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...


“Now that wireless broadband networks have proven themselves time and time again to provide at least the same performance of wired telecom infrastructure at a fraction of the cost, we are seeing the demand for wireless to enable video surveillance networks skyrocket,” said Humberto Malave, vice president, Proxim Wireless. “As a result, critical video surveillance networks like this one in Bodrum are able to be deployed much quicker and independent of any wired backhaul limitations. This enables police departments and public safety organizations to put the cameras where the crime is,” he said.

Wireless has evolved to become multi-service and multi-purpose and can lower overall operating costs for a facility, according to Stephen Rayment, chief technology officer, BelAir Networks in Kanata , Ontario . BelAir's wireless networking solutions are built on the multi-service architecture for Wi-Fi, WiMAX, 4.9GHz, 5.9GHz and 4.4GHz spectrum bands.

“Wireless and wireline are somewhat complementary,” Rayment said. The key strengths of wireless mesh are not only cost savings but they can also be more resilient. With mesh, all nodes are linked and are smart enough to find the transmission path if one happens to go down. The redundancy is built in. With mesh the signal reroutes so it goes through. There's also inherent scalability in the modes and switches and mesh has a high capacity, low latency and great scalability. After all, what's the sense in deploying a system if you can't expand it as necessary?”

BelAir recently deployed a solution at the Pelican Marina Residences and Pelican Resort Club in St. Maarten that combined guest Wi-Fi and networked security cameras on the same wireless network. “The one wireless network provides great Wi-Fi service to guests and saved the resort the $100,000 it would have cost to connect video security cameras with traditional cabling,” said Rich Drinkard, IT operations manager, Royal Resorts Group.

Wireless offers a host of solutions to security integrators and its customers—in a variety of configurations and applications. It can be used for traditional burglar and fire alarm signaling as well as to connect video cameras and foster remote connectivity and protected premises monitoring. It's the future of the industry—and it's here now.

 

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From 3G to 4G

The shift from 3G to 4G is coming, sooner than later and wireless operators are preparing. While no one has officially defined what this next and fourth generation wireless network will be, the term 4G is simply a designation at this point. Nearly 10 years ago the International Telecommunication Union defined a 3G technology capable of data rates up to 2 mbps for stationery or walking users with at least 384 Kbps in a low-speed moving vehicle and 144 Kbps for a high-speed moving vehicle. Just what will 4G be? No one knows for sure right now, except that the 3G and 4G technologies will co-exist and even work together as the next generation is deployed.

 

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The ‘LAN' and Short of Wireless Security

Apart from physical terrorism, one of the greatest threats to industry infrastructure, military installations and all types of businesses is information theft. The need to keep data LANs secure from intruders who could easily tap into cable has become as vital today as protecting tangible and financial assets.

“When it comes to LANs, the cryptographic solution is costly,” said Duane Thompson, general manager of Fiber SenSys LLC, Hillsboro, Ore. “With the cryptographic approach to LAN security you run data through a computer algorithm, send the encrypted data down the line, then undo the encryption, or computer algorithm. Therefore, your system is limited to the speed at which the cryptographic computers can encode and decode the data.”

To avoid those cost and performance drawbacks in LAN applications, Fiber SenSys recently applied a perimeter protection technology that the firm developed over a decade ago along with its fiber optic cable supplier, Optical Cable Corporation (OCC), Roanoke , Va.

Like perimeter security systems, the applications for LAN security today are growing. “Ten years ago, network security began to take on serious importance,” Thompson says. “But the dollars lost by corporate America were very marginal in those days compared to today's potential losses. Lost assets could include trade secrets, ID theft and customer information.”
– Ed Sullivan, technical writer, Hermosa Beach , Calif.

 

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Opportunities for Wireless

Think outside the box and you'll see tons of new and upstart installation opportunities for wireless.