OSDP: Open Supervised Device Protocol

What is OSDP and how does it work? Why is it preferred over Wiegand? Read on to find out more!

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What is OSDP?

Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) is a standard that has been developed by the Security Industry Association (SIA) in order to offer more secure access control communications. This protocol works across various types of readers, controllers, and software and has been developed as a way to address issues of security that are often prevalent with other legacy systems.

In other words, the development of this protocol aims to help implement, monitor, and maintain a more stable and secure system of access control devices, including the use of advanced smart card technology applications and biometrics.

In addition to improved security, it improves interoperability between access control and security devices, through bi-directional communication. To retain its focus on security, it is constantly refined, with OSDP v2.1.7 currently gaining recognition as a standard by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Manufacturers like HID Global, Mercury, and Cypress are already using OSDP access control, and it is recommended for use in government and other high-security settings. This is because the protocol meets all federal access control requirements, such as Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) for Federal Identity, Credential and Access Management (FICAM).

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What is the OSDP protocol?

The Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP) is a way of linking together access control devices and smart cards in a way that guarantees optimum security. Other legacy systems, while popular and easier to use, unfortunately, do not always offer the same level of security, and are vulnerable to tampering.

Using AES-128 encryption, and by constantly monitoring wiring, this protocol keeps an eye on all points within the system, to make sure that it protects against all threats. Other advanced functionality features include advanced user interfaces, with welcome messages and text prompts, and the use of 2 wires instead of 12+. The use of two wires, in this case, allows for multi-drop installation, supervised connections, and scalability.

Implementing this is crucial in ensuring that your access control system is up to date with all of the latest security system requirements.

How does OSDP protocol work?

The OSDP protocol works through an audio-visual system, which integrates a user feedback mechanism to ensure an access control environment that is built for and benefits the user. Since encryption and authentication processes are already predefined, there is no need for guesswork, which takes additional stress and cost of labor out of the equation. This also means this protocol costs less to implement on devices already embedded in the system.

The main benefit of it is that it works across a range of devices and security solutions, regardless of the equipment manufacturer. This includes peripheral devices (PDs), like card readers, as well as other devices, such as secured access doors/gates and control panels (CPs).

Internet Protocol (IP) environments can also use OSDP, and it is recommended when Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol TCP/IP, USB, or other protocols are not available.

Advantages over Wiegand

OSDP has a number of advantages over Wiegand, such as:

  • It supports two-way communication between a reader and a controller. This means that a controller, a computer or an interface unit can connect with a reader and identify a malfunctioning device, manage LED indication, or check a PIN-code that was entered.
  • Its connection is encrypted (OSDP supports high-end AES-128 encryption) and makes it much more secure than Wiegand and other common protocols.
  • OSDP is cheaper to install because it requires less cable. Also, this interface enables a reader to function even if it’s located 1200m away from the controller. In the case of Wiegand, the distance between a reader and a controller rarely exceeds 152m.
  • It has a user-friendly interface and is easy to implement.

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