Automated Access Control System Design brings together hardware, communications and software components in a way no other electronic security system does. It has the ability to physically restrict access to certain areas depending on the system design, software rules and electrical inputs/outputs. Such applications can act in a multitude of ways, from denying entry upon presentation of unauthorised credentials to the rejection of all cardholder entries in the event of a fire.
At the heart of every access control system is the door controller, a solid state board in a dedicated housing unit located within a building to provide control of local doors. As a rule, controllers handle either 16 readers/one-way doors or 8 doors with access control in both directions, and provide power to electric or magnetic locks with Weigand credential reader inputs. Inputs allow door positions to be reported in real time and outputs allow lights, cameras and door locks to be operated from the control room or secure side of the door.
Along with powering door hardware and alarm inputs, modern door controllers can be connected to a common data network for monitoring and administration. Controllers can be managed locally or remotely and appear seamlessly on central management software. Other key elements of a door controller are event buffers (that allow distributed intelligence in the event of network failure or overload) and anti-passback for doors with both inward and outward readers.
The other important element of the control system is the credential reader. Various technologies can be used (e.g. 125 KHz, 13.56 MHz, MIFARE and DESFire) in different combinations depending on the system requirements. High frequency technology can offer integration with payment systems and support for biometric (fingerprint) credentials and retina readers. Inclusion of these elements provides a higher level of security when paired with the card credential, which can be critical from a high end user perspective.
When developing access control solutions, external access, such as vehicle access, needs to be considered. The inclusion of vehicle access restrictions such as boom gates, sliding gates, traffic management and security control points take the design to another level of complexity.