VixNet expands its products and services
January 2015, Perimeter Security, Alarms & Intruder Detection
By Andrew Seldon.
VixNet set up shop in South Africa in 2006, offering solutions for transmitting alarm signals reliably. It has grown its local operation to include its own DSSS network covering Cape Town and Gauteng, and sells its Lion radio transceivers to communicate alarm signals.
The reason for developing its own Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) network as opposed to using public networks is reliability. Using a public network means you can never be sure that your alarm communications have an open channel and will get through unhindered. The VixNet network delivers 100% connectivity and communications for clients.
Of course, today it is more than a network bottleneck that prevents alarm communications from reaching their intended targets or control rooms. Jamming has also become a favoured method for criminals to bypass alarms in cars as well as homes and businesses. Arguably the best offering from VixNet is the ability to prevent the jammers from disrupting its network.
VixNet uses the direct-sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) which splits data to be transmitted into small pieces, each of which is allocated a frequency channel across the spectrum. The transmission device adds a chipping code to each piece of data, which resists interference (such as jamming of the signal) and allows the system to recover data if bits are damaged in the transmission process. The spectrum VixNet uses is licensed from ICASA.
Clinton Lemmer, VixNet’s head of security business development, says the company has grown steadily over the past few years. The Lion’s reliability and anti-jamming capabilities have resulted in constantly increasing sales volumes for the company. However, it is not in the process of expanding its footprint with the addition of new radio products as well as enhanced software that will make customers’ alarm management tasks easier and more effective.
On the hardware front, VixNet has released two new radios that have been specifically designed to reduce the cost to the customer – these will be named the Leopard 2 and Rhino 2. These lower-cost transceivers will be supplemented by a new high-tech radio that will have the battery pack built into the radio. It will be named the Lion S – although the current Lion product will continue to be sold.
The Lion S offers full serial communications. It will allow administrators to pull down event logs and send reports to relevant parties. They can also manage user IDs and update these as required on the control panel via the network.
Lemmer adds that this efficiency will also include the software to allow for group instructions. For example, a retail chain can have a policy that the alarms across all its stores are activated at 8 pm each evening. Instead of relying on individuals to activate each store’s alarm, one person at head office can arm all the alarms with the push of a button. This avoids potential mistakes from individuals forgetting to arm their system.
The Leopard and Rhino products do not have all the extras, but they are now all designed and manufactured in South Africa for the cost conscious buyer.
New services products
VixNet has also developed a series of service applications to help response companies and those in charge of rolling our alarms in large areas. One of these applications will allow users to detect the network strength via their cellphones, determining whether the signal is in line with their company expectations before installing.
Lemmer explains that clients will also be able to log into their own section of the new VixNet website to determine network strength in specific areas. For example, a client may specify that each alarm must be able to contact three base stations at any time to ensure the security of its systems. Entering a location on the website will provide them with all these details, meaning that technicians don’t have to be dispatched until the company knows the site is covered.
In addition, the website will also allow companies to find alarms that have been lost. By triangulating the alarm’s signal, those devices that were installed in the wrong place or mislaid can be traced and recovered.
The new products were released at the end of 2014 and are available now.