Boosting Legacy Infrastructure

Boosting Legacy Infrastructure

Networking will enhance capabilities for communication and monitoring functions

Boosting Legacy Infrastructure
The transition of existing physical security systems, such as fire and burglar alarm or video surveillance systems, to the next generation of technology has never been easier or more affordable than it is today. Using relatively inexpensive devices that act as transparent bridges, legacy systems can be network connected to provide enhanced capabilities for communication and monitoring functions to create an improved security and safety environment.

A typical security system is doing its job when it generates an alarm. The alarm and accompanying serial data stream is routed to auxiliary relays and eventually the information is acted upon. For example, a burglar alarm triggers a phone call to a central station, resulting a call to the local police and a call list of management staff. Going through the various protocols can often take between 20 to 30 minutes before a manager is informed of the situation.

By upgrading the system with network connectivity devices, the alarm and data stream is passed through a high-speed Ethernet network for faster communication and response. The alarms can be programmed to instantly trigger emails and text messages to mobile devices and, with authorized access to Internet routing, the information can be sent anywhere in the world in seconds.

The need for affordable network connectivity solutions for legacy security systems has led to the development of products like American Fibertek’s Net I/O series. The company’s portfolio of Net I/O products was designed specifically to optimize performance and capability of legacy systems with cost-effective network technology upgrades. The Net I/O series provides network connectivity for alarm contact in, auxiliary relay out and a full duplex serial-data channel. Alarm contacts generated at one location can trigger auxiliary outputs anywhere on the network. For the first time, physical contacts no longer have any distance limitations.

Devices are easily configured through their own Web server using any common Web browser. Four user-programmable data ports for RS-232 or RS-485 serial communication are designed to carry information from remotely located point of sale (POS), access-control systems and alarm panels. Three set-up pages are available, including network alarm and auxiliary set-up pages. Configurations can be set for normally open or closed alarms, and for text messaging and email address notifications upon alarm triggers. User entry fields for a name and location allow multiple devices to be easily identified.

Data also can be transmitted to NVRs and servers located anywhere on the network. However, without a router to the Internet, the signals would all be limited to the local area network (LAN). With Internet access via routers,' these signals could be sent anywhere across the country or the world.

A serial data channel from a legacy system connected to the Net I/O allows that stream to be transmitted in standard Internet protocol RFC2217. There are shareware software packages that can add RFC2217 serial ports to personal or work computers, connecting this data stream to anyplace with network access. Many software packages for IP video contain drivers for this type of network data stream, allowing further integration into modern systems.

Today, there is no reason why tight budgets and limited funding could or should prevent legacy-type systems from taking advantage of information-age connectivity. With minimal investment, there are ways to bring these systems onto the network and access the speed of the modern information age.

This article originally appeared in the May 2013 issue of Security Today.

If you like what you see, get more delivered to your inbox weekly.
Click here to subscribe to our free premium content.

Digital Edition

  • Security Today Magazine - October 2019

    October 2019

    Featuring:

    • Expanding Cybersecurity Solutions
    • The Mighty PoE
    • Theft on Wheels
    • Smart City Technologies
    • Quality Control is Everything

    View This Issue

  • Environmental Protection
  • Occupational Health & Safety
  • Infrastructure Solutions Group
  • School Planning & Managmenet
  • College Planning & Management
  • Campus Security & Life Safety