Security and Data Networking for Churches, Auditoriums, Halls and Large Meeting Rooms.

If you are embarking on a new building project, take some time to really think about how the Audio Visual will work for you. It’s best to get it right now even if it costs a fraction more. Below are some of my thoughts to help get you started.

Just a note before I start, If you are after information on security and data cabling for your church offices then look here. This article will concentrate on data and security for Auditoriums and large meeting rooms.

Data cabling.

Data cabling these days can be used for much more that just data. The data cables can carry Telephone services, Audio, Video, VGA, and many other services. For this reason you may want to make sure you have more than one network cable to each location.

My normal approach is to run at least two data cables to each section of wall between doors. It also makes sense to locate the double network outlets adjacent to the power outlets. Most networking equipment also requires power and by having both power and data adjacent you can minimise the areas on the floor that cables will be a trip hazard.

Double or quad outlets should also be considered in the following areas;

  • Sound Desk
  • Powerpoint Computer
  • Stage left and Stage Right
  • Adjacent to the Projector(s)
  • Any other AV racks.
  • Any back stage areas
  • Adjacent to the main entry doors – both left and right.
  • To the security alarm control box

Wireless networking is also a great option for large public areas. You should run one or two cables up into the ceiling space to cater for the access points. You can buy ceiling mounted antennas which allow good coverage and they look good as well.

All of your data network cables should run back to a central rack. They will terminate onto patch panels that are normally 12, 24 or 48 ports each. The tendency is to cram up all of the patch panels into one section of rack, but it is better to spread them out. You can even put data switches in-between your panels being sure though to include both horizontal and vertical cable management.

Make sure you label every outlet and the patch panel and you should also draw up a plan of the building with all of the outlets clearly marked, laminate it and keep it near the rack.

Security.

When putting a security system into a public place, there are a few things that need to be well considered. The keypad is the main part of the system that is used by the many different users of the building. The keypad should be intuitive and easy to use. Avoid systems that display icons and numbers as they require people to remember what the icon mean or which zones correspond to the various areas. There are systems out now that display messages in text on the screen, that allow you to program in names for the zones and even the users. This will make the system easier to use and will therefore reduce false alarms.

When placing movement sensors, consider where all of your valuable equipment is located. Make sure you have sensors looking at or across doorways. Always have a sensor that covers the keypad and the main control box. Most sensors will be located in the corners of the rooms which can detract from the appearance of the building. You can also use 360 degree sensors that I feel look better and are less susceptible to being affected by spiders.

Internal screamers are very affective at scaring intruders and so installing a few of them are a good option. External sirens and lights however have only a limited benefit, especially when attached to a public type building. I often leave these out as they tend to annoy the neighbours. It is critical though that your security system is monitored. Monitoring should only cost between $1.50 and $4.00 per day depending on the type of monitoring being offered.

Also see if your security system can use louder buzzers spread around the building that can sound when the keypad beeps. Most keypads are only designed for office or home environments. But when people enter your building lawfully you want them to hear the keypad beep to warn them that the alarm is on and needs to be turned off. You can also configure most alarms to auto-arm at a pre-set time each night. This ensures that the system is on each night and saves you from having to go down to site to turn it after an evening event. When the system auto-arms it normally beeps for 10 minutes to warn anyone still in the building to either exit or enter a pin to delay the arming.

Most basic monitoring systems will use a telephone line to connect to the security monitoring control room. This is simple and easy to set up, but it will cost you a local call fee each time the system is turned on or off. A new and much more cost effective monitoring system in IP Multipath. This system will use your existing broadband internet connection and a Mobile GSM backup path to communicate with the control room. This eliminates all of the call charges on your phone line and also improves the monitoring through the fact that the Multipath system will poll the control room regularly.

Churches may also want to consider my comments about cabling for Offices and Small meeting rooms.
I also have information on Electrical & Lighting and Audio Visual cabling.

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