Starting as early as this week, automotive communications application security system running on an older 3G network will operate, but they will not relay emergencies to monitoring systems.

If enterprise burglar or fire alarms operating on a 3G network go off, there may be no automatic notification to police or fire departments to respond.

This is because national telecom companies are shutting down old 3G networks as they rev up the newest 5G mobile service, per an agreement with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). While many think of this when it comes to smartphone and cellular networks, some security leaders have not considered what this means for their legacy security systems.

Cellular carriers have announced they are sunsetting 3G wireless networks throughout 2022. Shutting down the older network will drastically increase data capacity and speed on 4G, 5G and LTE networks. Most Americans’ cellphones no longer run on 3G networks, which is why most carriers have notified customers with older devices that they are no longer activating devices on the 3G network.

This development may deactivate enterprise security systems’ emergency alert function. 3G networks were the standard communication technology used in security panels and automotive navigation and roadside assistance systems starting in 2015-16. As landlines started to become obsolete, there was a shift to wireless security systems that use cellular technology to relay messages. These systems were more reliable, convenient and accessible than their landline counterparts.

Moving forward from 3G systems

If an enterprise security system was installed with a 3G-compatible communicator, it will no longer work properly once carriers in the service area begin to sunset 3G networks.

Although wireless carriers have published specific dates for 3G termination, this does not guarantee 3G services will be fully available until the sunset. It is common practice for carriers to reduce coverage during transition periods.

That’s why it’s imperative to take action as soon as possible to avoid service disruptions.

Limiting security lapses

If an enterprise uses a 3G-based security system, the cellular communicator on the system will need to be replaced to operate on the new networks. Security leaders with 3G systems can ask their providers these questions to determine their risk level:

  • Will the 3G sunset impact the enterprise security system?
  • When are cellular carrier changes expected to roll out in the area (for automotive systems, this isn’t just where the enterprise is located, but also where the vehicles are driven)?
  • What is the provider’s plan for user updates and/or replacements?