Plug & play perimeters

November 2001 Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection

"Have you ever thought about the possibility that a perimeter detection system can be similar to what we are used to in our everyday life when it comes to our office PCs on our local office networks?" asks Gary van Staden of Sensor Security Technologies, specialists in perimeter security.

"Most of the time when we cannot use our PCs or cellphone we blame the network because it is giving trouble," states van Staden. "Networks are the basis of getting information transferred whether it is to our cellphones, PCs or even satellite TV. When someone intrudes our perimeter we want the information passed on to us - in order to achieve this we have to depend on some network. It does not matter how tiny and expensive the equipment is; if the network fails, the equipment is virtually useless for its intended task. For the same reason the most effective intrusion detection methods and devices will become useless if we cannot get the information through to the protectors of the perimeter to enable rapid reaction."

According to van Staden, a perimeter detection system should be based on a sound, reliable and redundant network as the starting point. This type of network can operate on any medium, whether it is local on optical fibre, a local area radio network, a SMS cell network or maybe the Internet. Perimeter designs and threats differ from client to client, but all will require a reliable network in some simple or very complex form. The efficiency of any perimeter system will therefore in the first instance depend on the design of a network before any specific detection devices are decided on.

"Another analogy we find in our everyday PC and cellphone world is that we want it to be flexible," adds van Staden. "For instance I want to change my mind about my new software requirement without buying a new PC. You want to be able to configure and install any addition yourself. In the PC world we call it plug & play. Now, if perimeter detection requirements may change and differ from application to application, does it not make sense to have it based on the plug & play approach?"

When applying the above to a perimeter detection system, there are important issues to consider besides the features of the detection devices such as:

* Reliable and redundant network with sufficient speeds and error checking to fit the specific perimeter application.

* A flexible system that may accommodate the specific requirement of the perimeter detection and allow future upgrades and changes.

* Irrespective of how complicated the design and technology used may be, it must allow the user to operate and maintain it without calling the designer.

* Systems must be installed and commissioned without the designer being on site and there must definitely not be any fiddling and tuning required to get it started.


One such system, mentions van Staden, is Moduteq from Teqcon. Moduteq is a perimeter network backbone that normally communicates on a multimode fibre network. "Field nodes are distributed along the perimeter that almost acts as guards. They communicate to central control and record on an event log," explains van Staden.

To enable the field nodes to carry out the surveillance, they are equipped with tautwire detection, short circuit detection or any other detection linked to digital input and output cards. These field nodes also feature non-lethal energisers called dual loop energisers, which allow all wires to be energised with alternative wires having positive and negative voltages.

"Tautwire is a detection platform that is regarded as being the best with the least amount of nuisance alarms. It has been used in all the recently built hi-tech prisons in South Africa," explains van Staden. "The principle has been implemented by for example the Federal Bureau of Operation of Prisons in the USA. They have also opted to implement the Moduteq range of products that is currently installed in a new prison facility in Kentucky USA. This is the real fairy tale."

"Sensor Security Technologies offers innovative finance solution options for clients for the above technologies such as rentals with full or preventative maintenance plans to suit individual needs. This philosophy allows clients to vastly extend the operational lifetime of their perimeter systems," concludes van Staden.

For details contact Gary van Staden, Sensor Security Technologies at e-mail: [email protected]

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