Pictures of city streets at the turn of the twentieth century showed telephone poles which carried a maze of individual wires. The only way at that time to get an electrical signal from point A to point B was with an individual wire. During that same time Marconi was experimenting with wireless signal transmission. It took a few decades for early Marconi wireless experiments to have any commercial usage. The first radio station began broadcasting in 1922. The large size of vacuum tubes limited the use of wireless transmission to a few products such as radios. Transistors were perfected in the 1960s which led to much smaller wireless devices. Pocket radios and wireless garage door openers led the way.
Wireless security products have improved dramatically since their early introduction. Stories from a few decades ago often refer to false alarms and unlocked doors as wireless signals extended outside the protected security perimeter and were affected by passing cars or other electronic disturbances.
The obvious value of using wireless security products is that little or no hard wiring is required. This is particularly helpful when thick brick walls, separate buildings, outdoor locations, solid ceilings or other physical barriers make hardwiring either difficult or impossible to use. Wireless products can often be installed at a lower cost as compared to hard wiring because of the savings in installation time.
Locksmiths were first introduced to electronic security products as customers requested more options for single-door access control installations. Mechanical push button locks, which permitted usage of only a single operating code, provided no allowance for audit trails or automated time zone and holiday settings. Once electronic locks became popular, building owners wanted the additional option of controlling a group of locks from a central location. Wireless control was the simple answer. While remote control of a group of locks may seem to be somewhat of a luxury, events such as school shootings demonstrate the value of being able to quickly secure a group of doors in an emergency without actually having to physically visit each door.
When there are no wire connections to deliver electricity, wireless security products must depend on battery power. Manufacturers have developed ways to conserve battery power in order to extend usable life of batteries. One solution automatically switches the wireless system on and off at settable intervals. Little or no battery energy is consumed between 'on' periods. When battery-operated locks are involved, some routine must be developed for replacing batteries on an annual or semi-annual basis.
Another solution is to hardwire each individual door with a source of power. Wireless control of the system is retained which eliminates the need for long hardwire runs.
Improvements in reliability, length of battery life, widened variety of options, encryption security and signal path communications make wireless products a competitive choice for every access control system. A partial list of manufacturers who offer wireless lock systems include:
Alarm Lock Systems, Inc. 800-252-5625 www.alarmlock.com
Sargent Manufacturing Co. 203-821-5769 www.sargentlock.com
Schlage Electronic Security 877-671-7011 www.securitytechnologies.ingersollrand.com
Kaba Access Control 800-849-8324 www.kabaaccess.com
For a more complete list, visit www.locksmithledger.com/directory.
To read additional Locksmith Ledger articles on wireless security, visit http://tinyurl.com/gowireless312.
Events such as school shootings demonstrate the value of being able to quickly secure a group of doors in an emergency without actually having to physically visit each door.