Access control systems regulate passage in and out of an area.
The standard lock and key is a form of access control, but door access control systems have become sophisticated with time. Today, apartment building door entry systems are computer-based where all doors are managed from a central location. These keyless access control systems use special access cards instead of a brass key to allow access into or out of a room. When the wireless door entry systems are connected the right way, the system runs swift with the security manager or the homeowner being able to restrict or grant access to different parties.
Keyless door entry systems can be used to control access into given rooms in a building – access can be given to specific electronic cards and not to others.
In its basicity, wireless door entry systems provide quick access to people with authorization and restrict access to unauthorized personnel.
What makes up Access Control Entry Systems?
There are wide varieties of access systems, with each type varying in complexity from the other. In most cases, however, apartment building door entry systems have some basic similar components.
Access Control | Cards
Access cards act as electronic keys to doors. You use them to gain access to a door that has been secured with wireless door entry systems. Unlike keys to a common lock, which are all the same, the cards are coded in a unique way. These cards are the same size as credit and debit cards, making them easy to carry and easy to swipe on the door.
Access Control | Card Readers
True to the name, card readers are the devices used to read the details on a card electronically. These card readers may either be of insertion type where you insert the access cards just like in an ATM, or they may be proximity type where the card is placed a few inches from the reader and the door opens. For proximity readers, the reader is placed on an exterior or unguarded side of the door.
Access Control | Keypads
In place of card readers, keypads may be used as apartment building door entry systems. The keypad has numeric pads just like those on a telephone. To gain access, a person is required to enter the correct code. These keypads might be used in addition to card readers to make comprehensive and more secure keyless door entry systems. In such a combo, the correct code and an authorized card must be presented for the door to open.
Access Control | Electric Lock Hardware in Wireless Door Entry Systems
The electric lock hardware of a door is the device that electronically locks and unlocks a door. This lock is controlled by keyless door entry systems. There are different types of locks including electric locks, electromagnetic locks, electric strikes, and electric exit devices among others. The type of hardware used and its installation on a door is determined by the construction conditions of a door.
The electric lock hardware controls entrance in secured places, but to comply with building and fire codes, the hardware will not restrict exit from a building.
Access Control | Field Panels
These are also referred to as ‘intelligent controllers’. The panels are installed in one location where wireless door entry systems are to be provided. All other devices including card readers and electric lock hardware are connected to the field panels. These panels then process all activities involving access control at the building level. The number of doors that need control determines the number of door entry systems field patterns. These panels are normally installed in electrical, telephone, or communication closets.
Access Control | Biometric Systems for Wireless Door Entry Systems
These systems are reliant on the physical characteristics of the users. They use fingerprints or retinal scans. These have been deemed the most secure access control methods. On the flipside, they are relatively expensive to install and some users find them invasive. Early models of these apartment building door entry systems were unreliable outdoors, and as such, they were only used interiorly.
Access Control | The Server Computer for Keyless Door Entry Systems
A server computer acts as the brain controlling the whole access control system. This computer is the central database and also the file manager for the access control system. It records activities and distributes information. In most cases, a single door entry system server will manage a large number of doors controlled by card readers.
The door entry systems server computer is a standard computer on which a special program has been installed. This computer is dedicated full time for the access control system.
Access Control Setup and Use
Door entry systems are flexible in how they are customized and how different privileges are assigned to different cards. Once the different components are purchased and installed, the system can be tailored to allow or restrict access to specific doors for specific cards. Other aspects that can be controlled include:
- Time of the day a card access the door. It can be 24 hours or specific periods of the day.
- Day of the week. The system can restrict access on weekends and holidays.
- Start and end dates. The security chief or the house owner can allow cards to access doors for certain defined ranges within years or years.
To make easier for the person seated behind the server computer, apartment building door entry systems software allow users to create ‘clearance codes’. These codes bear pre-defined privileges and they are given names. This means that all individuals with a given clearance code will enjoy the same privileges.
Access Control Systems Operation
After the access control system has been installed, all individuals who needs access will need to use their cards or any other entry device. When a user enters their card into the card reader, the reader will pick the information on the card and send its identity to the field panel. The field panel will then verify the card and then send a signal to have the door unlocked. The time taken between entering the card and unlocking the door is usually a second. The field panel will send the door access information to the server computer for storage. This information will include the name of the card holder, the door accessed, time and date of access.
If a user tries to access the wrong door or the right door at the wrong time, access will not be granted. In such a case, information will still be sent to the server computer.
Door Status Monitoring for Apartment Building Door Entry Systems
Keyless door entry systems work successfully when card reader controlled doors are used purposed. To ensure the door entry systems are not misused, a door status monitoring feature is installed on each door. This feature has two functions:
- Monitor when the door has been forced open. This is normally when a door with a card reader is opened without insertion of a valid card. In such a case, a ‘door forced open’. DFO, the status will be shown.
- Monitor doors that have been open for too long. In case a card reader controlled door is left open for more than the pre-defined period, the system will switch to ‘door open too long’, OTL, status.
In both cases, DFO and OTL, the system will sound an audible alarm in the administration building. The records will show the door with the DFO or OTL status. The access control server can define the time period for which the wireless door entry systems can be on DFO or OTL without sounding an alarm.
Automatic Unlock Feature for Keyless Access Control Entry Systems
If need be, apartment building door entry systems allow doors to automatically open at pre-defined times. When a door has been automatically unlocked, an access card or any other entry device is not needed to open it. This unlocking feature is activated at the server computer, each door at a time. When setting the time for the door entry systems unlock, users also set the time for the relock. When a door has been unlocked automatically, DFO and OTL statuses are deactivated.
Wireless door entry systems will record or transactions occurring on a door on the hard disk of the server computer. All stored transactions form the ‘system journal’. Some of the transactions on keyless door entry systems include:
- Valid access
- Invalid access
- Door forced open, DFO
- Door open too long, OTL
- Equipment failure
- Power failure journal on the apartment building door entry systems will keep months of data based on the volume of activity and hard disk size. Reports are created from all transactions stored in the journal.
Buying Access Control Entry Systems Components
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access control: is a type of security system that restricts access to authorized users at certain times. Different access levels can be granted to different users/employees.
Access Card: A card, generally the size and shape of a credit card, containing encoded data. The data can be encoded in a variety of ways, sometimes including more than one encoding technology (i.e. Magnetic Stripe, Proximity, Smart Card, Wiegand).
Access Level: Also known as authority level. An access level is either a single entrance or a combination of entrance points that a user can enter or exit.
Alarm system: Electronic security system for the home that detects and notifies homeowners of unwanted activity and other threatening situations such as gas leaks, fire, or even flooding.
Battery Back-Up – A secondary power source used to provide power in the event the main power fails. A battery backup is intended for temporary use and to ensure the continual operation during a power outage. Back-up alarm batteries typically power a system for a 24-hour period.
Biometrics: Products that electronically scan or read unique traits of the human body for verification or identification purposes. Biometrics can utilize unique patterns of the iris, retina, hand geometry or fingerprint
Burglary: Unlawful entry into a home or building with the intent to commit theft.
Business Security Securing the property and assets of a business or organization using burglar alarm systems, access control systems, and/or video surveillance.
Carbon monoxide detector: Also known as a CO detector, it determines the presence of this toxic gas and sounds an alarm to notify home occupants to prevent poisoning from exposure and even, in some cases, death.
CCTV: Stands for closed-circuit television, also known as video surveillance, wherein cameras are used to send signals to a specific set of monitors—unlike broadcast television, for example, where the signal is openly transmitted.
CCTV camera: A video surveillance camera or system of cameras with video content feeds that are transmitted with a closed system for authorized users.
Control Keypad: Some keypads house the security panel. Control Panel – The central computer or “brains” of a security system. Every sensor on the security system transmits to the control panel.
Cellular connectivity: This technology enables the components of a home security system to communicate with each other and the control panel, ensuring the home is connected and secure.
DIY Access Control: A smart home system wherein the owner must install individual hardware components and gadgets and ensure everything is connected and working together.
Exit Device: Locking hardware designed to allow immediate exiting at all times, and does not require lever or knob rotation. Usually located on the perimeter doors of a building and always in the designated means of egress route. Sometimes referred to as panic hardware, the touchpad feature of the device allows doors to unlock and open by simply leaning on it.
Exterior camera: A surveillance camera strategically placed to monitor and record activity on the exterior premises of a property.
Fire Alarm: A signal transmitted by heat, fire or smoke detectors to the Central Station. Once the alarm is triggered, an audible alarm usually sounds and the Central Station is notified.
Fail-Secure: Lock that defaults to the “locked” position when power is removed. Requires power to go to an “unlocked” position.
Fail-Safe: Lock that defaults to the “unlocked” position when power is removed. Requires power to go to a “locked” position.
Front door security: Fortifying the most vulnerable part of the home against potential intruders.
Heat sensor: A sensor designed to detect and send notification of extreme changes in temperature.
Home Alarm: A warning device that, when triggered is designed to warn of an intruder, fire or smoke.
Keypad: Device that provides a localized user interface to control a security system or sub-system. Typically includes a numerical 10-key touchpad to allow entering of passcodes and commands.
Maglock: Fail safe devices that require constant power to remain locked. Comprised of a lock body, typically mounted to the door head jamb and armature plate which is mounted on the door stile.
Magnetic Reader: Technology commonly used in banking credit cards. Required that the magnetic stripe on the card come in direct contact with the reader head, causing wear and a shorter life span of the card.
Night vision: Technology that improves users’ ability to see in dark and low-light conditions 1
Outdoor camera: security cameras that provide outdoor surveillance and record activity and movement, potential breaches and intrusions
Panic Button: A device that when pressed, causes an alarm event regardless of whether or not the security system is armed or unarmed.
Proximity Reader: Reader that employs a radio frequency link between the reader and card (also known as prox-reader and prox-card).
Security camera: A video camera for indoor or outdoor use that monitors and records activity for the purposes of improving security and preventing potential residential crime.
Smoke Detector: An electronic device that senses the presence of smoke, issuing an alarm to alert nearby people that there is a potential fire. If part of a security system, it sends a smoke alarm signal to the control panel so that the Central Station is contacted and can notify the proper authorities.