It’s incredibly common for structure or layout changes to occur at a building over the course of its lifespan. Whether these are driven by a reconfiguration of space, or the addition of new space, it’s important that you take a moment to consider how this will impact your intrusion alarm system.
Expanding your intrusion alarm system takes some forethought and planning on how to maximize your current system to address your needs. Often times, your intrusion alarm system can be expanded with minimal effort or disruption. Some important things to consider when expanding your intrusion alarm system include:
- What can be achieved with my existing intrusion alarm system?
- Should I use wired or wireless devices?
- Should I utilize partitions in my alarm system?
What Can Be Achieved with My Existing Intrusion Alarm System?
The first thing you will want to consider when expanding your intrusion alarm system is determining what is capable with your existing system. Intrusion alarm systems cannot be expanded infinitely but, they all have multiple zones to use that vary in number depending on the type of control panel you have.
When you’ve established the number of zones your system has, and come to the conclusion that you will need to grow beyond the maximum number of zones available, you will need to consider upgrading the control panel to a larger model. If you’re unsure of what type of control panel you have, or what its capabilities are, contact your security integrator to find out your control panel type and determine how it can be used to grow with your needs.
Should I Use Wired or Wireless Devices for My Expansion?
The next step is to consider how the zones should be added to your intrusion alarm system. Your two options can be either wired or wireless; each have their pros and cons, and how you decide will be primarily driven by the set up of your building and your budget for expansion.
In a hardwired expansion, the main thing to consider is whether you are able to run wire to where you need to economically, and without disruption to your work processes. Areas with dry-walled ceilings or concrete walls, for example can make a hardwired solution very difficult. One possible solution to this is the use of expansion modules. These modules can be installed, reducing wire runs to devices such as door contacts, motion sensors, or security cameras. The use of modules eliminates the need to run wire from each device all the way back to the control panel.
Hardwired solutions can be very beneficial as you will never need to think about replacing batteries, nor will you have issues with signal strength or disruption. Conversely, this solution can be very labour intensive depending on the number of hours and the amount of wire needed.
When utilizing a wireless expansion, a wireless receiver is attached to the main control panel, and is used to communicate with the wireless devices in the area. Today there are countless wireless devices like door contacts, motion sensors, glass break sensors, among many others. Because you are not having to run wire, these installations are typically less expensive. However, the wireless technology can be slightly more expensive to purchase, although the gap has been closing dramatically over the past few years. The major consideration when going wireless is ensuring that your devices are within range of the wireless receiver, so that they can maintain a steady level of signal strength.
Should I Utilize Partitions/Areas in My Alarm System?
The last consideration is whether or not to utilize partitions/areas in your alarm system. Partitions/areas allow you to arm and disarm different distinct areas of your intrusion alarm system independently. This can improve the functionality of your system, but it typically requires re-training staff on how to utilize these operations without causing false alarms through user error. Almost all intrusion alarm systems will allow for partitions/area segmentation, and it’s best to speak to your security integrator to determine what your system can accommodate.
We hope that these three considerations will put you on the right path to making good decisions about your intrusion alarm system expansion. Asking these questions will allow you to make the best choices for your growing facility or changing needs.
Fore 19 years, Bulldog Fire and Security has been an expert in Intrusion Alarm System installation, having installed a variety of systems in numerous applications across Southwestern, Ontario.