WiFi & Wireless Access Lock Guide

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Aug 25, 2014

When it comes to access control, any chance to save money on parts or install labor is attractive.

For many doors, running network cables and hanging multiple devices can run thousands of dollars. By contrast, Wireless/WiFi locks are often a simple, less expensive way to bring doors under control. 

In our 2014 Access Survey, integrators noted that while still a distinct minority, use of WiFi/Wireless locks is sharply increasing, driven by ease of install and lower comparative costs. However, despite reporting growth in the segment, they also noted key downsides of using them:

  • Ambiguous Network: Is it Wireless or WiFi?
  • Credentials Management
  • Repinning Locks
  • Battery Costs
  • Lockdown Feature
  • Replacement Costs

**** ** ***** ** access *******, *** ****** to **** ***** ** parts ** ******* ***** is **********.

*** **** *****, ******* network ****** *** ******* multiple ******* *** *** thousands ** *******. ** contrast, Wireless/WiFi ***** *** ***** a ******, **** ********* *** to ***** ***** ***** control. 

** *** **** ****** Survey, *********** ***** **** while ***** * ******** minority,*** ** ****/******** ***** is ******* **********, ****** ** **** ** install *** ***** *********** costs. *******, ******* ********* growth ** *** *******, they **** ***** *** downsides ** ***** ****:

  • ********* *******: ** ** Wireless ** ****?
  • *********** **********
  • ********* *****
  • ******* *****
  • ******** *******
  • *********** *****

[***************]

WiFi/Wireless ***** *******

** ****** ****/******** ***** are * ****** ***** component, ********** ** *** a **** ****, *** tumbler, *** ** **** credential *******, *** ** internally ****** ******** ** users *** ********* ** an ********** ****.

** ******** ** * traditional ********* ****** ******** of ******** ****** **** must ************ ** **** and ***** ** *** opening, * ****/******** **** can ** **** ****** quickly **** ******** ******** door **** *******. *** image ***** ***** **** contrast:

Ambiguous *******: ** ** ******** ** ****?

*******, **** ** ***** to ********* ********, ** starts **** ******** ******* how ***** *** ********* together. *** ***** ************ are ******, **** ***** using:

  • ********: *********** ***** ********, ******* in *** *********** **** ******** ***** ******* **** for **** ************** *** that ******* * ****** hub ** ** ******* in *** ***** ** every ****. *** **** range ******* $*** - $500 ****, **** ******** of ***** ***' ** any *********.
  • ****: ******** ***** **** 802.11x **** ***********, ******* indicating * **** ** given ** ** *******, and ******* ******* * lock *** *** ******** WiFi ******** ******** *** connectivity. **** ****** ****** typically ***** ******* $** - $*** ****, *** if ******** **** ** already ********* ** ********* can ** ****, **** the ********* ******** ** a ****** **** ** typically**** **** ** ** per ***.

******* *********** '********' ******* are **** ********* *** lock, *** *** ********** cost ** ****** ********* radios for * ******** ******* can ****** ***** ******** **** **** above **** ****. ****** or **** ***** *** be ********* ** * single *** ******** ** is ****** *****:

Credential **********

** ***** *****, ********** might **** ** ***** every **** ** ***** to *********** ** **** updates ** *****. *** all ********/**** ****** ****** 'passive ********', *** ** the **** ** ********** updating ******* **************** ***********, *** **** *** to ********** ****** ***** lock ** ******* *** current ** ** ***** its ******** **** * current **********.

Repinning *****

** **** *****, ******* a ****/******** **** **** means ********* *** ********** locks ** ***. ** order ** ****** ****** with ******** ******* ****** *******, *** ***** **** to ** ****** ** comply. 

***** *** **** ** repinning * **** *** be **** **** $** for ****, *** ** likely **** *** ***** of ***, **** ******* expense ** ********** ********** and *** ** ******** of ******* *** * system ** * ****** number ** *****.

Battery *****

** ***** ***********, *********** battery ***** ** ***** can **** ******** ** even ********* *** ****. While **** **** ******* pin ******** ******* **** at **** ****-**-********* ** cycles (**:**,*** *** **** ****), **** ******* **** is ********** ***** ******* operating ********** *** *****.

**** * ******** ********** or **** **** *** experience **** **** ** binding ** *** **** lock. **** ********** ***** to ******** *** ******* drain ******** *********. ***** from *********, *** ****'* distance **** *** ***** or *** *** **** be * ********** ****** on ******* ****, **** locks ******* **** *** with * ****** ****** trying ** **-********* * connection ** **** *** network **** *****. 

*******, *** *********** *** use **** ** *** door *** ******* ****** battery ****, **** ** occasionally **** ******* ******* longer **** *** **** heavily. ** *** ******** between ***** ***** ** several ******* ** ******, the ******* **** *** time ** ******* ** full ******** ******* ******, while *** **** ********** will ***** ******* ******* of ******** ***, *** also ******* *** ******** recovery ** ***** ** intermittent.

*** **** ** ******* power * **** **** may ***** **** * specialty ******* **** (** shown ** *** ***** below), ** *** **** may ** ******** ** use ******** ************ ********* replacement *********, *** ** either **** ********* **** cost ***** *** ****** by ******** ******* *****.'

******** ** * ****** lock ******** * ($** parts/labor) ******* **** *********** once *** ****, * system ******** ** **** ten ***** **** **** $500/year.

Lockdown *******

* ****** ******* **** hardwired ******* **** ***** has * ***** ************** with ********/**** ***** ** the '********' ** '***** All-Lock" *******. *** ****** of *** ******** ******* a ******* ***** ** user ** ************** **** all ***** ** * system, *********** *********** ****** to ********* ******* **** active ****** ** ***** unauthorised *****.

**** *** ******** ******, network *********** *** ***** are * *******. **** 'Lockdown', **** ******* ** amplified ******* ** ************ or **** **** *** leave ********* ** ****. 

********** * ******** **** system ******** '********' ******** are *** ***** ****, but **** ********* *** wireless ******* *** *********** radios ** *** ****** the ******* ** ***** on ******* ** *** next.

** ****** ********* ** allowed *** * ********* failure ** * ******** command ** * ******** door, ********/**** ******** ****** not ** **** ** all.

Replacement *****

*******, ** **** ***** break, **** *********** ** the ***** **** ** required? ****** * ********* door **** **** ******** components, ** ** ********* device ****** ** ************, it *** ** ******* out. **** * ********/**** lock, ** * ******* wearing **** **** * keypad ** ******** ***** (costing **** **** $*** normally), ***** ** * good ****** *** ****** unit **** **** ** be ********* *** **** ** $**** or ****.

Comments (6)

On some wireless solutions, the locks must be seeded first with a PDA device before they can be recongnized by the backend system. The PDA device can cost you a few thousand dollors.

We have found that another major influence on battery life is the quality of the wireless connection back to the gateway/access point and in some cases, the position of the door has had a major impact on this. (In the open position, one lock had two more walls between it and the gateway than when it was closed.)

I would be interested in seeing a good study on the total cost of maintaining the batteries. In large installations over time, the distribution curve of when batteries run out will become flat because every battery will have a different life and usage pattern, so even if you installed all the batteries on the same day at the start, the batteries will need replacing on a bell curve. The second set will be even more distributed so the curve will be flatter and so on, leaving the customer with no good time to do a mass swap of batteries.

This will put you in a position of having to change batteries on a continueal basis, and of course those locks will be randomly distributed over the installation making it expensive from a labor perspective.

So, how many wireless locks does it take to make replacing batteries a full time job? (sounds like the lead-in to a bad joke...)

Don't get me wrong, I like wireless locks but we sell them as a way to add access control to doors you wouldn't normally secure due to cost.

I have been with this company for nearly four years. We have installed wireless access only one time and it was just recently. The doors were to testing labs sensitive to contamination and kind of a pain to run wire to. The site is roughly 80 miles away from our shop. I do not have much faith in any wireless devices as they are more problematic and simply not as full-proof as hardwired. Looking forward to future service calls!!!

Assa Abloy Aperio, SALTO and SimonVoss. Anyone has a comparison?

Not sure about the SimonVoss but with the Aperio you can at least use the latest HID credentials if that is what the customer is using.

We have integrations with three of the major providers, Allegion, Assa and Salto. In the cases of Allegion and ASSA we support both the Wireless (using a router or HUB) and the WiFi versions. We have the ability to command lock-down functions from the software and the response time is adequate. We find that battery life is largely dependent on the feature set that is turned on for operation. We have one school in MI that has deployed 3600 Allegion AD-400 locks and they are reporting battery life of roughly 6-8 months. We are seeing our partners use wireless locks on doors that were considered not critical enough for a typical maglock/strike installation and more of a people control and key replacement solution. Our trends show they are gaining more market share, we increased our sales with Allegion 35% so far this FY.

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