Link Interactive ReviewBy - 12/17/2018
Our Overall Rating
The Bottom Line
We’re really going to dig into all things Link below, but if you’re a bottom line person, let me lay it out for you here:
Link gets a thumbs up. It’s a good system and fairly priced. I recommend the Gold Plan for $35.99 per month as it adds remote monitoring via the mobile app. I do not recommend paying for Elite as I’m not a big fan of Alarm.com’s camera system and that is the only benefit added by Elite.
The system ships with the second generation Go!Control panel, but I really like the third generation. They sell this as an upgrade if you are willing to pay for it.
Now, let’s get started…
Link Interactive Equipment & Protection
Link’s professional monitoring service is 5-Diamond rated and UL-listed. The equipment they use is 100% wireless. It relies on a cellular signal, which is the most secure signal possible as there are no wires to cut. It is dependent on power but includes a battery backup to keep the equipment running in the event of a power outage.
To get started with Link you will first need to choose a monitoring plan and then equipment. So let’s start from the top.
All About Monitoring
Monitoring plans from Link are few. They offer three straightforward options including Standard, Gold, and Elite.
Their basic plan is called Standard. For $30.99 per month, it offers 24/7 professional monitoring. The next level is Gold. For $35.99 per month, it includes pretty much everything you could ever want from a home security system, including two-way voice and smart home services. Finally, for $5.00 more per month, you can jump to Elite which adds video monitoring.
|24/7 Monitoring for Burglaries, Fires, and Life Safety|
|Crash and Smash|
|Remote Control Online & Via App|
|Interactive Alerts From Up to 10 Sensors|
|Light, Lock, and Temperature Automation|
|Live Video Streaming|
|Motion Activated Video Recording|
|Get Quote||Get Quote||Get Quote|
All About Equipment
Regarding equipment, Link tends to rely on third-party makers including 2GIG. 2GIG is a respected provider of home security technology. In fact, they claim to have the “largest installed base for home security and control systems anywhere.”
The most critical piece of equipment is the control panel which, as its name suggests, is responsible for controlling all of your connected devices and sensors. Link currently sells three control panels. I’ve tested one of them, but we will look at all three.
1. Go!Control Panel & Cell Module
Link’s primary panel is the Go!Control panel (pictured above). The all-in-one panel and home management solution is included with all of Link’s equipment packages.
Using cellular technology, Go!Control offers integrated, two-way voice and multiple arming options. It includes a backup battery and supports up to 32 user codes to monitor up to 48 wireless zones and 2 wired zones. The panel is fully responsive through voice and can communicate status, zone descriptions, alarms, and emergencies.
Finally, thanks to Link’s partnership with Alarm.com, their equipment is protected by Crash-and-Smash Protection technology. Using this technology, a soft signal is continuously sent to the monitoring center. If a burglar manages to crash or smash your control panel, this soft signal turns into a call for help.
2. Go!Control 3
If you can swing it, my suggestion is that you upgrade to the Go!Control 3 (GC3) for $200. I went hands-on with the upgraded panel during CES 2016 and felt that it offered a better overall experience.
As you can see in the picture above, the two panels are the same size, but the new panel has a larger LCD (7″) and an improved user interface. It’s also modular.
While a modular design may not mean much to you now, it might down the road. For example, when home security companies converted from 2G to 3G, some customers were forced to buy new equipment. With the GC3, Link can send you a new module, and you can swap out your panel’s old technology for new. The panel also future-proofs Wi-Fi capability, Z-Wave ability, and more.
3. Qolsys IQ Control Panel
Finally, Link sells the Qolsys IQ for $100. It’s a touchscreen panel with an easy-to-use interface. It also has built-in security features such as a camera that snaps photos whenever someone disarms your system or whenever there is an alarm event.
Qolsys IQ supports Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. However, not all devices that work with the Go!Control panels work with IQ. I do not recommend this panel.
Other Ways to Control Link
While the Go!Control Panel by 2GIG is the most common way to control your security system, there are other ways.
Let’s kick things off with the PADI Wireless Keypad – possibly one of the most efficient home security products of its kind. This device is an all-in-one system that enables users to safeguard their property against intruders by conveniently arming and disarming their home security systems. The keypad can be mounted next to your front or back door, a garage door, or any other areas in your home where you would like to have control over your security alarm. For example, the entrance to your master bedroom.
PADI works in conjunction with your 2GIG Alarm system and can be armed in STAY or AWAY mode. The two quick access emergency buttons may also come in handy in the event of a fire or any other panic emergency.
When looking at equipment on the Link site, you might notice the TS1-E with a separate mention of the TS1-Ekit and think…“What the heck?” These new wireless touchscreen keypads allow for convenient access to your home security system and smart home devices from any location in your house.
There is little difference between the two devices. However, the first touchpad you add to your system must be the TS1-Ekit, since it provides you with the required transceiver. The transceiver unit in the TS1-Ekit utilizes dual frequencies to eliminate interference, receiving 345 MHz signals from your control panel and conveying 900 MHz back to the keypad which is basically a way for these touchpads to send orders back to the Go!Control panel.
After you have added the TS1-Ekit, you can add up to three TS1-E wireless touchscreen keypads to your system. Using the TS1-E and the TS1-Ekit, you can gain complete control over your alarm system – arm, disarm, and receive notifications. Both devices are equipped to communicate with Z-Wave products in your home so you can control your thermostat, lights and door locks. Both are designed with a large full-color touchscreen, and both operate on 9-14VDC power. For those that don’t want to carry around a smartphone at home, these two touchpads make that possible.
Two other similar products are the remote panic button and the key ring remote. The remote panic button is an on-the-go personal security device that allows you to set off your alarm manually at any time, whereas the key ring remote provides a hassle-free solution for arming and disarming your home security system. Simply press the button for over 2 seconds to signal the control panel. Both devices can fit on your keychain and are small enough to fit in your pocket.
Unlike the remote panic button, the key ring remote can activate any Z-Wave products within range, such as outdoor lights — perfect for late nights. It allows you to alert the alarm monitoring station in emergencies and manually turn on the siren if needed. However, the remote panic button also has its perks. For instance, it comes with a water-resistant casing, which offers you more protection on rainy days. Both remotes come with a Panasonic CR2032 or equivalent lithium battery that can last for up to five years.
Link Sensors Compared
After selecting a panel, you will want to add sensors aimed at protecting your home.
Sensors are a key component of any home security plan. While they can be an expensive component, a correct understanding of sensor options and placement can lower your total cost of ownership. For example, a room with ten windows can probably be covered by one glass break sensor and a motion sensor instead of ten window sensors for a savings of $117.
Link’s security equipment lineup includes motion sensors, door/window sensors, glass break sensors, wireless keypads, and keychain remotes. They also have life safety equipment like fire/smoke alarms and CO detectors, home security cameras for extended security, and home automation products.
RE206 Tilt Sensor
The RE206 Tilt Sensor is a one-piece unit that can be mounted on tilting or roll up doors such as an overhead garage door. The tilt talks to your Go!Control and can detect when a door in your house is open past a 45-degree angle. It can be used for several different applications where tilting motion is used to generate a notification or an alarm. It can also remind you if you’ve left the garage door open or you can even use it on a regular door.
RE219 Home Disaster Sensor
Failed air conditioning units, broken pipes, and frozen pipes equal disaster. The RE219 Home Disaster Sensor is equipped with 2GIG wireless as well as wireless receivers to allow for water, heat, and freeze detection (Tri-Mode House Disaster Detection). It features a unique wireless ID for each function and alarm differentiation, so you’ll know just what the problem is.
GB1 Wireless Glassbreak Sensor
This glass break detector can detect the sound of breaking glass up to 15 feet away, possibly covering an entire section of your house. It uses dual shatter recognition technology to detect the sound and transmits a wireless RF signal to the control panel, up to 300 feet away.
Wireless Door/Window Sensor vs. the Wireless Recessed Door/Window Sensor vs. the ION-PLUNGER Wireless Door Sensor
Door sensors are perhaps the most flexible sensor type available. If you are looking for a sensor that isn’t an eyesore, the DW20R Recessed Door/Window Sensor and the DW10 Wireless Door/Window Sensor are the best options. They are small enough to be hidden in the shadow of your window, door frame, or any other object in the house that can open and close.
Both the DW20R and the DW10 work with a rare earth magnet and a sensor. The sensor will send a signal to the control panel when the position of the magnet changes, like if someone tries to open a monitored door.
The DW20R Recessed Sensor has a wireless signal range of 450 feet in open air. The DW10 Sensor has a wireless RF signal range of 350 feet. Both devices are battery powered.
Finally, the ION-PLUNGER Wireless Door Sensor is not much different. It also uses a magnet system and is also battery powered.
The mountable PIR-1 Wireless Passive Infrared Motion Sensor protects your home by using infrared technology to sense heat. In theory, this means that it should ignore your ceiling fan while focusing on living objects, like people. One sensor can cover a 35 x 30-foot area. If someone attempts to break in and tamper with the detector, you will be alerted immediately. And good news for all you pet lovers out there, this sensor is “pet-friendly” (for pets under 40 pounds at least).
Link frequently changes how they approach the sale of equipment. In the past, they sold packages, then they provided equipment credits, and now it seems like they are offering a base option with the ability to purchase additional equipment component-by-component.
Currently, they are offering all customers a control panel, three window stickers, and a yard sign. That’s it. To get the equipment package, you must be willing to sign a 3-year contract. While Link also offers shorter 1- or 2-year contracts, the longer contract is needed for free equipment.
- Upgrade To Go!Control 3 $200
- Door/Window Sensor $22
- Recessed Door Sensor $34
- Plunger-Type Wireless Door Sensor $37
- Bypass Door/Window Contact $26
- Panic Button $29
- Doorbell $30
- Interior Strobe/Siren $43
- Smoke/Heat/Freeze Sensor $66
- Carbon Monoxide Detector $80
- Smoke Detector Sensor $37
- Motion Sensor $53
- Key Ring Remote $24
- Tilt Sensor $40
- Glass Break Sensor $69
- Keypad $41
- Image Sensor (Smart Motion Sensor) $112
- Touchpad (Transceiver Included) $138
- Disaster Sensor $67
- Wireless Heat Detector $64
- FireFighter Module $55
While Link’s security equipment is reasonably priced and advanced, the downside is that it isn’t easy to setup. In speaking with the creators of the technology at CES, I’ve been told that the equipment was never designed to be self-installed. Though Link has done a lot to make it as simple as possible, it isn’t as easy as their competitors. However, I’ve been told that perhaps I tested a system that wasn’t properly pre-programmed. Another Link user has this to share,
I just got a system myself and everything worked out of the box.
Installing Link Interactive
On my quest to try out as many home alarm systems as possible, I have tested Link Interactive. A special thanks to the folks over at Link for sending out one of their systems for us to test.
When setting up your system, the first step is to assemble and mount the Go!Control Panel.
The panel has two options: a Desk Mount or a Wall Mount. Regardless of which you choose, a few tools and patience will be required. You’ll first need to remove the back panel using a Philips-head screwdriver.
If you plan to use the Desk Mount (Recommended)…
- Disconnect the power supply from panel
- Thread power-supply cord through the desk mount opening
- Reconnect the power-supply
- Reattach the back panel with Philips-head screw
- Snap desk mount into corresponding slots on back panel
While this is not as plug-and-play as some of the other systems I’ve tested, I do believe that with a little bit of patience, anyone, even those without handyman skills, can handle the process.
If you plan to Wall Mount the panel, the process is a little more complicated. You’ll need a power drill or some other way to put a hole in your wall for the antenna.
After removing the back panel,
- Get the antenna from behind the back panel and thread it through the opening
- Carefully pop off plastic tabs in the wire groove and thread power supply wire into the groove
- Pick your spot – By my measurements you need to be no more than 9′ from an outlet in order for the power cord to reach
- Mount the back panel to the wall
- Drill a hole on the wall behind the opening in panel
- Feed the antenna through the hole and let it hang inside the wall
- Reattached back panel
However, unless you feel comfortable drilling a 1/2 inch hole in your wall, I would suggest sticking with the desk mount option.
Power Up the Go!Control and Configure
Once the Go!Control is mounted, plug the power supply into an outlet and wait about 30 seconds for the system to connect to the cellular service. At this point, everything is self-explanatory. Anyone who can use a smartphone is more than qualified to set up, configure, and use the Link Go!Control system.
You’ll follow these steps to get going;
- Change Your Master Password
- Add Door & Window Sensors
- Add Motion Sensors
- Add Smoke Sensors
- Add Home Automation Devices (Lamp Modules, Thermostat, etc.)
Download and Setup Alarm.com App
Finally, you’re ready for the mobile app, aka Alarm.com app, installed on your smartphone and connected to your system.
But before that, you’ll need to go to Link’s website and create your account.
Once you’ve set up your online account, you’ll download the Alarm.com app and log in with the information you just created online.
Summary of Link’s Protection & Equipment Offering:
- 24/7 Monitoring for Burglaries, Fire, Carbon Monoxide, Extreme Temperatures, and Life Safety
- 2-Way Voice
- Crash and Smash Protection
- Multilingual Interface
- Self-Pinging System Makes Sure You Stay Connected
Link Interactive Home Automation
Link Security has partnered with Alarm.com to gain access to their mobile app and smart home services. Home automation is offered to Gold and Elite customers. In addition to home automation services, they offer interactive email alerts, text alerts, and remote control through their free mobile app.
Smart Home services can be controlled from the control panel or the app, assuming you have the right equipment. The app allows you to control your home security system and home automation equipment from your smartphone so long as you are connected to WiFi, 3G, or 4G wireless.
The app used is one of the highest rated mobile apps for home security, and it stays consistently top rated. I use the app with a different system, and the app works well, responds well, and stays connected even when performing tasks from a remote location without internet access. Alarm.com supports iOS, Android, Blackberry, and Windows phone users. There is also a web login and even an app for your Apple Watch, Apple TV, Pebble device, and your Kindle.
With Link Interactive, your lights can turn on before you get home at night, your temperature can adjust before you tuck in, and you can lock your doors from halfway around the world. Using their smart plug, you can also automate small appliances.
All of their automation capabilities can be linked through rules and be completely customized using Alarm.com software. As Link offers geofencing, you can create events or rules based on your location. For example, you might want your garage door to open when you’re near your house. You can even tie automation events back to home security events. For example, you can set your system to turn on the lights if your front door opens past midnight. To use these features, you need the right equipment. Below is a list of Link’s offered smart home devices with pricing.
- Kwikset SmartCode Deadbolt $202
- Kwikset SmartCode Lever $215
- Alarm.com Smart Thermostat $108
- 2GIG Smart Thermostat $85
- Lamp Module $25
- Garage Door Bundle $73
- LiftMaster Extra Door Sensor $40
- Z-Wave Light Bulb $21
- Yale Touchscreen Real Living Locks $204
- Danalock V3 Smart Deadbolt Lock $149
- August Smart Lock Pro $240
- Remote Temperature Sensor $23
- and more
Adding Home Security Cameras
Through Link, you can add interactive security cameras for an additional $5 per month ($40.99/month). This fee allows you to add up to four cameras to your security system. The system can support ten cameras in total, but you’ll pay an extra $5 more monthly for every four cameras added.
Live video footage can be viewed using your smartphone where you can also view and record video footage and scheduled video.
To make all of this happen, Link sells four home security cameras, a smart doorbell, and an image sensor. It’s important to note that though the system is cellular, home security cameras usually require broadband.
Alarm.com V721W Outdoor IP Wireless Camera with Night Vision $207
Link’s outdoor IP camera has a max resolution of 1280x800p. It’s equipped with night vision, allowing it to see up to 40 feet in the dark.
The CAM-HD100 camera is the only one of the four not made by Alarm.com. It is a 2GIG indoor camera that offers night vision, a customizable motion detector, and 720p resolution.
V521IR Wireless Fixed Camera with IR $134
The V521IR is a static indoor camera. It also has night vision and 720p resolution.
V620PT Indoor Wireless Pan Tilt Camera $279
Finally, the V620PT. This camera is the only indoor camera option that offers mechanical pan and tilt. You can pan the camera a full 350 degrees and tilt it 125 degrees. Like the others, it offers a 720p resolution.
On a related note, two of our favorite Link products will extend both your ability to see inside your home and make your cameras more intelligent: the image sensor and doorbell.
SkyBell HD Smart Doorbell $175
Skybell is a third-party smart doorbell. While they got off to a rocky start, they’ve improved their product line with the Skybell HD. When someone rings your doorbell, an alert will be sent to your phone. You can talk to your guest, tell them to go away, or let them in using your smart door lock. You can also set up the camera to detect motion to help you keep track of all the Amazon packages left on your doorstep…
Through Link, you have the choice of purchasing the Skybell HD or Slim Skybell. Both are $175.
DBELL 345 AKA Doorbell Security
This also seems like a good time to talk about the DBELL 345.
While similar to Skybell, the DBELL 345 is a smart doorbell WITHOUT video. The device connects to your Go!Panel to give you an entirely new level of protection and control over your home by sounding one of eleven chimes when someone rings the doorbell. With the increased demand for efficient home automation products, this wireless doorbell has stepped things up a notch.
One benefit the device has over other smart doorbells is that it allows for wireless installation. While you are installing the device in your home, keep in mind that it must be placed within a 350-foot range of the control panel. Beyond that, placement can get pretty creative as the DBELL 345 comes with a battery and a waterproof seal.
If you want, you can program the doorbell to illuminate Z-Wave lights when engaged. If an intruder approaches your door after midnight, the lights will automatically come on, startling the intruder and letting them know that you are aware of their presence. If you are planning to leave home for a vacation, this doorbell can also come in handy — notifying you via text message or email if an event is detected.
2GIG IMAGE1-Kit vs. the IMAGE1 Sensor vs. the PIR-1 Wireless Passive Infrared Motion Sensor
Now, let’s talk image sensors. The 2GIG Image-Kit and IMAGE1 sensors are motion sensors with cameras. The camera includes infrared flash to capture images when movement is detected.
When an image is uploaded, you will be notified via text message or email. You can also position the device at various angles so that it can capture snapshots of different areas in your home. Both devices allow you to schedule when you want the images to be taken. And bonus! The image sensor communicates via a cellular signal, no internet required.
Stream Video Recorder
Finally, let’s wrap up our discussion of cameras with the Stream Video Recorder.
While Link offers cloud storage for your cameras, they lack an option for continuous video recording. If this is important to you, the workaround is to purchase Alarm.com’s SVR. The SVR works a lot like a DVR or NVR, but it has a unique feature. When using a DVR or NVR, you can only view your recorded videos on-site. The SVR allows you to watch footage even when you’re not home through the Alarm.com app. The catch is that only Alarm.com cameras are compatible with the SVR, which means you can only use it with the outdoor camera, V512IR, and the pan-and-tilt indoor camera.
The SVR comes in two storage sizes. The 1TB version sells for $390 and the 2TB version for $520.
A Summary of Link’s Smart Home Service:
- Light, Lock, and Temperature Automation.
- Email and Text Alerts
- Geobased Interactive Features
- Video Surveillance
- Smart Schedule Activity Patterns
- Apps for Blackberry, Windows, Apple, Android, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and more
- Works with Amazon Alexa (Echo), August Lock, and Google Home
Customer Service & Support
Link Interactive has been in the industry for over 60 years. During that time, they’ve made customer service a priority. They hold an A+ rating with the BBB, multiple Angie’s List Super Service Awards, five stars with Alarm.com, and they are highly rated on multiple review sites.
Another reason to love Link is their lengthy return period. Many alarm companies will not let you return equipment at all, and your protection is actually through the FTC, which may allow for a three day return period. Other alarm companies offer return periods as short as 7 or 14 days and returning the system may incur a restocking fee. However, Link is so confident that you will enjoy their service that they allow you a full 30 days to try out the equipment. On top of that, the equipment is backed by a 3-year warranty.
A third reason to love Link is that they make moving easy. As the equipment is wireless and Link a nationwide provider, you can move and take your service and equipment with you without penalty.
Finally, Link will price lock your rate during your three-year contract.
One thing you should be aware of, however, is that they do have an early termination fee. If you decide to cancel your subscription mid-contract, you’ll pay 75% of the sum of your remaining term. For example, if you signed a 3-year contract at $35.99/month and canceled after two years, you would pay $323.97.
- A+ Rating with the BBB
- Online Live Chat & Support Videos
- 30 Day Risk-Free Trials
- Angie’s List Super Service Award Winner
- 1, 2, or 3-year Contracts
To get a FREE quote, visit their website at LinkInteractive.com or by calling 1-800-340-7727.
Link Interactive Customer Review