Basic components of a door access control system

Door Access control systems vary widely in type and complexity. However, most card access control systems consist of at least the five basic components. Access cards, Card readers, access control keypads, electronic lock hardware and an access control panel.


General Information

Door Access control systems vary widely in type and complexity. However, most card access control systems consist of at least the following five basic components:

Access Cards

The access card may be thought of as an electronic key. The access card is used by persons to gain access through the doors secured by the access control system. Each access card is uniquely encoded. Access cards are generally the same size as a standard credit card, and can easily be carried in a wallet or purse.

Card Readers

Card readers are the devices used to electronically read the access card. Card readers may be of the insertion type (which require insertion of the card into the reader), or may be of the proximity type (which only require that the card be held in a 3 inch to 6 inch proximity of the reader. Card readers are usually mounted on the exterior (non-secured) side of the door that they control.

Access Control Keypads

Access control keypads are devices which may be used in addition to or in place of card readers. The access control keypad has numeric keys which look similar to the keys on a touch-tone telephone. The access control keypad requires that a person desiring to gain access enter a correct numeric code. When access control keypads are used in addition to card readers, both a valid card and the correct code must be presented before entry is allowed. Where access control keypads are used in place of card readers, only a correct code is required to gain entry.

Electric Lock Hardware

Electric lock hardware is the equipment that is used to electrically lock and unlock each door that is controlled by the access control system. There are a wide variety of different types of electric lock hardware. These types include electric locks, electric strikes, electromagnetic locks also known as maglocks, electric exit devices, and many others. The specific type and arrangement of hardware to be used on each door is determined based on the construction conditions at the door. In almost all cases, the electric lock hardware is designed to control entrance into a building or secured space. To comply with building and fire codes, the electric lock hardware never restricts the ability to freely exit the building at any time.

Access Controllers

Access control panels are installed in each building where access control is to be provided. Card readers, electric lock hardware, and other access control devices are all connected to the access control panel. The access controllers are used to process access control activity at the building level. The number of access control panels to be provided in each building depends on the number of doors to be controlled. For example, a four-door access controller would control up to four doors. Additional controllers can be added and linked together to support additional doors.

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