On the Inside
- By Ralph C. Jensen
- Apr 01, 2012
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
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.