What is access control?

Access Control Basics

Access control systems are a type of physical security which allow you to restrict or allow access to a building or a specific area within a building. Usually, they are installed to protect businesses and property from vandalism, theft, and trespassing. For example, they are especially useful in facilities that require higher security and protection. Therefore, physical barriers, like retaining walls, fences, etc. can be effective, but access control allow you to control how and when a person can gain entry.

Basics of access control

The main components of an access control system include

Access point:
  • The entrance point which can include security gates, turnstiles and door locks. A building can have a single access point, or multiple including meeting rooms, offices or any room that houses valuable or confidential items.
Credentials:  
  • Credentials can include fobs and key card entry systems, encrypted badges, mobile credentials, PIN codes and passwords. 
Readers and/or keypads:
  • At the access point, readers send the credential data to a control panel to authenticate the credential and request access. If using a keypad or biometric reader (such a fingerprint scan, facial ID, or retina scan), users will enter their PIN or complete a scan prior to obtaining access.
Control panel:
  • The control panel receives data from the reader and verifies the validity of the credential. If approved, the control panel transmits to the access point via the access control server, and the door will unlock. If the data is not approved, the user will be denied entry.
Access control server:
  • The server retains user data, access privileges, and audit logs. The server might be on-premises or managed in the cloud. The threat from hacking and security breaches requires that system maintenance and software updates be performed regularly.

Basic vs. intelligent access control  

Basic access control might do the job of restricting access to a building or an office space, but that might not always be enough protection in today’s world.  A locked door can keep unwanted people out of your space, but how do you make sure that only the correct people have access to your credential data?  This concern is where intelligent access control comes in.

Basic systems use keycards, fobs or mobile credentials to restrict entrance. Intelligent systems take it one step further in requiring ID authorization, entry schedules and entry requirements to limit access.  For example, you can require 2 elements to gain entry, something physical and some intelligence.  The physical could be a keycard or fob and intelligence could be PIN code, password or facial recognition.

Intelligent systems will use multi-factor verification by combining a physical barrier with user authorization.  The use of mobile credentials can incorporate an extra level of protection to your intelligent access control.  Smartphones most usually require a password, touch ID or facial recognition.  

What to look for in access control systems

Advancements in security technology, now affords many enhanced features and options in access control systems. Budgetary concerns should be factored in when choosing the type of credentials you’d like to use. Keycards are the most budget friendly choice, up front. However, the back end costs of keycards might end up costing you more over time. Keycards are frequently lost and require replacing which also poses a security threat, if the keycard ends up in the wrong hands. To increase the level of protection, you can purchase encrypted keycards or use two-factor authentication.

The best value and security would be in mobile credential.  It gives your users the ease of using their mobile devices to enter and exit the building and the probability of them losing their device, sharing it with co-workers or leaving it at home is greatly reduced.

You should always add the consideration of maintenance and system management when planning an access control system. Many legacy systems use readers and on-site servers which require in-person management and maintenance.  Older readers and slower system updates are prone to tampering.  The need to access or update your system remotely, has become increasingly important.  If this is the case for your business, a cloud-based platform should be considered.

What is access control that runs on the cloud?

With cloud-based access control, your access control hardware (readers, hubs and control boards) communicates with software via the cloud for a more flexible, scalable security solution.
Benefits include:

  • Remotely control your hardware including unlocks and lockdowns.
  • Instantly creating and revoking credentials for users.
  • Real-time notifications for access events and potential threats.
  • Maintenance and troubleshooting without needing to be on-premises.
  • Automatic system updates from the cloud. Keeping your security measures up-to date.
  • Real-time audit trails for all access activity, which can be accessed from any authorized device.
  • Integrate your access control system with other building security software, for example, video surveillance, communication tools, and space management solutions.

We are proud to partner with Isonas and 2N for access control systems, contact a netRelevance professional for assistance in design, pricing and installation.

“The need to access or update your system remotely, has become increasingly important.  If this is the case for your business, a cloud-based platform should be considered.”

 

Connect PVM’s during COVID-19

It’s both digital signage and an active theft deterrent seamlessly integrated into a single device.
Traditionally, Public View Monitors
(PVM) reside in high-value, high-visibility locations with a focus on security. Now you can re-purpose that space by adding digital signage, without comprising the theft deterrent already in place. Clinton electronics Connect PVM’s and Axis cameras can work together with digital messaging. This can work as a reminder of mask mandates and proper social distancing.

Connect PVM Digital signage

It’s essential for retailers to keep their customers informed on topics like health, safety, store policies and checkout procedures.
Connect PVM during COVID-19 have the unique opportunity to make a difference by displaying relevant in-store messaging in real-time. Therefore, this information can help educate the general public and enhance customer experience.

All Connect PVMs feature a built-in HD camera that can be displayed in real-time, creating a sense of safety & security. This visual deterrent can be shown full screen, embedded in an ad, or hidden from the public. Specific events, such as motion or face detection, can trigger customizable responses for enhanced security awareness.
 Built-in Axis1080P HD IP Camera.
 Camera is always on, regardless of the content shown on the screen.

  • Face Detection.
  • Person Detection.
  • Motion Detection.

From design to installation or upgrading your existing system, netRelevance is your nationwide source for Digital Signage, PVM’s with built in HD camera and remote content update capability via a cloud-based management tool.

Digital Signage has the unique opportunity to make a difference by displaying relevant in-store messaging in real-time. This information can help educate the general public and enhance customer experience.  

 

Network Speakers

DOES MY BUSINESS NEED NETWORK AUDIO?
WHAT IS NETWORK AUDIO?

Network audio (aka Audio over IP, or AoIP) simply defined is transmitting digital audio over a network. It is a combination of software, hardware and network protocols. Delivering uncompressed, multi-channel and low-latency digital audio over a standard Ethernet network.

It answers the need for different kinds of informative messages and updates. Used in places like schools, retail stores, hotels and other public buildings. For example, you can make live announcements calling someone to a specific area, make scheduled announcements or issue live announcements during an emergency. A network audio system is the perfect addition to a video based security installation. Perimeter protection is a great example of this.

Smart Network Audio

WHY DOES MY BUSINESS NEED A NETWORK AUDIO SYSTEM?

Whether you are looking to take your security safeguards to the next level or create ambiance in your office. An Axis Communications Network Audio System could be what you’re looking for.

Axis Network Audio Systems bring many benefits including:

Improved security
With event-triggered announcements and direct callouts.
Imagine if a potential intruder climbs a fence. The camera alerts a security guard to give a warning to the intruder using the audio system. “We can see you, you’re trespassing!”. Therefore, this type of warning is often sufficient, preventing the need for additional security measures.

Network Audio and Secuirty

Make live or scheduled announcements
Different zones, at the right time and right place.

Create ambiance
Flexible scheduling of great-sounding background music delivered via Axis speakers. Set at the right volume and at the time and place of your choice. In addition, you can also use our audio systems to deliver live or pre-recorded voice announcements whenever appropriate.

All in One
Get a single, cost-effective integrated system for background music and announcements with everything you need built right in.

Scalable
Both easy and cost-effective to update and add units to your solution as your needs change, regardless of whether you want to increase the size, add sites or simply take advantage of new features.

Central Control
Take control of the entire system, including network speakers, audio bridges and microphones, from a single point via a single, intuitive interface.

Easy to Install
You need only a single standard network cable for connectivity, power and communication and connecting to your existing infrastructure. Therefore, there is no need for tuning.

Easy to Integrate
Use integrated audio player and built-in or plug-in apps for music streaming, event driven or scheduled announcements, audio detection, health monitoring, and so on.
The Axis audio portfolio includes a selection of IP based speakers that can use existing IT infrastructure and can be powered by power over ethernet (POE). Axis can also supply IP to analogue convertors enabling existing passive solutions to be migrated and connected to an IP world.

 

Contact anetRelevance professional for assistance in design, pricing and installation of your Network Audio System.

“Whether you are looking to take your security safeguards to the next level or create ambiance in your office. An Axis Communications Network Audio System could be what you’re looking for.”

 

Keep Private Meetings Private

Keep Private Meetings Private

Introducing the Qt Conference Room Edition, a speech protection system designed for conference and board rooms.

The Qt Conference Room Edition is a cost-effective solution designed to Keep Private Meetings Private.

Next Generation Sound Masking?

Patented direct-field sound masking technology adds a low-level background sound outside of the conference room. The background sound is optimized to mask human speech which makes it less intelligible to unwanted listeners.

Why do I need it?

In today’s modern office the lack of speech privacy is a real concern. Acoustics and sound privacy are often overlooked during construction. The Qt Conference Room Edition allows businesses to achieve proper speech privacy – without sacrificing conference room design.

PRODUCT FEATURES

  • Meeting occupants can easily turn the system on and off with the push of a button
  • Control module and privacy signs provide clear indication that the system is activated
  • Premium, minimalist design style seamlessly fits in with other conference room AV equipment
  • Easy to integrate with in-room Crestron/AMX control systems
  • Smooth sound masking ramp up and ramp down to limit disruptions
  • Can be turned on and off for meetings or left running at all times
  • Energy efficient and consumes less than 7 watts of power
  • Straightforward, low-impact installation
  • Out-of-the-box support for conference rooms with up to 40 ft (12 m) of exposed wall
  • Option to add additional emitters for larger areas

 

For design, purchase and installation contact a netRelevance professional to help you Keep Private Meetings Private.

 

“In today’s modern office the lack of speech privacy is a real concern. Acoustics and sound privacy are often overlooked during construction. The Qt Conference Room Edition allows businesses to achieve proper speech privacy – without sacrificing conference room design.”

Moves Adds and Changes

Moves Adds Changes

MAC is just an industry acronym for:  Moves, adds and changes.  MACs are probably the most common service requests required by businesses. From adding a new workstation to relocating a server room, and everything in between, these tasks are regularly performed to keep equipment up-to-date and aligned with your growing business.

Congratulations, your business is growing! Sometimes moving and adding staff around an office can be costly and disruptive, which affects the bottom line! We facilitate quick and efficient deployment to keep your workflow moving.

Although MAC work is typically small, it is very important.

These changes can include:

  • Small configuration changes
  • Add, move or remove workstations, kiosks or digital displays
  • Moving or adding wireless access points
  • Changing routers and switches
  • Add or expand network cabinets
  • Entire system relocations, moving to a new location

 

Our full range of services are conducted from the Entrance Facility to the Work Station and everything in between.
Contact a netRelevance professional to help you with your moves, adds and changes.

 

“MACs are probably the most common service requests required by businesses.”

LAN Refresh

Technology moves fast. As a result, businesses can greatly benefit from a major LAN refresh in an effort to keep up with technology, or they will quickly fall behind.

A Local Area Network (LAN) Refresh can be as simple as replacing older/slower network hardware at a single location or as complex as a full network implementation over hundreds of locations simultaneously. Regardless of the size of the project, the end goal is to enable quicker data retrieval, increase network speed and data security.

Contact a netRelevance professional to help you develop a solution for your network refresh.

 

Read more here

Before LAN Refresh

After LAN Refresh

“A properly executed network refresh will simplify and improve the management and maintenance of your network and prepare your organization for future growth.”

TYPES OF STRUCTURED CABLING

structered cabling

The phrase “Structured cabling” may mislead you to believe that it is only made up of cables in your network, but that is not the case. A structured cabling system can run throughout a building, between locations or across an entire campus. Thereby, connecting telecommunications cabinets, hardware and more.

Now that you have determined that a Structured cabling system is the best solution for your IT plan, what is next?

Based on your Infrastructure Site Survey, you will now need to determine the best type of structured cabling for your project.

BACKBONE CABLING

Backbone cabling, sometimes called vertical cabling, is the between floors and/or intra-building cable connections. This includes cabling between entrance facilities, equipment rooms and telecommunications closets. These cables develop a “skeleton” for the network. The size of your project will determine the need for backbone cabling.

Backbone cabling can be done with many different kinds of cables. Fiber optic cabling is the most appropriate choice because of the higher bandwidth when compared to Cat5, Cat6, or Cat8 cables.

Fiber optic cabling is able to carry more data than copper cable (Cat5, Cat6 or Cat7), making it well suited to link telecommunication rooms. A fiber-optic backbone has greater flexibility as fiber cabling can support up to 1,000 meters of gigabit Ethernet, and 5,000 meters of single-mode. For example, larger enterprises often use fiber optic cabling since Cat6 cable is limited to a maximum installation length of 295 ft.

HORIZONTAL CABLING

Horizontal cabling is usually installed in a star network that connects each work area to the telecommunications cabinet. The cables are typically run in the ceiling or beneath the floor. Generally, Cat6 or Cat7 cables are recommended for new installations because it best supports both voice and high-speed data transmissions.

In special circumstances, fiber optic cable may be required. For example, due to their electrical nature, copper cables can be affected by temperature fluctuations, humidity and electromagnetic interference. All of which can disrupt signals, slow down connection speeds and reduce network reliability. On the other hand, fiber optic cables do not conduct electricity and thus transmit clearer, more reliable signals without the risk of EMI.

As two important parts of structured cabling, both backbone and horizontal cabling play an important role and may have different specifications due to cabling environment. A netRelevance low voltage cabling professional can help you determine the best solution for your network needs.

 

 

“Structured cabling” may mislead you to believe that it is only made up of cables in your network, but that is not the case.

WHAT IS STRUCTURED CABLING?

Structured cabling is an organized, standardized approach to a building’s telecommunications and data cabling infrastructure.  For instance, a well designed and installed structured cabling system will deliver reliable performance as well as accommodating moves, additions and changes (MAC).

WHY USE STRUCTURED CABLING?

Unlike traditional point-to-point cabling, a structured cabling system avoids the jungle of wiring and can carry increasing data at high rates. 

Here are some of the benefits:

STANDARDS

Structured cabling standards allow for consistent design, installation and uniform documentation. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and TIA/EIA regulate a set of standards that provide guidelines for cabling professionals. Therefore, ensuring this is achieved in data center design, management and operation.

COST EFFECTIVE

Due to the organization of a structured cabling system, you can reduce power and maintenance costs. In addition, it eliminates the excessive costs of locating and rectifying network issues.

REDUCTION IN DOWNTIME

The potential for human error is drastically reduced. These mistakes can cause flow disruptions and network downtime. In a structured cabling system, there is organization and easy identification that helps reduce the risk of downtime.

EASE IN MOVES, ADDS & CHANGES

Structured cabling is flexible and can accommodate moves, adds and changes quickly. This is achieved by cross connects in the main distribution area (MDA) versus running long patch cords from equipment racks.

TIME SAVINGS

Cable and port tracing becomes a much easier job. This logical, organized approach makes changes easier, thus saving you time.

AESTHETICS

A structured cabling system will look much cleaner than a point-to-point method. For example, changes are done in the MDA versus at the hardware. This allows the cabling in front of the switch to remain aesthetically pleasing.

WHAT DOES STRUCTURED CABLING LOOK LIKE?

In one word, structured cabling systems reflect “organization”. It takes an organized approach to cabling infrastructure.

Medium Key Components to Form a Structured Cabling System

Six Subsystems of a Structured Cabling System

 

1. Entrance Facilities

Entrance facilities contain the cables, network demarcation point(s), connecting hardware, protection devices and other equipment that connect to the access provider or private network cabling. It includes connections between outside plant and inside building cabling.

2. Equipment Room

The environmentally controlled and centralized space for telecommunications equipment is usually more complex than a telecommunications room or telecommunications cabinet. It usually houses the main cross-connect panels and may also contain the intermediate cross-connects, horizontal cross-connects, or both.

3. Backbone Cabling

The backbone cabling provides interconnection between telecommunications rooms, equipment rooms, access provider spaces and entrance facilities.

4.  Telecommunications Enclosure and Telecommunications Cabinets

These locations house the terminations of horizontal and backbone cables to connecting hardware including any jumpers or patch cords. It may also contain different portions of the backbone cabling system. The locations also provide a controlled environment to house telecommunications equipment, connecting hardware and splice closures serving a portion of the building.

horizontal structuerd cabling system

5. Horizontal Cabling

The horizontal cabling system extends from the work area’s outlet to the telecommunications room or telecommunications cabinet. It includes horizontal cable, jumpers and patch cords. The maximum horizontal cable length is 90 m (295 ft.).

6. Work Area

Work area components extend from the outlet /connector end of the horizontal cabling system to the work area equipment. It is recommended that a minimum of two outlets are provided for each work area.

 

In Conclusion

Whether your project is new construction or updating your existing network.  An infrastructure site survey can assist you in planning your structured cabling design.
Contact a netRelevance low-voltage cabling professional to help you develop a solution for all your networking needs.

 

“Unlike traditional point-to-point cabling, a structured cabling system avoids the jungle of wiring and can carry increasing data at high rates.”

Infrastructure site survey results

EVERY IT STRATEGY SHOULD INCLUDE AN INFRASTRUCTURE SITE SURVEY

An infrastructure site survey can assist your business in saving time, money and resources.  With the results of the data gathered during the site survey, project managers can make better decisions, therefore reducing the likelihood of errors that can prove costly and cause delays in your project.

MAKE SURE ALL OF YOU BASES ARE COVERED

COUNT YOUR USERS

The most important goal for your business network is that it is there for everyone that needs it. The first step is to get a count of your current users, in addition, account for any guests/clients that might visit your office and require a workstation.

MAP OUT YOUR CURRENT INFRASTRUCTURE

A good floor plan is an invaluable tool.  Mapping out your physical inventory and location within your building is important because physical space matters with your network.  For example, ethernet cabling has a maximum effective length, as such extra network cabinets may be required. This will be discovered during the site survey.

LOOK TO THE FUTURE

Your network is constantly evolving. As such your network hardware investment should ideally be evaluated every 3-5 years.  As your business grows, the needs of your network will need to expand with you.  Therefore, think about the future plans for your network and make sure to express this before the site survey is performed.  With an accurate infrastructure site survey, you’ll have the necessary information to plan and create a budget to fit your growing company’s needs.

SITE SURVEY IS A BROAD TERM

Simply put, site survey is the term to describe the “fact finding” for your project.   This is where a technician can determine your best course of action. The infrastructure site survey is usually divided into three phases:

Information Gathering– this involves obtaining floor plans and other necessary documentation. At this time the intended Scope of Work (SOW) should be discussed.

Onsite Survey– while onsite, the technician will verify key locations, such as, computer rooms, telecommunication pathways, cabling outlets, electrical equipment and conduit.  This is also an opportunity to verify the accuracy of the provided floor plans to what currently exists.  Abundant pictures taken during the site survey will aid the technician during the evaluation phase.

Evaluating the Findings– in this phase, the tech can identify problem areas, such as insufficient equipment, ceiling construction and obstructed pathways or poor access.  Any necessary installation equipment, such as aerial work platforms for areas with high ceilings can also be identified.  Required materials will be determined during the site survey so any budget adjustments can be negotiated before installation begins.

Whether your project is new construction or updating your existing network, a netRelevance low-voltage cabling professional can help you develop a solution for your network needs.

 

“An infrastructure site survey can assist your business in saving time, money and resources.”

Wireless devices around a conference table.

Wi-Fi 6E THE LATEST IN THE WORLD OF WIRELESS

The Wi-Fi Alliance, in 2018 renamed the IEEE Wi-Fi standards to Wi-Fi 4, Wi-Fi 5, and Wi-Fi 6.
With the April 2020 vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a new unlicensed spectrum in the 6 GHz band is set to open for wireless use,  Wi-Fi 6E.

Currently, wireless devices are competing for space on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz band.
With increased daily use, these bands become congested and the result can be extremely frustrating to users. With the new Wi-Fi 6E, only devices equipped with specific chips and radios will be able to operate in it. Therefore Wi-Fi 6E will be clean, unused bandwidth and the latest in the world of wireless.

The “E” in Wi-Fi 6E stands for “Extended”- this means an extended number of usable wireless bands. If your business has already deployed Wi-Fi 6, the new extended version might not justify an upgrade. But those that are planning to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 in the coming 18 months might consider upgrading your structured cabling now, in anticipation of 6E hardware becoming widely available. netRelevance and our cable partner, Belden can help make sure your infrastructure is ready when you are.

 

“Whereas, WiFi is as commonplace as indoor plumbing, that doesn’t mean that it is fast or reliable enough for your company’s needs.”