Hello everyone. I'm a fairly new DIYer with an Elk M1 Gold, and I'm trying to decide what to use for cellular communications with a CS (probably AlarmRelay). I realize there are a ton of forum posts around this subject already, but many are years old and seem like they may be outdated; and the information is not always clear (and in some cases rather confusing). I've read over almost all of them multiple times and I'm still a pretty confused.
I have an Elk M1 Gold panel with an M1XEP. I don't want to lose the ability to connect to the panel directly via IP on my local network. I'm not opposed to replacing the M1XEP so long as I can still connect to the panel and won't be restricted communicating with it. Also, if possible, I'd also like to be able to use whatever app the CS provides for remote interaction.
From what I can gather my main choices come down to: Uplink, Telguard, and IPdatatel/Alula. Beyond that I have a lot of random questions I was hoping to get some help with, and just was generally hoping for recommendations.
1. It sounds like going the Telguard route could potentially lock me into a specific CS and/or cell provider and I'd be at the mercy of any rates Telguard or the sub-dealer decides to charge. Is that correct?
2. There's a lot of confusion around the Uplink devices. Particularly around the "EZ" and "EX" suffixes for the various models. A few posts seem to reference these incorrectly. From what I can gather, the "EZ" models require some extra cabling or an adapter, while the "EX" models are much simpler to hookup. Can anyone confirm this? Does this apply to all models with those suffixes? The 4530EX is mentioned a lot in the forums, but their website no longer lists that model. Do the LTE30EX and CDMAEZ replace that model with basically the same functionality but a more modern radio?
3. With Uplink or ipDatatel, do I sign up for the service and manage that myself? Would I just get a new SIM card from my cell provider and use that? Or does the CS handle all of this? It's not clear to me how this part works.
4. Some posts also seem to indicate that you can't have both panel supervisory functionality and remote/interactive services when using these devices, because there is no way to connect both at once. Can anyone confirm this? Does this apply to pretty much any communicator I choose?
5. Primary vs Secondary/backup: I'm not entirely clear what exactly this means. Does this refer only to communications with the CS? Or is it referring to my entire setup? My hope was to keep my M1XEP and use whatever cellular device I choose in addition to that -- either as a secondary/backup or strictly for communications with the CS. Some devices are specifically labeled as Primary (the Uplink LTE30EX, for example), others as Primary or Redundant (Uplink 4500EZ), and still others not indicated at all (Uplink 5500EZ). Does this mean I can't use the "Primary"-only models and still keep the M1XEP? What exactly do these designations mean?
6. Are there other options I'm overlooking? Am I making this too complicated?
Thanks for any help!