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6 Types of Access Control Readers

hand using thumbprint biometric access control reader

Access control is an essential part of comprehensive security for any facility. Being able to secure your facility, avoid unauthorized access, and manage authorized access makes the right access control system invaluable. There are various types of readers available; some of which may be a better fit for your facility than others. Here are a few common types of access control readers to consider for your access control system:

1. Key Card Readers

Key card readers are one of the most common types of access control readers. When a card is registered, access is granted.

A good access control system using key cards will maintain a database of key cards for a log history and will allow you to manage access as needed to update, add, or remove access for specific cards. You will also be able to see when and where specific cards have been used.

As for the readers themselves, you will need to determine the type of power supply for the readers – wireless or wired. You will also need to decide between two types of cards – magnetic strip or proximity.

Magnetic Strip Key Cards

Magnetic strip key cards and readers require users to swipe their key card through the reader to gain access. Similar to traditional credit cards, there is a magnetic strip on the card. When the key card is swiped through a slot on the reader, access is granted or denied based on the rules programmed into the system.

Proximity Key Cards

Proximity key cards and readers do not require any swiping through a physical reader. Instead, they use RFID technology to detect proximity and transmit information in a contactless way. Similar to credit cards using updated chips and readers, a simple “tap” or hovering near the sensor is all it takes to process information.

2. Keypad Readers

Keypad readers feature a keypad where users manually enter a personal code or password in order to gain access. Similar to key cards, you can manage, update, add, remove, etc. access for individual passcodes, and track a history of when and where they are used.

Although there can be some debate about whether keypads or keycards are more secure, it all comes down to the person they are given to and how well you can keep track of and manage codes or cards.

3. Biometric Readers

Biometric readers are one of the several types of electronic access control. These readers use biographical data and information, like eye scans, fingerprints, palm scans, facial recognition, etc., to identify and authorize access.

Biometric access control has a reputation for being faster and more secure than other access control methods. It offers several benefits and can be layered with other access control methods for enhanced security. Layering multiple methods can help reduce risk and prevent biometric spoofing.

4. Two-Factor Authentication Readers

Two-factor authorization readers are access control readers that require more than one method to authorize access. These readers allow you to layer access control methods for enhanced security, so they can be two-factor, three-factor, or more.

In some cases, this could be readers that require a key card and a personal code. In other cases, it could be some combination of key card or code and biometrics. These can be components of a biometric access control system that can elevate your security. It all depends on what level of authorization your facility needs to grant access and how you want to configure an access control system to support that.

5. Wireless Readers

With any type of reader, you will need to determine whether wireless or wired readers are the best for your needs, including access control system maintenance. In some cases, it could be a mix of both. Wireless readers are usually powered by batteries.

Although they are not necessarily interconnected to a central panel like wired readers are, they can be connected when they are linked to the same network and paired with a comprehensive access control system for managing them.

Wireless readers are a good fit for smaller implementations and situations where wiring readers doesn’t make sense. A prime example is a situation where existing architecture, historical or otherwise, needs to be preserved and cannot be changed to add wiring.

In other cases, when adding readers to existing buildings, it can sometimes be cost-prohibitive to run wiring to new areas, especially when wireless readers would be more efficient. This is something to consider when it comes to wireless vs wired nurse call systems and is a consideration for other systems as well.

6. Wired Readers

Wired readers are hardwired into the building’s electrical grid and are powered by it. The constant power supply is a benefit as you don’t have to worry about changing or recharging batteries.

However, you will also need to have plans in place to sustain security systems during power outages in case the building would ever lose power as the readers would also be affected. Wired key card readers also tend to be connected to a central door controller or control panel, which makes it easy to update and manage access.

Get the Access Control System You Need With NEPPS

There are many factors to consider in an access control system; the right type or combination of types of readers is one of them. These are just a few types of access control readers to consider as you think about access control for your facility. The right mix of security products and solutions will vary per each facility’s individual needs.

The best approach for your facility could be an access control system that features a combination of different types of readers in different areas, especially if you need to employ enterprise access control systems across a campus or multiple buildings.

Choosing the right security systems integrator for your facility and needs goes a long way in getting the right products and solutions you need for comprehensive facility security. If it’s time to update or upgrade your building security, contact NEPPS at 1-800-736-1456 to schedule a free site assessment.