The Coronavirus pandemic has seen an upsurge in attacks on telecommunications infrastructure, with 5G masts in the firing line.
By October 2020, there had been 87 arson attacks on 5G masts in the UK, with scores of masts also attacked in mainland Europe. France and The Netherlands have been the worst hit.
Apart from the obvious dangers to life and surrounding properties, damage to masts themselves can cause loss of mobile signal for users, such as the emergency services. The UK Government has stated that by destroying masts, people’s lives are being put at risk, because emergency responders rely on the coverage they provide.
Indeed, over Easter weekend 2020, a mobile mast providing connectivity to the Nightingale Hospital in Birmingham was one of 20 masts to suffer an arson attack.
Equipment boxes, as well as the masts themselves, have been targeted.
Masts situated in remote, isolated or poorly lit areas have been particularly vulnerable to attack and mobile masts can take up to three months to repair after a vandalism incident.
Improving telecoms security
The installation of robust fencing systems around telecommunications sites can form part of a layered security solution, which may also include CCTV, alarm systems and security patrols.
Effective security fencing can be particularly valuable in more remote areas, where even if an alarm is raised, a security breach may occur as there is not enough time for emergency services or network security staff to respond before an intruder gains access to a premises.
A secure fencing system can delay intruders from breaching a perimeter, or stop them altogether.
Expanded metal fencing offers multiple benefits when securing telecoms infrastructure. These include:
- Expanded metal mesh is formed from one piece of material, meaning there is nothing to work loose, no fretting strands or strained joins or welds. It is tougher to break through than alternative types of fencing, such as wire mesh.
- Expanded metal mesh panels cannot be easily targeted at its welds or simply parted with common tools such as scissor jacks.
- The uncut knuckles of expanded metal mesh withstand force better than welds or joints.
- The design and shape of expanded metal mesh allows for good visibility through the material. This has advantages when CCTV is used in conjunction with perimeter fencing.
- Cutting through expanded metal can generate sharp edges around any breach in the material – making it more difficult for an intruder to pass through it.
Exploring the options
The Expanded Metal Company has developed a number of expanded metal fencing solutions, which are designed to protect telecoms infrastructure and mobile phone masts.
ExMesh™ Electra security fencing
The ExMesh™ Electra fencing system has been specifically designed for use by the telecoms industry. It offers a high level of protection and is particularly suitable for remote or isolated sites, where robust perimeter security is key.
Read more about ExMesh™ Electra here.
ExMesh™ Class 1 security fencing
ExMesh™ Class 1 product has achieved Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB) LPS 1175 SR1: Issue 8 certification and as such is certified to provide resistance against attacks with tools such as cable cutters.
Read more about ExMesh™ Class 1 here.
Additional mesh fencing systems
We also manufacture ExMesh™ Class 2 fencing, which has LPCB LPS 1175 SR2: Issue 8 certification and ExMesh™ Class 3 fencing, which has LPCB LPS 1175 SR3: Issue 7 certification, as well as ExMesh™ Paliclad, a layer of mesh which is added to an existing palisade fence, strengthening its ability to resist physical attack.
Anti-climb barriers for the telecoms industry
We offer Anti-Climb barriers as part of our ExMesh™ security range, which serve as highly effective security enhancements to fencing and walls.
These include the ExMesh™ AVSB (Anti-Vandal Scaling Barrier), which consists of expanded metal panels fitted around a central bar which rotates freely – and therefore ensures that potential intruders can’t get a foothold if they do manage to climb up a wall or fence.
There’s more information on ExMesh™ AVSB here.
In addition, we offer ExMesh™ Raptor, which is manufactured from a durable plastic. ExMesh™ Raptor is a low maintenance fence security topping, available in a wide range of designs to suit any surface. Raptor offers barbed and razor wire extensions, and rotating vanes.
There’s more information on ExMesh™ Raptor here.