Wireless access control offers a convenient way to secure your building or suite without having to run ethernet cables. Hospitals, schools, enterprises and more have benefited from installing wireless access control systems for their physical security. These systems require a less complicated setup, and in certain situations, are more effective. Learn about the benefits of wireless locks and how they deliver a robust, secure system.
How are Wireless Access Control Locks Powered?
IT and security teams looking to install new access control hardware choose wireless locks for various reasons. These reasons include arming hard-to-wire locations, reducing installation time and requiring fewer components.
Generally, electronic locks come in two types:
- POE (Power over Ethernet) Locks– Power and data are carried to the lock via an ethernet cable.
- Wireless Locks– Operate on batteries. Data is carried wirelessly from the internet router to the lock.
Depending on your door setup, IT and security teams might consider installing wireless locks. See why.
How Does Wireless Access Control Communicate?
Wireless access control systems rely on technology to facilitate the exchange of data and commands between devices. Wi-Fi operates in various frequency bands (or signals). The band most used is 2.4 GHz, which is specifically allocated for industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) applications.
Additionally, other frequency bands like 900 MHz, 3.6 GHz and 60 GHz can also be used by Wi-Fi, although they are less commonly employed for access control.
The range of an indoor Wi-Fi network typically varies depending on several factors, including the type of modulation, bandwidth, and physical obstacles present in the environment. Generally, the range can span from 66 feet to 230 feet. However, it’s important to note that these values are approximate and can be influenced by the specific implementation and environmental conditions.
Parts of a Wireless Access Control System
Though a wireless access control system requires both hardware and software to function, it has fewer components than a wired system. The parts of a wireless system include:
- Electronic or wireless locks
- All-in-one reader/controller
- Access control application
- Mobile or physical credentials
With fewer components, IT and security teams can eliminate system downtime and quickly have their cloud-based solution up and running.
The Difference: All-in-One Hardware
In a traditional access control system, the door reader and controller are separate hardware components. Within this system, the process of unlocking a door begins when a system user touches their key card or mobile device against a card reader. The reader transmits the data to the controller which, in turn, grants or denies access. The controller sends the signal to the lock via an ethernet cable. If access is granted, then the lock opens.
Conversely, wireless access control systems do not use external controllers. Instead, the lock, controller and reader are bundled together.
Wireless Lock Options from Top Manufacturers
- AD-300 locks via RS-485
- AD-400 locks via PIM400-485 (RS-485)
- NDE/ NDEB / LE / LEB series
A commonly held question about wireless locks is their security. Both Sargent locks are secured with 128-bit encryption and supports Wi-Fi network security standards, including 802.1x and WEP, WPA and WPA2 protocols. Sargent IN120 supports various types of 2.4GHz and 13.56 MHz credentials.
The AD-400 uses 900MHz bands, while the LE/NDE use 3.24 GHz.
Why Non-Proprietary Access Control Matters
So, which wireless access control system is right for you? As is usually the case with physical security, it depends on how much flexibility and customization you need.
Access control systems come in two forms: cloud-based and on-premises access control. Each system can incorporate wireless locks. However, those IT and security personnel in the market for access control must consider whether their potential software provider requires proprietary hardware or if they allow the use of non-proprietary hardware.
Unlike proprietary providers, those companies offering non-proprietary hardware may have multiple options for wireless locks. Therefore, mixing and matching hardware is possible.
How Wireless Locks Work with Genea Access Control
As mentioned, ASSA ABLOY and Allegion Schlage are compatible with Genea Access Control. ASSA ABLOY locks communicate to an application known as Door Service Router. This transferal of data happens in the background. From the Door Service Router, credential data and access events are sent to the Genea software application. From the Genea dashboard, IT and security teams can then view the access data in real-time.
To learn more about how Genea Access Control works with wireless locks, feel free to contact one of our experts.