Technology continues to reshape the security industry, enabling the deployment of an increasing number of wireless solutions and systems. Why use wireless? Here are a few scenarios.
1. When it is difficult to install wiring. This can be because of site conditions. Wireless is a valuable tool if elements of the system are separated by roads or mountains or other barriers which prohibit wiring.
2. When the project is only a temporary deployment.
3. Sometimes your application will require portability, where a device cannot be tethered, and must be mobile.
4. Installing wire would be too disruptive. Occasionally you will encounter a scenario where wiring is feasible, but the time it will take to perform, or the inconvenience it will cause the client, makes a wireless alternative more attractive even if it is not less expensive.
The evolution or perhaps more accurately the revolution of wireless has occurred in a remarkably brief time period, with advances spiking the curve most in the last few years.
When I first entered the security industry, wireless equipment for commercial security was limited and largely still in the ‘novelty’ phase of development. Many security professionals refused to use it.
But wireless was used for wireless garage door controls which used large batteries and had only a limited number of unique channels and frequencies. The technology was so bad that it was common to get callbacks because doors would be opening by themselves, due to equipment nearby programmed to the same settings. It was also pretty well common knowledge that any minor league geek could put together a device which would scroll through all the possible channels form a car parked in front of the target premises.
Wireless burglar alarms were also still new and not perfected. Again battery life and reliability plagued early wireless security.
High end wireless equipment was expensive and transmitters and receivers weighed a ton due to the battery pack and were about the size of a suitcase.
Today’s selection of wireless is dramatically improved. The engineers have increased range and reliability, reduced power consumption (extended battery life); are using the frequency spectrum more efficiently, and reduced the size of the components, allowing miniaturization of the hardware.
We’re using radio controls for door releases and handicapped door operator applications. Programming which once involved setting dipswitches is now replaced with smart devices which program themselves. The transmitters and receivers are small and quite easy to deploy.
Wireless transmitters for door control systems are favored over hard-wired for a few good reasons. First, they are less expensive to install because wire and the labor to install the wire is eliminated.
Another reason is the transmitters can be strategically placed, or even carried by individuals. In an office this means the door control system can be operated from wherever the person with the transmitter is at the moment. Also the transmitters can be locked away when not in use.
Multiple button transmitters and multiple channel receivers allow complex functionality, such as sequenced doors and mantraps to be easily achieved.
Wireless alarms are now the standard, and the technology has earned Agency Listings and Approvals for even the highest security applications. Transmitters are tiny and easy to conceal, battery life is extraordinary, and transmitters and receivers are fully supervised for signal integrity and battery level.
Alarm reporting and central station connections have also made the transition, where hard-wired dial-up land lines are being supplanted by cellular and RF (Radio Frequency) alternatives.