This month’s focus is on products which use the three most important technologies affecting our industry: cellular, VoIP, and networks. Communication issues are a concern right now and will be for the coming years because:
The impending “AMPS Sunset” still occupies the industry’s frontal lobe as the association attempts to stop the clock on the impending shutdown of the analog cellular network. You know, AMPS is analog cellular used by the majority of legacy alarm controls for backup reporting.
Jupiter Research predicts 12.1 million U.S. households will be using VoIP by 2009, while Osterman Research predicts that 45 percent of U.S. businesses and organizations will be using VoIP by the end of 2007. Network industry insiders predict that traditional phones will be gone in five to ten years, replaced by “softphones.”
What does this mean for the millions of homes and businesses whose traditional security system relies on dedicated terrestrial phone lines and the security professionals who provide them? It seems pretty obvious: big changes.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), where “IP” is one of the two protocols associated with Ethernet and the other routable topologies. (“Protocol” in this case does not refer to how many steps you stay behind royalty at the reception, but rather governs how networks organize and transmit data.)
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is the suite of communications protocols used to connect hosts on the Internet. This technology was originally developed by the U.S. Department of Defense in the 60s. TCP/IP uses several protocols, the two main ones being TCP and IP. “Host” is another name for a network appliance such as a computer with a NIC (Network Interface Card). TCP establishes a virtual connection between a destination and a source. IP addresses the data and puts it into the system, so together TCP/IP establishes a connection and enables the transfer of data. In actuality, TCP/IP refers to several protocols, but in the interest of keeping things simple, the term “TCP/IP” or even just “IP” is generally used to refer to several sub-protocols.
The important feature of these protocols is that they are routable, meaning the data may be addressed and transferred between networks. Networks are either wired or wireless, and the virtual connections you use every day routinely bridge over from hardwired to wireless networks, and then back again in order to enable communications.
The OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) model helps both network designers and users to better understand and troubleshoot networks and network appliances. There are seven “layers” in the OSI model, and you will frequently hear them mentioned in technical literature.
The OSI model has been compared to the addressed envelope. The hierarchy of how you organize the address on an envelope is analogous to the way a network determines how to get the data from one point to the other, and then it opens the envelope and disseminates its contents. The address on the envelope is the data “header” where the protocols are contained, and the envelope is the packet (data payload). The different devices used in networks such as routers, hubs, switches and bridges, operate at different layers of the OSI model in order to get the data through at each layer.
It is in the best interest of security dealer integrators learn about IP networks. In the meantime, here are some new products to make your communication complexities a bit simpler.
Bosch Security Systems’ Conettix D6100 Communications Receiver/Gateway provides alarm communications over two public switched telephone network (PSTN) lines, enabling higher security and greater convenience than single-line receivers. The second line can be used as a backup and allows the D6100 to accept reports from more accounts so more data gets through and there are fewer busy signals.
The D6100’s compact, economical design is well-suited for a variety of dealer and end-user applications, such as small central stations, gated communities, or security offices.
Its digital signal processing analyzes incoming signals for more reliable and more flexible performance. It accepts signals even if they don’t match the expected acknowledge tone, so signals are more likely to be received and processed from panels that are programmed incorrectly and from systems that may be having difficulty communicating.
The D6100 provides two-way audio, and connects to an automation system, programming software, and a printer. It also features two programmable inputs and outputs and a menu-driven keypad for easy programming.
For more information, visit www.boschsecurity.com.
VOIP LAND MOBILE RADIO EQUIPMENT
IDA Corporation manufactures Land Mobile Radio equipment. The Model 24-66 VoIP Mini Console Multi-Site Base Remote Controller builds on the company’s 24-66 VoIP platform. The “Mini Console” allows control of up to six separate base station radios via Ethernet connection.
Dispatch radio users can accomplish remote control throughout their communications network without costly leased lines or expensive cabling. The Model 24-66 design provides an industry exclusive any button /any function programmability. The VoIP Mini Console can be configured for specific customer needs, be it trunking or conventional, local networks or the World Wide Web.
DICE Corporation has collaborated with Cellularm Inc. to enable central stations to secure backup communications. DICE clients can now utilize long-range radio or “Alarm over IP” (AoIP) service to backup alarm signals using a Cellularm MeshWorks secure network. The backup monitoring network ensures redundancy, allowing for multiple paths of communication and a secure way to continue monitoring alarms when telephone and cellular routes fail.
For a central station running on DICE, starting a Cellularm MeshWorks network requires a Cellularm receiving site with an outside antennae and an Internet connection. The intelligent 2 –way radio network site can be activated anywhere in the country with minimal setup and allows dealers to install UL listed (Grade AA for burglar) and fire alarm systems, without any telephone lines. Sites have been established in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Phoenix. For more info, visit www.dicecorp.com.
CENTRAL STATION RECEIVER
Napco Security Systems Inc.’s new rack-mounted Netlink UL listed TCP/ IP Central Station Receiver addresses the increasing need for central stations to adopt new receiver technologies to combat the widespread adoption of VoIP. In full compliance with UL central station applications requiring primary and mirrored backup receivers, two Netlink UL receivers can be installed at the same cost as a single traditional receiver. Both Netlink TCP/IP UL Receivers are connected to each other with a network crossover cable, where the mirrored receiver serves as a “hot backup,” duplicate receiver.
On the subscriber side, additional products have been added to the Netlink and StarLink lines. Napco’s NetLink Net-Comm is a programmable control panel module that reports alarm signals over a TCP/IP-based network. This communicator universally works with all brands of control panels and data is securely transmitted by using both NIST/AES encryption and dynamic IP addressing. The NetLink Net-Comm can be used as either a primary or backup alarm reporting system.
Regardless of alarm panel brand, Napco’s StarLink RF Wireless Backup Unit (SL1/12) will report alarm conditions to any central station. StarLink backup radio coverage spans the United States, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. For more information, visit www.napcosecurity.com.
DICESVoIP, which is Quintron’s mission critical voice communications system, lets users experience virtual communications anywhere in the world from their computer. The Quintron DICESVoIP system is a redundant Ethernet architecture that integrates traditional TDM and VoIP applications. The features of DICESVoIP system include: server-based design technology with optional redundancy, T1 Gateway allowing legacy analog circuit integration (including telephone, public address, and radio circuits with microphone push-to-talk capability), among others. For more information, visit www.quintron.com.
ADDING CELLULAR COMMUNICATION
GE Security’s Simon 3 GSM Cellular Module adds cellular communication capability to the residential Simon security system. This module fits within the existing Simon 3 housing. A joint offering from GE Security and Alarm.com, the cellular module can be used as a backup if telephone service is not available or as a primary reporting device over digital cellular networks. Since the Simon Cellular Module is wireless, it is not vulnerable to phone line or Internet connection failures. With its built-in power management algorithm, both the module and the Simon control panel can operate for over 24 hours during a power outage.
Integration of the Cellular Module extends to the Simon keypad. It provides simple diagnostics on the panel, making module troubleshooting easy. Sensor names, groups, panel options and more can be configured, both remotely and wirelessly. For more information, visit www.gesecurity.com.
VOIP INTERFACE FOR WIRELESS COMMUNICATION
Talk-A-Phone’s 8-Channel Voice over IP Interface Unit allows emergency phones to be used wirelessly over an Internet Protocol data network and integrates seamlessly with existing VoIP phone systems. The VoIP units are used to update safety and security in both campuses and facilities, and provide the best solution for connecting remote facilities such as parking lots to central security command centers when physical barriers or federal regulations prevent wire connections.
The VoIP-8 supports all major VoIP protocols and accommodates up to eight emergency phones. It operates on Ethernet connectivity and has full IP compatibility with existing routers and WAN infrastructures. The unit is equipped with industry-standard voice prioritization as well as echo cancellation and jitter buffer to ensure top-quality connection. In cases of IP network failure, the unit can be configured to temporarily divert calls to PSTN or PBX. For more information, visit www.talkaphone.com.
Alarm.com has formed a marketing alliance with Internet phone service provider SunRocket. Alarm.com’s completely wireless coverage and web-enabled monitoring offers a truly wireless solution for surveillance and security. Alarm.com offers a web dashboard, so the status of a property can be checked or programmed at any time via the Internet, and alerts can be sent via email to a mobile phone or PDA. Additionally, wireless sensors keep real-time tabs on doors and windows but can also monitor activity on, for instance, the cash drawer or medicine cabinet.
For more information, visit www.alarm.com/SunRocket.