18 April 2019
Access control readers
are the digital gatekeepers of a security system. There are many forms of reader
technology, each which either admit or restrict physical access to a space based
on a different form of identification.
Here’s a run down of
the most prominent types of access control reader technology, and the kind of organisations
and use cases that benefit most from them.
What are the main types of access control reader?
technology varies in terms of how robust it is; not every organisation will
need enterprise-grade security. Different groups of people come with varying
security risk too, staff members and students often need more flexible access
to a building than a visitor, for example.
systems may incorporate different types of access readers at different entry
and exit points, and readers can combine more than one mode of reader
technology for two (or more) factor authentication.
A type of biometric reader, fingerprint readers take a rapid scan of a
person’s fingerprint, compare it to a library of verified scanned print images
on the system, and admit access if there is a match. Today’s access control
fingerprint readers are capable of capturing an accurate print through dirt,
dust or oil on the skin, and even through latex gloves. More on fingerprint access control.
Originally designed to
enable instant cash-free contactless payments for public transport networks,
MIFARE access readers work by scanning MIFARE cards fitted with short-range RadioFrequency Identification (RFID) microchips. This primary functionality makes
them highly secure; data stored on MIFARE cards is encrypted until the card and
the reader mutually authenticate each other.
Like iButtons, MIFARE
cards can also be programmed to record and store data beyond its capacity as an
access control ID.
readers can successfully scan proximity cards even when they aren’t placed in
direct contact with them, they just need to be held close by. Strictly
speaking, a MIFARE access reader is a type of proximity reader but, unlike
MIFARE, proximity cards contain no memory and cannot be programmed as a ‘smart
Barcode slot readers
are fixed in place and require card holders to pull their cards through the
slot in order to scan the card’s barcode. The barcode reader passes infra-red light
over the barcode and measures the amount of light reflected back in order to match
What situations suit which type of
When it comes to
choosing a type of access control reader technology, the level of security need
should be top priority. While all access control systems are designed to restrict
access to those without the proper identification, some are more rigorous yet
less adaptable than others.
control is a good example. As it’s based on a form of identification that
cannot be replicated, biometric access control, such as fingerprint, eye or
facial recognition, will create a more secure environment than a type of access
control with an ID that can be copied, lost or stolen. For the same reason,
fingerprint access control is also well-suited to businesses that need to
digitally-monitor their employee’s time and attendance on site. Yet, for organisations with high
personnel throughput, due to lots of visitors or changing staff members,
proximity access control readers may be more convenient.
systems can include more than one type of access control technology to allow
for differing levels of security need. For example, a form of proximity access
control could be used to regulate people entering and exiting a main building
and to track time and attendance, while a restricted or high security area
within the same building may be protected by fingerprint access control.
Access control readers enable your
business to manage its own security
Alongside the forms of
ID that power them, access control readers automatically enforce the parameters
of your business’s security set up, enabling your team to get on with more
pressing tasks. Contact us to find
out more about our access control readers and how they can benefit your organisation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR - LYNDEN JONES
Lynden joined Touchstar ATC (formally Feedback Data) in a sales role for Access Control in 2010. Prior to joining the company, Lynden held both Production and Account Manager roles, gaining wide technical and commercial experience within the electronics market.
In 2013 Lynden was promoted to Sales Director and in 2017 he took overall responsibility of the business as Managing Director. As well as running Touchstar ATC, Lynden still remains extremely active in the sales and key account management aspects of the business. When not involved in the business, Lynden is a keen performance car enthusiast.