Today, most security managers understand the traditional benefits of employing a wireless access control system. Wireless systems eliminate the cost of running wire to access points — a time-consuming, grueling job that is often disruptive to the facility, whether a school, hospital or general office building.
Most security professionals concur that an access point can be installed with wireless technology in about one hour vs. the six hours needed to deploy traditional hardwired openings; however, security professionals are learning that a wireless system can also help them extend the reach of their card-based systems. Wireless migrates the present access control system so that it can be used for mobile mustering, remote areas, gates, elevators and other unique applications that before have been either impossible to install or too costly.
With a portable wireless reader, security personnel can leverage the existing card system for remote and offsite applications including mustering, attendance, event admission, checkpoints and similar applications. Let’s look at a couple of possibilities.
An elementary school’s sixth grade classes are going to visit a museum. Using portable readers, teachers check each child onto the bus — and the bus will not leave until everyone is on.
What if there is a fire at a factory? The portable reader can determine which personnel have escaped, discovering quickly if anyone is still inside.
On a college campus, why sell paper tickets to a concert when students can sign up for and pay for a concert electronically using a card with the money in their student account, and then be identified at the door as “paid” with their card? Let your mind wander — the possibilities are vast.
An organization has a state-of-the-art hardwired access control system. It is based on open system architecture, ties into the alarm and video systems, uses smart cards and biometrics and is the awe of its peers. However, the remote buildings are accessed with keys, and they are sometimes protected only by a simple padlock.
Consider a high school or college. Most have athletic equipment sheds out at the practice field, and the equipment inside is quite valuable. Why doesn’t it have the same type of locking systems and credentials to enter which other places on the campus have? Wireless technology makes it possible. The system will not care if one part is wired and the other is wireless. It reads them both the same.
Let’s really get imaginative. Using wireless readers at the student entrance to the football stadium, authorized students would gain access with their student ID in the same way that a portable reader was used for admittance to the campus concert. With wireless, guard booths, ancillary offices and press boxes can all use the campus’ card access control system.
For outdoor applications, such as vehicle and pedestrian gate access, wireless links will bridge up to 1,000 feet, eliminating costly trenching. As such, wireless systems are ideal for garages, parking lots, airports, utility companies and military bases. They are especially cost effective for controlling gates around a facility. Optional directional or gain antennae are available for still longer distances — up to 4,000 feet away.
With wireless access control, people can enter the parking lot just like they enter the front door of a building — with their credential. No guards are needed to keep unauthorized cars from entering and no trenches are needed.
Elevators are especially prime candidates for a wireless system. While traveling cables are routinely included at the time of installation, they are often ill-equipped to reliably transport credential data from the cab to the elevator controller. Elevator shafts are harsh electrical environments and are often the source of data corrupting noise that becomes induced onto the card reader data lines. This causes inconsistent performance, which often gets worse over time as cable shielding decays due to continual movement.