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3 Things To Consider When Expanding Your Commercial Intrusion Alarm System

3 Things to Consider When Expanding Your Commerical IntrusionAlarm System Graphic

As a business owner, you probably have a commercial intrusion alarm monitoring system installed in your building.  You may or may not own the building, but it’s likely you have a security alarm system providing peace-of-mind for when you and your employees are not on site.  The goal of any business is to grow, and as you grow this means adding more people, and needing more space.  Sometimes, this might mean having to pack up and leave the space you’re in.  In this case you might need to look at hiring a new security company.  Other times, this might mean adding an expansion onto your building, or taking over new units within your existing building.  When this happens, you’re likely going to want to think about expanding your security system.

Expanding your commercial intrusion alarm monitoring system can be a straightforward process, however sometimes there can be some considerations you need to make in terms of how far you can take that expansion.  Some things to consider when expanding your commercial security alarm system include:

  1. How much can my existing commercial intrusion system be expanded?
  2. Should I consider Wired or Wireless?
  3. Should I partition the Alarm System?

We’ll cover each of these ideas individually below.

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1. How much can my existing commercial intrusion system be expanded?

The first thing to consider when thinking about expanding the security system in your business is what the limit to your existing system currently is. Security alarm systems cannot be expanded indefinitely, and the total number of zones available on the system depends on the type of main control board on the system.  For example, for the DSC line of security alarm systems, here are the total # of zones available for the various DSC Power Series, DSC Maxsys 4020 & DSC Power Series Neo security alarm systems:

  • DSC-PC1616, DSC-HS2016:  16 Zones
  • DSC-PC1832, DSC-HS2032:  32 Zones
  • DSC-PC1864, DSC-HS2064:  64 Zones
  • DSC Maxsys 4020, DSC-HS2128:  128 Zones

In the first three cases, if you’re looking to expand beyond the maximum # of zones for that control panel, you’ll need to look at upgrading to the next available model.  If you have a Maxsys 4020 model, of a HS128 Power Series Neo Model, you may need to look at “doubling up” zones, or even installing a second intrusion system altogether.  The same would be true if you had a Honeywell or Ademco monitoring panels installed.

Contact your existing security provider to find out what type of control panel you may have on site.

2.  Should I Consider Wired or Wireless Security for my Commercial Intrusion Alarm System?

The next piece to consider would be how to add the zones to your existing system.  For security systems, these upgrades can be either wired or wireless.  Each system has its advantages and disadvantages and how you decide to proceed depends on various circumstances in your building.

Hardwired Security System Expansion

With a hardwired expansion, the main consideration is whether or not you can actually run wire to where you need to expand the system to.  Areas with enclosed ceilings with no access, for example, may make this difficult.  Hardwired expansions can be modular, meaning that expansion modules can be installed throughout the space, economizing wire runs to the door contacts, motion sensors and other devices you may be adding.  Home runs of wire from the device to the main control panel aren’t needed in this sort of set-up.  Hard wired installations can be labour intensive, depending on the size of the building and expansion, however and depending on the needs and security of your building running the wire could become costly.  Hardwired installations do have the benefit of never having to consider changing batteries and no “issues” with signalling during an installation.

Wireless Security System Expansion

In wireless security expansion, a wireless receiver is attached to the main control panel, and this communicates with wireless equipped devices throughout the expanded area.  You can now get wireless door contacts, motion sensors, glass breaks and even wireless transmitters which can convert non-wireless devices into wireless ones.  These communicate through a secure wireless frequency back to the wireless receiver.  These installations are less labour intensive, though the devices themselves are often more expensive than their non-wireless counterparts.  The big limitation of wireless components is the range of the wireless system and batteries that need to change, however the newer DSC Power Series Neo solves both of these issues with significantly with improved range and battery life that lasts as long as 7 years.

3. Should I partition the Commercial Intrusion Alarm System?

The final question becomes one of use, and whether or not to consider partitioning the alarm system on site. We’ve covered the benefits of intrusion alarm monitoring system partitioning in this blog post, however the short story is that it allows you to arm and disarm different areas of the alarm system independently.  This can improve the security of the system, but does require a bit of retraining for the people using the system so you don’t create a lot of false alarms.  Most intrusion systems allow this sort of functionality, however it’s best to speak with your intrusion system provider to see if your current system can accommodate.

These three things to keep in mind with considering expanding your commercial security system will cover most of the issues with how to expand the system. This will allow you to make the best choice with your security system expansion for your growing business.


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