The Power to Protect

The Power to Protect

Many of today’s schools employ sophisticated integrated security systems

Improving safety and security at schools and campuses is a critical topic of discussion amongst school administrators and the myriad security professionals serving the education marketplace.

Where simple measures like requiring visitors to check into the principal’s office to get a handwritten pass was once more of a general courtesy than a security measure, many of today’s schools employ highly sophisticated integrated security systems replete with video surveillance, access control with identity authentication capabilities like facial recognition, visitor management, and more.

Unfortunate Incidents

Unfortunately, the latter is as much in response to the rash occurrence of incidents that have occurred at schools across the country, as well as the development of advanced systems technology that affords new levels of safety and security with numerous other operational benefits for schools and campuses.

This new breed of sophisticated security systems being deployed at educational facilities across the country takes on many different shapes and sizes depending on the size of the facility or campus, its location, perceived security threats, and so on.

As different as each system may be, they have all been designed and built on a foundation of power and transmission solutions. Aside from technicians and engineers tasked with designing and installing these systems, most people don’t consider power and transmission solutions to be the primary components in a system, as they typically would management so aware or new smart edge devices and cameras. But without power and transmission technologies, many of the new advanced systems being installed today would simply not be feasible.

Here’s an overview of four innovative power and transmission solutions that are helping make campuses safer, more secure and efficient.

Making access control more affordable with 4PPoE. One of the latest new developments is the development and deployment of a revolutionary new means of powering access control utilizing the recently standardized 4PPoE or 4-Pair PoE to remotely power 12VDC and 24VDC devices using an IEEE 802.3BT power source. Without diving into the technical details, these new 4PPoE solutions allow access control panels, locks, readers and ancillary devices to be powered over CAT6 cable without the need to use high voltage – or an electrician.

In addition to dramatically reducing installation costs for conventional areas where access control is typically deployed, this allows access control systems to be easily expanded in areas where electrical outlets or wiring are not readily available. Prime examples in schools and campuses include back stairwells, equipment storage areas, and parking lots and garages, to name a few. Now installers can use one structured cable carrying both power and bidirectional data to protect these areas, their occupants and assets within.

Using existing cabling with EoC. Advanced Ethernet over Coax (EoC) Solutions enable legacy analog coax cable to be upgraded to accommodate new networked IP solutions. Removing the need to rip and replace old cable with new Ethernet cable delivers significant savings, since this alone represents what can often be the most expensive aspect of a security and surveillance system upgrade. EoC solutions provide the additional benefit of including both power and data over a single coax cable, supporting PoE, PoE+ and Hi-PoE IP devices while reaching distances up to five times standard Ethernet range without the need for repeaters.

EoC solutions provide schools and campuses with a huge advantage and incentive to upgrade outdated systems with new, highly effective and cost-efficient networked surveillance and access solutions. It’s also important to note that the conversion from analog to networked systems can be done on whatever scale and pace that best meets the school’s budget.

New, more advanced solutions can be deployed in locations where they are needed most, like main entrances to education centers, dormitories, libraries, sports and entertainment facilities, while retaining legacy analog systems in secondary areas until funds become available to upgrade.

Making the long run with fiber and copper. Sometimes standard EoC solutions simply don’t cut it, especially when edge devices like cameras or access readers need to be located at great distances from the security head-end or command center. In these instances, Ethernet to Fiber media converters allow edge devices to be installed at distances over a mile while delivering power and data from the headend, utilizing composite copper and fiber optic cable. This greatly extends the reach of perimeter security and increases situational awareness in areas like parking lots and garages, and sports fields.

Battery back-up with more life. One of the basic facts surrounding any electronic system is that it can simply stop working if the power goes down – unless there’s a sufficient back-up power supply in place. Given the remote and distributed nature of surveillance and security systems, Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS) solutions are often impractical for installation across large schools and vast campuses. Hence, most surveillance, access and security systems deploy battery back-up systems to maintain operation as long as possible during power outages and brownouts. This is typically a compliance mandate for access control systems to ensure entry and egress are continually maintained. However, battery life has been a longstanding issue, often causing systems to stop working before power is restored.

Recently introduced Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) battery backup solutions have ushered in a new generation of DC power, virtually rendering Sealed Lead-Acid (SLA) batteries obsolete. Although the initial purchase price of a LiFePO4 battery is more than a conventional SLA battery, it offers a significantly lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Additionally, LiFePO4 batteries have up to a 10-year shelf life and allow for rapid charging and discharging, delivering more uptime to keep systems running longer. Power and transmission solutions with LiFePO4 battery back-up systems are a smart investment to ensure your school and campus remain protected when the power goes down.

Like a good education, advanced networked surveillance, access and security systems require a great foundation to build on. Innovative power and transmission solutions deliver a smarter and more resilient surveillance, access control and security foundation that can make education facilities safer and more conducive to learning.

This article originally appeared in the May June 2020 issue of Campus Security Today.


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