Networked Professional Power Supply Examined

Author: John Grocke, Published on Sep 10, 2013

For years, owners and integrators have been able to remotely monitor and manage IP-based video surveillance and access control devices over the network such as servers, workstations, network switches, cameras, access control panels and door controllers. One power supply manufacturer, Life Safety Power, now adds door lock and analog camera power supplies to that list. In this update, we will examine their iSCAN Smart Power line of network-managed power supplies, evaluate their impact how systems are managed and maintained, and compare them to standard power supplies.

Product Basics

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Impact ** ***********

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Pricing *** ************

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**********

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**********

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Comments (4)

Well, welcome to the year 2000, power supplies!

My thoughts exactly. I wonder why it took so long?

It will be interesting to see if this spreads to other manufacturers.

The added price tag is a bit daunting, though they give you a lot for it. Not saying it's a not good value. But if power supply manufacturers at least had a web interface, or even a network utility, to reboot the unit or parts of the unit, that's better than nothing.

Our installation manager and I were actualy having a conversation yesterday about network accessible alarm panels and why they're so few options in that arena. He theroized that there were concerns about security for panel access. My reply was that's all fine and well, but I think that's too often used as an excuse when the real reason is the manufacturers have been reluctant to put the money into R&D for it. If the customer/installer is really concerned about security, they don't have to use it. But the option should at least be available.

I don't buy the security issue either. With proper network security and passwords, I don't see it as any more dangerous than remotely logging into the CCTV or access control client or anything else on the network. Calton's recent article on Shoda shows that many times people don't even bother changing the default password on routers and cameras, which is a far greater risk.

The ability to receive an e-mail or network notification when a circuit is pulling too little or too much power should be huge, especially when it comes to access control. Knowing when a magnetic lock or other door hardware is starting to fail before it dies can avert security risks and emergency service calls. Being able to reboot a circuit remotely is a time saver. Testing batteries remotely or on a schedule is a key maintenance issue, often times it takes a power failure to realize that the batteries are dead, if they are not regularly maintained.

I am not saying this power supply is perfect for every application, but as a former integrator I can see where it would be beneficial for some. The hard part is that on most new installations, the power supply is specified by the architect and installed by the door hardware or electrical contractor, so getting these supplies installed will take up-front coordination.

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