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DCJS #11-1959

HOME AND BUSINESS SECURITY SYSTEM TERMS

A

Access Codes
A keypad-entered numeric combination to gain access to the system.

Access Control
Computerized and mechanical processes based on users’ identities and predefined roles for controlling access to protected facilities. Can be integrated with intrusion, fire detection and access control.

Alarm
A device for signaling an emergency condition.

All-In-One Control Panel/System
A control panel with a built-in keypad or touch screen and siren.

Antenna
A transmitting device to convert radio frequency energy into an electromagnetic field that travels through space, or a receiving device that converts an electromagnetic field in space into RF energy that can travel via a wire or cable.

Anti-Passback
An access control feature to prevent system users from sharing their access codes or cards with someone else. A user code must be used to enter and then to exit before it can be used to enter again. Similarly, to prevent the same PIN from being used by several persons, a time delay can be programmed so the PIN won’t work again until the time delay is complete.

Arming
Activation of the security system to enable its sensors detect changes of state and report those changes to the control panel.

Arming Levels
A set of instructions which determines those sensors to be activated and those which are not. All sensors are armed when you are away from home, for example, but interior motion sensors would not be when you are home and moving around the house.

Asset Tracking
Software to enable control of physical assets, such as laptop computers and other high-value equipment. The system ensures that the cardholder requesting access is authorized to take assets through designated alarm points.

Auxiliary/Medical Alert and Alarm
An alarm signaling the need for medical personnel.

B

Backup Battery
All control panels use a battery backup for power loss.  The battery is only used during loss of power from the main AC source.  The length of time the battery will last varies by size of battery used.  Usually from 12-24 hours.  The life span of the backup battery is usually 3 to 5 years.   

Backward-Compatible
Equipment that can operate with earlier and future versions of software. Backward-compatible products enable innovation without additional equipment upgrade costs.

Band
The frequencies used for a specific class of RF wireless communications system.

Bandwidth
The amount of radio spectrum used by a communications system. Both the transmitter and the receiver have a measurable bandwidth (measured in Hertz). A receiver’s bandwidth must be as large or larger than the transmitters bandwidth, so that all of the signal is received.

Biometrics
Usually used as part of an access control system, biometrics identify individuals on the basis of fingerprints, iris patterns, or other identifying traits.

Bypass
An instruction to a security system not to arm a specific sensor.

C

Carbon Monoxide
A colorless, odorless, and highly toxic gas produced during combustion by furnaces, water heaters, and other home appliances. According to the National Safety Council and the Center for Disease Control, 5,000 people in the United States are treated in emergency rooms for carbon monoxide poisoning and CO kills between 500 and 1000 persons each year in their homes.

CCTV
Closed-Circuit Television. The use of cameras for surveillance. Images may be viewed on a monitor, via the internet, or digitally recorded for later viewing and submission as evidence.

Central Monitoring Station
A facility that receives alarms from subscribers’ security systems and requests the dispatch of fire, police, or medical authorities.

Control Panel (system controller)
Often referred to as the "brain" of the system.  This is the CPU (Central Processing Unit) that all the security system devices report back to.   It monitors the condition of all the supervised sensors, AC power connection, backup battery usage and status of the communication connection/device.   Control Panels come in hardwired, wireless or hybrid versions.  Control panels come with a set number of  "Zones". 

D

Decibel
A measure of the relative difference between the power level of two signals. The signal strength of a door/window sensor in a residential system might range from .1mW for a close-in transmitter to .00000000001mW for a transmitter in a remote closet.

Delay
The time allotted the system user to exit the premises after turning the system on without causing an alarm (exit delay); the time allotted the system user to enter the premises and turn off the system without causes a false alarm (entry delay).

Disarm
To turn the system or a sensor off.

Diversity
To eliminate the effects of multipath distortion, diversity communications systems use redundant signal paths between the transmitter and receiver.

Door Contact/Sensor
Detects if the door is opened.  Can be hardwired or wireless.  There are many styles available and the right one is determined by the type of door and type of system being used at the installation location.

Dual Technology Motion Detector (Dual Tech)
Use passive infrared and microwave detection.  Heat movement and light changes must be detected at the same time for the detector to trigger.  Designed with 2 detection trigger requirements to reduce false alarms.  These are used frequently in businesses.

DVMR
Digital Video Multplexer/Recorder. A device that receives images from several CCTV cameras at once and enables the images to be viewed on a monitor or recorded.

DVR- Digital Video Recorder
A device that records audio and video input, typically from a television signal, on to a hard disk.

E

Electric Strike
Electronic device for locking and unlocking doors in response to signals from an access control system.

Electronic Access Control
Controlling entry into a physical area by means of a controller and electronic components including locks, readers, sensors, buttons and more. Electronic access control specifies who can go where and when.

Ethernet
A way of networking multiple devices into one system, enabling a security system to be controlled from different access points within the network.

Event Log
A record of actions performed and recorded by a security or access control system.

F

False Alarm
Any alarm sounded when there is no cause for alarm.

Fixed English LCD
Liquid-crystal-display that uses preset English text to communicate the system status. Hard numeric keys.

Fire Alarm
A signal transmitted by heat or smoke detectors and Pull Stations.

Free Air Range
The line-of-sight unobstructed communications distance of a transmitter/receiver system.

G

Glass Break Detector/Sensor
Detects the sound of shattering glass from a door or window.  The detector is not placed on the window or glass door.  It is installed in the room where glass break detection is desired.  They have a line-of-site range of 15-25 feet.  Window and door treatments that block the sound can cause the detector to not work.  

H

Hardwired and Wireless Zone Expanders/Input Modules
Device added to a system to expand the number of hardwired or wireless zones available for detection devices.     

Hardwired Control Panel/System
A system that uses only hardwired detection devices.  Detection devices are connected with low voltage (22/2 or 22/4) wire from where they are placed in the location to the control panel.

Hybrid Control Panel/System
A control panel that can use hardwired and wireless detection devices.

Hardwired Panic Button
A hardwired, fixed location, supervised, single or dual action activated panic device for use during an emergency.  Usually used in businesses for hold-ups where a person is demanding money at gun pointed.  They can also be used in bedrooms next to the bed for medical emergencies.   They can be programmed for audible or silent. 

Heat Detector
Detects fast rising temperature and high temperatures associated with a fire.  These are used in areas where a smoke detector would cause false alarms.  Kitchens, Attics, Garages and Laundry Rooms are good locations for heat detectors.  On a security system, they are always on.

I

Image Sensor
Detects motion using passive infrared detection and takes snap shots using an onboard camera.  This sensor is only available when you have our interactive service plan and the mobile app for your smart phone or other smart device.  See the video on our home security page for more information.

Interference
RF energy in the receiver’s band which is not made by a system transmitter; reduces the communications range of a transmitter-receiver system.

Interior Sensors
Devices that register changes of state of interior spaces or doors.

Intrusion Alarm
A signal transmitted by sensors that detect intrusion. Door/Window sensors and motion sensors most commonly send intrusion alarm signals.

J

Joystick
A controller for moving a pan/tilt/zoom camera up, down, left or right.

K

Keyfob / Keychain Remote
A non-supervised control device that gives the user simple arming, disarming and panic button functions that can be taken with them.  It only works in close proximity to the location.

Keypad
Device used by the user to control the security system/control panel.  Keypads can be hardwired or wireless.  The keypad display can be LED, LCD, Fixed English LCD or Virtual Touch Screen.  

L

LED Keypad
Light-emitting diode.  System status is shown via LED lights.  Hard numeric keys.

LCD Keypad
Liquid-crystal-display. System status is shown via LCD screen using  custom text. Hard numeric keys. 

Local Area Network (LAN)
A connected system of cameras, recorders, and other security systems that communicate with each other and can be controlled from different access points in the system.

M

Megapixel
A unit of graphic resolution equivalent to one million or (strictly) 1,048,576 (220) pixels

Message or Data
The information sent by a communications system.

Mobile Application (App)
An App downloaded to a smart phone or smart device designed to give the user control of the system using the cellular network through a server that links their phone to the security system.

Module
In home automation, a device for interfacing controllers with security devices, lamps, appliances, and other devices. Each module has an address which may be unique or may be the same as other modules.

Monitoring Service
see Central Monitoring Station

Motion Detector
Detects the movement of an object.  They are available with different ranges and detection types.  They are considered an interior detection device.  They are designed to be used when the location/area is vacant.

Passive Infrared Motion Detector
PIR: An intrusion detector designed to register changes of temperature (heat source), which occur when an intruder enters a protected space.

N

Narrow Band
Refers to a communications system that transmits and receives using only as much radio spectrum as is needed to pass the message data rate.

No Delay
With remote arming and disarming capabilities the system user can approach the premises and before entering disarm the system with no delay. This eliminates the feeling of being rushed to turn off the system to prevent a false alarm after entering a delay door.

NVR - Network Video Recorder
A software program that records video in a digital format to a disk drive, USB flash drive, SD memory card or other mass storage device. An NVR contains no dedicated video capture hardware.

P

Panic Button
A remote control device or a button on a control panel that sends an alarm signal without requiring the use of an access code.

Panic Pendant
A portable device that sends a wireless panel signal to the control panel. They can be worn around the neck with a neck strap, clipped to a belt, or placed in wall-mounted holders.

Passive Infrared Motion Detector
PIR: An intrusion detector designed to register changes of temperature (heat source), which occur when an intruder enters a protected space.

Pet Immune Motion Detector
Designed to reduce false alarms from improper use with pets.  They base the immunity on the weight of the pet.  If the pet is under the weight limit, the detector will not detect them moving around while in the site range of the motion detector.  The detector uses a spectrum of passive infrared beams and the object must breach multiple beams to set the detector off.  A pet  will breach the beams differently than a human.  This is how they are able to call them immune to pets. 

Warning - Pet immune Motion Detectors should only be used when absolutely necessary and for households that have a single pet in the weight zone detailed by the detector manufacturer. 

PoE - Power over Ethernet
A technology for wired Ethernet LANs (local area networks) that allows the electrical current necessary for the operation of each device to be carried by the data cables rather than by power cords

R

Radio Frequency
The alternating voltage and magnetic fields in a radio signal. Frequency is measured in cycles per second, which is usually referred to as a Hertz after the man who discovered them. A megaHertz (MHz) is a frequency of 1 million cycles per second.

Radio Spectrum
The frequency range of electromagnetic radiation used for all RF wireless communications systems.

Receiver sensitivity
The ability of the receiver to hear the transmitter’s signal.

Receiver
The RF analog and logic components in the security alarm panel that processes the signals received by the antenna and reconstructs the digital message of the transmitter.

S

Sensor
A device that detects a change from one state to another. For example, a door/window sensor detects the change in a circuit from a normally closed state to an opened state.

Silent Alarm
An alarm received by a central station operator which does not activate a local alarm sound.

Smoke Detector/Sensor
Detects smoke.  Can be hardwired or wireless.   They use a photoelectric beam that has to be breached when smoke enters the chamber of the detector.    Once the detector is triggered, a signal is immediately sent to our monitoring center (monitored systems only) and we dispatch the fire department to your home or business. On a security system, they are always on.

Spatial Diversity
Using two or more antennas (on either the transmitter or the receiver) where the two antennas are switched. Having antennas with unique locations provides independent signal paths through space and thereby significant fade resistance.

Supervised/Supervision
Refers to the control panel "supervising" the wireless sensors/detection devices on the system.  The control panel supervises/monitors the battery level, if it is in range and current condition.  Current condition example - Is the front door sensor open or closed?

T

Transmitter Power
The intensity of the transmitter’s signal. The higher the power radiated by the transmitter’s antenna the greater the reliability of the communications system.

Transmitter
The circuit that includes logic that generates a baseband message describing the status of the inputs to the transmitter, a radio frequency oscillator that generates the carrier frequency, modulation method to impose the message onto the carrier frequency, and an antenna to radiate the signal.

Two-Way Voice
A technology for allowing a central station operator to hear what transpires after an alarm is activated and to talk to persons on the scene.

U

User ID
A unique identification code that enables access. Usually used in conjunction with a password.

V

Virtual Touch Screen
A keypad that operates by touching a optical-detectable surface instead of hard keys.

Video Motion Detection
Detection and triggering of video recording by a camera

Voice Keypad
Many keypads can be ordered with a voice option.  On these keypads, during operation and entering of commands, the keypad will speak telling the user what to do next or the command that has just been entered.

W

Wavelength
The distance that the radio wave travels in one cycle of the transmitters frequency. At 300 MHz a wavelength is about 30 inches and at 900 MHz a wavelength is about 8 inches.

Wifi
A wireless area network allowing computers, smartphones, or other devices to connect to the Internet or communicate with one another wirelessly within a particular area.

Wifi Video Camera
A video camera that transmits image data over a Wifi wireless area network within a specific range.

Window Contact/Sensor
Detects if the window is opened.  Can be hardwired or wireless.  There are many styles available and the right one is determined by the type of window and type of system being used at the installation location.

Wireless Control Panel/System
A system that uses only wireless detection devices.  Detection devices are learned into the control panel using the device's unique serial number.  Only devices learned into the control panel will be recognized. 

Wireless Keychain Touchpad
A system-controlling device designed to fit in a pocket or purse

Wireless Panic Button
A wireless, mobile, supervised, single or dual button activated panic device for use during an emergency.  The buttons can be programmed to report a home invasion, burglary panic situation, personal life threatening situation or medical emergency.  A variety of styles are available for different situations.  They can be programmed for audible or silent.

Z

Zone
Points on a Control Panel where devices are connected or learned in.  On hardwired control panels, one device or multiple non-powered devices of the same type can be grouped on a zone.  (Family Room Windows)  On wireless control panels, only one device can be used per zone.

Z-wave
A wireless communications protocol designed for home automation, specifically for remote control applications in residential and light commercial environments.

Z-wave Thermostat
A thermostat that is controlled by wireless Z-Wave commands using Z-Wave remote control or compatible Z-wave software

Z-wave Lock
A lock that is controlled by wireless Z-Wave commands using Z-Wave remote control or compatible Z-wave software

Z-wave Light
A light that is controlled by wireless Z-Wave commands using Z-Wave remote control or compatible Z-wave software