- Why do you need access control control
- What is ACS
- What types of identifiers are there
- Biometric identifiers – what is it
- Types of ACS controllers
- Access points are located not only inside the office building
- The correct approach to choosing an ACS construction scheme
From this article you will learn: what is an access control system (ACS), what elements an access control system consists of, what a reader is, what a controller is and what types of controllers there are, what types of identifiers exist, what are biometric identifiers, how to choose equipment for an access control system, and much more about access control systems.
Such systems were originally developed and created for the needs of military facilities. They, as in many organizations today, were supplemented by guards armed to one degree or another – tough guys with a pronounced sense of duty in their eyes. Yes, special services of different levels have something to hide, but today any organization or individual has the opportunity to equip their facility with an access control system, otherwise – an access control system.
Why do you need access control control
Resolving issues with the search for equipment suppliers and installation contractors, brainstorming previously unfamiliar concepts and terms – a reader, biometric reader, access points and controllers, finally, the cost of purchasing and paying for the work of installers – will all these troubles result? What’s wrong with the old way of control – through watchmen, security officers at the checkpoint and girls at the reception? The answer is identical to the answer to the popular riddle of the Sphinx – man, or rather, the human factor. A person can make mistakes, this is typical for him, but security automatics simply cannot make mistakes – it acts exclusively within the framework of a given program.
What is ACS
This is a system that includes software and hardware tools and organizational measures aimed at monitoring and controlled access to individual premises, monitoring the movement of employees and the time of their presence on the territory of the protected facility..
The abbreviation ACS can hide an intelligent door lock (electromagnetic or electromechanical), an electromechanical latch, a barrier, a turnstile, etc. – i.e. some kind of executive device that restricts access to a room, building or territory. The use of access control systems will allow you to constantly monitor the situation in the protected area, ensure the safety of employees and visitors, material and intellectual values. By and large, all modern access control systems work on the same principle, the difference between them is in reliability, quality and convenience of everyday use..
The access control system includes:
- User ID – it is a magnetic card, a proximity (proximity) card, a key fob (Touch memory), a remote key fob, the iris of the eye, a print of one of the fingers or the whole hand at once, as well as many other physical signs. The system assigns each identifier a unique binary code, which is associated with information about the access rights of its owner.
- Reader – reads from the user identifier, sending the received information to the ACS controller (ACS).
- A point of passage is a certain obstacle (door, gate, barrier) equipped with an actuator and reader. If full access control is carried out at a specific access point, then it is equipped with two readers, one of which is at the entrance, the other at the exit. If only the entrance access control is needed, then the reader is not installed at the exit – the exit is either free or via the RTE button.
- The RTE (Request to exit) button, otherwise the exit button, is designed to briefly switch the actuator to the “open” position, while the access control system controller only remembers the very fact of exiting through the access point, personal data are not known.
- The access control system controller is the main intelligent ACS device, its task is to analyze information from readers and make appropriate decisions with their transfer to executive devices.
What types of identifiers are there
Proximity cards (contactless, radio frequency) – contain in their design an antenna and a chip containing a unique identification number. Their principle of operation is as follows: as soon as the card is in the area of the electromagnetic field generated by the reader, its chip receives the necessary energy and sends its identification number to the reader by means of a special electromagnetic pulse. Such cards do not require touching the reader in any specific place, it is enough just to place it in the zone of influence of the reader.
Magnetic cards – they have a visually visible dark magnetic stripe on them. For interaction of such cards with the reader, it is necessary to pass them through a special slot of the reader.
Wiegand cards – named after the research scientist John Wiegand, who discovered in 1975 a special magnetic alloy, the wire from which is used in the device of these cards. Information from them is obtained by moving the reading head along the card.
Barcode cards – a plastic rectangle with a barcode applied. For greater secrecy, the barcode area is covered with a special material, through which only infrared rays can penetrate, i.e. the barcode is invisible in the normal spectrum.
Keychain (Touch memory) – looks like a metal tablet and is usually designed in the form of a key chain. Contains a ROM chip in its design – when it touches the reader, an identification code is sent to the controller.
It should be noted that an identification card can serve as an access key to many points of passage at once, depending on the authority assigned to it. For visitors and temporary employees, you can issue pass cards of short-term or one-time access.
Biometric identifiers – what is it
If everything is, by and large, clear with access control identifiers, which are plastic cards or a metal tablet-keychain, then biometric identifiers are very interesting. For this reason, this method of identification is present in any spy or science fiction film of the world film industry. Identification is made by the shape and size of the user’s hands, his fingerprints, voice matrix and retina. Such access control management systems have been used for more than 30 years – the first systems had a significant cost, therefore they were used exclusively at facilities with the highest level of security. Today, the cost of access systems based on biometric data, compared to their early counterparts, has significantly decreased – this is due to the improvement of microprocessor-based image recognition.
Access control based on biometric indicators completely excludes the possibility of forgery or loss of identifiers, because the user of the system becomes it. In addition, such a system allows you to reduce a number of administrative operations, eliminating the need for production, registration, issuance and reverse withdrawal of an identifier..
The disadvantage of biometric identification is the need for some time to analyze the object of identification, compare its parameters with the standard in the controller’s database, for this reason, such systems are best installed at access points where there is no need for mass passage..
Types of ACS controllers
Stand-alone controller – usually designed for one access point. Often built into a reader, electromechanical lock, etc. The maximum number of users (i.e. identifiers) that an autonomous controller can serve is limited to five hundred.
Network controller – controlled by a personal computer through specialized software over the network. The network controller provides the administration of the facility with ample opportunities for its use, including (in addition to prohibiting / allowing access):
- report on the presence / absence of employees at the workplace at any time;
- the possibility of obtaining constant information about the movements of employees;
- automatic accounting of working hours, in other words, automatic maintenance of the timesheet;
- the ability to set access at a specified time for certain employees, i.e. where they can and where they cannot go in certain periods of time;
- maintaining an electronic filing cabinet of employees, with the entry of the required information and photographs of employees;
- many additional functions. Installers are able to configure the operation of the network controller to control access according to the most exotic whims of ACS customers.
Combined controller – capable of performing the functions of both a network and an autonomous controller, the latter is especially convenient in the absence of communication with the control PC. Switching modes from network to standalone occurs automatically in the absence of communication with the control PC.
Access points are located not only inside the office building
In addition to the checkpoint, interfloor and office doors, warehouses, archives and other restricted areas, there are also driveways and parking areas for cars, which can also be equipped with automatic access control devices.
The fencing of the administrative territory with high fences, metal gates of three-meter height, of course, will not soon go out of fashion. However, from the point of view of aesthetics, fences of this kind are losing – you must admit that a solid fence does not evoke the most rosy feelings, as well as bars on the windows.
Meanwhile, not only hefty guards with full equipment and a decent salary can control the open entrance to the territory. Specialized technical means of blocking, introduced into the general system of control and management of access, are perfect. Automatic blocking devices are divided into: anti-ram barriers, retractable spikes, automatic chains, etc..
Only heavy tracked vehicles of the army type will be able to penetrate these types of fences – any other vehicle will be reliably stopped. Such blockers of passage and parking are used when it is necessary to block the passage of vehicles without blocking the passage of pedestrians. In the “open” position, such blockers are completely hidden underground, they do not create obstacles for cleaning the territory, they are controlled via a remote control.
The correct approach to choosing an ACS construction scheme
Any control system has its own limitations – on the number of user identifiers and the number of controlled access points. In the future, with the expansion of the organization, for example, with a merger with another company, an increase in the number of premises to which access is required to be limited, the ACS acquired a few years ago may become unnecessary. At the same time, the choice of a control system that is many times greater than the current number of employees will also result in unjustified expenses..
The ideal way out of the situation is to choose an ACS of small free features, but allowing for an “upgrade” (adding new modules that expand the identifier base). Modern access control systems are flexible and expandable enough, first of all, this applies to modular systems.
It is necessary to find out from the supplier: the need for additional equipment (for example, uninterruptible power supplies), which ACS elements should be replaced when expanding the database, how long the “upgrade” will take and what assistance the supplier will provide in the future.
Please note: does the control system offered by the supplier have the ability to integrate security and fire alarm and video surveillance systems into it? Such an opportunity is available today with an ACS built on an open platform, the integration of other security systems into it is carried out at the software level.
An access control system will help to solve many problems, but only if it is correctly selected and installed, and its configuration is built according to the tasks of a particular object.