Wifi / Wireless - How does it work in Access Control?

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Wi-Fi Technology in Access Control

Before jumping into how wireless is used in wifi locks and wireless access control, let's take a look at the underlying technology: Wireless Fidelity commonly known as Wi-Fi is a wireless technology for local area network LAN. This technology is governed by IEEE 802.11 standard for physical and media access control MAC. The first base release of Wifi was introduced in 1997. Since then, many subsets of IEEE 802.11 protocol have been released till today, which cover almost all modern types of wireless LAN usage, such as, IEEE 802.11a, 11b, 11g, 11n and many others. Wi-Fi technology commonly uses 2.4 GHz wireless band reserved for industrial, scientific and medical ISM applications; it can also use 900 MHz, 3.6 GHz and 60 GHz bands.  

The indoor Wi-Fi network range varies between 66 ft to 230 ft based on the type of modulation, bandwidth and other factors. The outdoor range is always a bit longer than the indoor ranges with same network parameters due to lesser hindrances. A wide range of Wi-Fi enabled devices is available in the marketplace that include cell phones, PCs, tablets, access control security system, office equipment, home appliances and others.    

What products does it use? 

Wi-Fi based access system uses the combination of software and hardware resources in it. The main products commonly used in a Wifi enabled security system include:

  • Electronic/wireless locks
  • Wireless readers
  • Wireless access point 
  • Access control application 
  • Fobs 

These products communicate with each other through Wi-Fi communication system. 

How is Wi-Fi used in access control systems? 

Wifi has become a very powerful technology in modern security and access control system for a small as well as for a large building, organization or institute. Internet of things (IoT) is one of the key models of future communication systems, which will integrate all equipment, devices and home appliances commonly used in our day to day life. That integration will be accomplished through an IP based internet system

In a door access control system, the legacy locks of a building are replaced with the wireless enabled electronic locks. Those locks connect to a wireless access point or wireless router, which facilitates multiple wireless enabled devices and locks to communicate with each other within specified criteria and conditions. The control and management of the entire door security access system are done through a software application, which provides an interface to configure the desired conditions and criteria for accessing the doors. 

The replica of that software can also be installed on your mobile devices as a mobile app to control the system operations. Electronic programmed fobs can also be used for manual access to a particular area. This entire door access system can work in standalone, integrated and offline modes through proper configuration. While using the manual access method, an electronic fob is inserted into the wireless reader, which reads the data on that particular fob and establishes communication with the main application for access conditions and criteria. Based on those criteria, the access to the wireless doorlocks is granted from the core application through wireless 

Modern wireless door locks are able to handle multiple data input system like thumb impressions, manual codes, images and others through wireless door readers. Thus, they are much more intelligent that what they were a few years back!

What are the pros and cons?

Pros

  • Encrypted and secure data communication 
  • Highly featured and smart access system 
  • Easy to install and connect
  • No need of any wiring 
  • Option to configure time, location and authority level access 
  • Support standalone, offline and online modes 
  • Availability of complete log of events
  • Immediate alerts and notifications  

Cons

  • Typically a little bit more of a costly solution 
  • Needs some expertise for software configuration and modification 

Reference: 

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