

65 Messages

Il y a 5 y

Agree 100% @7. Don't have a clue why someone with wifi wouldn't use it?  Read somewhere recently that as much as 20% of Americans have NO internet access. So no SS3 for them?? Another concern is that SS may have devised a way to force every customer to buy monitoring........if you want to keep your system up to date that is.

Captain

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4.7K Messages

Il y a 5 y

@rsgilbert, you CAN operate SS3 on cell only, including OTA updates.  (Note, they will be significantly slower than WIFI)

Now that I said it, will someone from SS please repeat it so you can sell a system to rsgilbert? Why do you make this so hard??

65 Messages

Il y a 5 y

@Captain.....yes I read your understanding of the wifi thing based on your conversation with a "supervisor". Referring to @Coltmaster1 post (#1 under topic "the ugly") which clearly contradicts this based on a conversation he had with another "supervisor". Now, there is only one correct answer and the SS support folks on this forum and even all the "supervisors" clearly contradict each other ALL the time, so what is one to do. Not a question an observation......frustrating as h!!

Captain

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4.7K Messages

Il y a 5 y

@rsgilbert, that's why direct request in my post to SS and my question was directed to SS, not you.

10 Messages

Il y a 5 y

I am frustrated if what Coltmaster1 wrote about the modules is true (The bad #1).  Since I am returning two SS2 systems within the 60 days I called to return and place my order for SS3.  I requested to change my SIMs to Verizon during this order.  The sales rep confirmed he changed them but I still received Vodaphone. If the above is the case SS shipped one of the units (other system is coming in today)  knowing it did not have the module I requested and didn't bother to tell me.  In another post SS seems to imply that Vodaphone does/can use other carriers but they did not go into detail regarding.  The sales rep also told me that I should receive a credit for my old systems as soon as SS receives them so I am concerned about this 4 week wait.  My SS2 systems are in the 60 period so maybe the 4 week wait is for the older systems being returned.

I asked about cell only since I didn't want one of my systems on my work's network.  The sales rep also told me that I could use the system with cell only but would not receive updates.  He stated that you can only receive updates via WiFi.

Overall I am very happy with the SS3 I received but some of this stuff is annoying  -- guess I might have to give them a call.