Impact of Network Technology Sunsets on AlarmAgent WRTUs

Posted on Fri, Dec 11, 2020 @ 11:21 AM

We all know technology changes quickly. How many cell phones have you had in the last decade? Sometimes that change collides with Raco’s commitment to delivering durable products that last decades. We still have autodialers installed that were sold in the 1980s!

While staying ahead of that technology curve Raco has remained committed to supporting all of the installed units out in the field. For the past few years have shipped with the latest LTE wireless technology. There are many benefits to the new technology, but many units still remain on legacy technology. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, after all. 

OK, so what is happening?

Key Raco network partners are now publicly committed that they will retire the legacy CDMA and 3G wireless networks in January and February of 2022, respectively. See details below.

Why are you telling me this now?

We had waited to make this announcement to our customers because the networks have a history of pushing back their sunset dates. We are now quite confident that this sunset will happen on this date. 

What does this mean for you?

Your AlarmAgent units using these technologies will not be able to communicate on the network once the sunset is complete.  

Further, we have recently noticed some degradation of service, particularly on the 2G units shipped between 2008 and 2010. The networks rarely share their detailed plans, but we suspect that they have already begun to retire antennas in certain geographies.

How do you know if you are impacted?

Any AlarmAgent unit that has firmware version below 7.0 will need to be upgraded. Administrators (CSAs) can log into AlarmAgent.com account and navigate to the “Manage RTUs” screen. In the table that is presented, refer to the “Firmware” version for each unit. 

How is Raco handling this?

This is a problem that is being put on you by someone else – that is never fun, dare we say it sucks. We will make this easy and straightforward, with minimal downtime. 

RACO has an upgrade kit available to update your existing AlarmAgent unit(s). This includes a new main board, a new antenna, and a new radio. It will be assembled and ready to install. Additional items can be replaced if you’d like, but that is not required. Thankfully LTE stands for Long Term Evolution – the networks are committed to this technology for the foreseeable future. We’re not sure they think as long term as you or Raco, but it’s better than nothing.

In addition, all upgraded boards will be shipped having been cloned to the exact configuration of your existing unit(s). The unit(s) will already be imported to your AlarmAgent.com account, and the existing service to the new upgrade will automatically occur.

You will not need to send your unit into the factory for the upgrade. The replacement kit will make the upgrade as simple as turning some screws. No re-configuration or complicated setup will be required. No logging in online and doing anything. Once the new unit is powered up you will be back online. 

The silver lining

The good news is that the new system has many more feature options available to you as a user.  These include enhanced reporting from “real time” communications of operational data with SCADA / HMI displays, in addition to over the air firmware upgrade and more visibility with mobile devices.

Additionally, we are working hard with our network partners to determine if there are additional features that this upgrade can provide. More to come on that as we nail down the details.

In closing

We understand this is no small impediment to your’ day-to-day operations and we are hoping to make this migration as painless as possible. Thank you for your continued business.

 

Detailed Plans Announced Sunset Details:

Network / Technology Announced Sunset Likely Sunset Notes
AT&T / 3G UMTS  Early 2022  Feb-22 As of 2019-06-30, customers may not activate new devices that are intended to operate exclusively on 3G on the AT&T network.
https://www.att.com/esupport/article.html#!/wireless/KM1324171?gsi=urpt2a
T-Mobile Sprint / 2G 1xRTT 1/1/2022 T-Mobile is expected to shut down the Sprint CDMA Network on or around January 1, 2022, to make way for its 5G network.   Between now and the time that the Sprint CDMA Network is fully decommissioned, capacity and coverage of the Sprint CDMA Network is expected to change.  Devices in these configurations will be impacted:
• CDMA-only Devices or dual-mode CDMA/LTE Devices that do not support Voice over LTE (VoLTE):  If End Users have CDMA-only capable devices, or a device that does not support VoLTE, an upgrade or replacement will be necessary.
• Data only CDMA/LTE–capable Devices and data only Single-Mode LTE Devices:  For data-only CDMA/LTE-capable devices, LTE data service will continue to function if LTE is enabled in the device settings.  For data-only Single-Mode LTE devices, LTE data service will continue to function as well while that network remains operational.
• VoLTE-capable CDMA/LTE-capable Devices:  These devices will lose CDMA capability but LTE data service will continue to function if LTE is enabled in the device settings and VoLTE is enabled.
• CDMA-only Devices or Devices that cannot support VoLTE will not be supported for activation after January 1, 2021.
T-Mobile Sprint / 3G EV-DO 1/1/2022 T-Mobile is expected to shut down the Sprint CDMA Network on or around January 1, 2022, to make way for its 5G network.   Between now and the time that the Sprint CDMA Network is fully decommissioned, capacity and coverage of the Sprint CDMA Network is expected to change.  Devices in these configurations will be impacted:
• CDMA-only Devices or dual-mode CDMA/LTE Devices that do not support Voice over LTE (VoLTE):  If End Users have CDMA-only capable devices, or a device that does not support VoLTE, an upgrade or replacement will be necessary.
• Data only CDMA/LTE–capable Devices and data only Single-Mode LTE Devices:  For data-only CDMA/LTE-capable devices, LTE data service will continue to function if LTE is enabled in the device settings.  For data-only Single-Mode LTE devices, LTE data service will continue to function as well while that network remains operational.
• VoLTE-capable CDMA/LTE-capable Devices:  These devices will lose CDMA capability but LTE data service will continue to function if LTE is enabled in the device settings and VoLTE is enabled.
• CDMA-only Devices or Devices that cannot support VoLTE will not be supported for activation after January 1, 2021.
Verizon / 2G 1xRTT 12/31/2020 12/31/2020 Service available “as is” after sunset date with no support.  https://www.verizonwireless.com/support/knowledge-base-218813/
Verizon 3G EV-DO 12/31/2020 12/31/2020 service available “as is” after sunset date with no support.  https://www.verizonwireless.com/support/knowledge-base-218813/

Source: https://aeriscom.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360046899034-Sunset-Summary

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