Electronic Access Control Systems

Electronic access controls are very common and are becoming even more ubiquitous as technology becomes more important in an ever-advancing world. An electronic access control system is essentially a lock or control point that is controlled electronically.

Access Control Parts

Access through this control point involves three parts: a reader, a controller, and an electricity-controlled lock.

A reader is essentially the part of the system that evaluates whether or not an individual will be granted access to a space. In a situation where you have arrived at a friend’s apartment and rang the doorbell to be “buzzed” into the building, your friend is the reader – he or she listens for your voice to verify your identity and buzz you in. Non-human forms of readers include a keypad into which you would put a code or a card reader into which you would swipe a card with information on it.

The controller is the part of the system that decides whether or not to grant you access based on what you have presented to the reader. In the instance of the friend in the apartment, his or her brain is the controller – he or she decides, based on the sound of your voice, whether you are who you say you are or not. In the instance of a keypad or card reader, a computer would be the controller and would need to verify that the right code or card has been presented.

The controller controls the electronic lock – if the controller grants access, the lock is released. If the controller does not grant access, the lock remains intact.

The most varied and important part of an electronic access control system is the reader. Readers commonly come in a few forms, including keypads, credentials, and biometric readers.

A keypad is a series of keys into which an individual punches a code in order to grant access. Keypads are a very simple form of Electronic Access Control and are widely used in office buildings and other commercial spaces. However, in that codes are easy to relay and/or steal, keypads are not considered the most secure of electronic access control methods.

Credentials are a form of electronic access control that require an individual to present something physical in order to gain access to an area. This could include a credit card presented to gain access to an ATM kiosk or a specialized key presented to grant access to a building or restricted area. The most common of such keys is a Radio Frequency Identification Card, or RIFD. RIFD cards are either swiped or tapped on an electronic receiver.

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