No Internet - Want to Remotely Flip Switch

jtw said:
X-10 is too unreliable to operate an on/off switch?  Maybe if I can get confirmation of the switch position it would be ok.
It really depends on the installation.  I used several X10 devices in a house for years without any trouble.  They are powerline communication based, so it's worth testing in the locations you use them.  Good installations run fine.  Especially for smaller houses, with not a lot of noisy devices already running.
And I can relate the opposite, the house and it's electrical were fine, the upstream to the transformer and phase were the issue, actually to the point of rendering a whole house code unusable as I believe either the noise or even another user's HC passed through the phase and caused units to turn on/off or dim randomly. Can't change what's upstream of the meter.
cobra said:
And you installed a filter, right?
Filters and couplers were installed and problem still existed and was verified using an X-10 signal meter as coming from elsewhere with the entire house subpanel shut off after the main; the signal was fine and not absorbed or too weak....your point is?
Issue existed on another phase at the pole from the utility. Who's going to prove the location,source and correct once it's outside of your meter socket?
Went to a different technology and no more service calls. X-10 has/had it's purpose, but by no means is it foolproof or bulletproof reliable.
Thanks, again for all of the suggestions.  I'm still digesting all of them.  I'm a little technically challenged, so some of the more clever solutions may be beyond my ability.
The SIM 'gate opener' device looks interesting.  But the possible fire hazard....
I only need this 4 or 5 months/yr, at most.  Do some pay as you go plans for hotspots allow you to 'revive' them after they've set idle for a while?  So, can I get a $10 refill card, let it expire, then bring it back to life 7 months later with a new refill card? 
Yes sometimes here it gets a bit overwhelming with a multitude of folks all having done this or that and offering advice.
You did come to the right place here on the Cocoontech forum.
Many of the DIY folks here utilize a combination security panel from two companies; one named Elk and the other named HAI (well now Leviton).
You can also consider removing your existing security panel and replacing it with a newer generation panel that does do both security and automation if you want instead of a la carting all of the pieces you want and combining them a bit.
Too I would look for the best deal on a contract less SIM card from T-Mobile.  I was an AT&T user here for 25 years with grandfather unlimited internet / texting on my accounts.  Got slammed by them in 2014 and went to T-Mobile multiple SIMs with my own purchased unlocked devices.  I am a happy camper today with T-Mobile; well that and combining a low cost paid for by the year central station monitoring might work for you.
OK.  We thought we would go with a WeMo wall switch, a T-Mobile phone that has hotspot capabilities, and a gold member T-Mobile SIM card.  The phone would stay plugged in at the vacation home.  Low installation cost, free online support, and $10/yr after the first year.
BUT, WeMo online chat guy says it won't work.  I'm not sure why not.  Any ideas?
The phone thing will not work in the fashion that you want. 
The OS is configured such that the wireless tethering will shut off if not being utilized and you cannot tickle it on from the internet.
Test it at home and see for yourself.
Is there a reason you don't want to hook up to the PowerMax, since you already have phone support there?  I understand DEL doesn't like them, but many people use X10 successfully.  One install that wasn't isolated from external power line interference really doesn't describe the entire product line.
jtw said:
 Any ideas?
As I mentioned, I use a Cradlepoint MBR router with a USB modem.  You can get an MBR95 relatively cheaply on ebay Plus you will need a 3G/4G USB modem.  The t-mobile ZTE MF683(Rocket 3.0) is supposed to be compatible with MBR95 but I personally did not try it.
I am using now a Verizon USB modem, before that I'd used an AT&T one.
You can also try "Router advisor" from this link to select 3G/4G equipment suitable for your connectivity needs:
Goofing around here this morning did a failover test to T-Mobile's network and a trace route.
I am in the midwest here and speedtest shows fastest ping is coming from the state of Washington (well so is the internet IP).
The first hop here from my modem to the cell tower is around 100ms which is sort of crazy slow.  From that first hop to say google I do not really see much slowing down. 
Checking connection it appeared to go to local generic wireless tower.  Manually changed APN to talk to T-Mobile and first ping times went to 70ms and now closest IP for testing is New York.
Personally here if I were purchasing new I would go with a CradlePoint MBR1200B.  The ZTE I use is only wireless and ok as an AP but that is it.
Another means too would be to put a box in that just triggers the heaters or whatever then attach something to a zone on the alarm such that you can just monitor the hardware functioning without the need of another transport.
I've played with various 'travel routers' over the years and I currently muddle through using a small Zyxel one that has it's own battery inside.  I wouldn't really recommend it to anyone as it's a bit fiddly to use.  In the past I've used a D-link that had specific support for 3G modems.  Likewise, fiddly and picky about which USB cell devices it would support.  Not recommended.
I've read good things about the cradlepoint units and the 3gstore.  Definitely look into their recommendations.  For something remote you really want it to be as 'hands off' as possible.  Otherwise it becomes yet another THING to have to deal with from a distance.  
All that said, there's little about using a cell connection remotely that ever operates as smoothly as a regular 'nailed up' connection like DSL, cable, fiber, etc.  More often than not the attempts to 'save money' end up costing you a lot of time/stress/headaches.  So while it might seem expensive to go the path of using a router with a USB cell modem, it's often a lot less trouble. That and adding the SIM card as another device on your own cell plan often turns out to be less trouble also.  Many of the current cell providers have schemes to allow sharing data consumption across multiple devices.  It might be worth looking into whether or not your current cell provider has effective coverage and what plans might be worth considering.
I'm trying to avoid monthly internet service or land line charges if I can.  The alarm system there only costs us $10/yr because of the gold SIM card.
Doesn't the requirement of a router and/or modem imply that I would need monthly internet service?
Using the existing PowerMax Pro and SIM card is what I really wanted, even if it requires running a wire up the stairs.  We'd be gone, so what do we care.  I just don't think I'd have the know if my limited ability would be able to 'git 'er done' in 1 1/2 weeks remaining here.
jtw said:
OK.  We thought we would go with a WeMo wall switch, a T-Mobile phone that has hotspot capabilities, and a gold member T-Mobile SIM card.  The phone would stay plugged in at the vacation home.  Low installation cost, free online support, and $10/yr after the first year.
BUT, WeMo online chat guy says it won't work.  I'm not sure why not.  Any ideas?
Phones as hotspots really only work when you're right the in front of them using it.  Little things like going to sleep, the battery running down, rebooting, etc, they're just not designed to be used as an unattended routing device.  There are some that can be used as a modem connected to a router.  But there again you're at the mercy of them staying powered and suitably available for the router to make their connections to it.  Thus it's less trouble to use a router that'll accept a USB cellular modem.  That way it'll be powered up with the router and the router will do all the babysitting.   The upside is there are USB modems that will accept the same kinds of SIM cards used in phones.  The modems are specific to the carrier's frequencies, of course.   So you'd need one known to work on your carrier's network IN THAT AREA.  
This lets you have a "real network" making connections to the router and it handles connecting/disconnecting the internet as necessary.  The difficulty you run into with GARBAGE like the WeMo switches is they're trying to be "too clever" and failing at it.  I've had some and they're just not reliable.  I've relegated mine to being timers for battery chargers.  I've got them configured to be powered on/off for a few hours each night.  But I can press their power button to activate them when I have a battery that needs to begin charging.  Saves me from worrying whether something will get wrecked by being charged constantly.  I've had my Smart Things hub handling the schedule for them.