Sensors Fostering Digital Security across the Borders

By CIOReview | Friday, August 9, 2019

Low-power sensors are fostering digital communication and are also gaining attention in security operations where human monitoring and patrols face significant challenges.

FREMONT, CA: As the technologies are moving from real to the virtual sphere, industries are shifting their focus too. The age of digital technology is readily incorporating interconnected low-power sensors. Such technologies are fostering digital communication and are also gaining attention in security operations where human monitoring and patrols face significant challenges.

For instance, the U.S. has a vast border region which requires constant surveillance. The U.S.-Canada border is 4,000 square miles while the U.S.-Mexico border is 2,000 miles. The coastlines of the U.S. represent another 12,500 miles. Monitoring and patrolling the borders just through human involvement is both costly and vulnerable. However, using low-power sensor technology connected to long-range wide-area wireless communications can provide effective monitoring infrastructure.

Technology related perimeter security has experienced its fair share of failures in the past few decades. With proposals of numerous larger projects such as an establishment of a physical walled border, budget concerns have overtaken the concerns of using efficient digital technologies for perimeter monitoring. However, a new wireless standard- IEEE 802.16s provides great promise to deliver the required coverage and security needs of border security at an affordable cost. The recently published wireless standard was developed from the ground up to match up with the wide-area coverage requirements of industrial and security networks.

The standard specifies how to use software-defined radio (SDR) to transmit broadband data for a long-range with high upstream capacity. Depending on the standard design, every base station tower has the potential of 3,000 square miles of data coverage, thus enabling monitoring technologies and wireless sensors to be deployed over a vast territory with minimal infrastructure. Apart from the actual parameter line, the coverage spans up to 30 miles in either direction of the cell tower, thereby creating a larger protection range as compared to a single barrier.

Remote SDRs are analogous to cellular modems but have a significantly better range. After the coverage is in place, low-cost sensor networks can be connected to them that provide real-time feedback and intelligence. It is especially useful in connecting and improving efficiency with IoT technologies needed for perimeter security, such as temperature or chemical monitoring, thermal imaging, night vision, and event-based video streaming.