Ralph Jensen

On the Inside

We have a pretty diverse lineup of events to talk about in this month’s issue of Security Products magazine. We begin with our cover feature from Michael Derby, the founder and chief technology officer at AvaLAN Wireless.

Derby writes about four factors that must be considered for transmission range when deploying wireless technology. They include: transmit power, receive sensitivity, antenna gain and path loss.

Derby writes, “Knowing how strong the communication link is or just how close a system is to failure can be important in some situations. Link margin is a parameter that is used to measure how close the link is to failing.”

Transmit power represents the volume of the person speaking. Receive sensitivity represents the minimum volume required by a listener to discern the message.

Wireless technology is a very interesting part of the security industry, and Derby has included a couple of graphs to ensure a better understanding of distance involved in line-of-site conditions, where the path loss can be determined by using a mathematical formula. He also includes a graphic of construction materials and thicknesses and their approximate attenuation at 900 MHz.

We often take on the topic of perimeter security, but what about those locations that are literally out in the field where no one is in sight?

Rolland Trayte, the president and COO of Future- Sentry, writes about an automated system that detects and prevents potential criminal activity. Those kinds of sites include cell towers and accompanying cell sites where there is little to no traffic, but they have the potential to attract thieves who would steal copper or otherwise be involved in other criminal behaviors.

Corporations invest heavily in the security of cell tower sites to help maintain communications links from business to business, but they also support the upkeep of transmitters and receivers, digital signal processors, control electronics, and primary and backup electrical power sources.

Why copper? In a depressed economy, thieves will steal that which is quickest to get their hands on. Copper prices have skyrocketed, and there is a demand for the precious metal.

Trayte writes, “Unfortunately, this ‘quick fix’ leads to losses in the tens of thousands of dollars and, often, negatively impacts public safety. No only does theft cost businesses significant amounts of money, a telcom outage affects service to customers who rely on a company’s services for communication….”

It’s safe to say that first responders and other emergency services typically rely on wireless towers for both back-up and field communications. This also includes local municipal governments, law enforcement and public safety antennas.

To ensure criminal activity is kept to a minimum, including loss and damages, telecoms are investing in perimeter security, including video surveillance, barriers and fences. The best offense is a good defense, and employing access control is useful in making sure the right people have access to a facility, but even that can be overpowered by schemes of piggybacking, fraudulent access control cards and shared passwords.

Thankfully, there are new technologies designed to help security teams secure an infrastructure. Networked cameras can allow sharing of information freely between numerous locations, and networked access control systems can integrate video with access events for additional situational awareness.

On the copper theft side, cities across the nation are reviewing legislation to stem the tide of theft. It is hopeful that ordinances will place tougher penalties on dealers buying or selling stolen copper. In the San Francisco Bay Area, sellers and their goods are photographed; sellers are fingerprinted and will receive payment only after a three-day waiting period.

Inside this issue, we also publish a group of case studies that are particularly enlightening. For starters, Matt Krebs, at Axis Communications, takes a look at creative uses for hosted video surveillance.

Krebbs writes, “The technology behind the scenes should be seamless to the user. Video is streamed via the Internet and stored off-site at a highly secure data center. Users can securely access the video at any time from any connected device via a customized Web portal.

“And, gone are the days of worrying about maintenance costs, upgrades and associated reliability issues of DVR systems. All these services are provided as part of the hosted package.”

Kim Rahfaldt, AMAG Technologies, looks into the future of medical facility security with a case study on the Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, N.J. The medical center has recently undergone a massive expansion, including the integration of a simplified access control employee registration process.

In another medical facility security integration story, Samuel Shanes of Talk-a-Phone writes about the integration of call boxes at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

Simply put, Parkland wanted to find a solution that integrated well with existing security systems as well as what may come in the future, plus the facility wanted to find a system that would cover access control, mass notification and basic emergency communication.

Parkland is rebuilding and, as far as security is concerned, appears to be rebranding with new access gates, mass notification and other security features.

“We researched a lot of different companies to find the one that integrated best with all of our systems,” said Dan Birbeck, lieutenant with the Dallas County Hospital District Police.

This article originally appeared in the April 2012 issue of Security Today.


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