There's plenty of space in this Ness controller box.

Hub Or Boxed Controller?

♦ Hub or boxed controller – which is best? For installers this is question is not as cut and dried as it first sounds though it’s worth noting there’s an application specific element at play.

For residential applications – particularly apartments – hubs are ideal thanks to their wireless plug and play nature, app management and simple footprint. Something to note is that as hub-based solutions evolve, they become more capable of handling complex sites, including larger homes and SME applications.

Boxed controllers have advantages – there’s more room to work on terminations, steel boxes offer protection from accidents and tamper attempts, and there’s room for the system to grow. How worthwhile these advantages are depends on an application and its evolution.

According to Jeff Corr of DAS, boxed controllers that are serviced by licensed installers would be the preference in his opinion.

“Our installers are frequently having to justify their services to an ever-increasing DIY market based on hubs,” Corr said. “The security industry is licensed and the preference for most installers is to retain business using boxed controllers.

For Zaki Wazir of VSP. just like the wireless/wired debate, there is a need for both.

“Hubs are usually wireless only and can be quickly deployed. They can be very handy for securing caravans, mobile homes, and rental properties – boxed controllers with greater expansion lend themselves to more complex applications.”

Scott Mclean of LSC agrees with the others that boxed controllers can deliver a more professional installation.

“Installed in a secure location to minimise risk of discovery and damage by intruders, with tamper protection, they will be more secure and less vulnerable to deliberate or accidental damage,” McLean says.

Meanwhile Tim Prag of NAS says the latest professional hub solutions are ideal for professional installers, even if some techs prefer the old ways.

“It’s the old saying ‘we like what we know’ but the world is moving forward, and we have to move with it – adding separate gateways to integrate smart home devices is a thing of the past,” Prag says. “I have never been a great fan of the Z wave and Zigbee technology, mainly due to the restricted range, so to have both low and high-powered devices utilising the AJAX Jeweller technology in the 915Mhz frequency is a massive bonus. For those who are stuck on the box type intrusion panel, something like the Hub Hybrid will be the go-to product.”

BGW Technologies’ Stanley El Komala says he sees growth in both types and suggests hybrids might be the perfect balance in some applications.

“The demand for both boxed/can type alarm panel and hub-based system (all in one type) is still growing in our experience, especially the hub-based types,” he explains. “We think a hybrid solution is a plus.”

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