Universal Gate Access Solution

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Aug 19, 2013

Gates are great for keeping property secure, but they also keep the good guys out. Agencies like Ambulances, Police, and Fire can find themselves stopped cold at gated properties or overhead doors if they do not carry multiple RF openers. A product named Click 2 Enter claims to solve the problem, with equipment already carried by every agency's vehicle: the two-way radio. How does this product work, what are its limitations, how much does it cost? We answer those questions in this note.

Mutual Aid Solution

The problem Click 2 Enter solves is very simple: entry through many gates typically requires many openers. Many agencies encounter a situation similar to the image below:

Each vehicle in the fleet must be outfitted with a different opener for each gate, or carry a number of devices tuned to different frequencies. When responding to calls behind a gated property, unless the correct opener is carried in the vehicle or unless the gate can be opened through other means, those responders can be left waiting when an immediate arrival is critical.

In the way Knox Boxes permit universal key access to a building via common first responder carried "Master Keys", Click 2 Enter provides the same level of access through gates or perimeter overhead doors.

However, unlike a Knox Box, no special key or equipment needs to be carried by responders when using Click 2 Enter - changing over tuned frequency of stock 2 way radios are they only steps needed to gain access through gates.

Click 2 Enter offers a solution to the problem, with a small box connected to the gate operator or overhead door:

 

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The product is a radio receiver tuned to listen on protected frequencies - those radio bands administrated by the FCC for the sole use of 'first responder' agencies and law enforcement. Because these channels are only used by these groups, a Click 2 Enter unit can be relatively assured that it is only triggered by such an agency - radios that use these bands are not commercially available.

How it Works

When needing to access a Click 2 Enter equipped gate, the responding agency switches over to a pre-configured radio band, and then clicks the mic on the vehicle's radio in a specific pattern - usually one or two clicks according to the prompt type configured into the unit.

When the unit registers these mic clicks, the unit sends an 'open' impulse to the gate's opener. With receiving range claims of up to 1500 feet, 'rolling entries' are possible, where vehicles do not have to stop and wait for gates or doors to open.

The company's website has an Interactive Demo that simulates the exact process needed for an activation. No modification of existing radio equipment is needed for use, and the same process is used for each unit. The exact toggling frequency may change from unit to unit, with up to 100 different frequencies supported, so each agency can be assigned it's own valid band.

Product Details

The unit essentially combines an radio scanner and a relay module to trigger gate or overhead door operators:

Other tech specs include:

  • Wide Band Support: PL/DPL private line programming capability, including 700 MHz, AM, and "safety bands"
  • Analog & Digital: Either type of radio carrier system, both legacy and trunked systems supported.
  • Vehicle Mount or Handheld 'walkie talkie' units are compatible.
  • Discrete: Up to 100 separate channels can be configured for use.
  • Low Voltage: needs 12V DC @ 500mA power
  • Tamper, Weather tight: Enclosed in NEMA Type 4 box, with security screws.
  • The unit logs both successful and unsuccessful entry attempts 
  • Heater option for cold climates

Cost

Each receiver has an MSRP of ~$930, although dealer discounts and project pricing applies. One unit is needed per operator, and no additional equipment is needed in vehicles, just the ability to change frequencies and knowledge of those valid to activate the unit.

Legislated Use

Several municipalities have written in requirements to include Click 2 Enter or similar 'mutual aid' preemptive devices to gate protected properties. Rather than issue and maintain inventories of openers, the locales are writing 'local exceptions/requirements' to codes that require Click 2 Enter or similar device by name, including:

The video clip 'Public Service Announcement' below is an example where a local agency (in this case the Fire Departments in Nevada) are recommending the unit to aid quick emergency access through gates:

Alternative: Optical Pre-Emption

Click 2 Enter is not the only product designed to meet the same requirements. One of the most widely deployed systems are 'optical pre-emption' devices installed on many traffic lights. The same devices can be used on gates, with the receivers triggering gate operators instead of green lights. This type of setup can be used, but often requires additional modifications to the gate and pre-emption devices for use. The image below details a receiver mounted on a light pole, and an emitter mounted on the roof of each vehicle.

Most pre-emptive systems use pulses of IR light to trigger green lights, however they do not always work for mutual aid:

Nonstandard: Different municipalities use different systems/IR patterns to trigger lights, and changes typically cannot be 'done on the fly'.

Mounting: Receivers must be mounted at a certain height and be oriented in a specific alignment to detect emitters. While mounting emitters 'on high' upon traffic lights, most gates do not have a similar location, and additional poles/brackets must be installed.

Tight Channels: Resell and installation of pre-emptive devices are highly controlled by the manufacturers, and security installers or end users cannot simply buy the devices in the mass market.

Costly: Emitters must be installed on every potential responding vehicle, and with standard cost of emitters around ~$300 each, outfitting a fleet of vehicles can cost ten of thousands of dollars, compared to using existing radio equipment on each vehicle using a Click 2 Enter system.

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