The locksmith has an ever-growing selection of solutions to help his clients achieve their desired level of security. Like all sectors of the security industry, keypads, card readers and scanners have evolved and new and improved options are available. The technology includes:
Standalone self-contained mechanical keypad with integral locking mechanism. This has been the standard for standalones for decades. The biggest drawbacks are they only provide a single user code, and may require a fair amount of mechanical dexterity to change the user code.
Standalone self-contained electronic keypad with integral locking mechanism. What used to be the new breed of access control isn’t so new anymore. Major benefits are individual user codes and easy reprogramming. Some models support programming with PDAs. Database resides on PC or laptop. Some end-users do not like the fact that these devices typically are battery powered. Many models may be hard-wired for power.
Standalone self-contained electronic keypad with cardreader with integral locking mechanism. Similar to the keypad only, this type of standalone offers features formerly available to networked (on-line) access control. Some permit automatic unlocking controlled by an internal schedule. Some products allow user codes and credentials to be placed in time zones, to restrict access. Some units allow the criteria for access to be changed according to a schedule. For example, during the day, only a code would be required, while after hours, a credential and a memorized code are required for entry.
Mechanical key switch which controls an external locking device. High security cylinders and proprietary keyways, along with interchangeable cores, have revived the key as a viable access control credential. Combined with cameras and a perimeter security system, they can provide tailor made security for many situations.
Locking mechanism with integral manual and/or electronic control/override. Included in this category are specialized gate locks, deadbolts, electrified levers, and similar devices.
Standalone electronic keypad which controls an external locking device: These devices store the valid codes internally, but produce an output to control external equipment.
Standalone with network connection: These units have the ability to operate with or without an on-line network connection. Some offer the option to remotely unlock the door. The network connection allows managing (adding and deleting) valid users and obtaining activity reports. Some provide real-time reporting of access and or exceptions (propped doors, forced doors, or invalid credentials).
Editor’s Note: The term “network” can refer to a dedicated hard-wired circuit which interconnects all elements of the access control system. RS-485 is a communications standard often used for security applications. “Network” can also refer to the ubiquitous Ethernet or Wi-Fi topology. Other wireless topologies include protocols such as Zigbee and Bluetooth all of which are entering the security marketplace. Stay tuned to The Locksmith Ledger for updates on new products employing these various network topologies and protocols
Reader keypad that interfaces with controller. These are classic cardreaders and keypads. They do not store any data; just provide the user interface to the access controller. Cardreader and keypads interface with the controller using protocols such as Wiegand or Clock & Data.