Meshing Innovations in Security Intrusion Systems
In any type of commercial setting it is essential to have a functional and reliable intrusion system to ensure the security of employees, customers, business assets and overall investments. The integration of such systems is facing greater challenges as security budgets shrink and the timeframe demands for installations tighten. As a result, innovations to the traditional hardwired approaches are being tackled wirelessly, and wireless intrusion systems are being recognized by many commercial enterprises as a faster-to-install, less expensive, easier-to-maintain, flexible intrusion solution.
Wireless intrusion detection devices send an alarm signal when there is an inappropriate entry or unusual activity in an area. Devices are typically independently placed at a variety of entry points including any sensitive location that requires additional monitoring, alleviating wires and conduit. The system is made up of transmitters to detect an open window or door, passive infrared motion sensors to detect uninvited guests, or glass-break sensors that indicate a broken window, door or display case.
Simply being wireless enables far less labor and, therefore, less cost — there aren’t any wires to run; just place the sensor and turn it on. It also allows for easy changes to the configuration at any time. The real innovation is in how these wireless devices can be effectively used in large commercial buildings as wireless mesh networking.
Operating an intrusion system through a mesh network is becoming increasingly popular. In the current marketplace there are a number of definitions and details about the infrastructure; however, much of today’s talk is based around two ideas:
- Mesh networking is a way to route data, and instructions between nodes or endpoints
- Wireless mesh is a wireless cooperative communication infrastructure among a massive number of individual wireless transceivers
“There’s some confusion regarding mesh networks,” says Chris Larcinese, vice president of sales and marketing at Inovonics. “Coupled with the abundance of wireless intrusion products and set-ups, it makes the selection and installation process seem like a daunting task. Simply put, a mesh network is an advanced way to transfer information that is reliable and scalable.”
When it comes to intrusion detection, the definition itself isn’t as important as the benefits mesh network provides: scalability, reliability and flexibility.
Expanding Scalable Options
In simplest terms, a wireless mesh network is designed with the growth of a business, a campus or a facility in mind. As additional applications — such as submetering, fire extinguisher monitoring and environmental sensors — converge in the same building, the mesh network can be leveraged to support these additional demands. For that to be a reality in wireless systems, greater intelligence has been built directly into the latest generation of infrastructure to manage those endpoints.
In addition to scaling the number of applications supported on a mesh network, scalability can also refer to the ability of extending the native range and the number of end devices beyond its initial design, allowing coverage of a large or growing facility. Advanced wireless technologies use an intelligent repeater network to create wireless coverage throughout the entire building.
As the desired areas of coverage for security and intrusion detection devices expand, the network can expand with it. Simply integrate additional repeaters into the infrastructure and it will automatically reconfigure itself to optimally include these new components. For example, on a municipal campus, when the number of buildings expands, the number of repeaters and endpoints can be adjusted requiring minimal labor hours, thus saving thousands of dollars. If offices or buildings are added to the campus or a department is physically moved, the network easily scales to accommodate the new endpoints. “Applications and equipment can be integrated into the wireless mesh network by simply mounting devices where they are needed,” says Doug Yarger, owner of Southcross, a security integrator in Houston. “This process doesn’t disrupt employees, their workflow or even the architecture itself.”
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