Installing The OSI WAMS Wireless Access Management System

Jan. 1, 2007
The OSI WAMSwas installed into six floors of a large building, where each floor was approximately 20,000 square feet.

The OSI Security Devices Wireless Access Management System (WAMS) provides access control and offers real-time remote access controls. Real-time audit, personnel and time schedule changes can be made instantaneously by the system administrator(s) from a host computer. The system administrator(s) has the ability to monitor the system’s performance (signal strength and reader battery levels are graphically displayed), to add, change or delete Users or Credentials, and to review or print Transaction, User, Alarm, or Reader Reports.

(See the article “Going Wireless with OSI’s Wireless Access Management System,” page 58 in the July 2006 issue of Locksmith Ledger.)

WAMS is comprised of any combination of electromechanical mortise or cylindrical reader locks, wall mount system adapters, exit device adapters, and/or Quick Adapters installed at the door openings. The cylindrical reader locks and the Quick Adapters fit standard 161 door preparation without modification. The mortise reader locks install in standard mortise door preparation, requiring only two 3/16” cross bore holes in order to install the reader device onto the motorized mortise lock. Existing earlier-generation OSI devices can be upgraded to incorporate WAMS wireless technology.

The battery powered WAMS electromechanical access control devices are designed for interior or exterior applications. Each WAMS device can be configured to support up to a maximum of 65,000 credential holders. Each credential holder may be programmed to have unique access levels.

The WAMS reader devices communicate wirelessly with the host computer via a device called a Portal Gateway. The DC-powered Portal Gateway provides bi-directional communication between the host computer and the WAMS devices using encrypted data exchange. A single Portal Gateway can be configured to communicate with up to 128 WAMS Reader Devices.

According to OSI Security Devices, the typical range is approximately 150 feet between a Portal gateway and a reader device; it may often be greater. The actual range varies depending upon the building structure, configuration, and RF signals present.

Portal Gateways are wired to the host computer using either a standard Ethernet Local Area Network (LAN) or an 802.11 B/G Wireless network. The maximum distance that a Portal Gateway can be located from the host computer is determined by the network’s capability.

For this installation, the OSI Security Devices Wireless Access Management System was installed into six floors of a large building, where each floor was approximately 20,000 square feet. The height of each floor was approximately 20 feet. The total amount of square footage was approximately 120,000. (See sample floor layout)

Ten reader devices were required to be installed onto doors in each of the six floors. The reader devices would control access into the secure office areas of each floor and areas where access needed to be restricted.

Cylindrical and mortise lock reader devices were primarily used to control access, although several exit devices and one wall-mount system were also installed. Some of the mortise locks had to be replaced as it was not possible or practical to convert them to electro-mechanical (motor-driven) locks. Some of the cylindrical lock chassis were equipped with a Quick Adapter as they were compatible for retrofit to this system. A few earlier-generation OSI OP2000 devices were upgraded to WAMS readers with the WAMS Upgrade Kit. The remaining cylindrical locks were new units. For a list of retrofit-capable cylindrical and mortise locks, consult with the OSI factory.

Although the configuration of each floor varied, there always were two centralized electrical/network closets on each floor. These electrical closets were interconnected between the six floors using existing wiring ducts and CAT-5 network cable. This base configuration provided the foundation for the site survey. The site survey was necessary to:

  • Determine where the Portal Gateway(s) would be located
  • How many Portal Gateways would be required, and
  • Ensure that adequate Radio Frequency signal strength was available at each of the proposed WAMS Reader openings.

The wiring ducts provided an easy wiring path between the Portal Gateways on the different floors. They also allowed the systems integrator to make a network connection to the floor where the system administrator’s office was located. A network server was placed in the electrical closet on the system administrator’s floor and this was in turn connected to the four Portal Gateways. The server was then networked to a dedicated computer that was to be used to not only monitor the access control system but also for day-to-day operations. This computer was not connected to the office network or the internet, ensuring that the system administrator was the only person who had access to add or delete users, review transactions, modify time zones, or review or print transaction reports.

The next series of steps was to determine just how many Portal Gateways would be necessary for all of the reader locks to operate on the six middle floors in the building.

The first step of the Site Survey plan was for two Portal Gateways to be strategically placed on each floor, one for the West Wing and one for the East Wing of the floor. The second step of the plan was to determine if the Portal Gateways could cover more than one floor each.

A Portal Gateway connected to a laptop computer running the WAMS software was temporarily installed into the first electrical/network closet. The software was activated and a mobile test reader device was used to determine the range of the first Portal Gateway. This test reader device was moved and tested throughout one half of the building and placed at each of the proposed door openings. Using the WAMS Statistics Monitor software application, the systems integrator was able to ensure that adequate signal strength was available at each of the proposed openings.

The Portal Gateway was capable of communicating with the test reader device throughout more than one-half of the building on the same floor.

The test was repeated with the Portal Gateway and the laptop computer operating the required software in the second electrical closet on the other half of the building. The test reader device was again moved and tested throughout the second half of the building.

Two Portal Gateways, each installed in a respective electrical closet (one for the West Wing and one for the East Wing), were sufficient to provide the necessary coverage for this one floor.

The next step was to determine if these two Portal Gateways were capable of communicating with the floor(s) above and below. The test reader was taken to the floors above and below the Portal Gateway and it was verified that signal strength was adequate at each of the proposed openings on these floors. If each Portal Gateway was capable of communicating not only on its own floor, but also with reader devices on the floor above and below, only four Portal gateways would be required in order to communicate with reader devices on all six of the floors.

It was verified that the two Portal Gateways were capable of communicating with the test reader device on the floors above and below.

In total, 46 WAMS Readers were brought on-line at this facility using four 32-door Portal Gateways. Although several new locks were installed, the majority of the WAMS Readers were earlier-generation OP2000 proximity readers that were converted to WAMS OPW2000 Wireless Proximity readers by using the OMNILOCK Wireless Conversion Kit p/n 12657. The OMNILOCK Wireless Conversion Kit consists of an antenna assembly and a circuit board that enables wireless communication with the Portal Gateway. The circuit board and the antenna assembly are direct retrofits that do not require modification to the board or the reader device housing. Only a screwdriver is required to make the modification.

The conversion from PocketPC-programmed OMNILOCK OP2000 proximity card system to the OPW2000 Wireless Access Management System allowed this system administrator to gain instantaneous and continuous command and control of an entire facility’s access control system from one networked computer.
For more information, contact your local locksmith/integrator or OSI Security Devices, Inc., 1580 Jayken Way, Chula Vista, Ca. 91911-4644. Telephone: 619-628-1000. Web Site:

Rick Rasmussen is VP of Sales at OSI Security Devices. An ex-Navy man, Rick spent some 20 years in the defense electronic and military intelligence-gathering community. He has lived abroad with his wife and sons including a four-year government stint in Saudi Arabia. Rick now has a passion for locks and locking hardware.