You know you need to control access, you know that you will need to automate the door for it to work effectively, but what type of access control would best suite your application ?
These are the sort of questions here at LocksOnline we are asked all the time. So on that basis I will run through the main generics for you and hopefully there pros and cons.
Keypad Access Control Solutions
Simple and effective to say the least easy to use, just remember a four, five or six digit number and it is that simple. Most keypads allow number changing quickly and efficiently, loosing your keys never becomes and problem, changing the code is really the only thing that you need do to maintain your security. The experts say and we concur that codes should be changed at least once a month, but in all honesty that does not really happen that often and there lies the problem with electronic keypads. People get complacent with keypads and it is very easy for someone to be looking over your shoulder and suss the number from your finger ramblings. Most electronic keypads these days allow multiple numbers to be used, where a manager or master number is used to add and delete numbers. Other than the stand alone keypads fitted with a lock already, most will work on 12 and 24 volts, ac and dc, some have transistor style contacts and some still have relays, we prefer the type with relays.
Proximity and Swipe Access Control Solutions
This is when you use a card to present or swipe a receiver module by the side of the door, more often now, again, you will see certain manufactures combining the locking with the card reader.
Swipe used to be what you would use if you had a black strip down the back of the card, this strip would have been magnetic and if presented to a strong magnet the card would wipe its data and leave in useless, another issue also with swipe. When using the card and swiping in through a reader, any muck that would be on the card would be left on the reader head and effectually the reader would start to misread the card and flag up failed openings. Prox or Proximity, however, is a different game all together. These systems are mostly passive, in other words the cards have no power, but when they are presented to the reader the reader emanates an electro magnetic field, which is just strong enough to excite the chip in the card to transmit data to the reader, should the data be correct for the reader the door will open. These are neat, and now are probably the preferred choice when it comes to access control. But, these too have weaknesses and namely they are easy to be read and the data copied to make clone cards. There are better security procedures in place these days but still they can be easily circumvented.
You can get active fobs, like the Simons Voss systems we rave about and these are more secure, also the range between fob and door can be greatly increased. The reason for this is active fobs carry their own power source.
Biometrics Access Control Solutions
Finally you may consider biometrics, like face recognition, or finger print readers, These systems are great in that you always have access with a your body so you can never loose your key unless you loose the body part. seems simple enough and probably makes all the above a little more redundant. the down side in my view is I have yet to see one function faultlessly when there is quite a lot of users on the system, the read rate to failure rate is quite high in general, so you may find you have to swipe your thumb or perhaps your big toe a few times before access is granted. another issue also is that most use the natural oils in your skin to create capacitance to read and allow access. Do the washing up or use bleach for anything and your finger print can be washed away for hours until your natural oils in your skin are replenished.When this happens your not getting back in to your home.
These are some of the things that you may consider when choosing which access control suites your application.
You can always bang an email over to me should you need more information. firstname.lastname@example.org
Head of the tech department
TRUST Security - Trust LocksOnline