Wireless Update: New Technology from BEA, Kaba and Stanley

Aug. 4, 2014
New to the security scene are BEA’s 900 MHz wireless transmitter, Kaba’s E-Plex Enterprise with Zigbee mesh network and Stanley’s Wi-Q™ Wireless Technology

In a relatively short span of time, technology has transformed our lives in general and the security industry in particular. In the 90’s 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.


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 difference between the 900 and the 433?

1. The 900 has a lot more power to get through glass and other materials that inhibited the 433.  We expect better performance where “Low E” glass is present.

2. If there is a case where ours does not go through an item, you won’t find anyone else who will go through. The 900 is the maximum power allotted. (after we pass FCC we can set up some tests for 1:1 comparison with competitive products for marketing purposes, to quantify performance)

3. The 900 is constantly “hopping” frequencies to ensure a more consistent opening.  If the signal being transmitted by the 900 is not working on one particular frequency, it quickly hops up or down to new frequencies, ensuring that a clear channel is found. This hopping will not inhibit the receiver’s ability to hold an activation signal.

4. For 433, there was a terminal block for the wires.  For the 900, the wires are soldered to the board.

5. The 900 has a built-in extended hold (option available with Dip Switch 3)

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?


Can this be used with maglocks or electric strikes?

For controlling locks, we recommend using the 900 in conjunction  ith 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.  Beta testing does not end until we get the feedback back.  This means that we cannot state a launch date until we’ve reviewed feedback.  We’d like to shoot for August 2014 but that is dependent on the feedback that we receive.  

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)


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

• Wall mount, desktop, and outdoor versions

• Suitable for location in ceilings, on walls, or desktops

ZigBee Mesh Network: Every ZigBee Gateway and all connected E-Plex Locks or optional ZigBee Routers create an independent ZigBee Mesh Network. A site’s E-Plex Wireless System can include several independent mesh networks, and each ZigBee Mesh Network can be configured to support redundant communication paths to the ZigBee Gateway. To create redundancy, each ZigBee Router and E-Plex Lock or Controller should be within communication range of at least two ZigBee Routers and/or the ZigBee Gateway.

Overall System:

Network Size: 10,000 access points (maximum) Security: 128 bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) plus application layer security

ZigBee Technology:

Frequency: 2.4 GHz with 16 available channels

Range: 700' line of sight, 200' typical

Hardware: 1 ZigBee Gateway on USB 8 ZigBee Routers per ZigBee Mesh Network, 25 E-Plex Locks per ZigBee Gateway (within range) or up to 100 E-Plex Locks per ZigBee Gateway with Router(s)

Antenna Location Options: There are two location choices for the antenna. An Inside Mount (1) houses the antenna along with the batteries and an Outside Mount (2) contains the antenna in a housing located on top of the E-Plex Lock.

Battery Power:  E-Plex Locks are designed to get the maximum life out of four AA batteries or four C batteries (high capacity battery pack).

Power Sources: For optimized operations, a ZigBee Gateway is powered from the USB when only one Gateway is required, and Power Over Ethernet (PoE) supplies power when a configuration includes multiple Gateways and a network. A plug-in transformer can also power a ZigBee Gateway or Router (no PoE is available).

Software Features and Functions

• Manages up to 3,000 users per door

• Maintains up to 30,000 audit events in each door, including emergency mechanical key override usage for tracking purposes

• Provides 16 access schedules per door; unlimited schedules in the database

• Provides 32 holiday/vacations per door; unlimited holidays in the database

• Manages guest/visitor(s) with programmable expiry from one day to a year

Controls service users who have PIN-only access.

Service users can have either one-time access only, or 1 through 96 hour expiry access, or access with no expiry

• Assigns a new user to multiple access points, or assigns multiple users to one access point using the Access Groups feature

• Imports thousands of user profile records (names, card IDs or PINs) from/to an external database source—ideal for managing a large number of user profiles—and exports to a variety of file formats

• Maintains each site’s database, locks, controllers, and handheld programming/auditing unit with a unique and encrypted internal communications key

• Generates reports such as Lock Audits, Operator Activity at PC, Access Groups, Access Schedules, Users by Door, Doors by Users, Users’ Card IDs

• Supports Mifa re® and DESFire® and iClass ® 13.56 MH z Cards (ISO 14443 A and B). Any HID® compatible 125 kHz PROX RFID Cards with Wiegand bit format ranging between the standard 26 bits and up to 84 bits

• Supports Microsoft® Windows® XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8.

For more information, contact your local locksmith distributor or Kaba, Telephone: 800-849-8324. Web Site: www.kaba-adsamericas.com

Stanley Wi-Q™ Wireless Technology

Stanley® Wi-Q™ Wireless Technology features 128 bit AES security encryption and ultra-smart power consumption for online benefits without the online installation costs. Combine those benefits with multiple redundancy of the access control data at the reader, gateway and host computer means the system makes the access control decision at the door when the card is presented. Stanley also built this advanced technology into its existing line of access control solutions so one application can now control the BEST® offline, wireless and online access control doors, CCTV and ID Badging.

The Stanley® Wi-Q™ Wireless Technology utilizes the proven heavy duty BEST® electro-mechanical locksets which include the 9KQ, 45HQ and EXQ products.

Online features include a door position switch, request- to-exit control, a latch switch sensor and key override sensor as standard in the mortise lineup.

Locking Hardware – Features:

  • Dynamic memory up to 18K credentials per reader
  • Each reader has its own unique MAC address
  • Powered by AA battery pack
  • Standard Integrated Door Switch (DS), Latch Switch (LS), Request-to-Exit (RQE) and Key Override Sensor (KOS) on BEST® mortise chassis
  • Standard Integrated DS, and RQE on BEST® cylindrical Standard Integrated DS, LS, RQE or EX chassis with the Precision™ exit device line.
  • 85K-event audit trail stored dynamically at reader
  • 512 Time zones with up to 6 intervals per time zone per reader
  • ADA compliant locksets
  • Available in cylindrical, mortise, exit device, and wireless access controller configurations
  • Magnetic stripe/PIN Dual-validation, HID and Indala proximity reader technology
  • Two processors for efficient and reliable transfers of data and firmware updates
  • Remote reader diagnostics right from PC (Battery Level and signal strength of each lock)

Wireless Portal Gateway – Features

  • Communicates at 2.4GHz spread spectrum to wireless readers or wireless access controllers
  • Uses 802.15.4 protocol with clear channels above 802.11 to allow Wi-Fi interoperability
  • 10/100 Base-T bit Ethernet
  • Provides redundant communication (locks attached to the strongest signal)
  • Non-dedicated portal can communicate with one to 64 readers (Does not imply that 64 readers/locks will be within distance of RF range to connect. Total number of portal gateways required is based on individual system survey and requirements.)
  • Ceiling mounted Omni-directional antenna included as standard
  • Does not require typical controller hardwiring, simply plug the Portal Gateway into an existing TCP/IP network and provide local power.

Stanley is also introducing its Wireless Access Controller (WAC) for turnstiles, parking gate arms, store front entry doors and existing hard-wired card access doors in retrofit applications. Existing wired system can be converted to wireless technology.

WAC features include:

  • Two output relays (Form-C) control external devices (alarms, electrified hardware, etc.)
  • Monitors door latch, door status and request-to-exit
  • Facilitates ADA compliance to control auto open type doors
  • Provide control for local door alarm/sounders for door held open events

For more information, contact your local locksmith distributor or Stanley Security Solutions, telephone: 855-365-2407. Web site: www.stanleysecuritysolutions.com.

Honeywell VISTA Automation Module VAM

I have been using Honeywell VISTA alarm panels since they were first introduced, and Honeywell reports there are more than 10 million VISTA security control panels installed across North America.

The announcement that their new VAM upgrade can be used on VISTA panels means this presents security professionals with an opportunity for not only new installations but also upgrades, improved account retention and RMR.

It stands to reason that upselling to an existing customer is easier than finding new customers, and an upgrade is easier and cheaper for the client than a complete do-over. The VAM can control up to 232 Z-Wave devices – including thermostats, locks and light fixtures – to help installers more-easily create connected homes with security technology at the core.

Z-Wave is a wireless communications protocol designed for home automation, specifically to remotely control applications in residential and light commercial environments. The technology uses a low-power RF radio embedded or retrofitted into home electronics devices and systems, such as lighting, residential access control, entertainment systems and household appliances. . By deploying the  Honeywell Total Connect™ Remote Services, subscribers are able to control these systems remotely from anywhere with an Internet connection.

Z-Wave communicates using a low-power wireless technology designed specifically for remote control applications. The Z-Wave wireless protocol is optimized for reliable, low-latency communication of small data packets with data rates up to 100kbit/s.

As of 2013, Z-Wave is supported by over 160 manufacturers worldwide and appears in a broad range of consumer and commercial products in the US, Europe and Asia.

Z-Wave is a protocol oriented to the residential control and automation market.

Each Z-Wave network may include up to 232 nodes, and consists of two sets of nodes: controllers and slave devices. Nodes may be configured to retransmit the message in order to guarantee connectivity in the multipath environment of a residential house. Average communication range between two nodes is 100  feet, and with message ability to hop up to four times between nodes, this gives enough coverage for most residential houses.

The device supports up to 32 IP cameras, and a built-in web server allows homeowners to control the VAM and view live video using any web-supported device such as a smartphone or tablet while on the premises. Email notifications of specific actions and events are also provided.

For more information, contact your local locksmith distributor or Honeywell Security, telephone: 800-323-4576. Web Site: www.security.honeywell.com.

To read additional Locksmith Ledger articles on wireless products, visit http://tinyurl.com/wireless814