PoE Powered Access Control Tutorial

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Jan 19, 2018

Powering access control with Power over Ethernet is becoming increasingly common.

However, access requires more power than cameras, and the problems of not having enough are significant, especially if unsecured doors, unresponsive doors, or dead readers are the result. Considering access impacts life safety, special effort needs to be taken to ensure that mistakes are not made in powering.

In this tutorial, we teach:

  • Why PoE for Access Is Useful
  • PoE versus PoE+ Use For Controllers
  • Why 4 Doors Is Typically The Max PoE For Controllers
  • How To Calculate PoE Power Load For Access
  • How To Check Available Field Power
  • The Code Impact Of Using PoE
  • Cost Savings From PoE Powered Access
  • 4 Common Problem Areas When Using PoE Powered Access

At the end, take the 7 question quiz on PoE Powered Access Control to test your knowledge.

Note: This guide was initially published in 2015 and substantially updated in 2018.

Where PoE For Access Is Useful

PoE is useful in retrofit access control to bring power to the door, instead of installing high voltage electrical for the system first, an expense that can often cost hundreds of dollars per door.

Without PoE, power at the door involves extending or running new circuits from breakers to openings in new conduit with new outlets, power supplies, enclosures, and junction boxes, while PoE routes power through the same cable that connects door devices to an ethernet network.

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Quiz ********

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[******: **** ******** *** ********** ********* ** **** *** ************* revised ** ****]

Comments (11)

UL certification is a minor point, but worth clarifying.

If an access system is not UL certified while using PoE as a power option, or the PoE PSE (switch or midspan) is not also UL certified to the same standard (often UL294), using PoE may leave the entire system non-compliant.

This exception will be noted on spec sheets, like this:

However, it may be buried in the compliance section, general notes, or called out in the power section like above.

Mostly customers demands for PoE based controller to supply power for door locks to avoid wiring and keep installations clean. (specially in IT and corporate customers). many times it is difficult to convince customer to use separate power for locks as they question like then why i need PoE for controller because anyhow i need separate supply ??

We generally suggest them to use low powered PoE locks (upto 600 and 1200 Lbs) which works fine for inside doors (mostly glass and wooden doors).

recently we installed ALGATEC PoE locks for same.

If you guys have any specific low powered PoE locks details which works fine then please share.

Brian,

Installer also need to take care of POE switch output power.

As access control devices need full powered PoE port switch. i.e. Max output per port (15.4W as per 802.3af standard)

Total output power of poe switch= per port output power x No. of port on switch

I just noticed that the example you use for not recommending powering maglocks via PoE is our diagram and thought I'd drop a quick note that about 18 months ago, we performed cycle testing with a Schlage model 70 maglock powered off of an open collector (over PoE). After well over 1 million cycles both lock and controller were perfectly fine. I doubt we have updated all marketing collateral, but it's really no longer an issue as long as the power requirement of the maglock doesn't exceed the available output.

Hi Wayne,

It might be PoE+ rather PoE?

it is all about total power consumption of device and reader connected with controller.

how much power rating of Schlage maglock ?

A member wrote in regarding a potential risk of PoE with access when switch firmware is updated:

Another issue we ran across is the vulnerability of PoE powered access control panels. When the IT department does a switch firmware update, PoE power is lost. When it is a camera system, the inconvenience is merely lost video during the upgrade. When it is access control panels, the penalty can be unintentionally unlocking or locking doors.

A solution we found is an in-line PoE back up system by Energy Re-Connect. I am sure their are others on the market, but these seem relatively inexpensive.
Like video, networked access systems often entail close working relationships with IT groups. The example above is a key example of why that relationship should be maintained and close!

I emailed the contact on the PoE UPS device you reference in the article.

Do you have any experience or opinions?

We have a test / evaluation of those planned coming up. I believe Ethan ordered them this week, so those results will publish this fall.

A member mentioned them as being a good solution in his experience using them.

While this is a very good article, most of the problems highlighted have been resolved by TYCO, in their patent for PoE in Access control. By use of an intelligent power supply and using the backup battery the power supply can supply the current surges associated with mag locks and strikes. They have been shipping such as equipment for 10 years.

...resolved by TYCO, in their patent for PoE in Access control...

What's the patent# ?

RBH Access has IEEE 802.3at compliant controllers with onboard battery backup to resolve power fluctuations issues plus sufficient power overhead to power low power accessories such as electric door strikes. Mechanical design options include 19 inch rack model.

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