BY DEBORAH L. O’MARA
PH YSICAL SECURI T Y TECHNOLOG Y INFRAS TRUC TURE is critical to successful specification. While infrastructures have not changed drastically over the years, existing standards have been revised and improved, connectivity
and reliability have been bolstered, and the distances a system can cover have lengthened.
The migration to Internet protocol (IP) products drives ongoing interest
in network infrastructures. While it has always been critical to consider
the nuances of installing with coaxial, Ethernet, category or fiber optic
cabling, it has become even more important to consider each device, how
it operates holistically on the network, the best type of infrastructure for
the technology and how to prepare customers for the future when additional systems or processes are added to their specifications.
With the continued emergence of the Internet of Things (loT)
and more sensors and devices riding on the network, data security
becomes increasingly relevant. Methods such as two-factor authentication—meaning a password in addition to biometrics or some other
safeguard to gain access—are commonplace. Transport layer security
(TLS) encrypted field hardware arises from a handshake protocol, which
requires user authentication before any data is exchanged, or—in the
instance of access control—before a user can gain access to the network-based system.
Another inherent safeguard is a secure sockets layer (SSL) connection.
SSL is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted
link between a web server and a browser. SSL ensures all data passed
between the server and browsers remain uncompromised. Cybersecurity
plays a role in determining the right infrastructure for the application,
based on the fact that sensitive data from security technologies is communicated over the network.
There are numerous infrastructure options and considerations beyond the
actual material, such as building-specific parameters, including the quantity of telecommunications rooms; quantity of floors or buildings; number
of work spaces; and whether plenum or nonplenum cable must be used
according to fire and life safety codes. Bob Eskew, chief executive officer
and founder of Automated Systems Design (ASD) Inc., Alpharetta, Ga.,
said the No. 1 marketing misconception promulgated by major manufacturers and distributors is to cable for the future, because you can’t know
“This is, in fact, not true, but most people making structured cabling
decisions don’t manage the actual network,” he said.
Eskew said coaxial cable should only be used for security installations
when it is already in place and a new infrastructure is either physically
impossible or cost-prohibitive. Coaxial cable should not be deployed for
When it comes to fiber, optical cabling can be used effectively for
access control and video.
“It’s appropriate to use when distance is an issue, for example, [a case
where] fiber optic cable is used when standard distances for copper cabling have been exceeded,” Eskew said. “It’s also used when connections
between buildings are required. Copper cables require lightning protection when entering and exiting a building’s cone of protection. Fiber optic
cable is not conductive and, therefore, [does] require lightning protection.”
According to the Fiber Optic Association, Fallbrook, Calif., “a properly
designed and installed structured cabling system provides a cabling infrastructure that delivers predictable performance as well as has the flexibility
to accommodate moves, adds and changes; maximizes system availability;
provides redundancy; and future proofs the usability of the cabling system.”
The proliferation of IP cameras and video means implementing the proper
infrastructure is important for users to fully leverage the advantages of
network-based surveillance. According to a new report from IHS Research,
Englewood, Colo., 245 million professionally installed video surveillance
cameras were active and operational globally in 2014.
As with any type of infrastructure, the initial planning stages are cru-
cial, said Steve Gorski, vice president of Security Solutions, Wesco, Carol
“It starts in the design stage, identifying where and what type of cameras are needed [and] determining what is currently deployed—both from
a camera and existing network perspective,” he said. “In some cases, it
may make good fiscal sense to incorporate some of the recent spend on
the migration of analog cameras into the new IP video system. This can be
Network infrastructure update