Review: IPDataTel CBAT

The IPDataTel CBAT is an add-on device to your alarm panel that allows it to communicate with your alarm monitoring company. It supports dual communications via Ethernet and cellular via CDMA, if your internet goes down.If you don’t have a POTS (telephone hard line) and want to get your alarm panel monitored by a professional security monitoring company, your options are either via internet or cellular. Since both can be unreliable at times, the best of both worlds is Ethernet monitoring with a cellular backup when your internet goes down.

Features

  • Ethernet connectivity
  • Pre-activated cellular connectivity (Verizon)
  • Works with Honeywell, DSC, and GE/Caddx panels
  • Event Notifications
  • Android and iOS apps
  • Event history

Hardware Installation

Using 4 wires, it connects to your alarm panel via keybus and/or tip/ring. 2 wires for data, 2 for power. Then just connect an Ethernet cable to your home network. Ideally you want to mount it high up in your home to get best cellular signal. I was told attic installation was OK and it has a 70° C/158° F operating temperature, I placed it up in my attic.

The unit comes in a white plastic housing with an antenna that pops out the top. There is a hole out the bottom for your wiring to exit the hosuing.

cbat1

The CBAT can co-exist with the Envisalink EVL-3/4, but it will get double reporting if you connect it with both the keybus and the tip/ring telco connection.

To connect with a EVL-3/4 on the same panel, you need to:

  • In the programming of your Vista 20P, *29 ON
  • Disconnect tip/ring from panel to CBAT, only use keybus
  • Clear out any programmed fields 41-46 in your panel

Once you install it, you will need to work with your alarm monitoring company for setup and programming.

Be sure to tell your monitoring company that you have the EVL also connected, otherwise you might either get double reporting or Long Range Radio errors.

System Setup

This is going to be done by the monitoring company. They will connect to your alarm panel and change the relevant settings. You will need to be at the panel to enter in a bunch of settings while on the phone with them.

System Use

The system is somewhat transparent. Once setup you should do a test, where you set the alarm off, if your monitoring company receives the alarm, it is working.

Local Webpage

Although the unit has a local IP address on your network, it doesn’t serve up a webpage.

Alarmdealer.com website

cbat2

Your monitoring company will provide you with a login for the alarmdealer.com website. This is over a secure HTTPS encrypted connection.

Keypad

This is a virtual keypad, you can enter in your code and arm, disarm, bypass, etc. as if you were at the keypad. The connection is very responsive.

Zone/user names

Here you can edit the list of zones and add human readable names, like Front Door.

Event Log

cbat3

Here you can see all the events, including when it switches from Ethernet to CDMA and back as my internet went down and came back a few minutes later.

One thing you don’t get is an event log for each zone. For example, when the last time a zone was open or closed. Envisalink keeps the latest status of each zone, so you can tell how long ago a door was opened or closed.

Notifications

Here you can set the system to alert you via a iOS or Android app called ipFob. The alerts can also be emailed or sent to your phone. Possible alerts:

  • Alarms = Medical, Fire, Panic, Burglary, General, 24 Hour
  • Open/Close = Openings and Closings, Remote Access, Assess Control
  • Test/Misc. = Test, Log, Scheduled

iOS & Android App ipFOB

The iOS app, like the Android app has 3 key functions

  • Virtual keypad for arming/disarming the alarm
  • Push notifications
  • Event log

Now the good thing, the app on both devices is the same and they are fast, meaning very responsive. There is no perceivable delay when you punch in the commands. And as soon as you arm your panel, you get a push notification.

This is the main page of the app, it gives you a virtual keypad with the same info you would see on the actual keypad.

cbat4

The button that looks like a magnifying glass on a page, gets you this page below. Its a history of opening & closing. Note the (null) events, these were the same events from above shown on the Event Log webpage. So the switchover from Ethernet to CDMA are not known in the app, and it shows as (null). Kinda disappointing, the app is not fully baked in this regard. Otherwise, the app functions fine.

cbat7.PNG

Cost

The unit can be had for about $170-$190 and will have a monthly cost of about $8 -$12 on top of a standard monitoring fee. This is to cover the expense of the cellular connection.

Conclusion

The CBAT is a well designed piece of hardware. The temperature specs that allow it to live in your attic are impressive. Also, after 8 months of use, I find it to be 100% reliable.

From the software side of things, the system is very responsive from any virtual keypad (web, iOS or Android app) and has all the features you need. The only shortcoming is the lack of individual prior zone status. You can see in the keypad which zones are open, but you can’t see when they were last closed, like you do with the Envisalink EVL-3 or 4. This is not a dealbreaker, but sometimes you want to know when a door was last closed.

I highly recommend this unit for its key functionality of dual internet and cellular connectivity. It is simple, but it works.

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