The Making of a Network

Laptop and ‘ping' new tools of the trade

“If you put an extensive camera system in place, say 30 cameras, you'll choke up the system if you're sharing it withIT,” added Baldo. “That's why we decided the security and the data networks would be separate and that was an important selling point to the end-user. When a security company is dealing with IP, the IT network should be separate and distinct, because it won't be welcome on the traditional network,” he said.

The network system has three servers: one each for video storage, access control and the Web-browser-based visitor management system. The network's connectivity is Category 5 or 6 UTP cabling, which readies the building for future expansion. A major part of the system is the visitor management system, which includes turnstiles with access control and proximity readers built in. The system allows for unencumbered authorized access by tenants and restricts access of visitors with cards programmed to automatically expire when the entry parameters are over or no longer allowed.

Tenants can access the Web browser-based system when they know they are going to have a visitor and pre-register that person online for authorized entry. When the visitor arrives the system can scan their driver's license or other allowed identification and permit access if the registration has been successfully completed. The smart card access control system supports multiple credentials, including biometrics, and depending on the level of security required, some doors are equipped with fingerprint readers.

The access control system performs many other integrated tasks. For example, it can provide information on when a tenant or other visitor was in the building for verification purposes. It takes the incident of when the card was used and matches it to a video clip to give visual verification if that was the correct person accessing the system, where and when.

Other system highlights include:

• Cameras that record on motion, pre-alarm and post–

alarm and are specially programmed for timed record-

ing when necessary or during specific hours of the day

or night,

• Mirrored hard drive storage and quad core processing,

• Server farm and dedicated server room,

• Intermediate distribution frame (IDF) closets in a vertical

solution with network switches every three floors,

• 24-port managed Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches,

• Separate power lines for pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras,

heaters and blowers,

• Installation of a riser run of Category 6 cabling

20 floors,

• Every camera home run to a dedicated port, and

• All managed switches equipped with the capability to

change from Cat 6 to fiber as the owner dictates.

“We value-engineered the project and the original specifications called for fiber optics and also had a lot of door contacts,” said Baldo. “But wire runs are extremely expensive so we were able to show the end-user all we could do with one IP camera as opposed to six contacts and those equaled big savings. With the IP solution on the network we eliminated 40 percent of the wiring, which actually offset the cost of the project. The building owner got a lot more for a lot less money the way the system was engineered. And they got a better solution as well,” he said.

Baldo said American Security technicians tested the system on their workbenches prior to releasing it in the field. “When you are deploying an IP solution, they have logical addresses, and with the large number of cameras it was best to “address” them in the office and send them out to the site labeled. The software was pre-configured to find the installed cameras.”

Today, the voltmeter has been replaced by the laptop and the ‘ping' command as the new tool of the integrator. “When you're a true and progressive integrator, you take various platforms and get them to work as a unified system. That's just where American Security Systems is at and how we plan to succeed in the future,” said Dolin.