Selecting Access Control Readers Tutorial

By Brian Rhodes, Published Nov 09, 2017, 12:48pm EST

Given the variety of types available, specifying access control readers can be a daunting process. However, focusing on a few key elements will help you arrive at the right product no matter which system you are using.

These factors are:

  • The Basic Reader Types: Contacless, Barcodes, Keypads, and Biometrics
  • Quick Overview Of Contactless Frequencies and Formats
  • How Mounting Surfaces Impact Selection
  • Why Establishing Contactless Read Range Is Crucial
  • Awareness Of Infrastructure Requirements Like Power and Connectivity
  • Protocol Support (Wiegand vs. OSDP)

In this note, we address these attributes, explain how they are different, and help users understand which reader is the ideal choice for their application.

[Note: This tutorial was originally published in 2014 and substantially revised in 2017]

Credential ****

*** ***** ********* **** defines **** ******* *** which *********** **** *** designed ** ****.

*** ******** ****** ******* applications, *** ********** **** has ******* **** *********** and ** ***. ******* in ****-**** ******* *** use ***-******** ********** ***** and *** ******* ******** readers **** *** ******** manufacturer, ******** *********** ******* as * ******.

*******, ****** ******* *** equipped ** **** ******* credential *****, ** ****** an ******** ********* ** the ******* ******* ** use ** * ******** step.

*********** ***** ****** ** picture ***, *** ********** take *** **** ** cards *** *** **** several ***** - *** our****** ********** **** ****** Tutorial*** **** *******. *** following **** ******* *** major ***** ** *********** used ** ****** ****** control *******:

  • *** *********, *** *** Standard *********: *** **** common ********** ***** ** use ******* *** ****** to **** *** ********** near *** ******, *** not **** ******* **** it. ***** *********** *** be **** ******* *******, pockets, *** ***** - and **** *** ******** used ** ** *****, keyfobs, *** ********** ********.
  • **** *********, **.** *** Smartcard: *** ****** **** of **** ******** ** onboard ******* **** (***) that ****** ****** **********, more *******, *** **** rewriting ************. ********** ***** this ******** ********** ***** use *** **** *** multiple *******, ********* ******* access *** ******* *****.
  • *******/*********: ***** ******* ******** obsolete ** *** **** of ********* **** ****-***, older ****** ******* *** still *** ***** ***********. While ********** ** ******* and *********** ** *****, magstripe/barcode ***** *********** **** the ******** ** ***** options *** *** ** copied ** ******* ******. In ********, *** ********** of ***** *********** ** not **** ****** *** commercial ***, ** **** mild ********** ** ******** scratches *** ****** ***********.
  • **********: ***** ************* ******** belonging **** ** ******** users ** **** *******. Fingerprints, *********, ****/*******, *** face *********** ******* *** commonly **** ** *******.
  • ******** **********: ***** ***** of ********** ***** *** or **** ** *** listed ***** ** * single **********. ***** **** expensive, ***** ***** *** the **** ******** ***** they *** ** **** with ******* ********* ******* and *** ** *********** from *** ********.

Credential ********* *********

*** *********** ***********, * type ** ** ********** called '******** ****** ********' is **** ** ******** card ***********. 

** ***** *****, *** principal ********* ** ****** 125 *** *** **.** MHz *********** **** ******* is *** *** ****** to ******* *** **** embedded ** *** ****/ delivers ***** ********** ** the ****, ***** **** momentarily ****** ****** *** then **** ** ** broadcast **** ******* **** to *** ******. *** image ***** ***** * transparent ******* ** * card, ********* *** ***** components:

* **** **** *** 125 *** *********** ** how **** *** ***** it ** ** **** card ******* ******* ********* of *** ******.  ***** formats *** *** ******* or ********* *** *** be ****** ** ******* with ****** ******.

*** ****** **** ** copy *** ***** ***** much *** **** *** as ****** **** *******. Our **** ***** ***** from **** **** ****** ******* With **** $** *** 125kHz **** *********** *** *** $** ****** *** ** **** ** seconds ** ***** *** 125kHz ********* ****** *****:

13.56 *** ****** ***********

*** *** **** **.** MHz ****** ******* ***** come **** *** ********* vendors:

** *******, *** ****** iClass ** **** ********* on * ***-****** *** per-credential ***** ******** ** MIFARE/DESFIRE. *** ****** ** the **** ********** ** largely *** ** *********, as *** *** ******* is ********, ** *** manufactured ********, ** *** or ***** ****** **** Abloy. ** ********, *** non-HID ******* *** '**** use' *** *********** **** for *** ************ ** build ******* ******* **** with ** ********* ****.

*** ****** ******* ********** between ****** ****** ******* varies ***** ** ********** part *******, *** *** cost ********** ********* ****** 10% - **% **** for *** *** ********. However, ********** ** ***** America, *******, *******/******* *******, and ******* ************ *** be ****** *** *** who ******* *********** ****** share ** **** ******. Elsewhere ** *** *****, NXP-based ******* *** ** more *******, *** *******/******* may ** **** *********.

*** ******** ******** ******* the *** *******, *** our: *** ** *** *********** ****.

Multifactor ********** *******

** ******* ****** **** than *** ********** **** to ******** *****, **** are ***** ** '*********** readers'.

***** ***** *** ***** required *** **** ******** applications ** ** ***** users ********** ***********. *** example, * ****** *********** unit ******** * ********* card ****** **** * keypad, ** ** * user ******* ** ********* a **** **** *** still **** ** *** a **** *** *****. Combination '***********' ***** ***** combine **** *********** **** biometrics **** ************, *******, or **** ******.

** * ***** **** entry ****** ******** ********* cards, *********** *****, ** a ****** **** ** order ** ** '***********', two ** **** *********** would ** ******* *** entry, *** **** ********* credential ****** *** ********** for *** **** ** present ** *** ****. The ***** ***** ***** an ******* ** * typical '***** ******' ****** device:

**** ********** '*******' **** additional ********** ********, ********* biometric ********* **** ***** are ************* ********** **** the ****** ******* ******. The ***** **** *********** readers ******* ********** ********** factors ***** ******* ** affected ** *** ***** number ** ******* **** must ** ********, *** the ****** ** ********** a ********** **** **** to ** *********.

***** **** *** ******* integrate ******* **** ***** keypad **** *******, ************* with ********* ******* ** high ******** ********** (**: ****** Identive *********** [**** ** longer *********]) ** ******* to ********** ****** ******* systems. 

Mounting *******

*********** *** ******** ******** location *** *** ****** is *** **** **** - ***** **** ******* are '************', **** ******** types (********** ********* ***** units) *** *** ****** for ***** ********. ** the ********* *******, ** address *** **** ****** mounting *********, *** ******** the ********* *** ******* the ******* *******:

********/*******:**** **** ********** *******, the ***** ******** *** mounting ******** **** ** sealed ******* ******** *** protected ******* ********. ******* are ******** ********* ** 'potted' *********, ***** *** internal ********** ********** *** sealed ** ***** ** prevent ******* **** ********. Confirming * ****** ** suitable *** ******* *** is ********** ***** ** 'potted' ** **********, ***** departs **** ******** ******** IP *******. ***********, *** actual ********** ** *** reader *** *** ****** between ******/********* *********.

**** *****: *** **** ***** orientation *** ******** ******* is ** *** **** nearby *** ********** *******. While ******* ******* *** be ******** ** ***** directly ** ******* ** masonry **** ****** ******, heavier ******* *** ******* additional ********. ****** ********* can ** ******** ****** through ***** ***** ** walls, ** ********* *** be ********** ** ******-**** junction ***** - ** this ****, *** ****** is ********** ******* ******** onto * ******** *** cover *****.

******* *****:***** ***** ** ******** to ********, ** ***** control ******* ****** ** fished ******* **** ************, a ****** ******** ** mounting ******* **** ****** door ******. ******* *** mounting ******* ** ********* metallic, ********** ******* *** shielded ******* *** ** required. ***** ******* *** identifiable ** ***** **** profile, ***** **** * few ****** ****. **** through ***** ******* *** narrower **** ******* ****-***** types, **** *** ********* in *** **** ****-****** and ***** *** **** multi-factor (**: **********, ******) options.

******* *****: ******* **** *** gate/parking *** ************ *** frequently ******* ** ***** or ******** ***** ********. These ******* ********* **** longer **** ****** **** door ******* *****, ***** the ********** *** ** feet **** ****** ** automobile ** ********** *******. While ***** ******* *** typically ********* ** ****** controllers *** **** ** other *******, **** *** require ***** ***** ******** and ***** *********/*********. ***** type ** ******* *** also ******* *** *** of ***** ********** ** other ******** ******* ** increase ***** ************* ******** to ***********.

********* *****:*** ** *** **** challenging ******** ********* *** a ****** ** ** a ********* - *** only *** ***** ***** typically ********, **** *** frequently ******* ** ******* shock, ** ********, *** impact *****. ******** ******* readers *** ******* ******** replacement. ** * ******, ruggedized / ****** ********* readers *** *********** *** turnstile ************.

Read *****

*********** *** ******** * card ****** ** ****** to ****** * ********** is *** **** ****. Understanding *** ***** ******* the ****** *** *** controlled ******* ** ******** - *** **** **** it **** **** ** physically ****** **** * reader ** **** * door (********** **** ********** accessible ********), *** ******** distance ******* * **** reader *** ** ********** may ******* ******* *************.

********** ******* *** ********* available ** ***** ******* defined *********. **** ************ defines *** ***** ******** differently, *** *** ***** is ********* ********** ** mounting ***********, ************ *******, and **** ** *****. The ******** ********** ***:

  • *****:***** ***** **** ******** between ***** ******* *** 6" - *", *** are ***** ******* *********** adjacent ** ***** ** mullions ** *****. ***** for ***** ******* *** be ********* ***** ******** from *** ********** ******* extra ***** ********.
  • ******: ******* ** *** class ********* ***** ******* close ******* *** **" - **", *** *** suited *** *** ** parking **** *** ** bollards ** ***** ******** to *****. ***** ***** feature ********* ******* **** configurations, ******* **** ***** than ***** ***** *******, and ********* **** ****.
  • ****: ***** ******* ** this ***** ********* **** between * **** *** up ** ** ****. Because ** *** ******* distance, ******* ** **** category **** ** ******* with *** **** ************** as ******** ********** *********: physical **** ** ***** must ** **********, ******** wireless ******* *** ** sources ** ************, *** reader *********** ** ******** for ********** *********.

******* **** ***** ****** also ** ************* *********, with *** ***** ********* 125kHz ****** ******** ****** distances. ***** *** ******* range ** *** * typical ****** *** **** mount ** ******* ***** applications ***** ***** **** less **** * ****** away **** *** ******, using **** ********* **.***** formats ****** **** ** ranges ****** *** ******* garage ** ******* **** applications.

*** *******, **** *** *** **** ***** readers ***** ** ** **" with ******** *** ******* credentials, *** ***** **.** *** ************ **** ***** **" *** have ********* *** ** sell********* *** ****** ********** *** ****** ****** instead *** **** ***********.

** ** ********* ** note **** *** *** credential ***** **** *** range ********** *********. **** common ********** ***** *** not **** *** ********* of '**** *****' ******* available, *** ********** ******* commonly **** ** ****** may *** ** ******** for **** *** ** the **, *** **** versa. 

Required **************

*** ***** ****** ** consider ** **** ******* or ********* ********* *** required ** *** *******. Reader ************** ******* ** consider *******:

  • *****: **** ******* *** designed ** ******* ** 12VDC/24VDC *** **** ***, but ********** *** **** range ***** *** ******* different *********. ** *******, readers *** *** ******* draw *******, ********* ******* only *********. **** ***** of '***** *****' ******* operate **** ******* ***** and ******* ** ******* power **********.
  • ****: **** ******* *** connected ** *********** **** UTP ** **/* *****, but ********** ****** ***** may ******* *** ******* wire ****** ** ******* features **** ***** ****** or *********. ******** ********, typically ***** * ***** to **** ***** *********** system, *** ********** ******* in ***-**** *** ***-**** security ************. **********, **** cabling ** ******** ** shielded ** ******* ************ from ********** **** ******** between ****** *** ********** units.
  • ********* ***** ** ********: ***** *** * traditional ************** *********, ** often ********** ******* ** a ****** ****** ** securing *** *******. ******* most ****** ***** ******* have * ****** ******* life, *** **** ******** lock ********** ****** **** backup ***** (**: ********), a ********** **** *** key **** ** *********. Managing *** *********** **** hardware ** *** *********, but *** **** ********** use ** ***** ***** require * **** ********* and ********** ******* ******.
  • *********/*******:*******, ***** *** *********, secondary ******* **** ********* and ***** ************ ******* can **** ******** ***** requesting ********** ** ***** without ****** ***********. **********, a ********** ****** ******* or ***** * ********** and **** *** ******* this **** ***** ******** at *** ********** *******. Having ** ******** ********* allows ******** ***** ** communicate **** * ******* lacking ***********, ******* ************ area ******** ** ********** access ** ****** *****.

Protocol ******* (******* **. ****)

* ******'* ****** ****** must ** ********** **** the **********. **** ******* must ******* ******* ** OSDP, ** ****** ****** interface ************* *** ****** operations. ******* *** **** useful **** ********** **** the ****** ****** ******, specifically *** **** **********. 

*** **** ***** *** standard ************* ************* ******** between ******* *** ********** has ***********, ** ********* **** predates ****** ****** ** TCP/IP *************. ***** *** early ****'* ******* *** use ** *********** ****** outputs ** * *** that *********** ***** *********, regardless ** ************.

*******, ******* *** **** weaknesses **** *** **** amplified ** *** ****** era. **** ** **********, unidirectional ************, *** *** physical *********** ** *********** data **** **** **** far ******** ** ****** credential *** ****** ****** design. ** * ******, a *** ******** ******** called **** ** ***** promoted ** ******* ****** companies.

********** ** ******** *** ****** ********* details, *** *** ******* advantage ** **** ** better ****** *************, ****** monitoring, *** **** ******** than *** *** ******* protocol. ** *** ******* time, ******** ** ******* is ********** *** ******, with **** **** **. However, **** ** ********, with **** ************* ******** new ******* ********** *** protocol *** ***** ** expand ** ** ***** ahead.

[****: **** ******** *** originally ********* ** **** and ************* ******* ** 2017]

Comments (13)

Good article!!

Here are a few links that are active and might be helpful:

http://www.barantec.com/reader-only/

http://farpointedata.com/products/rugged-readers.php

http://www.stanleypac.com/Products/Readers.htm

Additionally, this is a company that offers readers and associated specifically designed for use in hazardous areas, such as those found in the oil, gas, energy and petro-chemical industries:

http://s3-id.com/esecurity.html.

Brian,

Do you plan to provide an overview of Bluetooth readers, since they started to emerge couple of years ago?

Also, barcode readers maybe getting obsolete as a mainstream technology for secure employee/contractor cards, but I see it having a renaissance for visitor and low security area passes. Any thoughts on that?

Both examples capitalize using a mobile phone for storing and managing access credentials.

On the biometrics side, there is new trend to use facial recognition for access control. Any thoughts/insights on that from you or other members?  

Hello Maxim: Great first comment, thanks.

We are releasing an updated 'mobile credentials' overview coming up.

We released Mobile Credentials (BLE / NFC / Apps) Guide to address the space, but there have been a number of modular-style and new BLE compatible readers to include.

And you mention barcodes - I agree there are still relevant applications and they are not going away anytime soon.  There has been a recent focus on QR Codes for access, we did a post on one example: Axis: Use QR Codes Instead of Access Cards.

Face Rec is an interesting trend for biometrics, but most feedback to us is that there's a hard justification for it compared over fingerprints/fingerviens or iris/retina scanners.  Do you have pragmatic experience with FR for access to share

Im currently working on s site that is having bluetooth readers installed on their doors.

Do you know which ones?

We did a shootout of several common products over the summer: Mobile Access Control Shootout - Farpointe, HID, Openpath, Nortek, Proxy

Thanks, Brian! The article on BLE readers is great and I am going to post comments there, as I've been looking at that space for some time.

For the facial recognition, they are currently being used with turn styles:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79fqBpdAU5g

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N26Ve91VSZY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_RY58IVbXQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7TQPSdRlpE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82XJkKiBoB0

Singapore airport in the last video is the best practical example of the facial recognition used for multiple applications.

For many years the standard inter-operable communication protocol between readers and controller has been

For many years the standard interoperable communication protocol between readers and controller has been Wiegand

Hi Brian,

Great article! Thank you!

There is a little issue in Wiegand vs. OSDP just fyi.

Thanks for catching that!  Fixed.

This article is well organized and detailed. Great help to me in scratching the surface for my understanding to perform an access control survey.

An insightful article

I wonder what if the card-reader and the fingerprint reader both detected the credentials together? which one will be activated first?

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