Fiber Optic Security for Intrusion Detection

On September 11, 2001, the world changed. It will never be the same – not just in the United States but around the world. Where as people thought about security in the "What can I afford" mentality ", they were boosted into the" What do I need to do now to secure my property and people "mind set.

CCTV cameras, a DVR and maybe a security officer are just not enough anymore. Chemical and pharmaceutical companies, schools, corporations and utility services are looking for more accurate, cost effective ways to secure life and property. This article will focus on two Fiber Optic Products: Fiber Fence and Cover Cop.

Fiber fence and Cover Cop are a development of Fiber Instrument Sales of Oriskany, New York and Sandia National Laboratories. FIS and Sandia developed the patented Fiber Fence fiber optic intrusion detection and perimeter security system in response to a need for a more durable, yet sensitive, intrusion detection system for the US Military.

Fiber Fence can detect and locate intruders anywhere along a fence line up to 10 miles in length further if multiple units are networked together. The System can be installed on existing objects such as perimeter fencing, walls, and gateways. An alert occurs when someone causes a disturbance to the optical fiber, or to the Mouse Trip sensor to which it is attached. Fiber Fence is relatively inexpensive, and easier to install than other fiber optic intrusion detection systems. The system includes an OTDR (optical time domain reflectometer) for system monitoring and testing. There is also a portable version available making it's use even more diverse.

If the fence takes a direct electric strike from lightning or transformer near the perimeter, Fiber Fence will continue to work since there are no expensive electrical components to change. This dramatically increases efficiency and lifespan of the sensors. It also lowers overall maintenance costs. The attenuation of an infrared light source is at the heart of the intrusion detector.

Another fiber optic security system, part of the Fiber Fence family, is Cover Cop. A non electric sensor that will guard against any intrusion to a manhole or utility cover.

Mr. Richard Martinez, CPP – President and CEO of Homeland Protective Group, Inc. in New York City states, "Fiber Fence and Cover Cop, when integrated with the FIS Strike Zone Software, provides the ultimate form of security for correctional institutions, military installations and any other sensitive areas requiring perimeter security."

Direct fiber optic cameras are also being brought into play due to their ability to be near high electric output devices without being disturbed by EMI (Electro mechanical interference). Many different lenses can be utilized for just about any application. Since the transmission is over fiber optic cables and not traditional copper wire, the effective distance is increased to miles rather than under 2,000 ft. without a booster. The video signal is also clearer.

The Benefits of Fiber Optic Security-

Applications – It is ideal for large perimeters such as those around factories, water reservoirs, electric grids and airports. Fiber Fence has been installed to protect military facilities, nuclear power facilities, factories, storage yards, hazardous waste facilities and more. Since the system requires no additional electric to the fence line, it is much more affordable than other systems.

Anti-Spark Optical Technology – The mechanical detection mechanism, called Cover Cop, is a hermetically sealed sensor that does not use electricity. It can not spark an explosion in underground utilities where combustible gases may be present.

Affordable Protection – Up to 500 or more utility covers can be monitored within a single system, over a distance of 80 or more kilometers. These monitoring distances are many times that of electronic systems, and eliminate the need for expensive inline repeaters to amplify the signal. Power is NOT required at the protected entrances or anywhere along the fiber optic cable run.

The patented Strike Zone Security Solution combines advanced optical technology with specialized sensing devices and high tech security systems to achieve performance and reliability superior to other intrusion detection systems. Adopted by the US Military, The Fiber Fence can monitor up to 16 km (10 miles) of fence line without requiring power anywhere along the perimeter. Systems can be cascaded to provide monitoring distances of up to 80 km (50 miles)

Regardless of the manufacturer, pound for pound and dollar for dollar, Fiber Optic Security is the best bet for securing perimeters and sensitive properties around the world.