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.
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 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.
RF Proximity, Card and Smart Card Readers.
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.
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.
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.
Exit Buttons and Bars usually go on the other side of the door and allow a user to request exit from the secured area.
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 Attendance, Visitor Management and Video management.