How Will the 3G Sunset Impact Your Fire and Life Safety Systems?
At PSI, our factory-trained and NICET-certified technicians provide comprehensive fire and life safety services—monitoring, testing and inspecting, system maintenance, installations, and code compliance consultations—all under one agreement. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
As of January 1, 2023, all 3G networks will be retired.
As cellular technology continues to evolve, outdated systems are gradually eliminated to free up bandwidth and provide faster service and broader data access capabilities to customers. And 3G is no exception. As you may have already heard, all carriers are retiring 3G equipment by the end of 2022 in favor of 4G, 5G, and LTE networks.
Many modern life safety systems rely on cellular communication in the event of an emergency. As the 3G network and the equipment which relies on it go away, life safety systems that use 3G-based tech and networks to function will need to upgrade before service ends. If the upgrade is not completed before the deadline and service is lost, Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) will likely require a fire watch until the systems are back online and capable of communicating with monitoring and emergency station responders. This will add additional expense to the upgrade.
These changes have led to many questions and concerns for those using 3G. Find some of the most frequently asked questions on how the 3G sunset will affect your life safety systems.
Who or what is an AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction)?
An AHJ is anyone that is responsible for enforcing code or compliance at your building. Most times this is the local or state Fire Marshal. But depending on the use or occupancy of the building, there can be multiple AHJs. It can even be your insurance company.
Typically, there are requirements in your policy for maintaining your life safety systems working and to code. In health care or assisted living facilities that can also be the Oregon Department of Health Services. During construction or remodeling, it can be the local Building Codes Department. If you are unsure of who your AHJ is, contact PSI and we can help identify them for you.
Is there a way to verify if my fire and life safety systems are using 3G now?
That information would typically be provided by your current monitoring company or their current fire alarm service provider.
Does PSI monitoring equipment use a specific cellular carrier?
The specific carrier a given client’s life safety systems communicate through is based on the performance of a site survey to determine which carrier has the best signal in a given area. However, PSI recommends changing from cellular to the AES mesh network or IP link network for a wireless communications solution.
Can a landline system be used as the emergency contact method for our life safety systems?
While landline service is still available as a means of communication, it is also slated for sunset. Service providers have greatly increased the monthly recurring charges to maintain the system, and before long, a landline won’t be an option either.
What are my options when upgrading my life safety systems?
Your options include a new LTE or 5G capable cellular communicator or change to a more reliable technology such as a mesh network (AES) which uses radio frequencies and an interlinked subscriber network to “jump” an emergency signal from the point of origin to the monitoring station or emergency services.
To find out which communications protocols your system is currently using, contact your life safety systems provider or monitoring company.
What can PSI do to make sure customers are prepared for the 3G sunset?
We are working with our customers to make sure their systems are updated well in advance of currently stated sunset dates.
At PSI, we’re committed to keeping your facilities safe and avoiding fire watch. To learn more about how we can help make sure you’re ready for the 3G sunset and beyond, contact PSI today.