Crime and accident prevention without wires

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How do you provide security and safety to the community using video surveillance solutions over wireless networks? Motorola’s RONALD VAN KLEUNEN explains how new technologies are broadening the scope and functionality of wireless security solutions.

In this article we will address the challenges and solutions of implementing a readily available and secure wireless network for indoor and outdoor environments by Motorola Wireless Network Solutions (WNS).
One of the key questions faced by town planners, security agencies and facility management companies today is how to provide improved security cover at shopping centres, shopping districts, transportation hubs, sporting events and other such high traffic areas. They are now increasingly faced with the demand to have higher levels of surveillance to prevent crime in these high footfall areas, and to institute better traffic management capabilities so that traffic congestion and accidents can be prevented. These emerging imperatives have forced decision-makers, facility owners/managers and IT architects to explore alternative ways to effectively and in an improved manner manage these issues even while delivering improved cost efficiency.

While exploring new technology alternatives, several factors require consideration. The most significant among them includes connectivity requirements, determining the areas to mount the camera, maintenance and management of surveillance equipment, and security and legal compliances etc. Connectivity requirements and camera specifications such as high versus low video quality, fixed or panning camera, need for a continuous video stream or partially uploading video images, also need to be taken into account. These factors determine wireless network bandwidth required for the network.
The areas to mount the cameras are important, as some areas are difficult to reach (e.g. high ceilings in manufacturing sites and airports make it difficult to lay cables and entail high cabling costs). On the other hand, a wireless network provides an easy and effective alternative. It is important, of course, to have a well-designed wireless network that takes into account the Radio Frequency (RF) coverage areas. Planning tools are available to do a predictive analysis and visualise the RF waves. Also, simulations can be done to understand if the wireless network meets the required network bandwidth.

Remote location of the camera also poses a great challenge when there is a need to gain physical access to the camera, as may be necessary at times for changing the camera settings or to have remote management to monitor whether the camera is fully functional or not. In addition, maintenance of the camera is important, for example, to clean the lenses of the cameras or even to replace a faulty camera.
Cameras also need to be physically secured. Environmental conditions like water, humidity, temperature, dust and strong wind can affect the operational status of the camera. Cameras need to be mounted in areas that are difficult to reach and protected from vandals, who may break a camera or inflict damage such as graffiti (blocking the lenses), cut cables or even steal the camera unit itself.
Video feeds from the cameras should be encrypted end-to-end; i.e. from the cameras all the way to the operation centre, to avoid any unauthorised interception of the video feed or someone manipulating the images. For internal controls, role-based access control to the cameras should be instituted. As a result, an operator at the video control centre should have limited permissions to access the camera (‘read access’) versus an administrator, who could be given extensive permission to enable changed settings in the camera (‘read/write access’).

Then there are the privacy laws that are effective in several countries. These laws can determine whether a camera can be mounted in certain public areas, such as public
toilets in shopping malls. Security cameras are expected in locations like bank branches, ATM machines and retail shops, but the law may require that those who are being watched be made aware of the existence of the camera, and in line with that appropriate public notices put in place.
Traditional solutions like closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras use wired connections and an analogue transmission technology connected back to video recorders at the security operation centre, whereas today’s latest digital cameras have greater capabilities and fulfil more wide-ranging needs of the customer (e.g. remote configurations, alert and integrated audio capabilities, and video image intruder detection etc).
To increase the speed of threat detection and improve the efficiency of corrective action, Motorola and Nice Systems have combined the Intelligent Video Surveillance and Control (iVSC) over a wireless network. The iVSC integrates real-time analysis, IP networking, recording and management to enable automatic threat detection, instant verification, event resolution and effective investigation. The iVSC is located in the Video Command Centre.

Surveillance cameras are installed at places that need to be monitored (Video Edge). Some camera vendors have wireless interfaces (e.g. using Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n protocols) and therefore no cabling is required for data traffic, though cabling for power is still required. Alternatively, some cameras support Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) to connect the camera directly to a PoE-wired switch, or to a wireless access point supporting PoE, thus avoiding the laying of power cables to the camera. Usually power supply is available at lamp posts.
WNS provides wireless infrastructure solutions (‘Video Transport’) to support 24/7 video surveillance requirements. These solutions provide premium availability, performance, redundancy and advanced security.
To provide video transport over wireless networks, Motorola has categorised the products into:

1. Wireless design, planning and monitoring tools:

  • indoor wireless local area network (WLAN) – LAN planner to design a wireless network inside buildings and to understand the RF coverage areas plus blind spots
  • outdoor wireless LAN – broadband and point-to-point (PTP) link planner to design a network for outdoor environments, including heights of mountains, and integrations with Google Maps, and
  • one-point wireless suite and AirDefense Services Platform (ADSP) to manage these wireless networks for availability, understand wireless interference plus changes in the propagation of wireless signals, and to manage and mitigate wireless security risks.

2. WLAN devices to support Wi-Fi 802.11 cameras:

  • access points that can operate stand-alone or can be centrally managed (e.g. AP7131) and optionally support mesh connections as the wireless backhaul
  • access points that can only be centrally managed (e.g. AP650)
  • wireless controllers for centralised management of the APs (e.g. RFS6000/7000)
  • wireless management and wireless network assurance (ADSP – AirDefense), and
  • wireless security intrusion detection and prevention (WIDS/WIPS AirDefense).

3. Outdoor wireless network solutions to support 802.11 cameras

  • Wi-Fi (WLAN) products that can be integrated with the wireless indoor solutions, but providing Wi-Fi connectivity for outdoor Wi-Fi cameras (e.g. AP7181)
  • mesh products to support wireless backhauls (e.g. AP7181, MOTOMESH Duo)
  • point-to-multipoint (PTMP) to distribute the wireless signal in municipal areas (e.g. PMP 100), and
  • PTP for long distance wireless backhaul connectivity (e.g. PTP 800).

Also of interest is the emerging need to verify the carbon footprint of the Wi-Fi equipment for video surveillance. Motorola has been ranked among the top green Wi-Fi matrix vendors, in rankings released by ABI Research. Each of the vendors was examined across parameters such as carbon footprint, regulatory compliance, recycling efforts, internal initiatives, achievements in telepresence, video conferencing and telecommuting, and their participation in environmental organisations.

Australia: the city of Gladstone has deployed a wireless surveillance network to keep watch over its central business district (CBD) using state-of-the-art IP-based surveillance systems. The network encompasses high-resolution IP cameras operating across a combination of Motorola MOTOMESH and Canopy PTP wireless network connections.

Thailand: Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Office is using a secure, scalable and robust outdoor wireless mesh solution to run its 24-hour video surveillance network for public safety and traffic management in Yaowaraj, Sumphanthawong (China Town) areas. The wireless technology-based video surveillance network effectively strengthens the existing security apparatus and also facilitates improved traffic management.

Central China: a large state-owned regional railway bureau, which owns and operates a number of important railway lines in coal-rich central China, has switched to a high-speed data and video feedback system. The rail system manages major outbound lines for shipping coal and other payloads from the interior provinces of Henan, Shanxi and Shan’xi. Since the bureau is of such great importance in transporting passengers and exchanging goods between inland and coastal regions, the system is also known as the Heart of China Railway. Especially important is the enhanced rail station monitoring to help ensure safer, more efficient dispatching. Monitoring was previously handled manually, a method that proved to be both inefficient and ineffective. The bureau decided to build a high-speed data and video feedback system to capture and deliver real-time information and visual images from stations located in an area that encompasses more than 50 kilometres.

US: The Green Bay Police Department in Wisconsin wanted to increase security at the Port of Green Bay and throughout the city. For this, the department turned to a scalable video surveillance system that would enable it to easily deploy additional cameras as the need arose and funding became available. From increased security at the port to managing the crowds at the downtown festivals and keeping an eye on the bridges, the department was looking for a cost-effective solution that would address all these needs. Green Bay Police implemented a Motorola Wireless Broadband point-to-multipoint system to establish a platform for a citywide video surveillance solution.

End-to-end architecture of the video surveillance system is very important. It must provide scalability, both in terms of coverage area as well as the number of cameras in a network, without compromising wireless network bandwidth capacity, performance and security. Key to all this is the design and planning for any wireless network for optimum performance.
Wireless network monitoring tools help to correlate: availability, performance and security alarms. For example, if a hacker does a wireless Denial of Service Attack (DoS) and images of the wireless camera cannot be sent to the video recorder, AirDefense helps to detect the DoS attack and informs the operator. The DoS attack can also be mitigated automatically by terminating the activity of the wireless hacker.
Alarm notifications can be integrated with other systems, like email, SMS notification system or larger IT service management frameworks. Alarms can be automated to reduce the operational costs at the network and security operation centres.

Video surveillance is a proven deterrent tool to fight crime and to better manage traffic. With the advances in wireless technology, it has clearly emerged as an effective, robust and cost-efficient option for either setting up new or expanding existing wired video surveillance networks. The inherent flexibility offered by wireless makes it an easy and very fast means of setting up a high-speed and secure network backbone for video surveillance and addressing mission-critical needs. WNS offers solutions for indoor and outdoor high-speed wireless networks. The wireless solutions provide flexibility to transport video efficiently and securely. Root cause analysis and investigation tools help to reduce the operational costs in the organisation.

Ronald van Kleunen is Motorola’s business development manager for the wireless service and security business overseeing the Motorola AirDefense portfolio in the Asia-Pacific. He has 15 years of experience in designing, consulting IT/Service and Network Infrastructures, IT/Network Services and IT/Network Operations, including wireless security, management and process layers, ranging from enterprise level environments to home environments, addressing scalability, security and IT service management. He has in-depth knowledge in various security-related issues, including cyber security, Information Security Management Standards (ISO 27001 standard), IT Information Management Standards (ISO 20000 standard), data centre security risks and service oriented enterprise and service oriented security (‘SOS’). Before joining Motorola, he worked at various multinational corporations, including Globeron-Security (founder), IBM Global Services, Sun Microsystems, AT&T Global Network Services and Ericsson Telecommunications since 1995.

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