Fiber-Optic Sensing for Enhanced Border Security

AP Sensing’s Director of Research, Dr. Gareth Lees, collaborated on a Laser Focus World article titled “Smart fiber-optic sensing systems enhance physical border walls and fences”.

The article discusses distributed sensing technologies and the applications and benefits of distributed sensing for security and safety. Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) is esteemed for its reliability, cost-effectiveness and precise alarming on fires and overheating, while Distributed Acoustic Sensing (DAS) is known for demonstrating sensitivity in combination with the appropriate algorithms and machine learning techniques for reliable detection of perimeter intrusions.


DAS is a cost-effective, long-range solution that provides early warning of perimeter activities; it can often be integrated with other security measures such as cameras or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). DAS can be installed on a perimeter fence to detect climbing or cutting, or buried to detect approaching footsteps or vehicle activity. It is common that the cable is installed both on the fence and within the ground to improve probability of detection and minimize false alarms.

For borders, DAS is used in two main security contexts. The first is ‘urban-to-urban’ environments requiring rapid detection and intervention.  Examples include along several Eastern European borders and at San Diego and Tijuana on the US/Mexico border. These areas can also utilize DAS for subterranean activity detection, where there are risks of tunneling for contraband activities.

The second use of DAS for border security is for remote regions where response and intervention times can be measured in hours or days. While DAS still provides real-time detection, not every detection in this scenario triggers a border management response. Instead, DAS is used to provide data and gain insights on border patterns over extended periods of time.

To read more about how DAS complements other border security management technologies, read the publication here: or on our publications page.

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