Wireless Update: New Technology from BEA, Kaba and Stanley

In a relatively short span of time, technology has transformed our lives in general and the security industry in particular. In the 1990s, I can recall carrying around a cell phone about the size and weight of a brick and two pagers, one numeric and another alphanumeric. The cell phone was to take calls from our customers, primarily facility managers for retail banks, and the pagers for communicating with the techs. It was a 24/7 operation, so I had these devices with me at all times, and with the redundancy, usually could be reached and could reach out.

Fast forward to the more recent past (approximately the year 2000). Working for a new employer, in a new part of the country in a different market segment, I transitioned to a company-provided tablet and two cell phones, one for personal calls and one for business. The tablet had GPS and dispatch software, which theoretically was a big advantage for management.

In the late 70s when I became involved in the security industry, the next big things in security were wireless security and wireless controls. The transition was from hardwiring doors and windows back to a panel to using wireless transmitters, saving all the labor. Also central station monitoring started using wireless reporting hardware as a backup to traditional landlines. Portable wireless transmitters were sold for panic buttons, and for opening garage doors.

Today my smart phone fits in my pocket and does everything the pagers, tablets, and cell phones did, only much better and more efficiently.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. In the context of security, I take this to mean that regardless of radical changes in technologies and practices, the core requirements and professional security priorities remain the same. Our challenge is to adapt new technologies prudently so as not expose ourselves to products which jeopardize the security of our clients and our businesses.

 

BEA

Wireless transmitter applications are evolving to include life safety door operator as well as garage door applications. BEA’s newest line of transmitters will operate in the 900 MHz spectrum for increased range and reliability in demanding applications.

Locksmith Ledger interviewed Anthony Gianettino, senior project engineer. Following are the Ledger’s questions and Gianettino’s answers.

 

Why did you develop this product?

Wireless transmission interference is the most common issue we hear about from our customers in the field. The BEA 900MHz Transmitters and Receiver were developed primarily to provide a higher strength, more consistent solution for wireless automatic door activation.

 

What are some applications for your product?

BEA transmitters and receivers are most commonly used for wireless automatic door activation. Different transmitter models are available for hand-held use or use with another activation switch (ie pushplate).

 

What differentiates your product from others in this category?

BEA 900MHz Transmitters and Receivers operate with continuous channel hopping between 902MHz-928MHz. Channel hopping ensures that noise at one particular frequency will not negatively affect the performance of the product. Transmitters and receivers have a robust transceiver circuit capable of two-way communication that makes transmitting/receiving more efficient.

A built-in option for “extended hold” of the relay is selectable with a dip switch. The transmitter activation LED indicates when battery power is low (three flashes after activation instead of the usual single flash). The RD900 receiver and TD900PB transmitter have small dimensions, making them more suitable for small spaces such as door headers and pushplate boxes with very little available space).

 

How difficult are your products to program? What programming is required for a basic deployment?

Programming is very simple. Set DIP switches as desired. Press and release desired learn button (red LED on receiver will illuminate). Press transmitter twice (blue LED on receiver will illuminate).

 

What programming options are available to the locksmith?

The receiver can be programmed with options for pulse/toggle mode, 0.5s/10s relay hold time, and extended hold (off/on). Each transmitter can be learned with or without delay (variable from 0s to 30s).

 

What is the standard distance that the 900 can transmit?

400 feet is the distance on a clean/clear path (we call this “line of sight”). It is heavily influenced by factors including the building, “Low E” glass and any metal obstructions (i.e. door headers, metal push plates, etc).

We’ve tested it in typical automatic door applications without problem. Transmission distance will be entirely dependent on door application - we cannot guarantee any distance other than “line of sight”). Keep in mind that it is influenced by noise and interference so it’s very hard to quantify a specific distance.

 

Can you extend the antenna on the 900?

Since the 900 is a two-way transmitter/receiver, we cannot recommend the extension of the antenna on the receiver. To elaborate on this point, the RD900 has the ability to transmit, defined by the FCC as an “intentional radiator.” FCC prohibits altering the antenna of all intentional radiators. Additionally, they will not need to. The 900 provides the maximum allowable range.

 

Explain how the 900 works better.

First, higher frequencies penetrate cracks better. The higher the frequency, the better the ability of the product to penetrate the cracks.

Second, the 900MHz transmission power is greater than the 433MHz transmission power.

Third, 900MHz ISM band contains relatively low amounts of noise, fewer commercial devices transmitting at this frequency equals less noise.

 

How many transmitters can be used with each receiver?

74

 

Can this be used with maglocks or electric strikes?

For controlling locks, we recommend using the 900 in conjunction with another BEA product, the BR3.

 

Why are there three dip switches?

Pulse/toggle and hold time (dip switches 1 and 2, respectively) are the same in the 433 and 900. The extra dip switch (dip switch 3) is an extended hold option. It makes your wireless transmitter act as a push plate. As long as it’s being held, the relay output of the receiver will remain energized.

 

Is programming any different?

Programming is exactly the same

 

Why did you change from a 9 volt to a 3 volt battery? (PB version)

This gives the 900 a much longer battery life. The performance is in no way adversely affected and the batteries are capable of getting about 75,000 more cycles. When/with AAA batteries in a push plate, one can expect about 325,000 cycles. This is somewhat dependent on how often the transmitter is used in the final application but we can publish numbers in terms of what we tested in the lab under constant cycling.

 

How many cycles will you get with handheld?

15k cycles (1 year of battery life if used 40 times per day)

 

When will this product launch?

We don’t have a definite date. We’d like to shoot for August 2014 but that is dependent on several factors such as Beta feedback, FCC testing, etc.

Will this replace the 433? Will you stop selling the 433?

We will continue to sell the 433 for the unforeseeable future.

 

Technical Specifications:

Frequency: 902-928 MHz (frequency hopping)

Emitted radio power: -28.7 dBM (TX) (testing in progress)

Power consumption: 30mA (TX) 40mA (RX)

Supply voltage: 12-24 VAC/DC

Contact rating: 1.0 A @ 30 VDC; 0.5 A @ 125 VAC; 0.3 A @ 60 VDC

Temperature range: 14°F to 131°F (-10°C to 55°C)

Programmable units per receiver: 100

LEDs: red (receiver learn) blue (relay activation) tri-color (signal strength)

Dimensions:

RD900: 2.5” (W) x 2.0” (D) x 0.75” (H)

TD900HHx: 2.75” (W) x 1.38” (D) x 0.56” (H)

TD900PB: 1.75” (W) x 1.0” (D) x 0.3” (H)

Certification: FCC, IC. Currently undergoing FCC testing

For more information, contact your local locksmith distributor or BEA, Telephone: 800 523 2462. Web site: www.beainc.com.

 

Kaba E-Plex Enterprise

The E-Plex Enterprise Access Control System is a modular solution for managing access points, offering a variety of hardware options, system management tools and credential choices.

The Enterprise System was developed to work with a range of E-Plex Locks and controllers and provide users a flexible access control platform that can start with Kaba’s LearnLok™ feature, which allows you to enroll up to 300 PROX or Smart Cards right at a door without using any software. It is scalable up to the central management system can help streamline operations. The lock can be easily updated to a software-managed and/or wireless-enabled lock at a later date.

With Enterprise Software, you can update data at a stand-alone door lock with a netbook or from a computer workstation with the Wireless Option.

To upgrade to the Wireless Option, a ZigBee Gateway needs to be integrated with either the Express or Custom Installation. Every site requires at least one Gateway to define the ZigBee Network, and the need for additional gateways and optional routers is determined during a site survey.

Even though a detailed floor plan can estimate RF signal range, a physical site survey will determine range, location, and quantity of gateways and optional routers. Kaba’s handheld Site Survey Unit (SSU) can test for RF signal strength in a building, ensuring that each wireless lock will operate successfully.

To provide higher availability, critical access points can accept multiple communication paths by connecting optional ZigBee Routers to the Gateway. Routers extend the wireless signal to reach access points, providing self-healing mesh capabilities. The connection from the server to the ZigBee Gateway is made through either a TCP/IP connection (network) or USB. The ZigBee Network is powered by PoE, USB, or optional external adapter.

The ZigBee specification for wireless protocols is the hub of the E-Plex Wireless Option. Based on IEEE Standard 802.15.4, ZigBee technology uses low-power digital radio frequencies to provide an effective wireless communication system.

The Wireless Option does not require wiring, conduit runs, access panels, additional power supplies, or exterior trenching and drilling. This flexibility enables modifications, such as moving walls or removing and relocating locks, ideal for vintage or architecturally significant structures, for structures not well suited for wiring, or for deployments on remote doors where wiring would not be feasible, or temporary solutions where the deployment time line is critical.

The system manages online and standalone locks from one central location, streamlining the enrollment process. Once configured for wireless, the main computer screen displays a dashboard, which provides a visual of the system’s performance and events. In a single screen, you gain access to key data, audit trails, and reports.

Configuring a System: The design of your wireless access control system begins with performing a simple site survey. The site survey reviews access points, measures Radio Frequency (RF) signal strength, and determines gateway and router locations.

To commission the Wireless Option on either an existing or new lock, a Lock Upgrade Kit easily mounts directly to the lock. The wireless system can be employed in either an interior or exterior application.

 

E-Plex ZigBee Gateways & Routers

  • Gateways and Routers are the same unit
  • Shipped as Routers; field configurable as Gateways with Enterprise Software
  • Powered by USB, Power over Ethernet, or 120Vac adapter (included)
  • Wi-Fi adapter enables use of existing Wi-Fi network

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