Should you continue to use traditional centralized, panel-based access control or does it make sense to use IP readers? Let's overview the 2 key options:
- Control panels: Traditional access control systems have used control panels, typically controlling two, four, either, or more doors each. In these configurations, door devices are typically homerun to centrally located panels, though in larger facilities, panels may be distributed throughout. The panels, in turn, typically connect to the access control server via IP, though older or low-end systems may still use serial data connections.
- IP readers: In the second, more recent, approach, intelligence is moved to the door, with a small (1-2 door) control panels located throughout a facility. While some readers now accept a direct IP connection, many deployments move the controller to the edge connecting to a traditional reader very close by. To that end, 'IP reader' is a misnomer, but expresses the intent of this shift.
The traditional approach of larger control panels has caused some problems:
- Often, customers were forced to install four-door control panels to control one or two doors, which drove cost for these small systems up drastically.
- Adding a door here or there, out of reach of existing the existing panel or panels, required a new multi-door panel to be installed.
- IT staff is less comfortable with traditional security wiring. As security systems have become more IP-based, they have fallen more and more under control of network engineers and RCDDs. IP readers allow these designers to follow more familiar cabling topologies, making them more attractive.
While the traditional panel approach has issues, concerns about moving to IP readers also raised concerns including issues with sufficient power, manufacturer support, economics and scalability.
For background, we recommend you review HID makes the case for the edge to see how manufacturers pitch the idea of IP to skeptics.
Inside the Pro section, we examine the tradeoffs, key issues involved and make recommendations on best fits.