'Bunker Busting' Wireless Access Startup: Sure-Fi Profile

By Brian Rhodes, Published Oct 03, 2019, 09:07am EDT (Info+)

An access startup is claiming its 'bunker busting' wireless Wiegand radios can punch through 'any obstruction'.

IPVM Image

We examine their offering, including:

  • Sure-Fi's company background
  • 'Bunker busting' 900 MHz wireless claims
  • Device pricing compared to other wireless options
  • Sure-Fi's low bandwidth capacity
  • Wiegand-only reader & controller support
  • Strengths and weaknesses compared to trenching and other wireless products

Company **********

IPVM Image

****-**** * ** (****) ****** *******, founded ** ********** ************* ****** **** **********, ** ****** ******* ******* *** company ****** ** '*** *****'* ***** smart ****** ******'. *** ******, *****-***** system ******* ***** ** ***** ****** to ***** ******* *** **********.

*******, ****** ******* *********** ** * gate ******* ** ********, *** ******* developed '* *********** *** *** ***** module', ********* *** ******* ** ********** as ****-** ** ****.

** ****-**, *** ******* **** ** 'started ******** ** ** ********** *** developing ******** */* *********' ***** ******* the ******* ****** ********** ***** ** *********** ****** ********.

Wireless ******* ******

****-**'* ******** ******* ********** *** ****** ** **** * field-located '****** *********' ****** ** * door ********** ********* ***********.

**** ****** *** ******* ******* **** are ***** ** ****** ** *** normal ******* ***** *********** ** **** controllers ** ** ****** ******, ***** a *** *** **** ** ***** distances ******* ****.

**** ******* ******* ~*" * *" X *" *** *** ******** *** surface ** *** **** ******:

IPVM Image

*** ****** ******** * ****** *** two ***** ******* *****/****** *****. ***** features *******:

  • ******* ******* ****:**** *** ** ******* *** ******* keyed ******** ***** ********** ** **** to ******* ************ **** ***** ******** bridges.
  • ******* *******: *** **** ************* **** ** compatible **** ******* ******* ** ** 64 ***, ***** ********* *** ******** of *** ******* *** ***********.
  • ************* *************: ****** ******* ***** ******* ***********, Sure-Fi ***** *********** **** **********, *** tamper *********, **** ******** ********, *** RTE ******* *** ** ********* ** the ****** '******' *********.
  • ***-*** *********: *** ** **** ****** *** 128 *** **********, ***** * ************* wired ******* **** ** ***.
  • *** **********: *** ****** ***** *** *** configured *******-**'* ********** ***(**** *** *** *******), *** ** local ******, ****, ** *****-**** ***** are ******.

Sure-Fi ***** *****

*** ******* ********* ***** ***** ***** an ******** ** *** ******* ****** and *** ********** ** *** ******** link ** ********** ************:

*** ***** ********** **** ******** ************, walls, *** ***** ********** ** *** jam *** ******** ****, ******** ** mention ** **** ***** *** ***** is ********.

'Bunker *******' ***** ********

****-** ****** * ******** ***** '** to * **** ******* ************ *** 50+ ***** ****-**-*****', ***** ** ************* longer **** ******** ****** **** ** Z-Wave, ****** (******* ~*** ****) *** even **** ********* *******:

IPVM Image

**** *** *** ******** ** ****** Sure-Fi's ******** ******.

*******, ***** ***** ********** *** ********* not ******* *** *** '*** *********' from ******** ********, ** ***** ****-** for ****-***** ************ **** **** ** concrete ********** **** ******* *******' *** if '***** ****** ******** ******'?

****-** ********* **** **** ************, *** still *********** ******** ********* *** **** access ***********:

*** ******* ***** ****** ******* ** the ********* ****** *** *** ****** and ************ *********. *** *** **** parking ******* *** ***** **** *** like ***** ******* ***** *** *** signal ** ******** *************.

*******, ***** *** * *** ******** we *** ***** ** ***** **** have * **** ** *** ****** of * * ***** *********** ******* garage **** *** ***** *** ****** control **** ** *** *** ***** above ******, ***** ******* *********** * concrete *******. ** **** **** ** an ******* ***** **** *** * bridge ***** **** *** ***** ** the **** ***** ** * *****-****** office ********.

** ********* ***, ******** ************ ********* could ***** *********, *** ************ **** other ********-*********** ***** *** *********** *** MHz **** ** ******** **** ***** impact *****.

Low ******* ******* / ** *****

***** ****-** **** *** **** * specific ******* ********* ********, *** ********* limit ** *** (~*** *** ** 0.0005 ****) ** *** ********* ******.

****-** ******* ************** * ******* **** ********** *** ****** ***** ** ** 64-bit ********** ******* ************ ***** ** ~*** **** *** second, **** ***** **** *** ******* RS-232 ****** **** ***** ** *,*** bits *** ******.

***** *** ********* *** ********, ***** transmission ** *** ********.

Access **** *** *********

*******, ******* ****-**'* *** **********, ****** readers *** *** **** ********* ************.

* *** ****** ** *** ****-***** claims ** *** ************* *** ~*** MHz ********* ****-** **** ******** ** higher *.* ** * *** *********** used ** ****.

****-**'* ~*** *** ********* ******* ******* data ******* ****-**-***** ************ *** ** not ****** *** **** ******* ************ like ********* ***** ** ******* ******* data.

Remote ***** ***** ******

*******, *** ****** **** ****-** **** not ********** ** **** '******' ****** side ********* ***** ** *** ***** and **** ****** **** *** ** an ******** **** **** ******* *** often ******* ** *** ********** *** pass-through ********.

** **** ************, ********** ********** ***** may ** *******, *** ** ***** will **** ** ** *********** **** 12 *** **** ********** *********.

No **** ***

******* ********* ***** **** *** ****** is **** **** (*********) ******* ** supported, *** ****-******** **** ********* ** not **********.

****-** **** **** **** ** ********* an **** ********* ******:

** *** ** *** ******* ** developing * ****** ****** '*** ****** Pro ******' **** **** ******* ******* AND **** **** ** ****.

Not ******* *****

***** *** ******* ******* **** ******* an ********** ************ *********.

****-** ******** *** ********** ********* **** not ******* ** ********** ******* *******:

*** ******** ********** *** *** ***** for ******* ***. **** *** ******* fully ******* ** ************ **** ****** a ****** ********* ******* *** **** for ** ******** *******.

Wiegand ****** *******

****-**'* ******* ****** ** ****** **~$*** *** *** ******, ******** ********** ********* *** ******* when ****** ** ****** *** *** national ************.

Sure-Fi ****** **** **** ***** ******** *******

*** ** ***~$*******-** ******* ******'* ******* ********** ** a ***** ***** *** ****** ******* range **** ***** ******** ******* *********.

********** ***-************ ******* ****** ****~$****** *** *** **** *.* *** with * ******* '** ** *,*** feet' ***** **** ** **** ******** by ****-**-***** ************. *******, *** ***-**** includes ** **** ***** ********* *** can ** ******** ** ******** ******* with ~$*** ***-**** ******.

*******-******* *** *** ******** ******** ***** are ***********, ************** *** ~$***, *** **** ******* ****************** ** ******* ************ ******* ******* ** *********** **** add ~$*** - $*,*** ** **** link.

Saves ***** ************ ****

*** ******* ***** *********** *** ***** Sure-Fi ** *********** *** ***** ******-********** runs ******* *********, ** **** ****** buildings, ***** ********* ********** ******** ******************** ************.

******** ****** *********** ***** *********** ** thousands ** ******* **** **** ***** options, *** *** ******'* ~$*** **** is ********* **** **** *** ** two ***'* ***** ** ***** ****** equipment ****** ****.

****-** *********** ***** *** '**** *****' claim ** ******* *********** ****** **** this ***:

Vote / ****

Comments (25)

Are there any plans to test the claims by IPVM? If not does anyone have any experience?

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

We are first looking to see how much interest there is in us testing this. We're certainly open to it but it's a niche.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Great thanks. We just have a group that is proposing to start using this product instead of running wiring for a large number of access control installations.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Why test it now, is Wiegand only and unless its break-fix for another Wiegand Radio why would you sell/use this device? Look forward to the OSPD version than I am interested in it, lots of potential applications.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

I am not looking to use it but looking to dissuade others if applicable. They were told by the manufacturer at GSX all kinds of wonderful stories and that OSDP was on the way, or already available. However, I doubt the technology and performance would be drastically different.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

I'm a little concerned about the security aspect. On their technology page, they highlight chirp modulation, frequency hopping ("using a pseudorandom sequence known to both transmitter and receiver"), and AES-128 ("includes a proprietary over-the-air rekeying process for key distribution and other information obscuring techniques").

Proprietary protocols like this scare me, even if they have all those extra things like chirp modulation and frequency hopping. Who is testing this protocol? I doubt it has undergone one millionth of the scrutiny as, say 802.11 has gone. If you create your own protocols, you immediately lose the added wisdom (and foibles) of all the people that worked to create the standard protocols. I am happy to see that they are using AES, though.

The "proprietary" part is scary for other reasons. I've heard of companies that try to hide blatant incompetence behind proprietary protocols, and then keep the details private because they're trade secrets. According to Kerckhoff's second principle, the security of the system should not rely on the secrecy of the algorithm. If the system really is secure, it should be no problem at all for enemies to know exactly how the protocol works.

Would Sure-Fi's team be willing to publicize the details of their protocol (at least the portions relating to security)? This would allow for more third-parties to test it. If Sure-Fi is afraid to let people know exactly how their system works, that's a bad sign.

Agree: 4
Disagree
Informative: 3
Unhelpful
Funny

Thanks for the response! I'll forward your comment/request to Sure-Fi.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

I tested a pair of these to assess the range. While very impressive, it did not really come close to the "1 mile with obstructions" claim. It worked perfectly within the office park where I put the head end unit, even through a couple of warehouses. Taking the reader side for a walk with a reader and a 7Ah battery, I was able get consistent transmission to about half a mile, through multiple industrial facilities, but above that coverage was spotty, depending on exactly what was between the units. At one spot, I got it to work at three quarters of a mile.

Test Results Map

I also played around with the config app and called tech support to get a feel for support. I did have an issue with updating the device firmware through the app, but the support response was quick and helpful.

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 6
Unhelpful
Funny

Dan, thanks for the field report!

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Is their product using IEEE 802.11ah (Wi-Fi HaLow = 900MHz Wi-Fi)? Wi-Fi HaLow protocol should have enough bandwidth for video applications (and longer wireless distances).

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Sure-Fi says this is a proprietary format, not 802.11ah.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

We tried one set of these out instead of repairing a damaged buried line and it works great through about 300’ between the buildings.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative: 3
Unhelpful
Funny

We have been using these for a couple months now on several projects and they work very well. We've been impressed. Well designed and some thought went into the field install/testing aspects. IE: Comes with a 9v battery and test cable/plug ready to go. Small screwdriver included. DIN rail mount capable. Detachable terminal strips. Easy terminal identification for wiring on the face of the product. It's a straight-forward product that just works.

Agree: 3
Disagree
Informative: 3
Unhelpful
Funny

900 MHz bounces off obstructions and can eventually find its way to the receiver. The problem is multi-path interference that comes in due to multiple reflections off different objects. These signals arrive out-of-phase and tend to complicate the detection of data. They have tried to overcome this by slowing down the data rate, thus it becomes easier to filter out the weaker signals, or to synchronize to the clock of the most prevalent signal.

What they are saying is definitely possible, but each scenario is its own case.

Former GE MCBD Engineer (GE-MARC-V) (AMPS)

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 4
Unhelpful
Funny

I have used them several times and they work great. In one location the gate is about a 1/4 mile from the far side of the metal building and then it transmits through about 10 sheetrock walls with metal studs which is about another 250'. Have had no issues at that location in over a year. Have a total of 3 sets at this site.

Agree: 1
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

First off, how can this be compared to Wifi, considering it's very limited bandwidth? Number Two, AMEREN power company, and I assume other power companies, use 900 mhz for their connected meters. I have used 900mhz for PTP backhauls, only to have AMEREN call my client municipality to say that we are interfering with their signal. Now I understand that it is an unlicensed band, but most city administrators cave in to the demands of the utility company. Perhaps this would not be a problem with this unit operating in burst mode. However, if you set one of these up transmitting constant data, you most likely will hear from the power company.

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 2
Unhelpful
Funny

Is there a way for anyone with an HID contact to see if Sure-Fi is included in their parasite device warning and warranty voiding policies?

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Hello #1,

We have asked HID this question and I'll report back when they answer. Thanks.

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

In my opinion, Sure-Fi devices are not parasitic. They do not draw power from the reader. They wire to the reader in the same way a standard access control board would. They do introduce additional RF signals, but typically above the door, not right behind the reader.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

HID responded, stating these Sure-Fi devices are not part of their parasite advisory.

Their full statement:

Devices of the nature that you have mentioned are currently not included in our announcement. Devices that interact with our readers are under continued evaluation and we will keep you updated as conclusive insights are available. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Thank you very much.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Elevator cab retro fit would seem an obvious application.

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny

Hello IPVM team, is there any plan to perform a full test to this solution and its "securities"?

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

There are no plans to test, given the niche application of the product.

In your response, you emphasized 'securities'. What security concerns do you have?

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Hi Brian, I'm referring to the technology they offer (chirp modulation, frequency hopping and AES-128 encryption), not an expert on that field but it would be great to know if someone else has look into it. thanks

Agree
Disagree
Informative: 1
Unhelpful
Funny
Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts reporting, tutorials and software funded by subscriber's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.
Loading Related Reports