Swipe card door access control systems are made of a number of components, among which the swipe card or mag stripe (short of magnetic stripe) card, and the card reader, are the most important. Swipe cards or magnetic stripe cards work by storing data in a magnetic layer placed on a card. This magnetic layer is capable of data storage by altering the tiny magnetic particles. In case you wondered how your credit card works - that was the answer.
Swipe card access with is used in physical security, but also for credit card payment or identity verification. You must pull through or swipe the card through a magnetic reader to be able to confirm the data stored on it and enable the card access system to do its work.
A swipe card door access control system is a common security solution for premises that need to continually let it and out many same people, such as employees in a large organization. Although the magnetic stripe is the key differential that makes them what they are, swipe cards can contain additional means for storing, reading and writing data, such as RFID tags or microchips. Swipe cards are a convenient and an affordable solution to control access, but they usually provide limited security protection that needs to be supported by extra technology or authentication factor to suffice for top security requirements.
Magnetic swipe card door access control systems use magnetic strips at the back of the card to encode data. The magnetic reader’s head reads the data when you swipe the card through it and enables access.
This is the most common technology used when you are doing your shopping for groceries, when you pull some cash out of an ATM machine or when you present your license as an ID document on specific locations.
When the card access system is made of a standalone reader, all swipe cards will be connected to that single access control device. This is rarely the case, though, as most organizations need either more cards or require additional security which can be obtained from several units distributed in a network. Network or PC-based card access combine multiple magnetic readers in a joint software that can be used to monitor the access events from all readers from a central point.
Swipe card access control systems have a number of advantages that make them convenient for access control over other technologies, such as RFID or NFC (proximity) cards, smart cards or combination cards:
As the most simple and traditional access control method, swipe card access control has some disadvantages over the alternative forms of access control.
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