Frequently Asked Questions
Bio-metric scanners use physiological characteristics to determine who someone is. They can range from fingerprint or vein readers, to iris and retina scanners, facial recognition and even voice. Every person’s physiological makeup is unique to them, whether it be the way their veins are laid out within a hand or whether it be the complex design to their iris. Bio-metric devices are incredibly reliable and very difficult to falsify or trick. As mentioned, due to some of the complexities involved in certain techniques, costs can vary massively depending on what it is you are after.
Cards and tags within access control systems are managed internally through the use of software. Each card and tag are individually coded and placed against a persons’ name. If that person loses the card/tag then it is quite a simple procedure for it to be removed and then a new one can be re-issued.
Card or tag readers are devices situated near to doors or entrance ways that when presented with a programmed card or tag device will tell the entrance to open or unlock. These are usually managed within a software that is provided with the system and can be provided to staff members, cleaners etc.
Access control is the ability to decide WHO, WHEN and WHERE someone can enter your premises. There can be a number of different systems used from intercom systems to video intercom, card readers and even bio-metric readers such as finger print and iris scans.
Video intercoms are installed with integrated cameras in them so that when you call through to an internal viewing monitor it provides the receiving person(s) with the ability to see who is at the entrance. This can be an important tool in deciding if the person at the entrance should be granted entry or not.
Access control systems can be used at a single entry point such as a main entrance into a building or it can also be applied to many different locations. Such as multiple gates or entrance barriers, internal staff rooms and offices or private rooms with restricted access.
Wireless alarms in the early days of their creation were easy to jam due to the poor technology behind the frequencies used. Wireless alarms today however are a lot more advanced using frequency hopping technology and also have to adhere to BS EN 50131, which means they have to have anti-jamming detection which creates an alarm if it is somehow interfered with.
Typically speaking, a wireless alarm installation could take anywhere between 2-5 hours depending on the size of the house. With a wired installation you could potentially be looking at a full day or more due to the complications in having to run cables throughout the house.
There are many pro’s and con’s to wired and wireless alarm systems. For example, wireless alarm components are usually slightly more expensive than their wired counterparts, however due to the amount of work required with running the cabling for the alarm system wired alarms tend to be more expensive overall than a very easy to fit wireless system. While there are some running costs with wireless systems due to batteries needing to be replaced, the life of batteries within wireless systems can now push about 5 years and more, meaning the expenditure on them really isn’t all that much when you spread it out. Wireless systems are also easier to manage; if you want to decorate an area, no problem, simply remove the sensor. This cannot happen with a wired sensor and may require a visit by the alarm company which will also cost you money. Wireless alarm systems are also portable; if you want to move house, it is very easy to take that alarm system with you. Wired alarm systems cannot be moved and are a permanent addition to that house. Wireless systems are also easier to expand and protect more than just the house, got a shed or summer house that you wish to protect at the end of the garden? Not a problem with wireless alarms but with a wired system, forget it, unless you want to dig a trench in your garden for cable ducting.
There is not currently a completely correct answer to this question. Most modern day alarm systems by well known and trusted manufacturers are all great in their own way. Visonic and the Visual Verification PowerMaster family of alarms are a well known and respected brand within the security community and have been making high end Grade 2 alarm systems for many years. Their products are tried and tested by hundreds of installers all over the country and thousands worldwide. RS1 as a company did many weeks of research into many different types of alarm system before deciding that Visonic was the best alarm system to install.
When monitoring non-visual alarm systems, it is not possible to see what has created the alarm. Therefore the response from the monitoring company can only be to call the homeowner or named key holders to confirm if the activation is genuine or a false alarm. With a visual verification monitored alarm system. the alarm receiving centre is able to physically see what has caused the system to go into alarm. Therefore if there is a crime in progress and it has been witnessed by the control room they do not have to waste time with trying to contact the homeowner, they can just move straight to calling the police. The police will then have to respond to that activation as a crime has been witnessed.
Wired alarm systems are all controlled from a central control panel and involves running cables from that control panel out to each component of the alarm system. Each device is powered from this central control panel and is then programmed within the alarm accordingly. Wireless alarms work in exactly the same way but instead of relying on cables from a central control panel they used wireless frequencies, usually on a 868MHz frequency band. Each component of the alarm is then battery powered.
Visual Verification within an alarm system is created from the PIR detectors having built-in cameras that activate when the sensor is triggered. The small video clip that is created is then sent via a communication device such as a GSM dialler or a broadband module to a remote monitoring station.
When it comes to the actual design and aesthetics of the components themselves there is not much difference between a wired and wireless alarm system. The change comes when you start looking away from the devices. A wireless alarm system is just simply a sensor on a wall and will almost always look a much neater installation. A wired system involves cable which can sometimes be view-able within your property, not to mention the main control panel that has to take in all of the systems cabling and can sometimes be a bit of an eye-sore (Which is why they always try to hide them).
It is a very common misconception these days that only IP based systems allow for remote access into a CCTV system. Both analogue and IP based recorders allow for remote connection via computers or mobile devices. With Dahua products, this is made even easier by a simple 3-step p2p adding process using QR codes that are scanned within their mobile app.
Recording times of CCTV systems can be calculated and formed around what it is you, the client, requires. If you want two weeks of constant recordings, no problem. If you want a month, it can be done.
Hybrid recorders allow for standard analogue and IP cameras to be connected to the same recorder. Tribrid recorders take in standard analogue, IP and HD-over-coax such as HDCVI.
There are many benefits to using an IP based system. Firstly, IP systems have the capacity to have much higher quality cameras. (Currently to a maximum of 12mp cameras with NVR’s outputting 4K resolution). Installation of IP cameras can also be much more flexible. Where analogue based systems have to have all of the cameras directly cabled to the DVR, IP cameras can be connected into network PoE (Power over Ethernet) switches. So long as the IP cameras are on the same network as the NVR is, the recorder can find the data being sent from the camera and display and record it. This helps massively when doing large scale installations where directly cabling to the recorder could sometimes cause huge headaches and be very costly. Another benefit is the ability to integrate video analytics into IP based cameras. Video Analytics range from intrusion based functions like TripWire, to People Counting and Heat Maps.
HDCVI or High Definition Composite Video Interface, is a new HD-over-Coax technology developed by Dahua, who are a world leading manufacturer of CCTV equipment. It allows for high mega-pixel resolution information to be sent down standard coaxial cabling. Using special technology such as Auto Signal Compensation, it also allows for much longer transmission distances of camera images down the cable compared to other HD-over-coax technologies. HDCVI also allows for audio and control signals to be sent down the same coax cable without the need for additional cables like more traditional analogue based systems. This way, buildings with existing coax cabling do not have to spend thousands having all of its infrastructure replaced for new CAT5 cabling and can upgrade to a HD video system for much less.
The main difference is how the images are sent. Analogue systems use standard base band formats to send the video signals down coaxial cable. The images are then sent to a DVR (Digital Video Recorder) where they are then digitised and stored locally onto a hard-drive. With an IP system the information is sent digitally over network cabling and is then received by an NVR (Network Video Recorder). In terms of video quality, IP systems currently have the capacity for much better camera resolutions due to the limitations in using coaxial cabling on analogue systems but there are some new coaxial based technologies, mainly HDCVI, that are allowing for much higher HD resolutions to be sent down coax.