A Flexible Solution
The following example illustrates how, even with some architectural obstacles, wireless access control works extremely well. The site is a university dormitory that has 40 doors, all controlled wirelessly on four floors. The building has a steel-in-concrete frame with concrete over metal deck floors and brick exterior walls. All interior walls are either plasterboard over steel studs or stucco over wire mesh, normally an RF nightmare. Common windows in the lounges on each floor have wire mesh laminated within. The panel interface modules are located in cinder block and concrete closets with steel doors. Despite this problematic construction, the system's communications have worked well since first commissioned. No remote antennae, gain antennae or repeaters were needed to facilitate good operation.
There are wireless access control solutions for every type of portal in a system. Models will soon be available for panic-bar-actuated doors. For gates, there are gate controllers that eliminate the need for closing parking lots and trenching. For elevators, there are elevator controllers that eliminate the need for adding traveling cabling. There are even portable wireless card readers that allow identity checking at multiple locations during a day using the same equipment. There are also wireless sensors that monitor any change of state, like door openings.
Today there are thousands of wireless installations, from single doors, elevators or gates to hundreds of doors in a single building. In general, wireless access control equipment is able to work successfully wherever it has been installed.
Monica Keane is a marketing communications consultant with more than 20 years of experience in the high-tech and financial services industries.