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SS3 - What you should know before purchasing

Per my discussion with a simplisafe supervisor today...

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Good:

1. Regarding encryption, I was told neither the pin nor signal could be captured/replayed when dis-arming your system, a vast improvement/fix over SS2.

2. Wifi-vs-Cellular connection: They are always working in tandem, so if one isn't working, the other one will (providing you in fact have wi-fi in your home) - More on this following...

3. If on the interactive monitoring plan, when setting up your system, you can choose the pre-set names on the keypad, and/or if you run out of pre-sets per the number of sensors you have, you can enter them using your online control panel, you can also change the names on the control panel to personalize them more (just as you could with SS2).

I'm not sure for users who are not on the interactive monitoring plan - I would guess you choose the keypad's pre-set names, but please ask simplisafe for the correct procedure.

4. At least one person has reported about cancellations of an online order due to one or more components being out of stock (and not just the CO detector). I was told that this is unusual, but that the customer should receive some form of communication within 24 hours - and that those out-of-stock components should be fulfilled and shipped within a reasonable time frame (I asked, a week? Was told, probably). So, if you get a cancellation notation on your order history page, CALL simplisafe to see if only certain components are out-of-stock and when you should expect them to ship.

5. For those of us choosing to use cellular-only connection with SS3 for normal every-day use, should you ever come up against the "no link to dispatch", or a power failure, you should not have to reconnect with the keypad and having to bypass the wi-fi connection again, you can use the tired-but-true procedure of re-booting the base station and it SHOULD re-connect to your cellular again (rebooting= unplug from wall, remove one battery, plug back in, wait for test-mode confirmation, put battery back in, press OFF-button on keypad to exit test-mode)

The Bad:

1. Modules ship with Vodaphone SIM installed. Vodaphone is designed for, and works better with, T-Mobile, so if you need a Verizon module, you need to call and request it. Don't depend on the online ordering page's comment section to request a module, CALL to ensure it will be shipped out to you. This process may change sometime in the future, if they can get pre-installed Verizon modules in, but currently, they do not have them, so the customer needs to request them and needs to swap/install it at home at this point in time (which should be fairly simple to do using only a screwdriver, removing the SIM and connecting the Verizon module by the corresponding connectors).

I found a couple youtube videos to show you how to swap the modules, these are for an SS2 system, it should be similar to the new SS3:



The Ugly:
(not truly pertinent to those using wi-fi as primary connection - this is for those of us wanting to use cellular-only connection, and especially for those with NO wi-fi in their home)

1. This is probably the most important thing I've learned and might need confirmed by more than one simplisafe supervisor (?): OTA/updates REQUIRE wi-fi connection, which include BOTH the keypads and the base station. You cannot use cellular-only and you cannot use a land-line connection - the keypad will prompt you to change to wi-fi. This is due to the file size and connection speeds necessary for downloading large amounts of data.

IF you have wi-fi available in your home and choose to use cellular-only for your connection for normal every-day use, it would be simple enough to connect to wi-fi to enable OTA updates just for that purpose, then disable the wi-fi when updates are finished so you can then use cellular again.

So, kind of a PITA when you have more than one keypad in your home, and if you don't have wi-fi, sounds like you're screwed? Again, this may need to be confirmed with more than one supervisor?

2. There is communication among simplisafe staff where an announcement is being considered (possibly on the forum), regarding refund/policy and some of the SS2-to-SS3 refunds already given. It won't make anyone happy and probably will not explain why some people received a refund and others didn't (those with older than 60-120-day systems), but let's just say that those full refunds done were done on an "incredibly rare basis". And, a certain spokesperson's public statement said elsewhere, may have been done without permission.

They are aware of the backlash for no upgrade path or refunds. But, don't expect much of an explanation beyond a policy announcement, if they decide to announce one in the very near future.

So, for anyone holding off on purchasing SS3, I guess it might be worth it to sign up to their newsletter and watch for any upcoming promotional discounts. Usually, they have them during the Christmas holiday, but as a reference point, I used a discount in the month of July in 2016.

(And I guess one could still call and try to plead your case, but don't expect it to be honored - as apparently, not everyone at simplisafe has been on the same page - hence those "staff meetings" that need to take place and the potential policy announcement)

3. For the chosen few who were honored a full refund to replace SS2 with SS3 (those who had older SS2 systems beyond 120-days), the return policy still applies:
1. Buy new SS3
2. Upon purchase confirmation, they should send a return label for your old SS2 equipment - (no refund for extra purchases such as yard signs, batteries, window stickers, and your original shipping charges will be subtracted)
3. Use your return label and box up old equipment, give to USPS carrier or drop off at PO.
4. Upon confirmation of return, your refund will be done in the form of a check, it may take UP TO 4-6 weeks, it may be mailed to you sooner, depending on how soon they can process it.

I have to give due credit to the supervisor I talked to. First and foremost, he actually called me within the time frame that was planned.

He was also very thorough despite my badgering him with questions that were at least, pertinent to me and my questions about SS3, took a couple of my recommendations to heart, and I felt he was honest and sincere, professional, and even a down-to-earth guy whom simplisafe should consider a valuable asset to their company.

If any current SS3 users have come across issues, fixes, warnings, or anything else that on-the-fence buyers should be made aware of, can you please post them in this thread?

Great info coltmaster1 -

Great info coltmaster1 - Thanks for taking the time to compose such a comprehensive post!

Thanks, Dave - it might not

Thanks, Dave - it might not be relative to some, but might be relative to others, I hope. This is only a small sampling of things, would love to see current SS3 users add what they feel might be helpful to on-the-fence purchasers.

@coltmaster1, as you know, I

@coltmaster1, as you know, I have the SS3, and do have one item that is different than what you were told: it is my understanding SS3 will update over the air on cell only, however, will be much slower than on WIFI. This is per a SS tech responding to my question when I first got my system..

SS: if you could please review and clarify the discrepancy it will be greatly appreciated.

Again thanks coltmaster1 and the SS supervisor for going to such detail.

Here is the thing. If you

Here is the thing. If you have Wi-Fi, why would you deliberately cause SS3 to not work with it? Allegedly, the two paths work together, and allegedly you get a message if either goes down. So it sounds like you have to do a lot of work to avoid using wi-fi, and I don't see the benefit.

I gotta agree with 7 on this.

I gotta agree with 7 on this. These are going to be small packets that transmit back and forth between the base station and Simplisafes servers. I would imagine about the same as a 1 line email. Even a very slow connection should be fine here. So I don't see anyone saving much if they are on a metered connection and if your internet is unreliable then it will bounce over to cell. By eliminating wifi you are also eliminating your backup option.

Cell towers go offline once in a while too.

Captain, and I remembered

Captain, and I remembered just that when I asked him about it, but I was told differently, so this is where I think the full details need to be confirmed by simplisafe.

Seven and drunkpenguin, I understand what you're saying, and the supervisor did say go ahead and install with wi-fi and see how it works for me - yes, admittedly I am concerned with my connection speeds, and what you say makes sense about them working together if one goes down.

Btw, does anyone know if the Intel and router SNAFU's are really going to cause poor speeds in the long term, as this is one thing I was taking into consideration for the near future. If this is a stupid question, disregard!

All good information and

All good information and thanks for the efforts. My deal is this, one of my systems is in a second home in AZ. I won't install wifi at an additional cost of about $40 a month just so SS3 can update! That together with interactive monitoring means about $70 a month.....enough said. AND million dollar question for those who forego monitoring altogether.......does no monitoring mean no connection to SS servers equals no software updates? Humm.....in light of recent events I could certainly believe SS could stoop to forcing "monitoring" if you want to keep your system up to date. OK, i'm suspicious and paranoid by nature, but as has been stated several times, someone at SS needs to step up with accurate information about this situation. Too many inconsistencies.

rsgilbert, I wish I had

rsgilbert, I wish I had answers for you, simplisafe indeed needs to step up and provide some conclusive answers.

Maybe call them, ask for a supervisor and see if there are any workarounds for your situation?

Thanks, actually OK sticking

Thanks, actually OK sticking with SS2 if need be. But there must be hundreds if not thousands of customers who forego monitoring altogether who i'm sure would definitely want "defacto" information before upgrading. Not a huge fan of SS lately, but even I can't believe they would introduce a system that would require customers to forego the ability to update software without wifi.

The effect on your system if

The effect on your system if you don't have wi-fi is an important question which has not been answered adequately. I'm just saying that IF you have wi-fi, I'm not seeing the advantage of jumping through hoops to NOT use it.

Agree 100% @7. Don't have a

Agree 100% @7. Don't have a clue why someone with wifi wouldn't use it? Read somewhere recently that as much as 20% of Americans have NO internet access. So no SS3 for them?? Another concern is that SS may have devised a way to force every customer to buy monitoring........if you want to keep your system up to date that is.

@rsgilbert, you CAN operate

@rsgilbert, you CAN operate SS3 on cell only, including OTA updates. (Note, they will be significantly slower than WIFI)

Now that I said it, will someone from SS please repeat it so you can sell a system to rsgilbert? Why do you make this so hard??

@Captain.....yes I read your

@Captain.....yes I read your understanding of the wifi thing based on your conversation with a "supervisor". Referring to @Coltmaster1 post (#1 under topic "the ugly") which clearly contradicts this based on a conversation he had with another "supervisor". Now, there is only one correct answer and the SS support folks on this forum and even all the "supervisors" clearly contradict each other ALL the time, so what is one to do. Not a question an observation......frustrating as h!!

@rsgilbert, that's why direct

@rsgilbert, that's why direct request in my post to SS and my question was directed to SS, not you.

I am frustrated if what

I am frustrated if what Coltmaster1 wrote about the modules is true (The bad #1). Since I am returning two SS2 systems within the 60 days I called to return and place my order for SS3. I requested to change my SIMs to Verizon during this order. The sales rep confirmed he changed them but I still received Vodaphone. If the above is the case SS shipped one of the units (other system is coming in today) knowing it did not have the module I requested and didn’t bother to tell me. In another post SS seems to imply that Vodaphone does/can use other carriers but they did not go into detail regarding. The sales rep also told me that I should receive a credit for my old systems as soon as SS receives them so I am concerned about this 4 week wait. My SS2 systems are in the 60 period so maybe the 4 week wait is for the older systems being returned.

I asked about cell only since I didn’t want one of my systems on my work's network. The sales rep also told me that I could use the system with cell only but would not receive updates. He stated that you can only receive updates via WiFi.

Overall I am very happy with the SS3 I received but some of this stuff is annoying -- guess I might have to give them a call.

@PatLm, I say the SS3 system

@PatLm, I say the SS3 system is an excellent product, performs well but some consistency in the information would be nice.

For what it's worth, during

For what it's worth, during my conversation, I specifically requested that Simplisafe post clearly on the website and on the forums ASAP regarding the wi-fi neccessity for updates - I was shocked when he told me that - I told him specifically that if that were true, Simplisafe would be alienating a great number of customers and customers need to know that before going through the hassle of purchase/return and all the frustration that comes with it. He agreed and said he'd take it to appropriate personnel.

As for Vodaphone, again, he said currently, the SS3 base station is pre-installed with Vodaphone (and we all have our guesses why they chose that), and they do not currently have base stations available with Verizon modules. He stated (in my case, anyway), to order, then CALL and specifically request the Verizon card to ensure it would be sent out, and you can ask for it to be sent overnight or if they have a speedy shipping option. I don't think it matters if you request it on the order form, that request may be ignored because right now, a separate Verizon card is going to have to be swapped/installed by you at home.

PatLm, if you're in the 60-day return period, you may not have to wait longer than others for your refund - and yours would most likely be credited to your credit card (again, if within the 60-day return policy period, and I would call them to confirm/ask when you should expect your refund, and if it will be credited to your credit card) - I was referencing others who have older systems who miraculously managed to get refunds for their SS2 when they buy the new SS3 - those refunds have to be sent by check, and take much longer - the reason being is that the original purchase is considered too old to count as a recent purchase and they don't have a computerized system in place to treat it as such.

Hope this helps.

@rsgilbert Thanks for


Thanks for reaching out! The new SimpliSafe system, as you know, can connect to Monitoring via both WiFi and cellular. If you sign up for Monitoring Service, and if you don't have WiFi at all, then your system will function much like the original - purely on cell.

However, as has been mentioned, when we release OTA updates, those can only go through the WiFi connection. The cellular is great for sending alarm signals very quickly, but we need the WiFi connection to be able to push through the firmware updates.

But I can say that Monitoring Service is not required for OTA updates. You can have an un-monitored system and it will still be updated, so long as it's connected to WiFi. It may not be the ideal situation, but if you don't have WiFi at the protected location, then you could possibly take the Base Station to another location where you have WiFi, or even connect it to a hotspot, in order to update.
You should also know that before we send out your system, it is already preloaded with the latest update. So you won't immediately need to do it yourself.


I apologize about that miscommunication! The Vodafone SIM is our default, but yes, if you request for a Verizon Module to be installed in your system, that should have been done for your order. Looking at the orders that we have for you, it seems like we missed one of them, but definitely made the change for the other system. So that second system that's coming soon will definitely work through Verizon.

As for your refund for the return systems: It really depends on when you purchased. Our Credit Card processor only allows refunds within a limited timeframe. If you purchased within the past couple of months, then we will refund your system via the original Credit Card, and that will only take a few business days to go through.

SimpliSafe Home Security

Jadi M., if that's true about

Jadi M., if that's true about needing wi-fi for updates, then PLEASE, get that information UP ON THE MAIN WEBSITE, THE ORDER PAGE, and HERE ON THE FORUMS (it's too easy for customers to only rely on one page to make a decision, this notice should be made everywhere !) You do realize, I hope, that without that crucial notice, customer service phone lines are going to be impossible to access for customers (complaints about this issue), and you're going to be swamped with returns on top of the already current and backlogged returns.

P.S., Jadi M, it would be

P.S., Jadi M, it would be incredibly helpful if we had a SS3-ONLY forum topic area to discuss issues like this, thanks!

I thought about the reply

I thought about the reply with the clarifying information, and I would say this is not as big a deal as earlier stated in this thread. First, we now have confirmation direct from SS that:

1. SS3 uses WIFI as primary, cell as backup
2. SS3 will operate fine on just cell
3. OTA updates need WIFI

Jadi's comment that you can do one of two things to update your system if necessary:

1. Bring the base to where there is WIFI
2. Use a mobile hot spot

#2 is the most likely. First, many of us do have WIFI hot spot devices, like the Verizon JetPacks. If not, many smart phones do allow tethering to your phone. A question to SS : would a tethered connection to my Samsung Galaxy 7 work?

^^ I'm sure the elderly,

^^ I'm sure the elderly, disabled, and those with a full life are going to be thrilled with that option, this is a really inconvenient method to update when someone doesn't have wi-fi. A great deal of headaches and frustration could have been avoided had simplisafe noted this on their index page and the ordering page, so that customers had full disclosure and could then decide if they wanted to purchase a system that worked in that manner.

OK.....going to assume Jadi

OK.....going to assume Jadi speaks fact, so no wifi equals no software updates. Going to rely on the expertise of the forum members to answer the following.......1) under what circumstances would a software update be needed other than if a security flaw or something similar was discovered? 2) if an update was critical and based on how you connect ss3 to wifi, does it look feasible that you could take the base unit and key pad to say the local library and initiate a manual update?

Really just trying to determine if the fact that the system could potentially never be updated absent wifi is a real issue or not.

@coltmaster1 , no

@coltmaster1 , no disagreement on the disclosure issue, but based on what the specs are, still think this is not a show stopper, even for being one of the "elderly", thank you.

Just thinking out loud about

Just thinking out loud about my particular situation with the second home out of state and that it seems that ss3 is everything but automatic. Don't know enough about all this software update stuff to determine if the system will be too hands on for my liking.

Who doesnt have wifi? People

Who doesnt have wifi? People are more likely to pay that bill before the water bill these days. This is only going to be an issue for a small number of customers. I wouldnt call that a fault really. The rest of us will be fine.

Theres too many what ifs in this conversation though. We're playing worst case scenario. Customer John Doe buys a system but doesn't have wifi. In the future some hacker from (insert country of choice here) finds a way to break down an SS3 system. Hes going to break it in one of 2 ways:

Hack in via the internet and shut it off so his friend can break into your house. Oh wait, John Doe doesnt even have internet so this now becomes impossible. John Doe was wise to not have internet!


Hacker found a way to shut off John Does alarm from his back door if he presses a garage door opener and blows a dog whistle at the same time. Oh no, John Does house is now vulnerable because bad guy had a 1 in 7 billion chance at picking a house that had an SS system installed. Lucky Bad Guy.

Sorry, too many what ifs for this to even be a thing for me. Bad guys are stupid.

Just remember, you're going

Just remember, you're going to have to take all your keypads with you, and the base station, to the library. And wait for each keypad to update separately.

Simply stated, SS needs to be

Simply stated, SS needs to be transparent and clearly state that without wifi the system software CANNOT be updated and what if any consequences this may entail.

I asked my question on

I asked my question on tethering for a reason - as dp points on wifi, many have wifi, even more have a smart phone. BTW, I have done an over the OTA, it isn't hard or complicated - even for someone like me at an "elderly" age. (Will hit the intruder with my AARP card.)

^^ ...and to post potential

^^ ...and to post potential workarounds, in the interest of full disclosure.

Captain, I imply the elderly

Captain, I imply the elderly as those who's kids got these systems for them, set them up for their parents and they rely on their kids to keep them operating normally.

@coltmaster1, just kidding

@coltmaster1, just kidding with you. I am the one trying to convince my son, daughter and their respective spouses to get an alarm system. (I did convince 17 others to get SS2) My wife and I would sleep better knowing they had SS3. They both live in Chicago.

If I lived in Chicago, I'd

If I lived in Chicago, I'd want nearly ANY system to help protect me!

I'm thinking the Smith and

I'm thinking the Smith and Wesson system! (lol)

Now now, Chicago is a great

Now now, Chicago is a great city. Lots of positive things going for it but like any large city, I wish they would let me gift them a SS3 system.

Chicago is famous for being

Chicago is famous for being Gestapo-ish about the Smith & Wesson system. Can't have it, or if you do have it, must register it yearly, and if you are even a day late registering, it is confiscated.

Which obviously does not bode

Which obviously does not bode well for their murder stats and probably why criminals with guns out number citizens with guns. Sorry off topic.

I too ordered the SS3 and

I too ordered the SS3 and requested a verizon module. But, they sent the vodaphone. I will be calling SS about this.

^^ I think they're pretty

^^ I think they're pretty much ignoring the comment section on the order form for module requests. Thus why I emphasized to call them when you order.

For anyone interested this is

For anyone interested this is the response I got back to an e-mail I sent to Simplisafe. Ryan's been around a long time so i'm taking this as gospel:

Thank you for reaching out to us. I'd be happy to assist with your questions!

1.) The New Simplisafe System will work for monitoring with only a cellular connection. However, to perform firmware updates, it will need to have access to WiFi to complete the upgrade. You could even bring the Base Station to a place with WiFi just for the upgrades.

2.) If you do not have monitoring, your New Simplisafe System will still receive updates (which would have to be connected to a WiFi netork to install).

If you need any further assistance, please don't hesitate to write back or give us a call at 1-800-548-9508. We're open 7 days a week - 9am to Midnight EST.

SimpliSafe, Inc.

How often will this system

How often will this system need to upgrade itself? everyone is freaking out over wifi but just take ur base station to the nearest hot spot (they are everywhere) or a friends house, when an upgrade is announced. . I mean it does a relatively simple task.

I've been on ss2 for the past 4 3.5 years (give or take) and called to ask about an upgrade or a discount and was told there is no discount whatsoever for current customers. I have a relatively large ranch and all of my windows and doors are on one floor so i use all of my 41 sensors. I thought that being a customer with such a large system i would get even a 10% discount coupon like i used for my original purchase.

There are other flaws (besides what everyone has been talking about lately) in the system that are never really discussed that Most professionally installed security systems have as standard. I wont list them on an online forum for security reasons but anyone with a little bit of security knowledge will know what they are. If you want to know what they are send me your email and I'll tell you. Anyways...overall i'm happy with this product. i just hope that they come up with some sort of promotion for long term customers.


Taking the base station to a

Taking the base station to a wi-fi hotspot is just ....incredibly inconvenient. You would also have to take your keypads with your base station to that hotspot, since the keypads need the updates as well, and you need them to prompt for the update/downloads.

Plus, with the base gone,

Plus, with the base gone, your house is not alarmed, and that is not as good as it might sound :-)

Plus, everyone will know you

Plus, everyone will know you have simplisafe when you go out for your latte :)

I concur...I will say this

I concur...I will say this knowing the vulnerabilities with the ss2 system...I do not use the signs that they gave us when purchased. I use a generic sign that my house has a monitored alarm system that I bought of amazon. The last thing I want is someone knowing what i'm using and lookin up on youtube how to disable it. I understand SS wants to advertise their product...but knowing there are issues they shouldn't be doing that.

My father took my signs. Hes

My father took my signs. Hes old school and says thats a good enough alarm system for him.

I dont use signs at all, but I have a pretty extensive outdoor camera system that are pretty obvious so people know they are being watched if they approach. I think most people assume if there are cameras there is also an alarm.

My father took my signs

My father took my signs

you never want to put up signs announcing what manufacturer of an alarm system you have, its good he took them. It gives the burglars a piece of the puzzle. Get generic alarm signs or window stickers on ebay.

^ Most thieves know a

^ Most thieves know a generic sign when they see one - it won't deter them from taking a risk/trying to break in. Drug addicts, for example, don't care about anything, including the risk to themselves.

There is a good article

There is a good article (although a few years old) in the Simplisafe Blog on this. Also discussed in many threads over the years, pro and con, and everywhere in between. For myself, formerly a no sign camper, now a generic sign with old Brink decals here and there.

You can usually purchase any

You can usually purchase any alarm company's stickers/signs second-hand on eBay. Likewise, it should be pretty easy to re-sell your SS signs on eBay for a similar price. We put up signs and stickers for a popular alarm company used by several in our neighborhood. So by looking at our house you can tell that we probably have an alarm, but we're not signaling exactly which alarm.