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RLE Technologies Addresses Some Common Concerns About Wireless Monitoring Systems

2017 November 14

Contributed by our friends at RLE Technologies

The advantages of a wireless monitoring system include ease of deployment/expansion and even the simplicity of the relocation of sensors as site configurations change. Unfortunately, I regularly hear from site managers with concerns about the security risks of installing a wireless monitoring system who may not understand just how secure a well-designed system can be. Hopefully, these Q&As might help provide peace of mind for those who are on the fence and considering a wireless monitoring solution.

First and foremost, don’t confuse WiFi sensors that communicate directly with your network with a system utilizing 868 MHz/900 MHz sensors that communicate directly with an appliance designed to accept those signals. Obviously, there are adherent risks with a monitoring system based on WiFi sensors and incorporating a WiFi router on your network as an access point. 868 MHz/900 MHz sensors do not communicate with WiFi routers. They communicate directly with a wireless manager that is designed specifically for the purpose of monitoring the sensors, providing a GUI of the current conditions, alarm notification and providing a way to easily integrate the wireless sensors into a network or building management system.

Can someone use a wireless signal to hack into my network through a wireless manager accepting MHz wireless signals?
No. Generally, the 868 MHz/900 MHz receiver on a wireless manager will only communicate with 868 MHz/ 900MHz sensors or range extenders and the communication is proprietary. In a well-designed system, only the sensors and range extender transmits a wireless signal. The wireless manager has a wireless receiver but not a wireless transmitter so bi-directional wireless communication with it is impossible. The 868 MHz/900 MHz signals that it receives are coded into the wireless manager and the manager will not recognize any signal that has not been coded to communicate with it.

How secure is a MHz wireless manager that is connected to my network?
It is as secure as the firewall that it is installed behind. If the wireless manager is behind a firewall, then the firewall determines access to the wireless manager. If port 80 (HTTP/Web) is open or port forwarded, then a remote user may still be required to log onto the wireless manager. If successful, the user has access to the port 80 web GUI. At this point, the user could change the configuration of the wireless manager, but has no access to the sensors or the network.

Can someone use a wireless manager as access point into my network?
Absolutely not. A well-designed wireless manager does not route anything. It simply serves its own web GUI, along with passing Modbus, SNMP and BACnet signals to a BMS/NMS. Additionally, client applications should include SMTP (mail) notification so alarms can be delivered to the appropriate personnel.

Can someone upload their own firmware to take control of a wireless manager?
No. Not with a well-designed system. The flash application should be proprietary so nothing can be uploaded to it except for updated firmware created and provided by the manufacturer (and there should also be numerous checks and lockouts!).

Is it necessary to have to pay subscription fees or recurring costs for a wireless monitoring system?
Definitely not. Instead of spending money to simply maintain what you have, it makes more sense to spend the money to continue to enhance the system that you already have.

UPDATED! Every Day, We’re Offering More Free Shipping From More Suppliers.

2017 October 11


If you’ve been paying close attention, you may have noticed recently that we’ve been offering free shipping when you order from a number of our terrific suppliers.

Well, here’s a special news flash: we’re only just getting started.

Every day we’re meeting with our suppliers and working out new deals to bring our customers free shipping. And while it’s not a quick or simple process — because honestly, free shipping simply isn’t a good fit for every product from every manufacturer — we truly are dedicated to bringing more value and convenience to purchasing in our online marketplace at alpscontrols.com.

So stay tuned, because you’ll see more no-hassle, free-shipping offers on alpscontrols.com in the days and weeks to come. Right now today, we invite you to enjoy these productivity-boosting, massive-selection-choosing, bottom-line-improving offers from:

That’s free ground freight shipping, anywhere in the contiguous United States. Some restrictions apply, so if you have questions just contact anyone on our support team.

Check back here often — because we’ll be adding to this list soon!

* selected products only.

Have a terrific Christmas – because that’s what we’re planning to do!

2016 December 19
by admin; 2,758 views

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so why not avoid any product-ordering delays by peaking through this list of our suppliers’ holiday closure notices?

  • alpscontrols.com will be closed on 12.23 and 12.26.16, and also on 1.2.17
  • BAPI will be closed 12.26 and 1.2.17
  • Belimo will be closed on 12.23 and 12.26
  • Fox Thermal will be closed 12.23, 12.26, and 1.2
  • Functional Devices will be closed Monday, December 26 through Wednesday, December 28. They will also be closed on Monday, January 2, 2017.
  • IDEC will be closed December 26th. They’ll also be closed January 2nd.
  • IR-TEC will close at noon PST on Friday, December 23rd. Then they’ll be closed from Monday 12.26 through 1.2.17.
  • Johnson Controls Product Sales Operations Team in Milwaukee, WI will be closed for the holidays December 23rd, 26th, and 30th, and January 2nd.
  • KMC Controls is closed from Monday, December 26th and will reopen on Tuesday, January 3rd.
  • Ruskin is closing for the holidays on 12.23, 12.26, 12.30 and 1.2.17
  • Setra Systems will close 12.23, 12.26, and 1.2
  • Siemens will be closed on 12.23, 12.26, 12.30 and 1.2.17

BAPI invites us to an awesome, relationship-building visit to their Wisconsin manufacturing headquarters.

2016 September 29

There’s just nothing like a trip out to the countryside!

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BAPI Production Technician Randy Stevenson and President Ritch Stevenson talk quality with Dave Meyers of alpscontrols.com

And so it was earlier this month when our friends at BAPI invited our President Dave Meyers, Vice President Sales Barry Olson, and our entire sales team to visit their production facility in Gays Mills, Wisconsin. We’ve been selling BAPI sensors for temperature, humidity, pressure, wireless, and air quality monitoring on alpscontrols.com for 22 years now, so we were very excited to spend a day meeting the BAPI staff and production team, and building on our long and successful partnership.

We admit it, we wanted to show off our facility and the fine people here at BAPI. We also wanted to have our friends from alpscontrols.com get a better understanding of the detail that we put into each sensor that leaves our facility.

This was a pretty cool opportunity; we talk to our counterparts at BAPI nearly every day as we go about fulfilling customer orders and quotes, so the visit was an excellent chance for us to get to put faces with the names that we’re so familiar with, and strengthen the relationships between our two companies. It was inspiring for us to see — up close and personal — the amount of care and expertise that they bring to their work.

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Dave Meyers helps build a sensor with BAPI production line leader Donita Silvia

And Dave even went a step farther, sitting down with one of BAPI’s production line leaders and helping her build a sensor!

In addition to touring the production floor and warehouse, we also put in a long day getting valuable training about new products, new ideas, and what the future might hold for our two companies.

The fact is, it’s terrific enough for us to work with a company like BAPI because of their quality products and high standards of service — but it creates a whole new level of commitment when we get this kind of rare opportunity for hands-on, face-to-face interaction and communication with one of our manufacturer-partners.

Our visit to BAPI made such an impression on all of us from alpscontrols! To see them building their products with such pride and excitement, with such incredible attention to detail and care, it really gives us a powerful insight into how these products make an impact in our customers’ building projects.

From L to R: BAPI Distribution Lead Jon Greenwald; Sarah Jeffries; BAPI Key Account Specialist Brian Thaldorf, BAPI North American Sales and Customer Service Manager Emily Bialkowski;Jason McCormick; Barry Olson; Laci Jackson; Jim Kalafatis; Dave Meyers; BAPI President Ritch Stevenson; Gerardo Vergara-Monroy; Travis Haas; Chris Colacito.

From L to R: BAPI Distribution Lead Jon Greenwald; Sarah Jeffries; BAPI Key Account Specialist Brian Thaldorf, BAPI North American Sales and Customer Service Manager Emily Bialkowski; Jason McCormick; Barry Olson; Laci Jackson; Jim Kalafatis; Dave Meyers; BAPI President Ritch Stevenson; Gerardo Vergara-Monroy; Travis Haas; Chris Colacito.

Our special thanks to everyone at BAPI for extending this invitation to us, and for showing us a good time full of instruction, insight, and inspiration!

New Babies, New Weddings, New Employees, and More!

2016 January 20

With an ever-growing staff like we have at alpscontrols.com, it’s inevitable that we’re going to experience a string of those Big Life Milestones from time to time — and 2015 was a big year for growth, change, and new life.

joe-abagail-thumbOn July 12th of last year, our UX* Designer Joe Benscoter got himself married off to Abagail, whom he met when the two of them traded coffee for tacos while working at adjacent restaurants in Beaver, Pennsylvania. These two crazy kids honeymooned on Mackinac Island where they rode horses, rode bikes around the island, and enjoyed some excellent meals.

Here are two more pictures of the happy couple.

Nicely done, Joe and Abagail!

*UX stands for “user experience.” Impress your friends!

IMG_8443July 2015 was a busy month! It also brought the birth of Greta Ann Mead, daughter of Jake and Clare Mead. She’s our Southwest Region Sales Representative, and the family lives in Austin, Texas.

Greta — who also enjoys the distinction of having our own Dave Meyers as her grandpa — was born a week early on July 19th. Now she’s learning to eat big-people food, with a particular enjoyment of broccoli and avocados. She also goes by the nickname “Chicken” because she loves to squawk.

Are you overloaded with adorableness yet? Because here’s another picture of Greta and here’s one of the happy trio.

Welcome to the world, Greta!

alex-boguszewski-thumbAlex Boguszewski joined alpscontrols.com in November 2015. He’s our new Software Quality Engineer on our Website Development team, working to test and ensure that our software products will meet the needs and wants of our customers.

And wouldn’t you know it? Alex barely had time to warm up his seat in our IT department before he got married, too. Alex and Bonnie were wed January 2, 2016, among many friends and family. The next morning, the newlyweds boarded the Norwegian Star for a seven-day cruise to Roatan, Belize City, Costa Maya, and Cozumel.

Great to have you on the team, Alex, and best wishes to you and Bonnie!

Download this amazing Network Communications Resource from Contemporary Controls

2015 June 26

When we came across this incredible network communications resource from our pals at Contemporary Controls, we kind of thought we were dreaming. A 100+ page book all about BACnet, ModBus, ethernet, and an alphabet soup of digital protocols?

And it’s available for free, just like that? Our staff at alpscontrols.com have been networking BAS pros for over two decades, and this still rocked their socks off.
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It’s big and beefy, and you simply won’t believe all the valuable information it’s got inside. Just click on the cover image on the left there and download it in all its PDF glory.

Thanks a bunch, Contemporary Controls!

And if you’d like, you can browse Contemporary Controls products in the alpscontrols.com online marketplace right here.

Save 75% on Security Cameras, Sirens, and More from Golden State Instruments

2015 June 2

As an HVAC control contractor, many of you might not keep security and notification devices at the very top of your project specification lists — but you should. With a little additional planning, wiring up cameras, sirens, controllers and other devices necessary for protecting a building’s security can be done at the same time as HVAC and other building automation controls, and some of these systems can also be wired into your building’s primary controllers.

You may not normally be in the building security business, but it’s a good bet that your building is.

sony-ccd-bullet-cameraOur friends at Golden State Instruments have passed along some deep discounts — up to 75%! — on a handful of security and notification devices that we’ve got available in our online marketplace, so we figured we’d pass along those savings to you! Take a look today and see how you can save a bunch of money on:

golden state instruments products are available at alpscontrols.com

We’ll be home for Christmas – and so will a handful of our suppliers, too.

2014 December 22
by admin; 7,533 views

It’s that time of year again, when a bunch of places close up shop and head off to roast chestnuts, open up brightly-colored packages with family and friends, and consume mass quantities of holiday food and drink.
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And yup, we’re one of those places, along with some of our suppliers. Take a look at this list and make sure you avoid any product-ordering delays during the 2014 holiday season:

  • alpscontrols.com will be closed from Wednesday 12.24 through Friday 12.26, and we’ll also be closed on January 1, 2015.
  • BAPI will be closed on December 25th, December 26th, and January 1st.
  • Beaver Steel will be closed will be closed 12.25, 12.26, and 1.1.15.
  • Belimo will be closed on 12.24 and 12.25 and New Year’s Day, 1.1.15.
  • Blue Ridge Technologies will be closed on December 24th and 25th, and also on December 31st and January 1st.
  • c3controls will be closed 12.25, 12.26 and 1.1.15.
  • Functional Devices will be closed December 24th through December 26th. Their last shipment will go out at 3PM on December 23rd. They’ll also be closed January 1st with their last shipment going out at 4PM on December 31st.
  • Jackson Systems will close at 12:00 PM ET on Wednesday, December 24th and all day Thursday, December 25th. They will reopen on December 26 for normal business hours. Their offices will be closed on January 1st, re-opening on January 2nd.
  • Johnson Controls Product Sales Operations Team in Milwaukee, WI will be closed for the holidays December 24th, 25th, and 26th, and January 1st and 2nd.
  • Lynxspring will be closed at 12:00 PM on December 24, and then all day on 12.25, 12.26, and 1.1.15.
  • Neptronic will be closed from 12.24 until 1.5.15.
  • Ruskin is closing for the holidays on 12.24, 12.25, and 1.1.15.
  • Spartan Peripheral Devices will close at 12:00 PM on Tuesday, December 23rd and will reopen again on Monday, 1.5.15.

Setra Systems Provides Critical Solutions for Ebola Isolation Rooms

2014 October 27

We’ve been telling you for years that the room pressure monitors made by Setra Systems are the industry’s gold standard for accuracy and dependable results — and now that the Ebola virus has created medical facility preparedness as a top priority here in the United States, we’re seeing Setra products at the forefront of this critical effort.

New England’s News Station — NECN — recently interviewed Setra Systems General Manager David Carr about the company’s solutions for medical facilities, including the SRPM room pressure monitor:

On the Setra blog you can find even more informational resources, including Are US Hospitals Equipped For An Infectious Epidemic? and Best Practices for Isolation Room Safety. They’re good reads about an important topic — go take a look today.