19 Feb 2018
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The NetworX line of alarm systems has survived multiple business purchases to make it to today where it is owned and manufactured by Interlogix. NetworX is a hardwired hybrid system, very similar to the Honeywell Vista and DSC PowerSeries. This means that in its base configuration out of the box it is a hardwired system. But the panels are modular which allows you to add whatever keypads and other modules that you need to meet the requirements that you have, including adding wireless capability. This makes the NetworX line highly customizable and extremely flexible to fit perfectly just about any installation.
Which NetworX model do I need?
There are four models of NetworX alarm panels: NX-4, NX-6, NX-8, and NX-8E. Each one has the same basic features pretty much. They all use the same programming process, the same wiring structure, et cetera. There are just a couple key areas that will help the average person pick between the different models.
The first and usually most important difference is the number of zones. Each panel comes with a different number of zones on the main board. But also each panel can be expanded to a different total maximum number of zones. The NX-4 is the smallest of the four panels. It has terminals for 4 hardwired zones and it can be doubled by adding 4 more zones for a total of 8. These can be hardwired or wireless zones. This model is definitely designed for small applications, such as an apartment or small home, where only a few sensors are required to secure the premises. The NX-6 is the next panel up with 6 hardwired zones on the main board. You may be seeing a pattern here in the model naming process. The NX-6 can be expanded to 12 hardwired zones, but with wireless it can do up to 16 zones. This is the most complicated of the models. For example if you needed to do 14 zones, you could do 12 or less of them hardwired, but at least 2 would need to be wireless. The NX-8 has, you guessed it, 8 zones onboard. But the total possible zones, hardwired or wireless, jumps up to 48. This makes it more widely applicable for most homes. And some people will choose to get it over the previous 2 models even if they only need 7 or 8 zones for the simplicity of having all 8 zones available right on the panel. The last, and largest, of the NetworX line is the NX-8E. I like to think the ‘E’ stands for ‘Extra.’ It still has the 8 onboard zones that the NX-8 has, but instead of the measly 48 zones it can do a very impressive 192 zones. This makes this the largest, in number of zones, system we have.
Another possible factor that could go into your decision on which panel, is the number of partitions. Partitions, for those who aren’t sure, are essentially a separate arming area. Almost like a completely separate alarm system, but still running off the one main circuit board. It’s often used for people that have something like a shop or garage that is not necessarily attached to the main house. The NX-4 cannot have a second partition. Which based on its size is not surprising. The NX-6 can do 2 partitions. The NX-8 and the NX-8E can both do up to 8 partitions.
What kind of keypads can be used with the NetworX?
There are quite a few NetworX keypad options available and you can mix and match to meet your needs as well as budget. We always recommend having an LCD style keypad. These keypads allow for some nice functionality and user interface in the day to day operation of the system as well as in the initial setup. The NX-148E and the NX-148ERF are LCD full-message keypads. So why do we recommend this style? The first is that you can really save yourself a lot of headaches in the programming process. Since we sell to DIY customers, anything that makes the setup of the alarm system easier to install for someone that’s not trained on is something that we’ll always be looking for. With the NX-148E you will be able to see prompts on the screen so that you can see what’s already programmed and where you’re at in programming. If you don’t have one, you’ll be programming blind. Even for people that program all the time, it’s not ideal. The difference between the NX-148E and NX-148ERF is that the NX-148ERF has a built-in wireless receiver. Another keypad that we like is the NX-1820E. It’s a nice looking, small touchscreen keypad. It’s also incredibly affordable for a touchscreen. However, it is just designed as an arming and disarming station.
What modules will I need to add to the NetworX?
Possibly none, if you don’t count keypads. There are a couple of very common modules though.
The first is a wireless receiver: NX-548E. This is a 48 zone wireless receiver. It gives you access to the full lineup of Interlogix wireless sensors. They have pretty much everything you might be looking for in a wireless version: motion detectors, contacts, glass break detectors, smoke detectors, et cetera. And some of those will have multiple models so that you can find the sensor that will meet your exact needs.
The other very common module is the NX-216 / NX-216E zone expansion module. If you were wondering how to increase the panel’s hardwired zone capabilities to reach towards that maximum, this is how. It can add up to 16 zones per module. And you can add multiple of them so that if you have the NX-8E board, you can get up to that 192 zones. The NX-216E zone expander should be used with the NX-8E where as the non E version can be used with the other models.
Another very common module is a communicator. Now that people are using landline phones less and less, the built-in dialer that the NetworX panels have is not used nearly as much. Instead people are opting for internet and cellular alarm communicators. We’ll cover a few models in the next question.
What are my monitoring options?
We break monitoring down to 3 main categories with some definite crossover as far as features go. The first and simplest is local sounder only. Usually in this case people will use external sirens as well as internal sirens so that hopefully the intruder will be scared off and the neighbors will be notified. This can be used with the other 2 options and usually is.
The second option is traditional central station monitoring. This can be done through the phone dialer or a separate IP or cellular communicator. With this option, alarm signals are sent to a central station. The central station will then call you as well as dispatch police, fire, or medical as necessary. This is a great option in many locations for 24/7 peace of mind.
Self-monitoring is the final option. To self-monitor you will need to be able to receive the alarm signals directly on your phone. There’s a couple of great ways to do this on the NetworX. The first is with an Alarm.com account. You would need an Alarm.com cellular communicator such as the NX-592E-GSM-ZX-AT or NX-592E-CDMA-ZX-VZ . Alarm.com is a smart home security platform that allows you to integrate your alarm system with home automation and video surveillance. We have different service plans available depending on the features that you are looking for. With it you can receive custom notifications of alars, trouble conditions, and even non-alarm events. iPDatatel communicators are another option available for the NetworX line to self-monitor. They have internet communicators (BAT WIFI) as well as cellular communicators (CAT CDMA). There are multiple other options available from iPDatatel as well. With their service you can do some basic remote control of the alarm system as well as get text, email, or automated voice notifications for alarms. Both Alarm.com and iPDatatel can be used to communicate to a central station as well.