Axis Releases Card Reader

By Brian Rhodes, Published Sep 25, 2014, 12:00am EDT

Last year, Axis put the security market on notice by releasing the A1001 access controller (see IPVM test results of it).

Their follow up this year is an access control reader.

Game changer or copycat?

In this note, we examine the A4011-E reader's specs, applications, drawbacks and comparison to HID.

Product Details

Axis first reader release is a co-produced model with access giant Assa Abloy (which includes HID Global as a subsidiary).

The Axis A4011-E is a combo 13.56 MHz and keypad equipped mini-mullion sized unit, compatible with the A1001 Door Controller. Consistent with Axis naming convention, the unit is '-E', meaning the unit is rated for outdoor use and has an IP54 rating. The unit features an illuminated faceplate with stainless buttons.

Details / Application

  • A1001 Only: At release the A4011-E is locked to work only with the A1001, unlike typical readers that integrate with any controller accepting Wiegand inputs.
  • 13.56 MHz Format Compatible: The A4011-E works with most major smartcard formats including HID specific iClass and SEOs, along with global MIFARE and DESFire EV1 credential types.
  • Sound and Tamper Equipped: The Axis reader will also feature standard beeping local alarm and tamper switch for monitoring installation.
  • Mullion Sized Keypad: While the A4011-E is not particularly unique, a keypad on a mullion sized reader is uncommon. This will be suitable for high security applications specifying multiple authentication factors in tight spaces like door frames or mudring cutouts.

Price Comparison

The MSRP is $369 USD (estimated street pricing ~$315). Contrasted with other keypad readers like the HID SE RK40 with street pricing at ~$250, or HID's SE R10/R15 at ~$75, Axis unit is moderately more expensive.

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Axis expects the unit will be available in distribution in Q4 2014.

Drawbacks

While the A4011-E carries the powerful Axis name, it has several weaknesses that will hinder commercial success and widespread use:

  • No Prox Support: The A4011-E will not read 125 kHz credentials.  That older, less secure format still accounts for a huge percentage of credentials currently used. In our most recent survey over 35% still call 125 kHz their 'favorite' over 13.56 MHz offerings.
  • Axis Locked: The reader will only work with Axis controllers. This heavily restricts general utility of the reader and will not be a stocking part for anyone but Axis-only access control vendors and users.
  • High Price: The unit is expensive compared to competitive products. While the A4011 includes a keypad, many access users will not make use of it, leaving the $300+ street price 4X more pricey than suitable (R10/R15) alternatives.

Business Case

The market most likely to find the A4011-E appealing will be IT vendors or other non-security focused installers/ end users that do not have familiarity or business partnerships within traditional security distribution.

For example, IT Department end-users that want to avoid making mistakes specifying niche products like readers, the A4011-E offers a degree of certainty albeit at a price penalty.

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