Another important technology adaptation by security manufacturers is onboard Ethernet. Access control panels have traditionally used third-party plug-in modules for Ethernet connectivity that typically have a bottleneck connection to the onboard processor, reducing the effective communication speed and throughput.
FPGA technology enables manufacturers to include an Ethernet MAC (Ethernet controller) at no additional manufacturing cost, providing native, onboard Ethernet connectivity to the processor. This eliminates the third-party module and avoids dependence on the third party for maintenance and support. This also provides communication data to the processor at actual network speed
Onboard, native Ethernet provides additional value. Acting as a Web server, the panel can provide complete, browser-based remote diagnostic and maintenance capability for the panel. Third-party plug-in Ethernet modules provide a Web interface and remote maintenance to the module. Onboard Ethernet allows for remote maintenance of the panel itself. This reduces the number of service calls and improves panel uptime.
Many end-users need cards for multiple systems. Students may need cards for ID, physical access, library vending, and other campus services. Government agencies issue CAC, TWIC, or PIV cards. These cards are used for both logical access and physical access. Technology advancements and standards have resulted in cards that can be used in multiple systems.
Equipment and systems manufacturers must converge on the use of a single, common card for any given installation.
Mark Isaacson is Vice President of Engineering at Sielox, Runnemede, NJ. He began with a degree in computer science from Brigham Young University, Provo, UT. He has been professionally involved in software and hardware development, systems architecture, technology development and application in the evolving access control industry for more than twenty years.