WANs, LANs and Wireless Mesh

When burglars broke into a jewelry store in Hemet , Calif. , they thought their entrance through the wall of a vacant business next door and destroying the burglar alarm control panel would give them carte blanche to the store's valuables. Ten minutes...

As a consequence of all these recent innovation, however, the wired and wireless infrastructure life cycles have not been synchronized, according to Jean-Luc Ronarch, product line manager, Wireless LAN, Alcatel-Lucent, Murray Hill , N.J.

“Wireless networks are deployed and upgraded at a far more rapid pace than wired networks,” Ronarch said. “This is why successful and cost-effective wireless deployments have been overlays, meaning the wireless infrastructure is deployed independently over an existing wired network. As wireless innovation continues at a rapid pace, we can anticipate that this will remain the case for some time.”

According to Ronarch, system integrators must be aware that security cannot be achieved through technology alone. “A clear understanding of how ISO 27001/27002 Information Security Information System (ISMS), COBIT, X.805 frameworks can be implemented is essential. So is understanding your customer's security policy and choosing the security solutions that will enable the customer to implement their security policy in practice. Understanding your customer's business objectives, risk management strategy/objectives, regulatory or compliance requirements will assist in the choice and integration of security solutions well-aligned with your customers' objectives.”

More integrators are looking to free themselves and their customers from the constraints of hardwired systems. However, that doesn't mean wireless is a single solution.

Wireless continues to be mixed and matched with other types of connectivity, hardware and software to custom tailor the application. “Wireless can be easily mixed with wired connections and they compensate for each other,” said Felix Zhao, CTO of Azalea Networks, Milpitas , Calif. “For example, a notebook today typically has both Ethernet and a wireless interface (e.g., WiFi, 2G/3G). When there is a wired interface available, such as DSL or a cable modem, the notebook can use that wired interface to connect to the Internet. When the notebook is on the go or there is no wired connection available, it can use its wireless connection if it is within a service area,” he said. “But the bottom line here is that wireless mesh can cut the costs of video surveillance deployment by as much as 90 percent.”


Video connections

In additional to traditional burglar and fire alarm signaling, wireless is helping bring camera surveillance across a vast landscape. Cost savings in digging, trenching and other labor are critical to the deployment of wireless and a major selling point. Flexibility is also key with regards to using a wireless infrastructure, according to Cosimo Malesci, sales manager at Fluidmesh Networks in Boston . Fluidmesh recently deployed a video surveillance project with an area integrator, MSE Electronics, at the Rhode Island Housing Authority in Warwick .

The goal of the project was to protect residents with video surveillance at five of its housing complexes. Five sites sit in a 10 square mile area, within one to three miles of each other.

“The wireless mesh network provided the most cost-effective solution allowing the Housing Authority to create a connection between the complexes, which have an average of 15 buildings apiece,” Malesci said. “Each complex was equipped with an antenna and DVR. Every DVR corresponds to one to five cameras translating into almost a one-to-one ratio of camera to DVR to antenna.”

Municipal wireless networks are some of the hottest markets out there. The Bodrum Police Department in Turkey recently commissioned the construction of a citywide wireless video surveillance network, using Proxim's Tsunami™ MP.16 3500 licensed band WIMAX radios as the wireless backhaul to connect over 70 video cameras. The deployment is an initiative by Turkey 's Department of the Interior to roll out video surveillance across the entire country. The wireless system integrator on the job was STM.