Access control readers and keypads are the most visible part of an access control system, but behind the aesthetics associated with the many readers on the market, a more important consideration is their operation with your cards, key fobs, and the wider systems that they integrate with. As a result, is imperative that your access control readers and keypads, whether a RFID reader, biometric reader, or mobile access reader, will work correctly and produce the correct output to your access control system.

We have partnered with industry leading brands and proprietary technologies, including MiFare, DESFire, Legic, iClass, Signo, AuthentiFire, Safetrust, ACT, SiPass, and Third Millennium, meaning that for the vast majority of applications, we can supply an access control readers and keypads direct from our warehouse. As a trusted partner and UK distributor for these brands, we’re able to offer unbiased and independent advice to ensure that you receive the best product for you.

If you have a special application or configuration, please call for free expert advice.


Low Frequency “Proximity” Access Control Readers

Low frequency (LF) access control readers are a type of RFID reader that commonly operates at a frequency of 125 kHz. These readers are designed to communicate with low-frequency access credentials, such as proximity cards or key fobs. These cards and fobs are typically sequentially programmed with identification codes, using a programming format designed by access control system manufacturers to be interpreted by their controllers and software.

These access control readers and keypads are compatible with a range of low-frequency access credentials, such as HID Prox and HID Indala, PAC, and Farpointe Data. They can read and authenticate the formatted identification codes stored on these credentials.

Many low-frequency access control readers are designed to be used as standalone proximity readers and keypads, or to integrate seamlessly with access control systems, allowing for centralised management and control of access permissions. These in turn can be connected to a control panel or server to facilitate communication and data exchange.

125kHz readers can provide a maximum read range of 60cm without a battery in the card/fob and are commonly found in various commercial and residential environments, including office buildings, residential complexes, educational institutions, and parking facilities.


High Frequency “Contactless Smartcard” Reader Technology

High frequency (HF) contactless smart card access control readers are a form of RFID reader. They function at a frequency of 13.56 MHz. These readers possess a CSN or Chip Serial Number. This is alternatively referred to as Unique ID (UID) or Non-Unique ID (NUID). This identification can be read by any reader adhering to the standard. No additional security measures are needed as prescribed by various ISO standards. These standards encompass ISO 14443 and ISO 15693.

This frequency enables a much faster data transfer between the card and the reader. This facilitates a secure key exchange before securely encrypted data communication. The reader then decrypts this data to transmit it to the access control system, with the entire process occurring with minimal delay at the door.

Consequently, this approach makes the replication or cloning of programmed contactless smart cards considerably more challenging. It also mitigates the potential for unauthorised access. This aspect is particularly beneficial for enhancing security in various applications.

High-frequency access control readers and keypads are specifically designed to interact with contactless smart cards. These cards incorporate embedded chips capable of securely storing and transmitting data. The information they can hold securely encompasses identification credentials, biometric templates, and stored value for cashless transactions.

Many of the leading access control technologies operate over the high-frequency range, including MiFare, DESFire, Legic, iClass, Signo, and AuthentiFire (to name a few).


Biometric Identification And Verification Technology

Biometric scanners are devices that can be used to uniquely identify a person based on their physical characteristics. Some of the most common biometric traits that can be used for identification include fingerprints, facial features, and iris patterns.

In access control systems, biometric scanners have a crucial role: identifying valid users. This identification process involves comparing a presented biometric with several biometric templates stored in the system software or terminal’s database (ranging from 1 to n).

Additionally, these scanners can also be employed to verify an individual’s identity. This is accomplished by comparing their biometric template with the one chosen from the system database. Users often initiate this comparison either by entering a PIN, presenting a card, or utilising a smart card containing their template.

Notably, this verification is conducted in a 1-to-1 manner, therefore ensuring accurate matching. Successful verification enables the granting access to a restricted area as part of the security protocol.

There are several different types of biometric scanners that can be used in access control systems, including:

  • Fingerprint scanners: These scanners capture an image of a person’s fingerprints and compare it to a database of known fingerprints. If the fingerprint matches a fingerprint in the database, the person is granted access.
  • Facial recognition scanners: These scanners capture an image of a person’s face and compare it to a database of known faces. If the face matches a face in the database, the person is granted access.
  • Iris scanners: These scanners scan the pattern of a person’s iris and compare it to a database of known iris patterns. If the iris pattern matches an iris pattern in the database, the person is granted access.

Biometric scanners can be a valuable addition to any access control system as they offer a high level of security and convenience, and can easily be integrated with other security measures, such as video surveillance.


Mobile Access Control – Bluetooth And NFC Technology

Mobile access control readers leverage mobile devices like smartphones, smartwatches, and tablets for granting or denying access to restricted areas. This approach is gaining traction due to its convenience and heightened security compared to traditional methods like keys, cards, or fobs. Furthermore, individuals are less prone to forget their smartphones compared to access badges or fobs.

Implementing mobile access in an access control system can be accomplished through various means. A common approach is utilising Bluetooth-enabled devices. With this method, users need only approach the door to obtain access, streamlining the process and enhancing user experience.

Remote access offers a number of advantages over traditional access control methods. First, it is more convenient for users because they do not have to carry around physical keys or cards. Second, it is often more secure because mobile devices can be equipped with biometric authentication, such as fingerprint scanning or facial recognition. Third, it is more scalable because it can be easily implemented in any organisation, regardless of size.

Mobile access control readers and systems can integrate with existing access control infrastructure, including card readers and electronic locks, enabling a seamless transition from traditional access methods to mobile-based access. They are designed to be compatible with standard protocols and industry standards.


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