Posts Tagged ‘ access control’



Access Control Demystified

Written By:
Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

If you’ve never worked with or around an access control system, it may seem like a complex convoluted nightmare of wiring, circuit boards, card readers, and rather confusing software.  In the text to follow, I’ll explain and attempt to remove the mysticism that stands between you and access control wizardry.

One of the most important concepts to understand is that there are 4 basic components in play at every door: inputs, the controller, outputs, and the software.

An input lets the controller know that an event has occurred. For example, someone swiped a card, someone opened the door, someone left the door open, someone on the inside requested to exit, etc… Think of these as the eyes and ears of the system.

Then there’s the controller. Based on how you’ve configured your controller, it will take all the inputs related to a door and determine how to react. Keep in mind, the logic for how to react is usually software configurable. For example, when someone swipes a badge, it determines if it should unlock the door or keep it locked. Think of this as the brains of the system.

All that input and logic is practically nothing without the outputs from the controller. This is typically a relay that either turns a device on, or off. For example, mag-locks, door strikes, alarms, buzzers, lights, etc. The limit to what a controller can use for an output with today’s technology is really limited only by your imagination. Think of these as the hands, feet, and mouth of the system.

Lastly, there’s the software. This comes in many different forms. However, it is extremely important for you to master this component of the system. The software tells the controller how it should react to the various inputs. It also allows you to configure various options. I’ll go into this more later. In the meantime, think of this as the subconscious mind of the system that tells the controller how to react.

Access Control Inputs:

So you have a door you want to control, and you’re wondering what types of input you may want. There are a few obvious choices that come to mind rather quickly. Let’s start with those:

Basic Card Readers:

2 1 4 3

These come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and even vandal proofing. However, there are other differences that you will find far more important than aesthetics.  For example, it is extremely important that you pair your reader with the appropriate card types.  For example in the four pictures above, the 2 brands of readers do not support each other’s cards. Furthermore, within each manufacturer you may find cards that work with certain models of readers and not with others. To make your life easier there are hybrid readers capable of reading multiple types. These are usually a bit more costly and only needed if you somehow ended up with an odd mixture of card types. For the most part, I encourage you to stick with 1 type of card and matching reader throughout your entire organization.

There’s also the protocol with which the reader speaks to the controller. Just like when you engage someone in conversation, it’s generally best if you speak a common language. Just like languages, some readers and controllers can speak in multiple. Among the most common communication protocols (languages) that readers can speak you will find Wiegand with varying “bits”.

While I could bore you to death with exactly how the Wiegand protocol works, I’ll cut to the chase and tell you that the most important factors are that both the reader and the controller are configured to the same EXACT protocol. It is also exceptionally important that they be wired appropriately.

Most readers will have between 6 to 8 wires coming out of them. There are some industry standards for color codes, but ALWAYS consult the manufacturer for proper wiring. Red is usually Positive, but if it’s not you could end up with unanticipated results (and that funny smell of burnt capacitors.) The wires you will typically find are:

DC Voltage Positive +, DC Voltage Negative – (also referred to as ground), D0 or Data 0, D1 or Data 1, Beep or Buzzer, LED control

As I mentioned, these will vary depending on the model of reader. Some may be present, others may not. You may even find additional options.

Advanced Card and Bio-metric Readers:

5 4 3 2 1

These readers take things a little further than “do you have the right card?” In secure environments you may want to authenticate a person based on something beyond the physical card. For example, do you have the card AND do you know a pin code. You may also have a situation where you need to give access to someone without ever meeting them to give them a physical card. Perhaps you want to allow their cell phone to be their key or just a combination of numbers. Maybe you need extra security and you want an access card to be present, a finger print to be matched, AND a code to be given. The possible combinations are limitless. These advanced readers require a little more effort to configure and enroll your users. However, in the right situations they are definitely worth the extra effort. These typically have the same inputs and outputs as normal readers but they use special programming to configure the additional features.

Request to Exit devices:

8 7 6

So you’ve got all that fancy reader stuff in place to keep unwanted individuals out. However, you need a way to allow those who have entered the building to exit.  Some controllers will allow you to place a second reader on the inside of the door to allow egress. However, in all but the most secure environments, you will find that fire codes require you to allow simple and quick egress. Most installations will require a “Push to Exit” button and a “Request to Exit” PIR/Motion sensor. These devices usually require very limited wiring. Most likely you will need power (commonly 12v DC, but consult the devices manual) and a simple 2-wire connection to the controller. Most commonly the controller expects this circuit to be normally open and will react by opening the door the moment the circuit becomes closed. Many controllers allow you to configure the functionality of this input to be either normally closed or normally open. They may even allow you to specify a delay in reaction time. In addition to the PIR and Push to Exit you can use a wireless relay to toggle door release. You could use almost any device that has a relay to trigger a door event. These devices can be wired directly to the locking mechanism if desired. However, this prevents the controller from logging how the unlocking event was triggered. I only recommend this if you have no need for a record of when someone exited the building.

Door Contacts/Closure Sensors:

10 9

These things are very simple switches that tell the controller if the door is open or closed. This can be useful in certain controllers for triggering an alert or an alarm if a door is left open beyond a specified amount of time. This will discourage people from leaving a door ajar and allowing a potentially unwanted visitor to wander in.

These typically only require a 2-wire connection to the controller and are generally wired as normally closed. If someone tampers with or disconnects the wires from the contact it will consider the door to be open.

Not all contacts are attached to the door in plain sight. Many are built into the locking mechanism. Door strikes often have a relay that senses if the door is latched are not. Mag Locks tend to have a closure sensor that detects when the plate is firmly pulled to the magnet. These make excellent closure sensors.

It should also be noted that you can wire a closure sensor to a buzzer or an LED without the need for a controller. You may need a relay to accomplish your desired result, but the only limit is your creativity.

Access Control Outputs:

So you’ve got all these fancy entry/exit devices in places to tell the controller what’s going on. Now it’s time to give it the ability to interact with the door.

Electronic Door Strikes:

12 11

Door Strikes are typically used on doors that have a mechanism that allows egress by simply turning a door handle or pushing on a push bar. These are often used in environments where you need the system to “Fail-Secure”. Fail-Secure means that in the event of a power failure the door should remained locked. Some Strikes can be configured to either “Fail-Secure” or “Fail-Safe” but the most common use is in a Fail-Secure environment. Fail-Safe is the opposite of fail secure, in a power failure the door remains unlocked allowing entry/exit to anyone.

Door strikes are typically wired to the Normally Open side of the door controller relay. This means when the door should be locked, no power is sent to the strike. When the door is supposed to be unlocked, power is applied and the latch is released allowing the door to be opened.

Most door strikes only have 2 wires (for power when activated). However, others may contain a closure sensor as mentioned in the Inputs section. This makes the strike both an input and an output device for the controller.

Mag-Locks:

15 14 13

Mag Locks are large electromagnets with a lot of force. They commonly come in 600lb, 1200lb, and 1500lb of pull strength. The amount of force that would be required to pull a door open is not something a normal person can achieve easily. This makes them ideal for a locking mechanism. Although they are usually fail-safe devices as they only have strength when energized with electricity.

Mag-Locks typically only have 2 wires that need to be attached to a Normally Closed relay on the door controller. This means that when the door should be locked, the circuit remains closed and power flows to the mag-lock. When the door should be opened, the circuit is opened blocking the flow of power and releasing the magnet.

Many mag locks will also have closure or bond sensor which can report the door status to the controller. This would make them both an input and output device if used.

LEDs, Buzzers, Sirens, DVRs, NVRs, Alarms, The endless possibilities:

Controller boards can be used to control a wide variety of equipment. Usually this is done through the door relay or through an alarm condition relay. It is important to note that you may need to use an external relay (as in not the one built on to the board) if the voltage of the device your trying to control differs from the other devices the on-board relay is controlling.

While it may seem complicated, it’s very simple. A relay is a switch that is controlled by another device. If you apply power to a relay, it switches from its “Normal” state to its “Abnormal state”. If you wire a device to “Normally Closed” then it will allow electricity to flow to the device until power is applied to the relay at which point it will stop the flow of electricity to the Normally Closed side. Conversely, if you attach a device to the “Normally Open” side of a relay it will prevent the flow of electricity to the device until power is applied to the relay, at which point it will allow the flow of electricity to the device.

With that being said, you can wire almost anything to a relay. Some common uses you will see include LED’s and Buzzers to alert that a door is open, an input on a DVR/NVR to trigger the taking of a snapshot or video of an event, connection to an alarm system to warn of after-hours door openings, etc… again, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination and willingness to wire in the devices you want.

Network:

It is also worth mentioning that many controllers support connectivity to a network. They can use this for outputs. Such as sending an e-mail when a door is left open or when a disabled card attempts to gain entry. Consult the manufacturer of the controller to determine what your options are.

Access Control Boards:

These come in a massive variety of functionality. Once you’ve settled on the manufacturer you like, it’s time to determine what your requirements are.  Most commonly this will be determined by the number of doors you need to control and the end users expectations of functionality.

While I could show you a lot of different examples, for the purposes of this document we’re going to look at a single door controller and briefly examine its functionality.

DX Series Single Door Controller:

dx

Starting at the top left is a connector for a reader. You may notice, there are 2 of these. As I mentioned previously, you can control egress in certain situations by placing a reader inside the door. This controller allows for 2 readers at a door. This is not a requirement, 1 reader is sufficient per door in most cases. The pins on this board for the reader are as follows:

+12 = Positive (+) 12V DC

GND = Ground or Negative (-) 12V DC

D1 = Data 1 (One of the two connections that Wiegand uses to communicate)

D0 = Data 0 (The other connection Wiegand uses to communicate)

LED = Controls the LED on a reader to let people know they were granted access. This can also be tied to the beeper or buzzer in a reader to give an audible sound or both to provide audio and visual indication.

The second reader connection is the same as the first. So I’ll skip the second 5 pin connector.

The 2-pin connector facing up is intended for 12V DC power for the board

The 2-pin connector facing to the right near the top  is for the door contact or door closure sensor.

The 3-pin connector is a relay for controlling the outputs at the door. Remember, unless otherwise told by the manufacturer, you should wire mag locks to the N/C or Normally Closed side of the relay and Strikes go to the N/O or Normally Opened side of the relay. The common goes back to whatever polarity of power is needed to activate the device.

And the bottom right facing connector is for your push to exit/request to exit devices. You can tie multiple devices into this allowing the door to be released in a variety of ways.

This board also contains an RJ-45 jack (difficult to see from this angle, but it is the silver box looking component near the center of the board. In this instance the RJ-45 is for connecting the controller to a network for programming. It should be noted that there are some controllers on the market that use RJ-45 connectors for low voltage and not just data communication, you should always consult the manual before connecting one of these boards to a switch or other networking equipment.

Access Control Software:

Software is an area that I will only briefly discuss because this is probably the most diverse area of an access control system. Some controllers use built in software on a web interface, some require a computer running a commercial piece of software, and still others require Enterprise class software with large scalable database support. Make sure you understand the needs of your users, the capabilities of the software, and the requirements of the software before purchasing a controller. Software prices range from free to extremely expensive. So make sure you factor this into your design.

At its core, the software is usually merely a method for telling the board what users get access to which doors and at what times. This can come in the form of adding a card or setting a pin.

Depending on the controller, the software may also provide additional features such as setting egress delays, or specifying alerts via e-mail, or even changing the way inputs/outputs work. Keep in mind this will vary between manufacturers, controllers, and software options.

More advanced software can provide additional functionality such as time and attendance reporting and integration with CCTV or alarm systems. Consult your manufacturer for an accurate list of features and functionality.

The End:

While there are additional aspects and details that can be involved in access control, We have covered the basics of an access control system and the interactions of the various components.

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Biometrics and Security – It’s all about Access Control

Written By:
Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Biometrics is the measurable features or characteristics of a human. These traits can be used to identify people for access control to a building or devices and anything in between. In today’s tech-savvy world we use biometrics every day and may not even realize it. There are many ways to measure and record a human’s biometric information for access control.

A lot of us now have smart phones. Both android and IOS came out with facial recognition to unlock the cell phone for use. That feature uses biometrics. Since most of us have different facial features this works fairly well in preventing others from using your cell phone. The software has been going through some refinements as people have found ways to spoof it. For example get a picture of the person then use that to unlock their phone. In this application the failing part is that the image used to set up facial recognition is 2 dimensional.  3 dimensional would be needed to add extra difficulty so spoofing would not nearly as easy with just a taking Polaroid picture.  Still it is amazing that you can now have access control set up on your own cell phone.

To secure a business the technology is now available to integrate access control with CCTV security cameras. Up until the 1990’s access control for most companies consisted of a security guard watching a TV monitor to verify an individual’s identification. Then that person got “buzzed” in. There are many places that still use that setup or something very similar to it. Sure it works and is easy to operate. However, it is archaic by today’s standard and if you are going for full automation that setup is not even close.

A standalone biometric controller can be utilized with a security camera Digital Video Recorder. Biometrics used in this application are typically for full automation while still logging everything in the access control authorization, so security audits can be done to verify the biometric scanner is functioning properly and only allowing individuals in and out that have been approved by the administrator.

An image of a Thumb print reader is the device used in verification of a person’s identity. The Key pad is used to program and initiate the log in procedure. At the top is the camera and at the bottom middle is the finger print scanner. The PIR sensor is on the lower right corner as you can see the or not see the sensor is hidden under the dark plastic.  This particular device can store up to 5 different prints from one person. When adding your user I would use both thumbs and pointer fingers. Just in case the user forgets what digit to use on which hand. The MAC1000SR has a built in camera and a PIR sensor or motion sensor.  Also there is a microphone built directly into the device. Our original intent is to use the microphone through phone systems using video phones so you can have two way communications with gate keeper and key master.

ACRS-MAC1000-SR

The MAC1000SR has a few different ways to activate recording as does your security DVR.  The main focus will be with the DVR as that device will be doing the recording. The DVR could be setup to record motion so when the camera picks up motion the DVR will start recording. There by allowing a recording of the person accessing the door. Another option is to use the alarm outputs on the MAC and connect them to the alarm inputs on DVR. That can tell the DVR to record when someone triggers the PIR sensor or when the user initiates the Biometric Check. The MAC does come with cables so you do not have to worry about acquiring a cable and figuring out how to make RJ59 connect to a circuit board.

Another option is to use the access card only or in conjunction with a finger print. When you use both finger print and access card that adds an additional layer of security. That way should a person lose or have their card stolen the card on its own is useless. The reader still needs a finger print to finish the authentication process to allow access. Two part authentication is as secure as it gets. The idea behind it is just like your own email account. You have a user name and a password without either you have no access. Every extra step you can implement adds another layer of protection. The great aspect of the technology is that even though extra layers of encryption and authentication are added the time it takes the reader to process the information is between one and two seconds.  That is amazing considering the amount of data processed, and it is faster than most people can pull their keys out of their pocket and turn the latch.

There are many real world applications for this technology in any business. In the military keeping the weapons accounted for one hundred percent of the time is mandatory, and easy with access control. In the police stations around the world from the holding cells to offices and more, this can make accountability a breeze. In businesses, allowing certain employees access to specific areas only such as keeping the sales people out of the warehouse or vice versa, access control is the way to go. Even something as simple as stopping customers from going into employee areas can be efficiently handled with these security system access controls.

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We have gone High “Teck” ! Introducing the Rollout of IDTECK’s Access Control

Written By:
Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

TechPro Security Products is now the main distributor of high end Access Control Systems and Accessories in the United States through IDTECK, a global powerhouse in Access Control.

IDTECK has made some significant strides in Access Control and their systems are implemented in some of the highest security driven markets such as the Pentagon and The Department of the Army here in the United States. Worldwide, IDTECK has made a name for themselves in every continent.

What sets IDTECK apart from other Access Control Companies is the fact that in 2009, IDTECK was awarded the US and Korean Patent for Facial Recognition in an Access Control System, which they are working on to implement.

IDTECK also has major ODM contracts with Motorola and Samsung.

Stand-Alone Access Control Readers

The ACRS-MAC1000-SR shown below is the ultimate in a stand-alone Access Controller. There is up to 4 steps in security with this unit. Keypad, Fingerprint, Access Card and Video. There is no other product like this in the market. This unit can also act as a videophone.

ACRS-MAC1000-SR

Fingerprint Recognition

IDTECK has also been the leader in Fingerprint Recognition. Gone are the days when you can make a simple copy of a fingerprint or cut someone’s finger off (like they show in the movies). IDTECK’s Fingerprint Algorithm is heat sensitive and knows when it is detecting a “living” finger. A severed finger is cold to the touch. Also, because of the special fingerprint algortim, IDTECK’s Fingerprint Readers can read fingers that are scarred, wrinkled, burned, and oily. The level of sophistication in just IDTECK’s Fingerprint Recognition and Facial Recognition alone is the reason why we at Techpro Security Products have chosen to distribute IDTECK’s Access Control products through our Retail site (www.securitycameraking.com) as well as our Dealer Site (TechVisonCCTV.com).

IDTECK-Fingerprint-Reader

Access Control Systems

There are multitudes of configurations when it comes to Access Control. From one to many hundreds of doors, you can achieve a secure environment making sure only the people you want to have entrance will have the correct credentials. Case study after case study has shown that IDTECK’s Access Control Systems delivers that high-end security every time. From hotels and hospitals to government agencies, IDECK continues to beat down their competition through constant performance and upgrades to their products.

Below is a sample wiring diagram for an 8 Door Access Control System via a TCP/IP Network.

POE Diagram

In this configuration I am using the iEDC 8 Door Access Control Board (which also does come in a package). I am only showing the configuartion for 1 of those 8 doors in this diagram. This Access Control board is networked using Cat5e Ethernet cable and can be powered via PoE (Power over Ethernet) or 12v DC Power. The Board is connected to the hub and so is your computer. The iEDC has an Embedded Web Server so that you can connect directly into it via your computer without the need of additional software. For a more enhanced approach to your access control, we suggest purchasing the Enterprise Software, giving you control over features such as Time Management, ID Badging, Visitor Management and Video Surveillance.

The iEDC Eight Door Access Controller will also need to connect to your readers, locks and buttons at each door. On the entrance to each door there will be a reader. Readers come in various forms such as Proximity Card Access, Fingerprint Access, and Keypad Access (or a combination of each) and they can also be Smart Card Accessible or traditional RF (radio frequency) Card Accessible. Smart Cards are RF cards that can also hold data. Those Readers will unlock either a Door Strike or a Magnetic Lock and the individual will now have access. On the other side of the door for exiting purposes, there will be a “request to exit” button which will signal the Access Controller to unlock either the electronic door strike or Magnetic Lock.

All 8 of these door configurations can all be controlled by your computer so you can maintain a constant guard to your facilities. Keep in mind that this is a simple example of an 8 door system. As stated above, the possibilities are endless for configurations of one to many doors.

Vandal Resistant Controllers

As I have stated, IDTECK is always improving their line of Access Control Products. They have developed a completely weatherproof and waterproof, Vandal resistant Proximity Standalone Controller. I have been told directly from the manufacturer that they have tested the strength of the LED Touchpad of the ACRS-100RV shown below.

vandal-resistant-proximity-standalone-proximity-reader-26-bit-access-59755big

They tested everything with this unit from hammers and screwdrivers to even a drill. IDTECK’s representative said that he personally put all his might using a drill bit and actually broke 3 bits before he started to go through this keypad controller. I would venture a guess that the would-be criminal would already be apprehended before he could even get into the second drill bit, being that most doors with access control would also have surveillance cameras with motion alerts.

Smart Cards

Last on my list of how great IDTECK’s Access Control Products are their powerful smart cards. Smart cards have the benefit of a standard Proximity Access Card along with the ability to save information on it such as food credits or cash allowance. Students at a college could use this type of card to not only gain access to their classes that they are registered for, but they can also use it as a type of “refillable credit card” so that the student can buy books, clothes or food at the recreational center. In a hospital or office environment the same type of card could be used to gain access into certain areas and to also buy food at the office complex. These Smart cards come in credit card slim size and also Key Fobs and stickers that can easily be attached to your personal belongings such as a smart phone or wallet.

Smart card

In Conclusion

You have come to know securitycameraking.com and our manufacturer TechPro Security Products as being the leader in CCTV and IP Security Systems. With the addition of IDTECK’s Access Control Systems, we are proud to have a one-stop shop for all of your security and surveillance needs. To find out more about our new line of IDTECK’s Access Control Products visit our Access Control page at on our website.

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Access Control – Understanding the Basics

Written By:
Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Access control is a combination of hardware and software that controls access to entry points of a structure or property. It can be used for commercial or residential applications. The purpose of these products is to manage and grant access for individuals to specific areas on a predetermined schedule.

Access_Control

An example of access control is the automated gate in front of a residential community. Usually they will have one side for “Residents” and one side for “Guests”. The resident side may open automatically when the system detects a special sticker or access card in the vehicle. That’s a “proximity Reader”. On the guest side you may have a keypad that you need to enter a code into then it will open the gate or dial the home owner and have them send a code to the gate.

Another example may be when you enter a high security facility where employees have a special access card to enter a certain area. Thats a “Card Reader”.

Access control can be broken down into 5 main components.

1. Access Control Panels (The Brains)
2. The Readers
3. The Device Being Detected
4. The Entry and Exit Hardware
5. The Software

Access Control Panels

Access Control Panels are basically the brains of the of the system. Usually the panel is made up of  a circuit board inside of an enclosed box along with a power supply. Sometimes there is a battery backup as well.  How many access points or Doors you can control depends on the capabilities of the specific access control board you choose.

Many come as a standard configuration but can be upgraded as your needs change. For example you might buy a 4 door access control board that can be upgraded to control up to 8 doors at a later time.


Access Control Readers

RF Proximity, Card and Smart Card Readers.

  • These readers detect a person who has a compatible device on them, such as an access card or key FOB (keychain).  Depending on the equipment, it can detect the devices at varying distances. In some cases the user may have to physically swipe the card and in other cases it may be able to detect them at a distance.
  • Keypads
    Unlike Proximity readers Keypads require the user to type an access code directly into the unit.
  • Fingerprint and Facial Recognition Readers
    Also know as Bio-Metric readers these readers can recognize a users fingerprint or face and determine the appropriate access for that person. Many simply store and compare a photo of the persons face or fingerprint to the user. IDteck’s patented technology actually maps specific points on the users finger or face for much greater accuracy and security.
  • Long Range Readers
    These types of readers are typically used for outdoor applications such as vehicle access. They are capable of detecting a “Long Range Access Card” at much further distances than proximity readers.
  • Access Control Standalone Readers
    Many readers are required to be connected to an access control board and utilize software in order to function.  Stand Alone readers are just that, hardware, software and controller all in one unit.

Vandal Proof- Combo

It is important to mention that many of the readers mentioned above are also available in combinations. You could have a keypad reader that also has RF access card reading capabilities. You may need an even greater level of security and want Facial Recognition, Finger Print Scanner, Access Card and a Keypad all in one.

Many readers also come in a vandal proof version. Vandal proof models are resistant to vandalism and are usually weatherproof.

Time Management

Many companies also use there Access Control System as an employee time clock and payroll management system. It can record when an employee clocks in and out. Advanced features are available with additional time management software.


Access Control Cards, Fobs and other Detection Methods

  • Access Control Cards, Smart Cards and Long Distance Cards.
    Most commonly used as a detection device is the “Access Control Card”. Access Control cards come in many forms. All of the cards hold information about the user and there access rights. They communicate with the reader via an RF frequency.  The range that the cards can communicate and the amount of information that it can hold depend on the cars specifications.Smart cards are similar but can also hold extra information about the user, such as medical info or even be used as an employee debit card.
  • Fobs
    Fobs are basically the same as the access card but can be used as a keychain. Some even have LED lights and sounds that alert the user if they’ve  have been granted or denied access.
  • Stickers
    If you don’t want to carry an access card or you keys around all the time you could get an Access Stickers and just put it on the back of your phone or any other object you carry on you most of the time.

Entry and Exit Hardware

Once the reader has granted you access it must send a signal to the door and unlock it. In this case the door must be equipped with special equipment that works with the access control system. The two most common mechanisms are Electric Door Strikes and Mag Locks.

 

  • Electric Door Strikes
    These will replace your existing door strikes. They are electric powered and will automatically unlock when the user is granted access.
  • Magnetic Locks
    Mag locks are electric powered magnets that will hold the door closed until the system sends a signal to unlock the door, at which point the door will be unlocked.

Exit Buttons and Bars usually go on the other side of the door and allow a user to request exit from the secured area.

  • Request to Exit Buttons – Bars
    There is a variety of different style of exit buttons and exit bars. Some are a simple electric powered buttons, some are pneumatic.  Pneumatic buttons do not rely on power, so an exit is possible even when power isn’t available. There are also exit buttons with a delay for more secure areas where the user must wait a few seconds before a exit is possible.

Access Control Software

Although many Access Control Systems come with integrated software some may require additional software to run or use advanced features. The software is where you will manage the users, the user rights, schedules and more. Many systems have add-on software such as Time and AttendanceVisitor Management and Video management.

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Basic Introduction to Access Control

Written By:
Thursday, November 14th, 2013

basic-intro-to-access-control

As the demand for security increments in houses and businesses, the innovation in technology to protect businesses is in its peak, and the accessibility to these products are reasonable.

If you are the owner of a business that requires certain amount of personnel to drive it, as well as offices, website(s), IT department, and a reception, you may be interested to know how many employees are coming into your offices, who can have access to certain places, and when can employees have access to these sites. An Access Control System is the perfect tool to help you with these demands.

An Access Control System is basically conformed of a Central Panel, a reader, a motion detection sensor, a PTE button, a door contact, and a door actuator.

The Central Panel is the main brain of the system, which has the capacity of controlling a total of two doors, up to twelve doors for single module, and most of these systems give you the choice to install extension modules, which may have the ability to control up to two hundred doors.

The Reader is the tool that will allow you to activate the door actuator to granted access to a specific room. There are different kind of readers in the market, some more secure than others. The most common type of Reader, is a Card Reader, which also have different type of cards with codes accordingly with the type of Reader ( it can be Wiegand Reader, Indala Reader, RFID Reader, Integrated Circuit Chip Reader ICC, Magnet Stripe Reader, Bar Code Reader, keypad Reader, or a combination of any of these, etc.), these readers give you some level of security due to the fact every individual will possess and uses the same card every time they need to get access to the site. A more secure Reader will be the Biometric Reader, which has the ability to capture and record a finger print (usually the index finger) and uses this as the method of identification for every individual. These type of readers are more expensive due to the efficacy and advance technology. Even more secure and, of course more expensive, are the Iris Scanners, which can read and record the iris of the eye of a person, and use it to identify the individual.

Interested fact, there used to be out in the market, a Palm Reader, that used the size of the palm of your hand to identify you in the system, but it didn’t last longer, because the size of the palm of your hand is not a unique size, in other words, there are several individuals around the world that can have the same size of the palm of the hand, as yours.

A PIR Motion Sensor (Passive Infra Red Motion Sensor), is a device used to detect the traffic coming to the door you are controlling with the Access Control system. When the PIR Motion Sensor detects people coming close to the range set to detect with this sensor, it will send a signal to the main panel to execute an action, in most cases to deactivate the door actuator. This sensor is required in every Access Control System that has a reader on the other side of the door, because it allows people to come out of the building in case of an emergency.

A PTE button (Push To Exit), is also an element required specially if your system is going to be inspected by City Inspectors, because this device allow you to deactivate the door actuator, in case of an emergency, by pushing the button.

These two devices (PIR sensor and PTE button) are always installed in the same side of the door, which is the opposite side for the location of the Reader, most of the time the PIR sensor will be located in top of the door (or the ceiling close to the door), while the PTE button will be located next to the door (or a wall close to the door).

A Door Contact allows you to keep track of the position of the door that is being controlled by the Access Control system, and with the help of an Access Control Software, it also can help you count how many times the door has been opened and closed. This device is also a good complement for an alarm, which it will activate an output, usually a buzzer or siren, to let people know the door is being held open for a long period of time.

A Door Actuator is the device that will perform the action of lock and unlock, latch and unlatch, or hold a door open or closed.

There are several types of Actuators, some of them are:

Electrical Strikes, Magnetic Locks, and Door Holders.

The Electrical Strike are used in doors designed to open and close with latches and knobs, and they are generally used indoors like IT rooms and conference rooms. They holding capacity can be up to 300 lbs torque, and they are easy to break-in if you manage to push the latch of the door in.

Magnetic Locks on the other hand, are capable of handle between 600 lbs and 1200 lbs of torque to hold the door close, they are mostly used in outdoors, on glass doors with metal frames, double doors and doors that use locks and keys instead of knobs and latches. The con of using a Mag Lock is that you have to make sure your Access Control system is backing up by a rechargeable battery or UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply), because the Mag Locks has to be constantly power up for it to work properly.

Door Holders are the type of doors that will stay open for a determinate period of time, this type of doors are mostly used at Handicap Access ramps, and this is the only doors that will have PTE buttons located on both sides of the door (outside and inside).

An Access Control system is powered by 12V or 24V power sources, depending on the type of specifications from the manufacturer. Some of them are capable of handling both Voltage.

The latest Access Control system consist of Smart Readers, which eliminates the necessity of a Main Panel or Central Panel, because everything is integrated in the Reader, and the only connections needed are from the controlled devices (Card Reader, Mag Lock, etc), the power supply, and Ethernet to establish connection with the server and the software to program and control the Reader. These type of readers are commonly used in small offices, and to control doors from different offices located in different buildings.

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