“Apart from the massive disruption it will cause on many
fronts to both end users and security professionals this may ultimately be the
trigger that finally drags the industry kicking and screaming into the Twenty First
century”

 

WHILE each of the providers SE&N spoke to about the
future of monitoring technology was influenced by the sort of monitoring
solutions they supplied, it’s clear that IP, wireless and hardwired, and almost
certainly a combination or a duplicity of both, will be the choice of future
monitoring systems.

According to Suretyek’s Luke Kavanagh, the closure of the
Securitel service in Australia
will allow for advancement of monitoring in the Australia security industry.
Kavanagh believes that while Securitel served a great purpose, it is time for
IP to take centre stage.

“Having said that, now more than ever security providers
and especially monitoring centres must educate themselves on new technology and
conduct their own due diligence prior to partnering with any IP solution,”
Kavanagh explains.

“We can’t be naïve and think every solution will offer
similar levels of security to Securitel.”

Kavanagh believes quality wireless IP solutions are the
natural successors of Securitel.

“When done correctly, there is no better solution than
wireless IP – it is fast, secure, reliable and cost effective,” Kavanagh says.
“Suretek has been working with carriers (especially Telstra) on developing our
solution for several years and are confident of having the most robust and
proven transmission network available.

“This is a specialist’s field, which is why we see the
future belonging to multipath-type solutions – because it takes a lot of money,
research and resources to build a solid single platform. My advice to users is
to find a provider which is a specialist in both security and
telecommunications, and which has a solid and proven platform.”

One of the criticisms leveled at all IP monitoring paths,
wireless and hardwired, is that comms might be delivered from the network provider
to the monitoring station on a single copper pipe, introducing a vulnerability for
every single monitored line a control room is supporting.

But Kavanagh says there is a way to guarantee
communications integrity.

“Suretek provides fixed, wireless and satellite
communication into the monitoring centre,” he says. “The monitoring centre is
the central point for all monitored clients, it is therefore essential they are
online all the time. Something I think many people do not realize is that IP
communication can be delivered via fixed or wireless paths with Surepoll
Wireless being the only solution to offer multiple fixed and wireless IP paths
to the monitoring centre.

Kavanagh says there are many associated risks with IP
monitoring and he believes that while the market is yet to see the full
effects, they will become more noticeable in the years to come.

“Relying on PSTN infrastructure was simple for all of us,
a single network with 99.99 per cent uptime and call completion rate –
fantastic,” Kavanagh says. “But IP is the opposite with many carriers and
service providers with differing infrastructure and service levels. Again, it
is all about finding a proven platform and a service provider who you can work
with and learn from.”

InnerRange’s Vin Lopes agrees
the closure of Securitel will have a significant impact on monitoring here.

“Apart from the massive disruption it will cause on many
fronts to both end users and security professionals this may ultimately be the
trigger that finally drags the industry kicking and screaming into the Twenty First
century,” Lopes says, with characteristic frankness.

“In spite of dialer rebates, possessive empire-building
IT Managers, disinterested end users, ill-informed technicians and fear of the
unknown, it’s only a matter of time, IP will happen and it will be better,”
Lopes says.

While he believes IP has the potential to be the answer
but Lopes says the market is not completely on top of the issues the new
technology throws up just yet.

“I think IP technology certainly has the ability to
deliver equal or better solutions than Securitel but the industry is still
grappling with the many new dimensions that IP brings to the table,” Lopes
explains. “The issues are varied and complex and probably beyond the
understanding of most end users so there is probably a place for some sort of
industry certifier to approve the technical philosophy of the solution
provider.”

And while Lopes thinks wireless solutions are quite
possibly the successors of Securitel he believes wireless will still need to be
backed up by hardwire.

“One of the criticisms leveled at all IP monitoring paths,
wireless and hardwired, is that comms might be delivered from the network provider
to the monitoring station on a single copper pipe, introducing a vulnerability for
every single monitored line a control room is supporting.”

“I think there will have to be other monitoring solutions
in support because of the intrinsic vulnerability to jamming of any solely
wireless based solution,” Lopes says. “But there are things going for wireless
technology. Wireless solutions are the easiest to install, given the lack of
proficiency in IP networking technology among traditional security installers.

“Another driver for wireless is the possessive nature of
many IT administrators in larger enterprises who refuse to allow access to
their network for wired IP solutions,” Lopes explains.

“Having said this, after three years of working with
various IP methodologies, our testing has revealed that encrypted IP Data over
hardwired public internet infrastructure is probably the cheapest, fastest,
most reliable and scaleable single-path solution (when encrypted and properly
configured) available.

“Multiple wireless and hardwired paths across more than
one carrier seems to be the only practical refinement which can be added,”
Lopes says. “Our experience with all three of the major Telco’s is that no
one’s single GPRS network is sufficiently reliable for the 24/7 nature of
polled security monitoring and unlike old direct line and securitel solutions
when they go down they take out wide areas of the state and even across states.”

Lopes says that after a lot of pain InnerRange
is of the opinion that with IP, the solution must be at least two paths and on
separate carriers.

“Even then you are not completely covered as at the local
level some carriers share infrastructure,” he says. “One widely held common
misconception in the security industry is that the restricted infrastructure of
a Telco provided VPN is more secure or reliable than the myriad of redundant
links inherent in the architecture of public internet infrastructure.

“The public internet is constantly being bombarded with
massive quantities of data, yet amazingly you can still email your Telco to
tell them their private VPN service is down. The only consideration when using
the public internet is good quality encryption of alarm data. We make this
statement after 3 years of working intensely with VPNs operated by the two
major telcos, and the internet in general.”

Lopes says he doesn’t believe it’s possible to guarantee
the performance of single path into a control room that’s provided by a single
carrier.

“Regardless of the claims made by Telco salesman or
solution providers we believe that there can be no guarantees of fully
redundant infrastructure within the one network,” Lopes says.

Interestingly, Lopes says that IP is highly secure and he
suggests the risks are being blown out of proportion.

“Though there are widely touted risks, such as hackers,
eaves dropping, packet substitution and the like, in all cases the perpetrator
needs to be infinitely more intelligent, than someone seeking to mount an
identical attack on existing dialer technology,” Lopes says.

“Consider from the point of view of a technician, probably
9 out of 10 alarm technicians could compromise a digital dialer with a pair of
side cutters while only 1 technician in 1000 may understand the intricacies
involved in an IP attack on a sensibly defended IP alarm transmission solution.”

Emizon, which has brought its Global 21 managed IP service
to the local market through Central Monitoring Services, is rightly convinced
IP monitoring brings improvements in functionality, flexibility and cost
effectiveness.

“The recent closure of Securitel means customers
currently using the derived Channel Multiplex solution known as Securitel will
need to find a replacement service,” Emizon says. “It is important to remember
that the service has served the industry well; it has never been compromised
either in Australia
or in any of the countries that have deployed a service based on the same
technology.

“Assuming the same level of signaling is required it is
imperative that customers choose their replacement service wisely, bearing in
mind the New ASIAL standard (AS/NZS2201.5:2008),” Emizon says. “Such standards
have been commonplace in other world markets for several years. The European
Union member states for example (a regulated market) have had graded levels of
security signaling that are very similar to the ASIAL standards Class 1,2 , 3
& 4.”

And Emizon does not believe quality wireless solutions
are the natural successors of Securitel.

“Not on their own – security standards dictate that
wireless only solutions are not an effective solution for security signaling,”
Emizon says. “The USA, Canada and Europe
all conclude that wireless-only solutions can only meet the lower risk
environment. Wireless is a very important component in a secure solution such
as Securitel, but only in combination with other technologies.”

Meanwhile Emizon says it is possible to guarantee the
integrity of a single path into a control room using one carrier but believes
to achieve this it is essential that providers of signalling solutions and the
carrier plan their network architecture with multiple redundancies.

“More specifically we recommend that for connection to
the Emizon Service Platform, the control room deploys 2 IP pipes, each from a
different service provider,” Emizon says. “There should be no single point of
failure in high risk environments.”

Like other providers, Emizon sees IP as an inevitable
presence in the alarm monitoring market.

“IP is inevitable – IP is not new and it is now used for all
secure business and government today,” Emizon explains. “The penetration of
expansive IP solutions such as VoIP and IP TV renders legacy telecoms to a
place in history.

“It is important, however, that signalling via IP does
not compromise the principals of the technology used by Securitel, namely
Derived Channel Multiplex, in that it should be a managed service,” Emizon says.

“With a managed service such as Securitel, the
connectivity from the panel to the response centre is constantly monitored from
the alarm panel to the response centre over the signalling network or platform.
This end-to-end connectivity ensures continuous availability of the signalling
path i.e. from the end user’s perspective it means that the alarm will get
through each time, every time.

“In addition, a managed service ensures delivery of
events and importantly, is able to notify the monitoring station in the event
of any failure or change in state of the secure path,” Emizon says.

As far as risks are concerned, according to Emizon, any
single path solution has risks and IP is no different.

“Broadband does not experience a significantly reduced
quality of service to traditional methods of telephony and is significantly
better than wireless. Consider that Emizon’s Global 21 service is a secure,
managed, dual path signalling service that provides two means of communication,”
Emizon says.

“The first path uses the customers exiting broadband/IP connection and
the second uses Optus’s wireless GPRS service. Both communication paths are
constantly managed end-to-end by the Emizon Service Platform giving
availability levels of 99.99. Not only does Global 21 meet the most onerous
requirements of the new ASIAL standard but it will also enhance security when
compared to a ‘legacy’ Securitel, single-path service.”

“Consider from the point of view of a technician, probably
9 out of 10 alarm technicians could compromise a digital dialer with a pair of
side cutters while only 1 technician in 1000 may understand the intricacies
involved in an IP attack on a sensibly defended IP alarm transmission solution”