ADT Pulse vs. ADT Command and Control: What’s the Difference?

Thanks to Command and Control, ADT sees the 3G sunset as an upgrade opportunity, rather than a 3G-replacement burden. Here’s how the platform differs from Pulse.

ADT Pulse vs. ADT Command and Control: What’s the Difference?

Jacob Menke of Zions Security reviews new ADT Command and Control, noting user-replaceable cellular radios and RF sensors with 4x range.

Last week, ADT announced it would be replacing its Pulse platform, launched back in 2010, with the new ADT Command and Control. The “Command” portion is the alarm and automation panel, while “Control” is the platform and app.

Powered by Icontrol, Pulse garnered some 2.6 million subscribers, or roughly 40% of all ADT residential alarm customers. Its replacement, ADT Command and Control, is powered by

The transition to didn’t really make the news, but it’s important. acquired Icontrol in 2017, and ADT agreed to move its SHaaS business to the new provider for at least five years.

At some point, would have to abandon the original Icontrol platform powering 2.6 million Pulse systems. But what would the transition look like? A flip-of-the-switch to convert existing ADT customers to the engine? Or a wholesale move to new hardware and system-wide architecture optimized for

The two companies chose the latter approach with ADT Command — a new security and automation system built from the ground up to exploit’s existing platform and technological roadmap.

That means must now maintain the original Icontrol platform to support existing Pulse subscribers for some time, while launching and nurturing a new platform for all new ADT Command customers.

Some 6,000 ADT Command systems have been installed already in select regions, but ADT plans to roll out the new solution nationwide by the end of the month. The panels are manufactured by Resideo, formerly Honeywell.

New ADT Command Is ‘Dream’ Panel

ADT has never really offered an all-in-one panel that looks and operates like those of its competitors.

For several years, 2Gig, Qolsys, Interlogix, Honeywell (now Resideo) and others have offered self-contained systems featuring a full-fledged security system with home automation capabilities, back-up battery, cellular and network radios, siren and touchscreen interface in a single box to be slapped on a wall by the front door.

Meanwhile, ADT Pulse initially comprised an Internet gateway added to a standard security system, with an optional touchscreen interface for monitoring and control. Today, the architecture is still employed with compatible alarm panels from Honeywell and DSC.

Eventually, ADT launched a self-contained panel called Total Security, which offered the fundamentals, but no touchscreen interface. Importantly, it was ADT’s first offering with IP-based alarm communications (with cellular back-up).

Now ADT follows the herd with a touchscreen-enabled self-contained system. Significantly, ADT Command is ADT’s first panel with dual-path IP/cellular communications, enabling the product to use the fastest communications method for any given alarm. ADT Pulse has never supported IP-based alarm communications, only cellular and POTS (plain old telephone service).

“Honestly, it [ADT Command] is almost the panel that dealers have always dreamed of,” says Jacob Menke, founder of Utah-based Zions Security, an ADT authorized dealer.

VIDEO: Zions’ Jacob Menke reviews ADT Command and Control

He tells SSI sister publication CE Pro his company is “glad to finally have an ADT option that can almost compete” with modern-day alternatives.

In a blog post, Menke likens ADT Command to Qolsys IQ Panel 2 and Honeywell Lyric, both of which Zions offers to its clients.

Menke appreciates a few hardware features of ADT Command, like a front-facing camera on the touchscreen, which can snap photos of the user when a system is disarmed, maybe not at launch but eventually. (Was it actually the daughter … or her boyfriend?) The panel supports more sensors than previously, with two-way encryption to boot. It offers and supports more secondary keypads, as well.

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About the Author


Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration.

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8 Responses to “ADT Pulse vs. ADT Command and Control: What’s the Difference?”

  1. Nate says:

    Unlike pulse, command program is not programmed to communicate door locks with sensors through. Please visit this concern and update lock type devices with sensor communications to locks just like you have sensor communications with light type devices through automation rule setup.

  2. Vicky Cook says:

    I have ADT PLUS , I was told due to me coming back to ADT they would install the new upgrade keypad touchscreen Monitor, know There Reneging on there offer

  3. Vicky Cook says:

    I was told by ADT DALLAS I WAS ABLE TOO Receive the upgraded touchscreen control panel due to returning back to their company. I have it all on paper with a signature and they’re on their reneging on their offer

  4. Tater says:

    ADT has taken a step backwards with Command. It doesn’t have 1/2 the programming features that Pulse has.

    I got ADT Command installed a couple of months ago and I am very disappointed in the lack of programmability. It doesn’t allow much flexibility or strong IFTTT.

    For instance, I have garage door controllers that work on Command. I’d like to have them close 15 minutes after the system is armed away just in case I or a guest who is not on my geofencing left them open. The program DOES allow a rule that will close them when armed, but, it does so immediately. There is do delay feature. Pulse has delay features.

    Or, if you want to have the garage doors close automatically at 1:00 AM every night just to be safe, you can’t do it. Pulse allows for this.

    There is limited IFTTT programming. For instance, on the Pulse system at another house, if Light A turns on we also want Lights B & C to turn on. ADT Command won’t do this.

    I expected Command to be better than Pulse…It’s like stepping back more than a decade.

  5. Jerry says:

    Pulse is way better then Command ! Here is a huge problem with command all of your cameras are programmed into your home WIFi network. So easy to hack. Pulse offers a Ihub which the cameras are programmed to. That a hacker can’t see because the IHub produces its own WiFi making your pulse cameras invisible on your WiFi network. I know this because I have to fix these systems. Adt has gone backwards and I think they are selling out your security to use a unsecured platform. In closing stock with pulse adt still offers it. Pulse is more secure

  6. Matt says:

    Just talked to a tech that updated a few of my cameras and I turned down an upgrade to Command from Pulse because the IFTTT issue is still present as of the date of this posting.

  7. Ben says:

    I had a Pulse system for five years, moved, and had ADT tell me they’re not installing Pulse anymore and Command was my only option in my new home. It feels buggy and dumbed-down, and I am disappointed in the lack of programming flexibility. I feel stuck and disappointed. I’m going to call ADT and ask if there’s any way possible to swap this for a Pulse system.

  8. Joe says:

    My ADT Pulse System is a hoot. First, I live in a small, privately owned (55+) retirement community composed mostly of mobile homes and a few ‘brick and mortar’ homes. I live in a mobile home and have two other structures adjacent that I own and I rent the lot everything is parked on. Without going into too much detail, I upgraded to ADT Pulse from a very basic Phillips Magnavox security system that came installed in the mobile home from the factory.

    A number of issues over the years. Consulted with Law Enforcement and my homeowner’s insurance – their advice was to remove my property from the area – an expensive proposition, now that I’m actually retired. 6 months after the system upgrade, My Pulse system went down for about 10 days while I was out of state.

    When service finally returned, my neighbors had largely ‘disappeared’ except for one, meaning my 7 external cameras now only recorded one neighbor along with the usual service vehicles entering and leaving the area. Loads of continuing discrepancies including vandalism and theft/unauthorized entry. System Log shows ‘no activity’ after these ‘events’.

    Dealing with ADT has been a hoot too – I’ll just keep what I have for the moment as I’m not convinced Command/Control is any better.

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