Wireless 101

Tips for the successful deployment of a wireless security network

Wireless technology enables quick and easy installation of security cameras and access control systems. It can eliminate the need to pull data cables in a security network, which can save time and cost. In addition to cost savings in the initial installation and deployment of security network, the creation of a wireless network infrastructure can enable a platform for future sales of additional equipment and services.

Embracing wireless data networking technologies also enables integrators, dealers and installers of security systems to offer more to their customers in terms of additional remote monitoring services and ongoing network system management and support. Knowledge is power. Just like your laptop and your cell phone, wireless networking technologies continue to improve and change each year. The more you learn and understand, the better you will be able to serve your customers. Wireless technology can save you and your customers cost and greatly ease the burden and complexity of many complex security system installations.


Ongoing Technology Improvement

Wireless technology continues to improve every year. Two main characteristics drive most of the wireless technology changes we have seen in the past and what we can expect to see more of in the future.

First, data rate continues to improve each year. Similar to other data networking technologies, data rate plays a major factor in the cost and configuration of any wireless data networking system. Today’s data rates seem to be climbing from 10s of megabytes, to hundreds of megabytes, to even gigabyte speeds. Higher data rate wireless networks are being deployed today in direct response to higher resolution and higher frame rate cameras that are now available.

In addition to higher and higher data rates being available, encryption technology has also been evolving. Data encryption is important on wired as well as wireless networks. Wireless encryption technology is important to protect and secure video and data across the network. NIST (National Institute of Standards and Testing) certified 256-Bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption technology is some of the best technology deployed today and will serve a basis for good quality encryption for most installations. Sometimes, simple password access and encryption key exchange to a wireless system is not sufficient. In addition to encryption technology, proprietary over the air protocols and non-standard wireless frequencies can be explored. Knowledge is money when it comes to understanding the advantages and disadvantages of different encryption technologies being deployed on your wireless security network infrastructure.


Wireless Installation Tips

Different security applications require different types of wireless technology. IP video surveillance systems require large data rates. Wireless access control systems require only small amounts of data rate. As the number of IP cameras that you have on your network increases, so must the data rate capacity of your network. Access control systems that are opening and closing doors and gates use very small amounts of data, but security of the data is paramount. If biometric data is being sent, then the encryption and data integrity validation is critical and may require additional network specialization.

In general, wireless security networks need to be reliable and function to meet the needs of your customer. Due to the very nature of wireless being unseen, the technology itself can seem mysterious. Having over 25 years of wireless industry experience, here are some tips I have learned for the successful deployment of a wireless security network:

Understanding what is in the air can be half your battle. Using everything from your laptop to a sophisticated spectrum analyzer, there are a number of tools that can be used to see and detect what is in your wireless environment. Many industrial wireless devices include some level of wireless environment analysis tools built into the device.

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